Slave Narrative of Rev. Silas Jackson
Slavery impacted the lives of African descendants in several ways. As seen through the narratives of slaves, one can view how captivity molded the lifestyle of many African-Americans. Rev. Silas Jackson was one of these slaves. Interviewed and written by Rogers on September 29, 1937, Rev. Jackson resided in Baltimore Maryland and was around ninety years old with an accurate account of his enslavement. It is understood that depending on which colony slaves lived in, the way they were treated and the work they performed varied. Slaves in southern colonies typically worked under harsh conditions, while slaves in the middle and New England colonies were fewer, had more freedom, and were treated more humanely. Unfortunately for the narrator, he was a slave on a plantation in Virginia. Beginning at the age of nine years old in 1955, Silas worked under the task system in which he helped raise tobacco, wheat, corn, and farm products. In the narrative Silas seemed to brag that he "had a taste of all the work on the farm besides digging and clearing up new ground to increase the acreage on the farm." There was no exception as men, woman, and boys were all required to work. Jackson was owned by Mr. Ashbie who he described by saying that "a meaner man was never born in Virginia - brutal, wicked, and hard," Ashbie was a rich plantation master who drove his slaves at top speed and "always carried a cowhide with him." Mr. Ashbie was stern and just like his father, had an aggressive nature toward his slaves. "I have heard it said that Tom Ashbie's father went to one of the cabins late at night, the slaves were having a secret prayer meeting. He heard one slave ask God to change the heart of his master and deliver him from slavery so that he may enjoy freedom. Before the next day the man disappeared, no one ever seeing him again; but after that down in the swamp at certain times of the moon, you could hear the man who prayed in the cabin...
Bibliography: Howell, Donna Wyant I Was A Slave Book 1: Descriptions of Plantation Life Washington, DC: AMERICAN LEGACY Books, 1998
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