Celia, A Slave: A True Story
Celia, A Slave by Melton A. McLaurin is the story of Celia a fourteen year old slave that is purchased and abused by her master, until one day she kills him. The relationship that Celia and Robert Newsome had was very interesting and the book touches on race and gender hierarchies, power in the relationship, and the involvement of others who supported or contested the power structure. Was Celia forced by society to commit this crime, did gender, race and power struggle push Celia to kill her master? This essay will analyze the situations in which Celia was put into and how ultimately society in the mid 1800’s failed her.
The Louisiana Purchase took place in 1803 by Thomas Jefferson; this was new land that was seen as a new opportunity for many Americans trying to acquire wealth (Fomm 171). In December of 1818 it became available to the public. People from all over the United States moved to this new land seeking an opportunity to better their lives. By the fall of 1822 the Newsom family had already settled in Callaway County, Missouri. The trip to this new land was dangerous and settling had its dangers. This new territory was unpredictable but many people like the Newsom family moved to this area to start a new life and make something of themselves (McLaurin 3-4). “Robert Newsom was anything other than what he seemed—a man who had labored hard and endured much for the measure of prosperity he had achieved;”(McLaurin 1).
Many of the first settlers found the first year to be the hardest, the land was fertile but it was difficult to get basic supplies (McLaurin 4). Over the years the town flourished and the people of Callaway began to build up the town with government offices and churches. By the 1855 Robert Newsom was making a comfortable living on his land, he owned eight hundred acres and had herds of live stock. Along with his land and animals Robert Newsome owned five male slaves (McLaurin 9). In 1850 Newsom purchased a...
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