A Slave No More Two Men Who Escape To Freedom Analysis

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Slave narratives are known to be some of the most powerful accounts of the harsh reality that was America pre-emancipation. They possess a certain authenticity that could not possibly be emulated in any history course book. A certain panache is required to accurately recollect and deliver an honest and deliberate recollection of the horrid events faced by these men, women, and children. In A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escape to Freedom, Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation, David Blight assembles the story of Wallace Turnage and John Washington, men who were not freed from slavery during the Civil War, but escaped the turmoil on their own accord. Later writings of their struggle make way for Blight’s novel. Notably, there is no story …show more content…
With the revelation of emancipation came a bout of questions: what did freedom really mean to these people? Whatever notion of “freedom” that was given to the slaves was brusquely erased by the sheer amount of restrictions and adversities placed on the freed men and women. As another ex-slave, James Johnson recollects: “I felt and knew dat de years after de war was worser than befo” (Johnson). During the Reconstruction Era, a slave’s quest for freedom merely evolved into a Darwinian survival of the fittest. The majority were penniless after being released from plantations. Wages remained low for manual laborers, who were easily replaceable, and those who were at an advantage like John Washington would somehow make a living in the cities, while others would either live through another form of suburban enslavement. Income was always an issue, and very few former slaves were able to own land. Those who did pursue agriculture would be indebted to their sharecropping landowners for prolonged periods of time, if not life. Succumbing to their own abject poverty was another method of going about freed life. Apart from death was the severe isolation and loneliness many of the slaves felt after being freed; sold from family to family, very few of them were able to trace back to their parents and siblings. This brought about dampened spirits and a diminishing enthusiasm among the populace, one that would even affect future generations. Faltering networks would lead to a much weaker infrastructure among the freed blacks than what could have been (Regosin & Shaffer). The feeling among the African Americans was best summarized by Harriet Tubman as she famously once said, “I was free, but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange

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