Lay My Burden Down: A Folk History of Slavery

By B. A. Botkin | Go to book overview

PART THREE
From Can to Can't

They worked, in a manner of speaking, from can to can't, from the time they could see until the time they couldn't. They do about the same thing now.

As the testimony of experience, not opinion, the slave narratives re-create the actual conditions of slavery as distinct from the romantic conception of the plantation tradition, which still survives in life and literature. The basic assumptions of this tradition—Negro inferiority, dependence, and content— have given us the pleasantly picturesque stereotypes of Uncle Tom and Uncle Remus and the not so pleasant or picturesque ethics of Jim Crow. Traces of the slave's traditional attitude of respect and "easy-going trustfulness" are reflected in the narratives as part of the pattern of slavery which Charles S. Johnson has called the "shadow of the plantation" and which has been kept alive in the rural South through a vicious circle of cultural isolation and economic depression. Moreover, certain narrators (usually house servants) are moved by feelings of genuine loyalty and affection toward a kind master or mistress. But, except for these survivals and regressions, there is no attempt here to gloss over the physical and mental effects of slavery, as in the sentimental distortions and cheap caricatures of fiction, the stage, and popular song. Instead, the slave emerges as an individual rather than a type, a person rather than a symbol, with normal sensibilities and intelligence, portrayed as only the Negro can portray his own kind.

"To take in, or to understand the exact social status of such a people in all its bearings," wrote the publisher in his preface to an 1890 reprint of Solomon Northup's Twelve Years a Slave, "we can pursue no better course than to live among them, to become for a time one of them, to fall from a condition of freedom to one of bondage, to feel the scourge, to bear the marks of the brands, and the outrage of manacles." The privations, penalties, and punishments, as well as the occasional favors, privileges, and rewards, were part of an elaborate

-137-

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

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
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, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 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.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Lay My Burden Down: A Folk History of Slavery
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Lay My Burden Down - A Folk History of Slavery *
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Table of Contents xv
  • Part One - Mother Wit 1
  • Part Two - Long Remembrance 59
  • Part Three - From Can to Can'T 137
  • Part Four - A War among the White Folks 191
  • Part Five - All I Know about Freedom 221
  • List of Informants and Interviewers 271
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
/ 285

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, 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."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.

    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.