preview

Slavery As Memory And History By Ira Berlin

Good Essays
Slavery as Memory and History is the first chapter of an interesting investigation made by Ira Berlin in his book called Remembering Slavery. In this chapter, Ira establishes the path that his book will follow, so he gives a small critique to the data collected on the topic, which his book will touch. What he has been able to do, is to create a real and critical organization of the process made in order to collect information and records after the abolition of slavery. Since most of the people that have been living under slavery were dying. What he suggests is that a big part of the story has been shaped by the political and philosophical ideas of the collectors. Moreover, Slavery Without Submission Emancipation Without Freedom is the title…show more content…
However, although the second part of the title creates immediately a sense of empathy with the idea proposed, - especially remembering that the African Americans Civil Rights movements are still fighting strongly today for rights written in the constitution in theory but unachievable in practice - a strong critical analysis should be made on the first part of the title. In fact, Zinn unveils in the worlds of the chapter a sense of struggle between the slaves and the master, giving to the reader a sense of active resistance. Similarly to a sort of Central American “lucha” against the tyrants, the slaves fought silently the system and always imagined an prayed for a better future. In addition, Zinn reports that many slaves actively excogitated a work schedule that allowed them to work only the necessary amount to avoid whipping, for doing too little, and die, for doing too much. Especially in the first part of the chapter, the author reports many stories of hopes where slaves without any doubts recall to a better future for themselves. However, I believe that most of today’s narrative on the topic is strongly shaped by a sort of “happy ending effect”. In fact, Authors and readers know already the end of slavery and all the work done for the ratification of Article…show more content…
The culture and practices of their time avoided them any critical analysis of their status in the society. In fact, even when slaves started revolts and violent riots, there actions where only confined to that single occasion. Overall, there was no bigger picture in their eyes on the brutality of slavery. The conditions and the cultural understanding of that time were so clear-cut and strong on the idea of blackness and slavery, that most slaves probably even believed that they were racially inferior to the white master and that their role in the society was to serve. Mostly because the wonderful ideas of civil disobedience brought by Rosa Parks in 1955 where far from the slaves in the plantations, who lived centuries before the declaration of human rights and the abolition of slavery. Times were not mature enough, and the African American was too ignorant to even believe that there could be an end to slavery. Therefore, when slaves adopted a policy to work as less as they can in order to avoid whipping, it was not an act of active resistance but only a way to minimize the pain and survive in the exhausting life of the plantation. Equally, in the letter written by the slave to her son, when she prays to see him again it was not an act of hope to the future, but merely a moment of relief in a life of
Get Access