The Story Of American Slavery

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For the story of American slavery to be complete, it has to include the ills of the system, the changes created in the aftermath of emancipation and the precipitous slide down into the sins of segregation. Many books about slavery and the brutality of the life that so many people had to endure have been written over the years. In this book, David Blight tells the story about two men, John M. Washington (1838-1918) and Wallace Turnage (1846-1916) and their escape from slavery during the Civil War. Their escape to freedom occurred during the chaos of this nation’s most bloody war and amidst a political and cultural conflict, which had been ripping the country apart for many decades.
Throughout the Civil War, in thousands of different circumstances, under changing policies and redefinitions of their status, and in the face of social chaos caused by huge military campaigns and destruction, four million slaves helped to decide what time it would be in American History (Blight, 2007, p. 5). Whether it was freedom from a master or overseer, freedom from living as both property and the object of another person’s will, or even freedom to make their own decisions and control their own life, slaves wanted a sense of independence. According to Blight (2007), “The war and the presence of Union armies and navies opened pathways to freedom for them, as it did many slaves” (p. 6). Both Washington and Turnage found their path to freedom in their own unique way, and both accounts are

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