Essay title: The Slave Community
John Wesley Blassingame was a scholar, historian, educator, writer, and leading pioneer in the study of American slavery.He received a bachelor’s degree at Fort Balley State College in 1969, a master’s degree at Howard University in 1961, and a doctorate at Yale University in 1971.He then became a history professor at his alma mater in 1974 at Yale University.He was a professor of history, African-American studes, and American Studies for 29 years.His repatoir of books that he has written and published include: The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South,Black New Orleans 1860-1880, Frederick Douglass, The Clarion Voice, and Slave Testimony: Two Centuries of Letters, Speeches, Interviews, and Autobiographies.
In additon to publishing his own books, he also co-authored and co-edited two other published works. The Slave Community is one of Blessingames more recognized books that he has written.This book was the first time that any historian has written according to the slaves perspective rather than the slave owners’.The authors purpose in writing this book was to present a different prespective of history that had previously been unavailable. He wanted to show how the slaves felt, how they were treated and all of it was presented through the slaves’ eyes.He described their living situations, their personalities and their daily battle for survival.
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Some of the book is hard to read because of the reality of their lives; but, Blassingame wants you to feel the slaves’ pain and understand that life was hard for them but they still had their own culture and traditions while enslaved. Blessingame approaches the topic of slavery different than any other historian had ever done before him.As mentioned earlier he writes from the perspective of the slaves rather than the slave owners.He delves into their minds, culture, family, and traditions.Obsiously, the main people in the book are the slaves.
In the first chapter he talks about the enslavement process.He discusses in depth that the process was extremely painful and humiliating, yet their culture and heritage was not left in Africa.The slaves remained true to their heritage by taking with them their native dances, language, religion, songs or spitituals, and folk tales.The second chapter discusses thechanges that took place because of the presence of a different culture.Blessingame points out that acculturation, meaning the the process of adopting the cultural traits or social patterns of another group, was inevitable.It is stated that the influence of the slaves upon the American culture was very prominent as well as the American culture effecting the African culture.
Blessingame points out, however, that their was a distinct African slave culture that emerged from the African culture, the American culture, and the culture of the slaves that was distinct among them all.The third chapter discusses the distinct cultures of the slaves and their self preservation.It seems, that the most outstanding tradition that was mentioned was the spirituals.These songs gave them a sense of hope and belonging that brought them joy and a commonality between them all.
Through these songs they expressed their hopes, dreams, love, courage,religion, and oppression. In chapter four, Blessingame discusses the slave family.He points out the importance of the family unit in order to provide a safety net from the slave owners.The family was an integral part of the slave’s lives because in a way it was their means of survival and strength.The next chapter, chapter five, discusses the runaways and rebel slaves.The author talks about different rebellions that occurred on ships and on the plantations.He discusses that the slaves did have hopes of escaping but some were unwilling to leave their families or fearful of the consequences of being caught.Blassingame shows many examples of successful rebellions and runaways but points out that it was never easy and there was always a high price to be paid.Chapter six about the predictions that.