Perspective on Slavery

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Reading the diary entries from people can help you learn about how they lived and what life was like during their time period. In my opinion, by reading the entries of slaves, we can discover what kind of work they did and how they were treated. This helps us understand what happened with an inside source. Each group of people had their own opinions and had different things written in their diaries. Because of this we gain knowledge from each side of the story. Rural slaves usually worked on farms and plantations in the South, working the land or planting cotton, rice, tobacco, etc. Harriet Jacobs was a rural slave. In her diary she tells us how she was treated by her “master”. In the entry she describes her “master” as a cruel man. She says that she had nowhere to go for protection. Most slaves must have felt this way. It must have been horrible to feel alone. Harriet also says that her “master” had stormy, horrific ways to accomplish his purposes that made his victims tremble. She says, “Sometimes he assumed a gentleness that he thought must surely subdue. Of the two, I preferred his stormy moods, although they left me trembling.” the fact that she would rather be treated badly than have him acting like a gentleman leaves me with questions such as, did she really know how a gentleman acted? Surely if he was a gentleman than he wouldn't be whispering foul things into her ear as she described. With Harriet's side of the story we learn how the slaves were treated and how they felt about the people that owned them. Plantation Masters were the owners of large estates in the South where the important crops were usually planted and cultivated by slaves purchased and owned by the master. The diary entry of William Byrd II was terrible. William inherited his father's plantation and slaves. In the excerpt from his diary, he described how his days went. We know that he had it easy and didn't care about what happened to his slaves. He whipped his slave, Eugene, because he...
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