I Belong to South Carolina: South Carolina Slave Narratives

By Susanna Ashton; Robyn E. Adams et al. | Go to book overview

Introduction

In 1846 John Andrew Jackson escaped from a Sumter, South Carolina, plantation. He made his way to the docks of Charleston, where he lurked around the wharves, seeking a northbound boat. Suspicious workers confronted the black man, demanding to know, “Who do you belong to?” Aware that he could not persuasively identify himself as either a freeman or a Charleston slave, Jackson dodged the question by replying simply, “I belong to South Carolina.” As Jackson later explained in The Experience of a Slave in South Carolina (1862), “It was none of their business whom I belonged to; I was trying to belong to myself.”

Jackson’s careful words highlight precisely the conundrum this collection seeks to illuminate. While Jackson made it to Boston by hiding in a cotton bale and eventually published his memoir from England, he remained both claimed and unclaimed as South Carolina property. Despite the year-old Civil War, he was a runaway when he wrote, still liable at any time to be seized and forcibly returned to bondage as stolen property under the legal sanction of his nation’s fugitive slave laws. Jackson’s memoir marked an achievement of self-ownership, to be sure. However, his double meanings could not be fully realized until now, for even a century and a half later John Andrew Jackson remains largely unknown and unclaimed by the public history of South Carolina.

Like almost every memoir by an escaped slave, Jackson’s account sought to make the extraordinary suffering of slavery both a collective and a personal horror. When he asserted that he “belonged” to South Carolina he was stating an individual truth, as he had been born a slave in the state. Yet he was cognizant too of the broader issue at hand. He was trying to belong to himself while also trying to belong to a broader South Carolina identity that would not claim him. His family, his labor, and his suffering were not

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
I Belong to South Carolina: South Carolina Slave Narratives
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 318

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.