Slaves in the Family / Edition 1by Edward Ball
Pub. Date: 12/28/1998
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Slaves in the Family is the winner of the 1998 National Book Award for nonfiction and hailed by The New Yorker as "a brilliant blend of archival research and oral history." First-time author and award-winning journalist Edward Ball confronts the legacy of his family's slave-owning past, uncovering the story of the people, both black and white, who/i>/i>… See more details below
Slaves in the Family is the winner of the 1998 National Book Award for nonfiction and hailed by The New Yorker as "a brilliant blend of archival research and oral history." First-time author and award-winning journalist Edward Ball confronts the legacy of his family's slave-owning past, uncovering the story of the people, both black and white, who lived and worked on the Balls' South Carolina plantations. It is an unprecedented family record that reveals how the painful legacy of slavery continues to endure in America's collective memory and experience.
Author Edward Ball, a descendant of one of the largest slave-owning families in the South, discovered that his ancestors owned 25 rice plantations, worked by nearly 4,000 slaves. In Slaves in the Family, he confronts his past -- scouring family archives, parish records, telephone directories, and historical-society collections. Ball's fact-finding took him slogging not only down the back roads of Carolina's low country but also to West Africa to meet the descendants of the traders who sold slaves to the family.
Through meticulous research and by interviewing scattered relatives, Ball contacted some 100,000 African-Americans living in the U.S. today who are all descendants of Ball slaves. In intimate conversations with them, he garnered information, hard words, and devastating family stories of precisely what it means to be enslaved. He found that the family plantation owners were far from benevolent patriarchs; instead there is a dark history of exploitation, interbreeding, and extreme violence against the slaves.
Slaves in the Family is an extraordinary and poignant account of interwoven lives and one man's effort to come to terms with his disturbing family legacy and his nation's past.
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Table of Contents
1 Plantation Memories 7
2 Masters from England 22
3 The Well of Tradition 43
4 Bright Ma 64
5 A Family Business 88
6 Written in the Blood 110
7 The Making of a Dynasty 134
8 Sawmill 155
9 Bloodlines 176
10 "Yours, obediently" 196
11 A House Divided 215
12 The Width of the Realm 242
13 A Painter's Legacy 271
14 The Curse of Buzzard Wing 295
15 The Siege 322
16 Aftermath 351
17 The Preservation Society 375
18 A Reckoning 392
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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My name is chiemeka egwu, and i can remember ed coming by and talking to my great grand mother, grandmother and mother and I about our famly stories. The out come of Edwriting this book is that I now no ore about my history and i have an extended family that i love. Since the writing of this book, my great grandmother emily has passed and my grand mother luzena has alzhiemer. with this book i will have a written history of my family to pass along to my childre. Thank you ed for having the courage to write this. It is truelya mustread for everyone.....
I've read this book twice and have referred to it several times in the last 10 years while doing my own genealogy research. Being a South Carolinian and decendent of slaves, this book is very dear to me. I appreciate the time and effort Mr. Ball put into this book with all it's wonderful details and illustrations. It helped me better understand plantation family relations, communities and practices thus improving my researching skills.
This book is what is needed for us to move foward together.It helps to foster a greater understanding. However it does not bring closure. That closure requires the ability to forgive which is personal and spiritual in nature.Yet, it stimulates the process if the individual is open to change. Ones heart must be prepared for this book, lest they be consumed by its flames. brett harleston
If all of America take a brave step as this author has done; then there may just be a closure for blacks & whites on the devastating, horrible issue of slavery. Such a step could likely end the race issues that continue to permeate this country.
Balls' ability to face his family's past and at the same time not to carry a guilt trip around with him today is remarkable. Hard to imagine anyone vaguely interested in history would put this book down unfinshed. A complete triumph.
I thouroughly enjoyed this book; it held my attention for hours on end. Ball's research opened the doors of history and shined light on subjects long since abandoned by every-day historians. I am thankful for his bravery, for without him these mysteries would;ve been forever be unsolved and these people would've been forever forgotten.