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Celia, A Slave Mass Market Paperback – Abridged, February 1, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From School Library Journal
- Catherine vanSonnenberg, San Diego Public Library
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
In this book the reader is drawn into the complicated world of antebellum America. In lucid prose, he simultaneously shows the ideology behind antebellum mastery, the connection between seemingly insignificant individuals and national politics, the hypocritical facade of the justice system, one woman's struggle to live under brutal oppression, and offers a compelling story that has a bit of mystery in it.
He accomplishes this monumental task with clarity and transparency despite substantial holes in the documentary evidence. His work is a model to show how historians can write for a popular audience and not oversimplify, nor fictionalize, the past.
We cannot forget that America enslaved more than 4 million black people, tortured them, raped them, and stole their wages, then, after "freeing" them, forced them to live in apartheid-like conditions for nearly one hundred years. Every American must read books like Celia to confront their past. Even those who came more recently need to recognize that the wealth and the freedoms of the United States that drew millions to our nation, rests upon the back of four million unvoluntary laborers.
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The story of Celia, a slave without even a last name, is the story of how impossible justice was for the African-American slaves of the antebellum South. Despite the valiant efforts of her defense attorneys, Celia's trial was a farce; she never had a chance at a fair trial. The judge had determined her fate before the trial commenced. Why did the trial take place even though it was predetermined? The answer lies in the instituition of slavery itself.
At the time of Celia's trial in 1885, slavery was tearing the country apart. In Missouri, where Celia killed her master, pro-slavery forces fierily debated abolitionists over whether or not the Kansas Territory would be settled as a slave or a free state.
The individual players in Celia belonged to the culture of slavery as much as Celia herself. Robert Newsom, Celia's master, was the patriarch of his household. His two adult daughters possessed more legal rights than slaves: albeit not much more. They depended upon their father for their support and survival. If the women felt any sympathy for Celia, who had approached them personally for help, it was likely surpassed by fear of being thrown out by their father.
Rather than point fingers and shake heads in regret of the travesty of justice to Celia, we should think of the present-day inequities that need our attention and commitment. Will we have the courage to see the cause through to the bitter end? Hopefully our efforts will not also be in vain.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book was purchased as required reading for a Freshman level - Junior College History Course. It was good short read. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Wilson !
I read this for a history class and thought it was a really good and descriptive account of slavery and the justice system. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Victoria
Makes me realize how bad the whites are and that I am severely oppressed, even in todays society.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Great book. Good for people who want to know more about the effect of slavery on black women and how problems of today is related to such events of slavery.Published 3 months ago by Dreadful Skolar
For all you history colonial people out there who get this book
My class paired this book with (Give me Liberty, ERIC FONER) if this is you...sorry for you. Read more
a very dull read unless your looking for a lot of percentages and demographics to the era. I believed it might have been biographical but it wasn't. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Leticia Madrigal