Northup’s Separation

“Describe the difference between Northup’s response to separation from his children and Eliza’s response to separation from her children.”

Solomon Northup

Solomon Northup

Solomon Northup was born a free black. He grew up, married and was a successful entrepreneur. In his autobiography, Twelve Years a Slave, he describes how he was kidnapped by illegal slave traders and sold into slavery. He ends the book by telling how he was finally able to return to freedom after twelve years.

I think that the main difference between Eliza’s, a slave with two children, and Northup’s sorrow at being separated from their respective children is that Northup, being a free black sold illegally, had hope and perhaps a means (eventually) to see his children.

However, Eliza, having been a slave her entire life, and her children having been sold into slavery separately, had no hope or way to see her children again, and therefore she slowly gave way to the overwhelming grief and died. Northup survived and lived to see his children again.

John Thompson and Sanctions

John Thompson (b. 1812) was an escaped slave living in the free Northern states. In his autobiography he focused upon the subject of sanctions (punishment for an evil act or a reward for a righteous deed) and slavery.

He said that there would be a required payment for the great evil of slavery and that the nation (America) would pay this debt. He also said that the whipping of the slaves without cause was very cruel and he gave an example in which immediate punishment fell upon the man who punished unnecessarily. However, he said that if the plantation masters treated the slaves fairly, then they would prosper (positive sanctions).

Thompson emphasized the need for fair sanctions in his autobiography.

Memorable Images

One of the memorable images from the autobiography of Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery, was education. Education for the blacks (ex-slaves) is really the main point of the entire book. The freed black slaves had a great desire to have an education. Often, even if they could not yet perform a proper trade they would have learned some Latin and Greek.

Another memorable image was the fact that the freed blacks would, according to Booker, choose new names once they got freed. Because most slaves would be called by their first names their last names would often be forgotten. Therefore, most ex-slaves would take the name of their former owner. They would also pick a middle initial, which would be related to any name they not had whatsoever. (For example: James K. Little.) These names they called their “entitles.”

These two things were what stood out to me the most.

The Abolition of Slavery

Slavery first began in the West when Portuguese slave-trading ships, loaded with captured African men, women and children, landed in the harbors of the Americas. Although this trade was begun by Portugal, England, Holland and France joined in the 17th century.

The slaves were taken on ships from West Africa to Brazil, the Caribbean Islands and British North America. Continue reading

Booker T. Washington and Slavery

Booker T. Washington (born c. 1858) had been a slave until the age of ten. He became an influential educator, orator and author. In his autobiography, Up From Slavery, he described several evils of the slave system. One was that it did not encourage family unity on the part of the slaves.

Another was that the white people would lose their motivation to master a trade. This led to a dependency by the white people on the slaves after the abolition of slavery.

A third evil was that the slaves would not be educated.

Fourth, because the slaves did not own the property they worked on, they didn’t care about it very much. Therefore, most properties fell into disarray.

Lastly, the slave system encouraged theft on the part of the slaves.