A Slave No More

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A SLAVE NO MORE

For my final project I chose to do a review of the book “A Slave No More” written by David W. Blight. In his book, Blight tells the story about two men, John M. Washington and Wallace Turnage and their escape from slavery during The Civil War. Blight provides us with copies of the narratives of both men. In my review I will break down Blights book regarding the stories of John M. Washington and Wallace Turnage. In my paper I will share a critique of the book and give my opinion of this book. This is an incredible story of the first person narratives of two men who escaped to freedom. In the first part of his book Blight tells us the stories of John M. Washington and Wallace Turnage. From research he has gathered, he tells the story of both of these men and uses information from both of the narratives. Blight breaks the book down into chapters telling us the story of John M. Washington first. In the first chapter blight tell us about Washington’s life as a slave up until his escape to freedom. “John M. Washington was born a slave on May 20, 1838 in Fredericksburg, Virginia (Blight 17). John knew his mother Sarah, who was twenty one when she gave birth to John, but did not know his father. Blight does a nice job explaining Washington’s life as a youngster and his life as a slave. We learn about how he met his future wife Annie and he goes on to discuss John’s ability to become very clever and a good con man early in life which eventually helps him escape to freedom. Blight wraps up this chapter with Washington’s escape to freedom. Blight then uses the second chapter to discuss Wallace Turnage. “Wallace Turnage was born on August 24, 1846, in the Tyson’s Marsh district of Green County near Snow Hill, North Carolina” (Blight 55) Wallace knew both his mother Courtney, who gave birth to Wallace when she was just 15, and his father Slyvester Turnage. Like John Washington Wallace Turnage was of mixed race. Blight discusses the life of Wallace as a young man who had it very tough. As a young man Turnage was sold to a plantation owner in Pickensville, Alabama named James Chalmers. Blight does a good job describing Turnage’s life as a young slave who fought his bondage at a young age and continues to do so until he was able to escape to freedom. Blight does a great job interpreting Turnages narrative in this chapter. An example of this is Blight describing Turnages third escape attempt. Blight says Turnage wants his readers to know his third escape almost succeeded. He stresses that he was never taken without a fight and that he never surrendered to his dehumanization. In chapter three, Blight discusses Washington and Turnages loves after they became free. As little information as that was available on how these two men lived after the emancipation, bight does a nice job describing their lives from the information he was able to find. John Washington, his wife and their family lived in Washington DC after he became free. In Dc John and his wife Annie became involved in the Baptist church. They became very active members of the Baptist church and looked to the church as a place where they can feel free. In 1865 John’s son Johnnie died and this greatly affected John who wrote a eulogy for his son. Blight provides the eulogy in his book. As far as could be determined John worked as a laborer by day and a painter by night. John was very active in the black community in Washington and got involved in community events. By 1873 John and his wife had five children and this was about the time John wrote the narrative. John was able to get his youngest son Ben into a prominent public high school in Washington and he went on to live a successful life. In 1913, John and Annie were retired and they moved to Cohasset, Massachusetts to live with their son James and his wife. John Washington died in 1918 and is buried in Cohasset at the Woodside Cemetery. Blight covers Wallace Turnages life next. After...
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