Enslave Me Not
Throughout the colonial period and the time leading up to the American civil war, one of the most important and controversial topics facing Americans was the idea of slavery. The notion of slavery is an odd and incredibly horrifying concept, that one man can own another man, or two men, or an entire family, just because of the color of their skin. No doubt the idea was racist and repulsive, but to many Men and Women in history, across the country and across the world, slavery was just a part of everyday life: they knew no different. So when those people who were being stripped from their homeland and brought over on ships to be sold at auction to the highest white bidder, began to question the sacredness of this terrible operation, it should have come as no surprise when a rebellion ensued like that of Nat Turner in South Hampton County, Virginia in August of 1831. Stephen B. Oates’s account of this gruesome slave rebellion was put into text in “The Fires of Jubilee: Nat Turner’s Fierce Rebellion.” Oates’s description of this important fragment in American history comes in a prologue, four parts, and then an epilogue in which he tells the story of the time leading up the rebellion in South Hampton County, the rebellion itself and the time after it, along with his journey through the city and how he acquired his information for the book. In the conclusion of his piece, Oates establishes the claim that to many African-Americans, now and in the past, Nat Turner is somewhat of a heroic figure and a freedom fighter in a dark period for this enslaved people. Oates, a white man, stated in the opening of his book that he wanted to “produce a biographical and historical narrative that would be as realistic and fair-minded as I could make it.” But Oates failed at this attempt, but not on the side of diminishing blacks, but instead he took more of a “white man’s fault” route. In his story, though he was trying to be as fair and equal as possible,...
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