Charlie Smith African American Slavery

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Slavery in America was considered to be one of the most devastating acts in history. African American people were torn from their homelands and sold at auction to the highest bidder. Men, women, and children were forced into slavery or born into it, experiencing harsh conditions such as abuse, neglect, and even death. This experience though did not always happen, some slaves were treated fairly and were never punished by their owner’s. Events such like this were recalled by two former slaves by the names of Aunt Harriet Smith and Charlie Smith. In this essay, it will show the life of two former slaves Aunt Harriet Smith and Charlie Smith (no relation) and compare and contrast their experiences on how slavery was for them, how life as a slave…show more content…
Charlie Smith was interviewed by Elmer E. Sparks on March 17, 1975 in Bartow, Florida. Charlie Smith was also considered to be the oldest living former slave in the United States at the age of 130 at the time of the original interview was conducted (Authentic History, 2012). Charlie Smith was a former slave that was born in Gatlin, Africa by the name of Mitchell Watkins, a name to which his father and mother had given him. Smith was brought over to the United States on a ship by pure accident. When he was a boy, he wanted to see the white men that were down by the shore. He would have no idea what awaited for himself and the other was colored people that were put on the ship. On the journey over, Smith was very nearly killed by some fellow African Americans on the ship, with them shouting that they wanted to “throw him overboard!” (Sparks, 1975.). If it wasn’t for the ship’s captain and a person that Smith referred to as “L”, then he would have been thrown overboard while he was still in chains. Once the ship had docked Smith recalls that it docked in New Orleans,…show more content…
He worked for the United States government in catching fugitives and even gained the nickname “Trigger Kid” to which the United States had given him, but Smith was not very fond of the nickname. Charlie even went as far as tracking down the man that killed President Garfield, a man by the name of Charles Guiteau to whom had a 500 dollar bounty on his head. These two former slaves have some comparable information that makes them alike in ways. For example, the information that is recognized is that Aunt Harrier Smith and Charlie Smith have in common was that were treated decent by the people who owned them and also both seemed to have lived interesting and fulfilled lives. The non-comparable information that these two slave narratives do not have in common is that Harriet Smith was born into slavery while Charlie Smith was more or less sold into it and brought over from Gatlin, Africa. Slavery in America was considered and viewed to be one of the most devastating times in history. For African Americans were forced into slavery faced abuse, neglect, and death it was others like Aunt Harriet Smith and Charlie Smith that were actually treated fairly by the ones had them. Both of these former slaves’ tales were touching and very informative that the information provided had given a more in depth look at what they faced, what they had endured, and how their lives were when slavery

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