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The Powerful Ideal of Freedom

Powerful Essays
The Powerful Ideal of Freedom Developed in Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Blood-Burning Moon, by Jean Toomer, and W.E.B DuBois’ The Souls of Black Folk

Slavery played an overwhelming role throughout the history of the United States. The riches created by the unpaid labor of African Americans helped to guarantee the country’s industrial revolution and succeeding economic strength. Yet, that wealth created incredible political power for slaveholders and their representatives. African American slaves brought with them many languages, cultures and values, which helped shaped America and it’s exceptional cultural and natural environment. Continuing a brutally cruel system, African slaves developed a profound commitment to liberty and became a living testament to the powerful ideal of freedom.

As Harriet Jacobs’ wrote in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, she stated, “No pen can give adequate description of the all-pervading corruption produced by slavery” (Jacobs 289). This relates to a reference to both the author’s personal struggles under slavery and as a significant theme throughout her narrative. During her personal story, Harriet revealed that the institution of slavery crippled the accepted family structure. For instance, slave women similar to Harriet herself, needed permission from their masters to marry, which frequently delayed or destroyed their ability to wed and reproduce. Slave women were often faced with sexual abuse and mistreatment from their slaveholders. The traditional family structure was further threatened by the dispersal of its member. For example, it was not uncommon that the children of slave women would set to be sold right after their birth. Consequently, those attem...

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...m and slavery are extremely evident throughout history. Yet, the word freedom has been a topic of debate, and for good reason. There are so many different views on what freedom truly defines and what influence it has on our daily lives. Therefore, whites had to accept the fact that African Americans were gaining rights and liberties that once never existed. Those who had a voice within the black movement gave others the courage to go out and work for themselves and their futures, wanting to forget any old sayings making blacks inferior to whites.

Works Cited

Du Bois, W.E.B. The Souls of Black Folk. New York: Bantam Company, 1989.

Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Ed. Jean Fagan Yellin. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1987.

Toomer, Jean. “Bood-Burning Moon.” Cane. New York: Livericht, 2010. 39-49. Print.
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