thumbnail of Africans in America; 104; Judgment Day; Interview with William Dusinberre, Professor of History, University of Warwick
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this regime she's a very well known british actress as rose yes lafrance campbell was a very well known british actress she married a rich american named pierce partner when she was about twenty four years old and she then dump her acting career she lives i didn't really want to be an actress but she had done that for five years very very successfully to help her for her art and who's in financial difficulties and was part of the most famous family of actors in great britain but she was she really want to be a writer and she was delighted to be very rich man and that she wouldn't be able to have been practicing
and going to the careers he's writing and reading to her her husband was the owner of one of the biggest slave plantations in the united states although he lived in philadelphia the plantation was in georgia and there golden mohawk river the plantation had two ports there was a rice plantation and booker island which had more than four hundred slaves and though is any ceo and cotton plantation fifty miles down the river on st simons island which had another almost three hundred slaves and that huge plantation made the bloggers among the richest slave owners in the united states one
of his own well the fact is that he didn't own them when she married him she knew he was rich but he didn't in fact only the montel his aunt died two years after their marriage and her own she was very keen to be taken by him from philadelphia down to the plantation to see it how he himself made his first trip there two years after they were married but he wouldn't take roll on two years later he did she was there for about four months she kept a very careful <unk> there are actually got acquainted especially with slave women who gradually came to trust her because she was different from any white person that they had ever seen before and having won the confidence to a considerable extent of a lot of
salacious and particularly when she was able to record in her drawer of something which is wonderful for women's history among other things because most of the people that know about slavery are male observers the pope with males but she was talking with female slaves some of them have fallen which was a consequence of the eu rough life that they had of working in woody rice fields are within four weeks or so after their children were born and one of the women camel to a onetime she lifted her square inch showed this war should go slave woman wouldn't have done that to a male observer but campbell being the one who knows to a considerable degree cost the slave women torre things about how their life really was and it is a wonderful record for that reason on the store's the
store where she only won that the city and so on top of her it's been that was the problem well very often after their work was finished women would come to her and they would the petitioner for one thing or another a bit of cloth perhaps maybe they had to lighten them school bruised bleeding and they wanted cloth or maybe they wanted a bit of fish a little bit of meat or something
like that or sometimes they would come and they would say well it used to be that we got a five weeks off after the child was born but they've cut back only four weeks off couldn't you please let us have the extra week also a common and it may make petitioned story one evening telling women came in and she thought well she had been getting these stories about how many miscarriages they it hadn't only children adolescents on tissue for this evening i'll ask a mosque every single one of them online miscarriages did that have on how many children and how many are still alive and she found that it was really a grim picture of the universe with women's ways that are often lost children some of them you had had miscarriages some of them and had quite a few miscarriages on the perhaps the worst case that she
graham recorded was a woman named server whose husband was named stephen grocer i heard been pregnant eleven times and she had to show for that two children that were still alive orleans will go on she had lost something miscarriages some children going young and so on and she had only two left handed it got to her she she ran away from the plantation a one time i go in the woods or something of entry they are quarter she didn't intend to run away permanently but she just you know maybe she was an overhauling for him despair or fish anyway she she knew she just wanted to get away and she was away for awhile until a quarter of a broader fact based rapper up logs hundred feet they gave her a really prof one thing she would've been made probably to raise her dresser that they could hit the naked flesh on her body and
she ran away again and the next time that she ran away she said how when she was caught she said she was naked she imagines she says it was hard on wine from despair and you know that story got a camel it's an interesting question mm hmm well one of the slave women said to campbell it's pretty hard to run away because the summer heat rattlesnakes mountain and water moccasins and you know alligators in the river and i so the physical obstacles to running water were very great know on other rice
plantations one is able to demonstrate that the slaves did nevertheless run away with extraordinary regularity in spite of all of those terrible obstacles they almost never were seeking permanent freedom because it was just too far away from the free states way down in south carolina were jewish and you couldn't hope to get way privately but you run away for a few weeks maybe because you were so angry with somebody that you thought you might kill and if you stayed and then you'd be dead until you run a way to cool off or irritated exhausted and ill and you run away for a while i just to get away from it but you know that eventually you're going to go back and that happened regularly even in spite of the rattlesnakes and the water moccasins and the alligators on other rice plantation and so i think that probably the more important factor was that the people that manage to the
point where a state were very very severe in their punishment of slaves that runway and they did this with the knowledge of the owners in philadelphia and they boasted in fact that the slaves were didn't dare run away now one of the managers in fact they boasted in public he put an article in the southern agriculturalist in eighteen twenty eight saying that this weighs very seldom run away from his estate and he would put it down to other things reasons he said that they had to stay because they have nice little garden for something like that now when he made the outpost one month later after the magazine was printed seven of the slaves who ran away in a group and indeed fifteen years earlier when the british had captured st simons island in the war of eighteenth well the british offered
freedom to any slaves i wanted to get on the british ship to be taken away and one hundred and thirty eight slaves owned by the bottlers won the booker estate accepted that offer and went to nova scotia and the ones and baccarat would've done it as well if they had been able to get down to the place where the ships were so there was plenty of discontent and they would run away if i could well this particular time after he had made this post seven stories runaway there was a man who was about thirty six years old was the leader of the group he took along with them among the seven people he took along his twelve year old son a boy named emmanuel and you can imagine that the little boy might have thought hey this is great to go with my daddy on a kind of a grown up person to adventure you know well what runway well they were caught and and no doubt they were severely whitaker as slaves
were after such things but rose walking had another way of which he had divorced himself which he was very proud of for punishing the soloist which was what he called a cold water bath and so he did a cold water bath on the twelve year old boy emmanuel after it had a whipping and the boy died within the next few hours now when king rolled down the records of the desk he said the mangled dog ate worms died within twenty four hours in other words he lied he didn't acknowledge that the real reason was a given in this cold water bath that they manage their own tours in philadelphia found out the truth in that particular case now what it presumably shock like if you're an automobile accident people dr sharpe if you've been whipped and then you get water dumped on you in the middle of january at the corners time of the year i presume you don't have sharp well it shows delete content that they had for the lives
of individuals was he was russell carrying their manager that was he ever tried for manslaughter nothing of this war on the contrary the managers he was a wonderful merger that was no punishment for that so naturally not what this in one way because you might die if you run away so they you know that the deterrents were very very happy this is really the point musician well yes but iran had four hundred and forty slaves when camel on their own they had a white overseer to oversee the island the island is has almost two
square miles of cultivated line and for growing rice the four hundred and some slaves were divided into four villages each with about a hundred slaves before this village was almost two miles away from the main settlement now one point and simply couldn't oversee such a big on that with a slave scattered out in for supper the places and the all white people therefore had to depend on people who were themselves slaves to be helping to ruin the plantation along with a white overseer and on this particular plantation there were for some drivers all of them sway is one in charge of each of the four villages and over them was a slave named headline he was had and frank now kenya and frank had a very very important role in this is to not just about iran but it's true of all the rice plantation
along the coast of south carolina and georgia at that time that they all love them had slaves who or the head driver who helped to run the whole plantation now one thing that they did was that when the overseer left off and in the summertime which he did every single evening at sundown the overseer would leave the online and would go several miles away to a place called would still where there were some pine trees that would keep the mosquitoes away and that the way people were very worried about malaria and the owners would never think of living on these plantations for the six months of the malaria season for many until november the owners want their fate the overseer would leave the race online every single evening about sundown from may until
november and would come back at sun up the next morning and during this six month period they were so afraid of malaria that they simply wanted to get away from the rice line and then the whole island would be honored to charge of the head man frankly the slave driver now his duties frank's duties are work to go around with the overseer and to decide when do you plant one be a flood that feels rice plantations they flooded the field three times a year or four times or even five times a year it was an irrigation system where the fuels might be flooded for two weeks at a time and then you drain then at a certain point and then you fold them again and it was a very skilled operation when's the best time to drain them and wendy afford them again and when do you start to harvest and so on and these decisions would not be made by the overseer not would be made in conjunction with head and frank and perhaps was one
or two of the other slaves that were very skilled at running the whole and local cooperation now in addition to the sign was in charge of the steam pounding mill which you can still see the east addiction is still there in about our island today the rice after it was thrashed had to be you had to take the husk off and it used to be done by the old fashioned way by hand but around eighteen hundred they started to do it with the machinery of power by water or power but one eighteen thirty years they were using steam engines to do this operation and where's this is something like a modern capitalist operate with the latest steam engines and so on to a pound of rice now frank the headline was in charge of that there was also a skilled slade engineer who knew how to repair the engine so the engine broke down instead of waiting for a
week to send for a machinist from savannah you had engineered heard that was right there that had been trained and knew how to repair the thing and frank i was in charge of the whole operation of the slaves that worked in the mills we have a lot of big responsibility and he had a disciplinary responsibility here for ages to wit the slaves and that was true of the sub drivers under him as well that they have that authority on this particular plantation it was perhaps not quite as gruesome isn't some plantations because they had some kind of rules that there was a certain limit that the slave drivers were only allowed to whip other slaves a certain number of times frank was authorized to what size as much as thirty six which is thirty six blows which would be very severe but it's not as it's not quite as grim as what the overseer could do if he did a hundred blows or or even more cell procedures sometimes don't know how are you to judge frank a colleague who is himself a sly his who
is taking responsibility for making the whole thing work you could condemn him you could say this is an uncle tom or ease up quisling he's a collaborator with the current regime that's not the way that can also a one knows that it was a despotic system that that's the essence of slavery is despotism and it despite her power was given not only did the white overseer but also to the black man who was himself a slave despotic power over other slaves and despotism sometimes corrupts the desperate and it is absolutely certain that some of the slaves that had this authority were themselves very principle kind of people they used their power in a way which was brutal towards the other foot now campbell from the judge in that frank was not one of those she came to the steamy and more than any other slave on the plantation she thought he was remarkably
sober unlike the white overseer who in fact was the drunkard and who died just a year or two later from some kind of chest infection probably because he was so you know the doctor was because he drank so much brenda all the time but it's flanked by contrast was a sober thoughtful very intelligent man who had a lot of experience with running the plantation camels sometimes with c frank in the evening standing behind self day's work was done looking over the big river there with a sad look on his face and she thought you know if that now as a free man he you know his talents would be exercised in such a way that he could make a good life for himself and his family but you know that's all its availability felt great sympathy for this man and it seems to me that we can feel that different had not done this job another slave
wood and frank might have said that under god made the group once the slaves by contrast will be a temperament restrain and the slaves under and they will have a better life than they would if there was something that was put over them so common a lot of time for him and she came to the steam has what he says well his wife betty was a very tightly well mannered clean a person who kept her house very tiny campbell visited the house and she had a huge amount of esteem for frank and his wife betty and how they tried to create some kind of order in a life that seemed to have nothing to offer for slips ms
jarosz yes yes yes frank's wife was thirteen a friend's wife was thirty now from the records of the plantation which are now in philadelphia which one can study in order to corroborate the kind of stories that campbell tells you can discover that one frank this is going back thirty going back more than twenty years when frank was the team before he became the head driver he was a skilled carpenter he married a fourteen year old slave woman named betty and they had their first child hobby for betty was fifteen years old now you can find it on the record is that ion
battery then had a charnel boy the twenty one year old son of the white man that oh that ran the plantation the sun was named russell king jr he was at that time on marriage and he took it for his own pleasure after she was married to frank and they produced a mulatto traveled whom campbell talk to twenty years later no one also knows that after that i mean every everybody on the plantation knew that the mulatto trying to push the trial of the white young man that was the sonic of the manager of the plantation hand he also later produced two children by another slave woman you know they treated so when with contempt and his father had produced children by
three different slave women even though his father was unmarried at the time so that that those two white men between them had six mulatto children on that plantation they treated you know it was essentially rape and they treated this way women with contempt and that's a way that betty was treated who was the wife of the man who became head men frank now betty anne frank lived together steadily for ever after that they had seven children of their own and they had an unusually good luck in that of betty's nine children only and i say it you know with a bit of arty only four of those nine children died which was not as grim as it was for most of his life when it was grueling our standard it was growing by the standards of a free people in those days
but it wasn't anywhere near as grim as foremost of enslavement and she had made a life with her husband she had raised her children she had five children that were on that group too they had else she had a nice home for nine of her children two of them became skilled carpenters like her husband heard one of her daughter's varied a skill carpenter so that she had three of her children were kept at it was something like a group of of somewhat privileged slaves who had a strong tradition of being skilled artist and therefore there was a carpenter three of these sons and grandsons are corporate and they were making the best life that they could know how his body supposed to feel about roswell king jr he's there for the next twenty years at house frank supposed to feel about him frank
is us cooperating with rose walking to nearly every day of the year in deciding about the plan things and all that kind of thing and that he knows that this man is writer anne frank knows it does manage rackets ablaze and you know that's that and that's what was the kind of wife of even the most prevalent slave on the plantation that frank had lived with how are those hours but i supposed to feel and howard french feelings nobody for the next twenty years the sky roswell king jr who has essentially raped her is in charge of the plantation and she's supposed to be leading her own condo life and has frank supposed to feel about it every day of his life frank is associated rights watch well king jr they're making decisions about when he had fled the fields and all that kind of thing
and he knows that this man is raped his wife denise post to keep middle east coast was more on you know the bitterness that might be so even by the most privileged place on this point well this is really cool well at the time that it happened for i was eighteen and he was a young corporate lawyer and i don't see that the twenty one year old russel king would at that point he'd have had that motive to put frank down it seems to be more likely that he was simply ought to get some pleasure for himself there's another story that
happens person she's just korea's years of conversation yes well joe was a young slave man who was married to a slave woman named psyche who what about twenty ten they already had two young children now joe was poured of the relatively privileged group of a small number of slaves who we're a bit better off than most of the other supplies joseph author jacob was literate he knew how to read and write which was were joe's father had been a carpenter by now he was an old man but he was still in charge of the stores here in amman in the platinum cotton plantation and shows off and had been the most privileged
house servant in the old days on hand when white owners had actually lived on the same side our joe's voice so it had the privileged position that she was a nurse in a sheet didn't have to go out in the muddy rice feels every day at war but on the contrary she was given the call relatively cushy job of helping to take care of campbell's two young children because campbell had children that were maybe three years old and one year old and your psyche help to take care of them so joe came from a relatively privileged family now joe day he said his term pierce partner had had a fit of generosity because pigs but there was an impulse is generous spirited kind of person and he picked the focus
puller really like this guy ross well cain jr who had run the plantation than the manager there for twenty years and who is now so as a plantation owner twenty five miles away where he was going to join the gentry and the big platter on his home and so out of the city of generosity pierce butler thought omega presenter ros well jean king jr to show him how much i like him are given joe so joe learned about this announcement that job would never see his wife's it again he would never see their two children again he would never see his father jake and then his mother again and he was in despair and he went to the office workers partner was staying in the overseers house when he went into the office and started talking to him and campbell was in the next room with the door closed and she heard a cry of despair from this
man and she opened a doer and she's george oh standing there he had his cabinet hand which he was crushing and he threw it on the ground and he set out to myself first before i leave my wife and and my father and mother and i won't go ann pierce potter was standing there saying calm down you know there's nothing to be done about it and when joan left campbell reproached her husband she said for god's sake you can't split them up like that and her husband stonewall inn didn't seem to respond to or anguished pleased and a half of this a man and his wife bought the next day our children and campbell are doomed that pierce butler had backed down and
that the breaking up of the family between joe and his wife so it was not going to take place so that water act and now it seems to me that this shows a lot of things it illustrates the callousness of the plotters that they were quite willing to break up a slave family and even a penny pierce butler was a more humane master i believe than most of the masters work on the rice plantation and his slaves thought so too and he did in this case back down but even somebody like that was quite willing to contemplate the breaking up of a marriage between a husband and wife and the man that was going to receive joe as a present and knew perfectly well what was going on and he didn't mind at all and in fact one knows that on that plantation can do not to other women whose husband had been taken away from and the women never
saw the husband to get it happened regularly and the white people could just there were countless now that was built into the law the law so that the slaves cannot have a legal marriage they of course did get american there will be ceremonies sometimes but it was not a legal marriage and the reason that no southern state ever would contemplate allowing it to be a legal marriage would be if it had been a legal binding marriage between the slave and the slave woman in the world and the masters when they've been able to break up a marriage and so they kept the whole thing extra legal in order to protect their inalienable right to break up say families anytime a family and that's a clear illustration it's b and the next thing i think it shows
is the passionate google will say that slaves often ahead to each other that joe was absolutely nothing want to be separated from his wife he cared for her dearly and he was not willing to be separated from his father and his mother is that as the white people tried to persuade themselves that slaves don't have strong family loyalties but joe is a very clear illustration that shows that very often the slaves had passionate feelings for their own families now you asked about the threat that joe made to kill himself it was he was not threatening violence against the white man he was threatening violence against himself it was a nonviolent protest against the what the white person was doing and it is my belief this is controversial but it is my belief that the many methods that the slaves had to protest and to defend themselves were nonviolent methods of which this is a wonderful
illustration there was violence as well but one that was the violence the slaves knew that they were very likely to be dead because the punishments were usually so severe for any slaves that for against or white man much less tried to climb that this weighs knew that if they didn't have a lot of the dead themselves probably and i believe that nonviolent methods of protest were far more significant in many what is certainly far more common and perhaps for a more significant than violent protests and this is a nice illustration of that but i think it shows something else as well joe was a member of a privileged family his father was literate he his wife was a nurse made and so now i believe that the show and a lot of other slaves like that accommodated to the system to some degree is they made
compromises they were willing to accept certain privileges from the white people and they were willing to assume certain responsibilities within the whole plantation hierarchy they were accommodating to some degree while nevertheless there was a drug or winding on which they would protest and the line was broken when you try to separate me from my wife you know i want have it but what appears bottomless until it seems to me that if joe had been an ordinary field and i can't imagine it appears boehner would have allowed him to carry on the protest as much as he did i think that show was a privilege place who was then using his privileged position to mount a nonviolent protest over a more dramatic and impassioned nature them probably most of the hounds would have been able to do and why we're so that i think that the fact that he was approved
would sway in sport of the whole thing that he did then occasionally can use his privileged position in order to have to do something and then there are plentiful illustrations oh oh oh i believe that i believe that joe's threat to kill himself was a credible one are i know another rice plantation where i know of a slave who was in his twenties who oh was threatened with a whipping in this case threatened by one of these slaves drivers with the whipping and he jumped into the river there were a lot of other slaves around watching both from his plantation and from the neighboring plantation and he said i'll drown myself before the weapon and he didn't run and i think that that happened or soon enough that pierce partner would have listened to four and would have thought well maybe this will kill himself
either so i think it was credible for now if you wanted another example of nonviolent resistance on the plantation and i've just talked about the other plantation a rice plantation the savannah river there was a clear case where is the owner of the plantation had heard about an example of collective nonviolent resistance by slaves on another plantation adjoining has and he's said to his overseer he said you know what just happened upon the neighbors plantation actually happen on my plantation a few years ago and i would tell you and what happened on the plantation was that the driver on the other plantation got into some trouble with the overseer and the slave sympathize with their driver and they went to the quake woman who was the mistress of the
plantation but who lived a few miles away and they mounted a coma news nonviolent protest against the overseer for having abused their driver whom they knew that their driver had the authority to put them but nevertheless they thought their driver was a decent life and they didn't want their driver being abused by the one overseer and so they want to the white woman and they said this is what happened and you want a sack the overseer and the white woman did suck the overseer how she responded to pay collective nonviolent protest this to martin luther king in slavery times no one really got a dad owned a plantation and on the savannah river heard about this east he said to his overseer he said hey will the same thing happen on plantations he said a few years ago when i was so why the overseer did something which was not really and the he said all the slaves on a
plantation particularly the women he said once down to savannah which was eight miles away and they want to the businessman and savannah who was the business agent for the plantation and they probably what they did it was they got on a boat at night time and went down to the river and go to savannah before the overseer knew what was going on and they got to see the power of that business asian and the protest was judged to be cases of serious and good so convincing protest the with the white business agent in savannah sacked the overseer they're so organic to case of collective nonviolent resistance which worked and furthermore the owner of this plantation who was writing about it several years later to his overseer he said this happened on my plantation a few years ago and it might happen again and again it's what he's saying to the overseer is you mind your p's and q's you he says are an overseer that have been working on two plantations
you've just been second other plantations and you might get second word plantation to if you don't watch it if my school is not so he's playing off the slaves against oversee year and he feels that they have cole active nonviolent resistance is occasionally justified and those are legitimate method of protest and he is threatening the overseer that it might happen to him on his plantation but on the other hand he's also taught an overseer know if you have trouble with this place here is how you would limit so artfully supplying them off against each other he said he wants the overseer to keep slaves under control of body once the slaves to nonviolent methods to keep the overseer under control as well and i think that collective nouns violent resistance and other forms of individual non violent resistance like joe that that was likely to be when we're successful than the violent resistance which is one of the lead well you get killed
i get to bite your weapon to swallow an awful lot and i think it would've been very very discouraging to an awful lot of slaves i think it would have felt will you know what's my life i'm never going to get anywhere no chance to ever make anything of my life you know i think it would've been better end more lawyers here's some salacious if they got discouraged it's not surprising that you know there's been a huge amount of very very good work which has been done by historians in the last thirty years about how slaves managed to cope in spite of their dreadful situation partly through religion partly through folklorist through their family loyalties through their community spirit through the fact that they were able to be away from weight supervision at night time
in their own slate of settlements her there were a hundred ways of trying to cope and we understand that better than campbell died on the other hand campbell believes that these slaves spirits were really her awed by slavery that it got to them that it you know that very often stays with you will you know like try and you torture you know you do as little work if you can get away with us i mean i'm quite convinced that all of the staff was very very awkward that slays of that there one of their principal forms of resisting the system was true lonnie to steal tune but particularly to slow down the work was chained to sabotage it sometimes you know there's a boat which is being tied up on the river and it hasn't been taught properly and
the not congress loose and the boat drifts off into the middle of the river and you can just see this place and smiling to themselves and hoping that nobody gets plan for you know them you are swell it there are lots of bloody ditches and if you can manage that them you'll get stuck in one of the muddy ditch so it takes you an hour to get a mouth again while it breaks up to their routine and you know in this kind of data days sabotage we're doing as a woman you don't like the machines that had the thrashing females well you have to keep feeding the race in constantly and if you didn't feed him constantly than the machine might break itself and so this little wooden feet again constantly and so you could see them white people they openly they put their most reliable slaves to feeding the machine they put another slave to watch the ones they're feeding
to make sure that they feel it constantly but still a sabotage in the machine breaks and i'm convinced that an awful lot of that kind of thing it has been well you asked about how this place called on and i was saying about how i thought it really got to say this one is now an illustration isn't an anti israel he was a brother of control that we've just talked about israel's father was jacob who walked knew how to read and write and was a relatively privileged life now campbell ueno horseback riding with israel won't talk israel what a privilege it was a wagon driver and he also knew about horses and so when she wanted to go for a ride she was with israel now cause
they want quite a few models and got anderson conversation when they were coming back she said to his general she said well your father knows how to read and write why haven't you made yourself and he evaded a question and it's interesting that and then he stops on miami vote proportionally to the war shop and he said this is what for me learn to read me have no prospects there was nothing for you know what good would have to learn to read right because he was described this way than any way that that's the argument at the supreme court of the united states adopted in nineteen fifty four and the desegregation thing they said if you treat people out way they'll feel when they got no prospect answer either stop treating them that way and that's the way israel for you know it had got to him that he just felt well he had no prospects why bother to learn to read right and i think it's a sign that
even some of the relatively privileged lives that it it online them to some degree now this is you know when you're one was a slave in israel who was the brother of joe that we just talked about it he was a privilege place for their knew how to read and write and he was himself like and writers we are special relatively privileged position it went horseback riding with camel she needed to have somebody to go with her to keep the rattlesnakes off until an hour as they were coming back she asked she said why didn't you get her father to teach your reader right and he acted confusion evaded the questions and finally the horse he drew up a horse and he said
this is one for me to read they have no prospects you know this is real alan campbell conceived the idea of taking her two young children to see the atlantic ocean and she sent to israel could you fix it up that we were wide awake and not through a little st simons island through which they're the atlantic ocean so they got onto a boat and put a little st simons island and pretty soon a group of slaves were hacking away through the wood it was a tremendous a big deal is that the prison there were hacking their way through the woods to get down to the coast and it was a chore recent labor for the slaves they came to a saudi more than they were frightened was walking by this time and the slaves were afraid that
she would get her feet so some of the slave man said i will allow it in this what i saw morris you know so that you could walk across my body to keep your feet dry what she would do with that but she was appalled at the willingness of the slaves to act in this absurdly in a way and the next day she found that actually they could have got to the sea coast in a different way all the way by who bought water if they had taken the tight prop when the slaves would have had all this labor hacking through the woods and she said that israel for god's sakes why didn't you tell me that there was an easier way to do it and he said melissa says she wants to go through the woods in the new congress is on the rise that is that he was willing to do anything that might suggest that he had a mind of his own for fear that they each get chopped down even if that all the slaves were going to have
to go through this drill with big labor and she was just a poll at the subservient behavior of the slaves and that the uk own willingness that they had to take it you know to do something that would have made life easier for those ways but they wouldn't do it because they were afraid they get into trouble with ministers boycotted she was just appalled by how the slaves felt that had to be made in order to cope with the system now one of the ways that they could try to cope in a different way would be through religion there was a gun and cooper london that was the head of the methodist slaves on barbara allen and then when the slaves had to cope was to religion and that's best illustrated boy a slave whose name was googled one who was the head of the methodists on boehner on now the slaves on a plantation were only allowed to go to church once a month in the town of
darien and while awake improper church the slaves past could replace have a church built on booker often but that was not permitted however they were permitted to have their own weekly meetings out of two words are lead boy one or two of the slaves such as cooper london and they also would have a meeting perhaps on wednesday evenings want to wake so that they were allowed their religious service but they were not allowed to go to the right church now cooper london was somebody that camel esteemed a lot he's another one of these very skill or well trained harder since he was a barrel maker cooper he was fifty one years old and she thought the world of globalized and then she saw good deal of him and when she left to go elsewhere she went to visit cooper london and he said this is when
you go back to philadelphia would you please send a lot of bibles and prayer books to me here and booker on now when he want them for well i think it's perfectly clear that he was a little red he knew how to read and write and he was planning to use the bottles dig each other's lives how to read and write that's what frederick douglass did when he was a slave it's well known that the bible was the primer for slaves who wanted against the rule as they wanted to and reading right ankle parliament wanted to do that and he didn't want just one bottle you want to call a lot of art to teach a lot of slaves how to read it right now this is another example of a privilege slave who is using his privileged position not to further is only nasa but he is using it for the benefit of his community he wants against the rules he wants to teach others phase however we entered two wonderful illustration of how a slave would sometimes uses privileges
for the other ones that's right that's roy cooper london was asked by campbell well how did you yourself more and he said only to have the trolley you he evaded a question funny said god help at hand steve argument and she said well you know she knew about god that seemed a bit and she couldn't get anything out of him he stumbled and she is stephen for that this is a discrete man who is even to a white woman that he trus well enough to ask for bottles he doesn't betrayed the person that taught him to write rewrite she had a lot of time for superman and forties using his position and being discreet now there was a funeral that she attended which was officiated by google and
the young man had thought i had was probably in his twenties he died in january this happen every year and rice plantations was the part of the war that the slaves hated the most which was working out in the ditches clearing out the weeds the whole irrigation system had to be tidy it up so it would work efficiently in the summer and they chose january to do this and of course every year slaves would get bronchitis or pneumonia or something like that and they would die of it and this young man had a dog that's why this method of raising rice didn't work after the civil war because you couldn't raise rice by this method except with slaves were you force them into the ditch and jenny we're each and one or two of them died of pneumonia will lead to that but you could do the unit was in god's promises ok shatter the enslaved delighted and his body of course has to be great right away before beautiful eyes but of course the soyuz a good finish their work and so the film takes place just as it's getting dark and it's in two
stages the first day just outside of cooper london's house cooper london the methodist leader and then they go to a brutal ground and there's a second family they're now outside of cooper london's house as it's getting door the slaves are praying they are kneeling on the ground and francis campbell goats on her knees and she knew was there is only one person who is standing as her husband pierce partner who stands like this and that of course it symbolizes to this place i'm different from the alpine the master and you're muddy and campbell was on the ground and she was she was broken hearted and her husband couldn't get down on his knees just wants to show that at least at this time he's like everybody else but he would do it now cooper london is preaching he's
leading the prayers there and at the end of the prayers as everybody is on the ground on their knees except for pearce border he says and i prayed for prayers prayed god to give a blessing on our master and harnesses and their little children and tumble burst into tears because she thinks you know who a lot of it that this man should be asking god's blessing on me when it's a bunch of people that are working hard in order to keep some key what people in lottery in philadelphia and the christian charity of this man and she burst into tears when they go to the funeral place itself and it's after dark the slaves or carrying a lot of this flaming polling porches and you can hear the big river rushing in the dark and camel was you know very moved by this and this ceremony and cooper london preaches
a sermon on the resurrection of lazarus and the hopes that that might or for people and so on and he says to the slaves do you want to tell the truth and you want to work already and how are you going to take that is he just saying that because the white people are listening and he knows that not to steal or not to tell law isn't to work or that's what the white people and is he doing it because he's an uncle tom or is she doing that because he feels now we did take out that he that cooker london says to the slaves don't steal don't tell law eyes do good work it could be that that is
totally insincere my opinion is that the slaves had a moral right to steal because the white people were stealing their labor every day and up and then we just were i think that the slaves had a moral right to tell off is because that when people were telling lies they were saying god has ordained black people to be slaves or that's a lot and it this ways i think had a moral right to tell the lawyers themselves and it persuades had a moral right to shirk their work because the white people in this case were the leading a life of luxury where they were squandering their money to spot with were squandering money on gambling on cord sense losing money in the stock market in new york city and if the what people are they may act that way it's perfectly morally legitimate for this place to share their war i think they had a moral right to do those things to steal in law i am sure but maybe
cooper london maybe he fell while it's not good for the slaves morale to do that all the time and maybe he is genuinely trying to teach them a heart i think that they should live boy a higher standard than the one people go and that it would be good for the slave self respect if they didn't steal and if they didn't tell the lice and if they did take pride in their work and i'm sure there were a lot of slaves that didn't take pride in the war ended it just seems to me possible that this is an illustration of a preacher and that is using his privileged position as the religious leader of his people to try to instill but hoyer ethic that would hope to combat slavery in a different label a trying to protect the self respect the integrity of this waste from the all the pressures of demoralization subtle of tons of cocaine
who is that yes yes well one of the innovations that the slaves past wednesday really radical revolutionary idea that instead of the slaves doing the pollen with a hole what which is a backbreaking job of breaking the soil with a heavy whole the slaves had the idea why not get a mule lt to do the plowing afro they did that on some of the other plantations around like when they do it on barbara well the owners were very reluctant to try this radical experiment of using mule it was instead of using a human laborer to do this but under campbell's gloating they did actually do this radical experiment and two
years later they were congratulating themselves because they were getting better crops on the plug on the pilot landed been plowed by bills and they did by the old fashioned way of using human labor so that they can feed themselves on having been a paternalistic activist ways by letting them do it the easy way with religion but it did help to make bigger profits at the same time you know what happens when our homes but before that it seems like there's some risk so before jesus and that's certainly true on it and there were a couple of cases where slave women came to campbell with petitions of one sort or another and the next day or two of
those slave women were whipped and the slaves of course believe that the reason they weren't whereby the white overseer was that the overseer occurred that they were complaining about something rather the overseer of course had his own story and in one of the instances i campbell really couldn't combat the overseers torino but in another instance it was perfectly planned that really the slave was write an overseer really was within her because she had complained and therefore when she wants is st simons island later on the slaves talk more openly to her there because the overseer and that was a different overseer from the one book are violent and he was less likely to get with them so there was danger in complaining too to the white woman what they did was whenever possible they would pray the old owner pierce borders grandfather they'd say oh things were good in the good old days and all that because i know you never get into trouble as he praised white people but you could if you if you can play and now she
nevertheless was receiving complaints about one thing and another particularly about how the slave women wanted to have our five weeks after her pregnancy instead of only four weeks they wanted to go back to the good old days and she would take the petitions to her husband and her husband a great impatience with kerry said why do you put that didn't always tell lies you know that's the kind of language that he used that he felt contemptuous towards an incomplete anything they say on and so on and eventually it sets listening more petitions this was after she had been there for about two mortar shell now she was really chewy our left the appointment she got some states to roll or fifteen miles to the seaport of dairy and she plants you'd left her two children under the care of their nurse married and she planned to get a steamer and go back to philadelphia because you know what's the point of being there if you can even intervene for
the site as well there was no steamboat and so she had a few days to cool off and she came back but after that she started violating the roasted that as she listened to more and more think she began to conduct little prayer services are on there was a seventeen year old slave who was a house servant for her and she'd he said would you be willing to teach me and read and she began behind host and that she started to teach them boy is half of the unknown and she was bossy that's why they would never let her go back again that of course they never letter published this book and so she can publish until twenty five years later after she was divorced from and in a lot of the well and so
finch talk about what not to after sharp and double what have the job or when will you stop good good good fit as well oh this plantation it was big money involved on the plantation had been established by pure spotters grandfather who was called major pierce partner who was a member of the united states' constitutional convention that wrote the united states constitution and seventeen eighty seven boy eu eighteen hundred or sell major pierce put her own six hundred and thirty eight slices was big money and as a member of the united states' constitutional convention he was co author of the famous fugitive slave clause in the united states constitution and he was later a united states senator from south carolina in the united states senate for six years or so so this is big money which translates itself into big political parties with a
lasting effect on american politics in the fugitive slave clause now by the time it comes down to his grandchildren to pierce partner whom part campbell was married to and it pierced his brother john bott her by that time he and the amount of money that is being produced you've got to figure that money went a long way in those days if you were an overseer you've got a bow and seven hundred dollars a year is your salary and that's a skilled jobs and a dangerous job because you might get malaria but he got about seven hundred dollars a year if you are a joke wealthiest lawyer in charleston south carolina your maximum income is about nine thousand dollars a year at that time if you are the wealthiest merchant in charleston south carolina your maximum income is about sixteen thousand a year but and this plantation they were making about thirty thousand a year so this is really big
money and the two brothers in in philadelphia were fabulously wealthy from the income that they were drawing from the slave labor now the way they spend that money jon butler five years after campbell wrote that was down there john boehner went to a fancy dress born in newport rhode island that was in a world rich people want and they at that time and i got himself a medieval cost you made for himself in london which was shipped across the ocean and four one in only one appearance which was his grand board in newport it had real steel and you know kind of plumes and he looked like a medieval knight and it stunned did people at the border and he's spent on something like four or five hundred dollars chanel and it was used once now it cost them about twelve dollars a year to feed and clothe a slave so he was spending something like forty times that's a lot of money
for one appearance at a wall and meanwhile his brother was wasting money accords and his brother eventually i'm practically went bankrupt it had lost something in it amassed a huge fortune on gambling on the stock market and so finally at fifty nine they had to auction off a few sparklers slaves they auctioned for one hundred and thirty songs so that was the biggest ward had slave auction in united states history and it was because these young men you know he was getting this huge income was solely responsible with this money they had auctioned off all of his slaves and pierced but i went down and after the four hundred and some slaves had been so he went to each one and he put in the hands of each adult slave he put four ce new silver quarters of conscience money for the fact that he was breaking up and established a community through his own the responsibility that's the kind of money that was involved
so so john boehner was squandering his money on medieval costumes his brother pierce partner was squandering his money on gambling of course but mainly on stock market speculation which didn't work out he lost a huge amount of money on the stock market he was in great danger of going bankrupt save his own skin he auctioned off all of the slaves that he only he but he then only about four hundred and thirty slaves and an eighteen fifty nine they weren't all of the auction off in the greatest recorded auction of slaves in united states history pierce partner and one he had finished auctioning them off he went around to each had held slaves whom he had sold and he put into a pool of each of those sweaters for or new silver quarters to make one dollar of conscience money to each of the slaves whom he had smashed their community through his own financial
irresponsibility this bill as well well i believe that pierce partner was an unusually korean and humane the master certain respects than for example one that young slave delight of pneumonia shot or i think probably pierce partner stayed up with not only can it delayed similarly he did accede to his waist request that they use mules which there were a lot of responders could never used do another illustration which i think is very unusual is that one pierced booker took over the
plantation in nineteen thirty six he decreed that the female slaves who had a certain sized tasks to perform each day it had been that the female the able bodied females had the same size the same number of you know a quarter of an acre whatever it wants to do their task they had the same size task as the males and he had it that the females would have a somewhat similar task than the males were this was not at all the cost in the rice plantations and it's another possible sign that he was in some ways paterniti just heard he you know could feel good about certain things that he did like that where he was more generous to the slaves than other people or on the other hand he was forcing them to walk on a rice plantation and the child mortality rate would just absolutely devastating all of the rice plantation and as it mentioned in a rice
plantation couldn't continue after the civil war because the slaves rice plantation but he was forcing them to do that which meant that the women were seeing their children dying right in life now that cost less than it is it seems to me that you know that the disciplinary methods work as i describe them that you were people very severely that was when very very severe whipping of a particular slave while a camera was there when she was told about the slave who told the state senate you need the shade was obviously shaken that it had been such a severe whipping that you know the word got out in other words he he seems to be paternalistic and somewhat but the methods are the same old heartless brutal methods of preserving the slaves that was given that really brutal whipping was a very very
gutsy slave who continuously run away from the plantation time after time he ran away and they catch him and they get what they need right away get eventually a few years later they saw him now that's what they always did no matter how a genteel these people were they just want nothing at all of selling a slave away and the thing about booker was different boehner said to the slaves that he was selling he said if your wife much to go with your own letter going if your child want to go with you on that then goes well that means the book it was not quite as bad as all that other people because they whistled a slick and he'd never see his wife and children to get worst butter allow them to stay together but he did so and it's i can't bear or talk about paternalism there were some planners that were genuinely benevolent hopeful point and pierced border one was to some extent a bit that way but the system was brutal and heartless and callous and i just
don't think it it all right for us to point people to preen ourselves on the back and say to ourselves to our great grandfathers were nice benevolent paternalistic was it was a rough system and it needs to be said it has been when francisco expected to see who was quite different from what her husband expected she expected that there would be a chance for her to act a benevolent are timeless well and she very soon learned that she wasn't going to be able to change the system and she concluded that the only way that she could do anything for the slaves was eventually to publish a truthful account of what their lives were actually like because she learned very quickly that the opportunities for a paternalistic an avalanche were very very limited her husband by
contrast believed that she would very quickly see that but people are a bunch of swat four savants people that need to be taken care of political point people and how he got you know he he found it too has tremendous surprised that she didn't like that and that was probably the principal reason why it didn't work yeah sure on the bomber and as overseers became convinced that she was a subversive they felt that she was undermining pam plantation discipline and they never let her come back to the plantation after that one talking now what they objected to was that she was talking to a slave and she was saying to the slave look you're just as good as i am if you think you can't pronounce white what you call
white words it's not because you've got something defective in your vocal work is that your inferior in some way it's just because you're you know she said look a macho macho can't pronounce those words it's got nothing to do with the rhetoric today and jeans and all that it's just a question of your environment of what you've been trained to do and then she was constantly telling the slaves that you know you're the same as me in a hundred one is and i believe her and she wanted them to be proud of themselves and of course the masters the overseers and her husband knew that the only way you can cover its slaves a thought is you got to try to persuade the slaves that they are like analytics even like lloyd you don't allow them to have a surname usually you just call them while age but there's not a surname if it's and then you call in a pool at your never never allow any black person to be called mr ortiz says that's to be read you know you're a subhuman group of people if you can create an atmosphere where constantly year
making the league it sways feel that there is subhuman then they'll be easier to go over and she was upsetting that because he was trying to make them feel that they were just like everybody else there is there is or worse oh i'm so worried these are people you're talking about these slaves are kept totally separate as far as possible from contact with any other white people or any other slaves the people you're talking about lived on the mainland a few miles away and i believe myself that campbell didn't know enough about those people for her to be a reliable witness for that i think
she was very very good on the slaves whom she was reading every day but i don't think that she is a reliable witness about the poor i was here since the episodes are what a portable digital divide well that wrestlers themselves well some of the local relatively poor white people would have children who grew up to the overseers that was probably the principal way of recruiting overseers was from the local relatively poor white people who had some resistance against malaria because if you lived in that region you were gonna get a case of malaria and if you didn't you would then build up some resistance against at and if a child of a white child build up some resistance against malaria then they might
survive if they were an overseer and so the relatively small group of white overseers was drawn mostly from the road and their attitudes of course tended to be that of content towards the slaves now you don't want to write off or overseers or being the same i find that if i have a group of fifteen different weight overseers that have written letters that i've read that i might have some a certain amount of near the steam for some of those overseers than others you know we were talking about sarah who is married to stephen and a really grim life that she had she told to campbell the first question is is it true now you can go to the records of the plantation which are in philadelphia ten years after campbell wished there they made a list of all the
slaves and you can for why sarah's name here she was slave number six hundred or twenty four i have she was married to stephen who was a slave just above their she was actually five years older than stephen she was valued at three hundred and twenty five dollars at that time and at that time they had one child living with and that was one of the two that were still alive when campbell talk to her art and this little more here means that that's the group of the three people that were still living together as a family now if you go to a different port of you find this was a statement healthy births and the das on the plantation and eighteen thirty two that seven years before come or want their it's done chronologically from jen you where you come down here to the first of the somber you find that there was an infant that was born on december the first to sarah and steven that's the same woman but the intense name is not given there the reason is
that if you go on the death just down to the third of december you find that that's an infant's dalai it says here at the age of three days old and it died because it was purely at birth now that's a corroboration and you can find all kinds of evidence of that sort to support the evidence that surrogate about how many of her children her daughter puny at birth i guess at that news that sarah had chronic mohler chronic malaria has the effect that children are born with a low birth wade and either they die early because they are puny story of a miscarriage and sarah had a lot of miscarriages so there's a lot of evidence to corroborate her story was a typical that if you take these records in philadelphia there are sixteen years of records like this a very very accurate records and you can work out that syria has experienced was actually not very far from the average
experience of a woman on a rice plantation the average one had if she lived to the age of forty five she had eleven pregnancies some have more some have less but the average was eleven the average woman raised three two over two the age of fifteen and they whether they all disappeared two of them would have disappeared through miscarriages or through still worth two more would die and the first growth there lives to more would dolly during the rest of the first year and two more wood died before they were fifty years old now he was devastating and this is not an exceptional case we're talking about the average woman on a rice plantation with eleven pregnancies and it's heart rending what her life was it was grim beyond belief and the reason that women were subjected to that kind of life was
it there was big money to be made out of rice plantations and you force people to do it if their children die tonight the mcfly is wall to show you know talk about lucy at it it was grim the only with it if bill has been low what is wrong when a study this kind of thing one reason is that i think it's very important for white people to acknowledge the truth about what was going on in slavery and i think the truth is that it was callous
behavior towards other human beings and i think that any kind of talk about you know paternal a spy novel once it doesn't watch i mean of course there were individuals who were relatively benevolent but the system as a whole was almost unbelievably harsh and brutal and people were careless georgiou human beings and the truth has to be tormented knowledge to not slept under the cork that's one reason now another reason is that i think it possible that the heritage of slavery for black people is a very powerful one historians have done a wonderful job recently showing how the slaves kept their morale in spite of the harsh conditions and this is very very good work that's been done and it must be
taken onboard but maybe it is not the whole truth it may be that slavery did some damage to sway justice actually did some damage to a lot of masters and i think and what is a very very important source for suggesting that it was a institution which did harm to everybody that was connected with that point and black alike it's b why do it well i think it's very important for white people to face the truth about what the system was lake which is that it was a brutal harsh system where people were very callous to other human beings and i
think that some of us have we have to cherish view our ancestors we're calling to lead benevolent paternalistic that were doing their best in a difficult situation and although there is some truth for some individuals about that i don't think that that's the main true the main truth is that it was a course talent system and how it led to violent resentment by a few people that were subjected to like that resound and could someone express itself in real violence but it expressed itself one is and a hitch right to recognize that it was a callous system and not to try to sweep it under the carpet as though it was all kind of you know just soundbite of water and difficulty now another thing about it is that i think that are the
the legacy of slavery for black people is a very ambiguous one there's been wonderful work that's been done in recent years showing how the slaves heroine actually resisted being dehumanized by slavery in a hundred ways to their religion through their folklore and so honest work is very convincing and it must be said and it's very very important but on the other hand i think it is also possible that slavery actually were was damaging to some of their slaves in some respects just it was certainly damaging to do what people that were involved and i think that both passed that have to be taken on board and this is very difficult for us to do nowadays i believe that the institution was profoundly harmful to everybody and that it's worth sort of it's been
well this plantation goes back a long ways it's not just something that existed for a few years ago that a longtime major border who established the plantation married a middleton who aren't that worried a role as money from was by marrying a fifteen your old harris middleton his father had been i think the richest african slave trader in charleston south carolina back in the seventeen seventies and earlier so that we're going way back into the middle of the eighteenth century where the money come from how he used that money to buy these plantations a boat seventeen it or sell and they were already clearing away but they're all on our boy you know eighteen hundred or thereabouts and that this is something which goes on for generation after generation and the slaves that campbell matter were all of people who were born into slavery and probably their parents were born into slavery
Africans in America
Episode Number
Judgment Day
Raw Footage
Interview with William Dusinberre, Professor of History, University of Warwick
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WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
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William Dusinberre is interviewed about Frances "Fanny" Kemble, wife of Pierce Butler and her journals documenting slave life; brutality on Butler Island, the lives of headman Frank and the rape of his wife Betty on Butler Island, the breaking up of families, Dusinberre's belief that slaves practiced non-violent protest, coping mechanisms of slaves, Cooper London, the wealth and power of the Butler family, the Weeping Time. Dusinberre shows and discusses the historical records from Butler Island.
Race and Ethnicity
American history, African Americans, civil rights, slavery, abolition, Civil War
(c) 1998-2017 WGBH Educational Foundation
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Identifier: Dusinberre_William_04-merged_SALES_ASP_h264.mp4 (unknown)
Duration: 1:32:49
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Chicago: “Africans in America; 104; Judgment Day; Interview with William Dusinberre, Professor of History, University of Warwick,” 1998-00-00, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 20, 2020,
MLA: “Africans in America; 104; Judgment Day; Interview with William Dusinberre, Professor of History, University of Warwick.” 1998-00-00. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 20, 2020. <>.
APA: Africans in America; 104; Judgment Day; Interview with William Dusinberre, Professor of History, University of Warwick. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from