Celia, a Slave

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Celia, a Slave is the epitome of the relationship between slaves and their owners and also the slaves and other whites in the 1850’s. This is based on her interactions with her owner Robert Newsom and her reactions mainly with the community involved in her court case. These relationships affected more so the women slaves rather than the men slaves because of their weaker nature as perceived by the sexual differences of the time period between men and women in general. Slavery is questioned by the morals of the Northerners and some Southerners though it is common in the South so most Southerners reinforce the ideas of slavery with their own morals, believing slaves as meaningless because of their difference.

Celia was bought by Robert Newsom in 1850 at the approximate age of fourteen. Newsom was without a wife at “sixty years of age,” (McLaurin, 21) because she died in 1849 and he “needed more than a hostess and a manager of household affairs; he required a sexual partner.” (McLaurin, 21) This shows that his motives for purchasing Celia were only for personal satisfaction. “Newsom seems to have deliberately chosen to purchase a young slave girl to fulfill this role.” (McLaurin, 21) Given the way it’s presented, owners were not meant to partake in the use of slaves as sexual partners. “Newsom regarded her as both his property and his concubine.” (McLaurin, 22) This proves that she was regarded by him as a possession, showing the general relationship between master and slave.

“We know that his rape of Celia was no isolated incident, the act of a demented individual, an even which, had it been immediately discovered, would have raised a storm of moral outrage among white southerners, including the residents of Callaway County.” (McLaurin, 24) Southerners took acts of sexual interactions between whites and slaves as a huge insult to their lifestyles. Likewise, acts of sexual interactions between anyone with a female “under fifteen years of age was uncommon.”...
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