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Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives

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This is just powerful.  If you have not seen this or read these stories check it out now.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnQqSlWHHgQ

 

unchained-memories.jpg

 

Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives is a riveting compilation of more than forty narratives drawn from interviews with former slaves conducted in the 1930s by the government's Works Progress Administration. This book is an adaptation of HBO's documentary special for 2003 (the video above). From slave auctions to emancipation, the narratives trace the extraordinary experiences of lives spent in slavery.

 

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Back during the 1930s my grandfather was interviewed for one of these narratives.  His name was Elijah Donaldson Merrill.  One thing I remember being mentioned in the narrative, which various members of my extended family have copies of, was him telling how his father was the plantation owner and how as a young child, he was allowed to play with the plantation owner's other children who were his half-siblings. (He actually looked like he was white.) 

 

This was in Franklin, Tennessee, and he told how, as a  young man, he headed up a black brigade who would run off the Klan when its members would stage midnight raids on black neighborhoods.   He said this group was so good at doing this that the Klan finally stopped the harassment.  He later became a deputy sheriff, assigned to the black section of the town.   

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Really!  Did you actually get to meet your grandfather? 

 

I just find it so fascinating that a person could enslave their child.  The was one story related above when a former slave described how he was treated much better than his other siblings, also children of the salve holder, because he looked white, he was still enslaved, but he was a house negro has opposed to being forced to work the field.

 

Cynique, I ran a search for your Granfather: Elijah Donaldson Merrill That was the only result.
 

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