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The Great Stain: Witnessing American Slavery

The Great Stain: Witnessing American Slavery

by Noel Rae
The Great Stain: Witnessing American Slavery

The Great Stain: Witnessing American Slavery

by Noel Rae

Hardcover

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Overview

In this “essential” (Kirkus) new work, Noel Rae integrates firsthand accounts into a narrative history that brings the reader face to face with slavery’s everyday reality, expertly weaving together narratives that span hundreds of years. From the travel journals of sixteenth-century Spanish settlers who offered religious instruction and “protection” in exchange for farm labor, to the diaries of poetess Phillis Wheatley and Reverend Cotton Mather, to Central Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted’s book about traveling through the “cotton states,” to an 1880 speech given by Frederick Douglass, Rae provides a comprehensive accounting of parties from throughout the antebellum history of the nation. Rae also draws on a wide variety of accounts from less distinguished individuals: a surgeon describes the brutal treatment and squalid conditions onboard a slave ship as he made his daily rounds to collect the dead; an Englishman visiting Haiti observes violent uprisings as, separated from the population on the mainland, slaves were able to overpower their captors.Most significant are the texts from and interviews with former slaves themselves, ranging from the famous Solomon Northup to the virtually unknown Mary Reynolds, who was sold away from her mother and subsequently bought back not for sentiment or kindness, but because after losing her daughter, the family’s wet nurse began to waste away from grief. Surpassing a dispassionate listing of atrocities, Rae places the reader within the era.Drawing on thousands of original sources, The Great Stain tells of repression and resistance in a society based on the exploitation of the cheapest labor and fallacies of racial superiority. Meticulously researched, this is a work of history that is profoundly relevant to our world today.


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781468315134
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Publication date: 02/20/2018
Pages: 592
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 2.10(d)

About the Author

Historian Noel Rae received an honors degree in history from Oxford University. His books include The People’s War: Original Voices of the
American Revolution, Witnessing
America: The Library of Congress Book of Firsthand Accounts of Life in America,
and This is Berlin: Radio Broadcasts from
Nazi Germany. He lives in Westchester, NY.

Table of Contents

Introduction 9

1 Out of Africa 15

2 The Trade 53

3 Personal Stories 87

4 The Middle Passage 117

5 The Colonies 147

6 The Revolution 201

7 The Peculiar Institution 233

8 White Testimony 263

9 Black Experience 307

10 Fugitives 353

11 Resistance 387

12 The Positive Good 425

13 The Abolitionists 459

14 The Civil War 509

Acknowledgments 569

Notes 571

Bibliography 579

Illustration Credits 583

Index 587

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