Sunday, April 5, 2020

Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; or the Escape of Ellen and William Craft from Slavery by Ellen and William Craft

Here is Concierto de Arnajuez, Allegro de Spirito by Joaquin Rodrigo.

One of my most popular postcards, that I send out all over the world.  

I feel that my last few reviews have been negative.  Here is a book I think everyone should read.

Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; or, the escape of William and Ellen Craft from slaveryRunning a Thousand Miles for Freedom; or, the escape of William and Ellen Craft from slavery by Ellen Craft
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is powerfully and eloquently written by a woman who did not learn to read or write until she was an adult and had escaped the monstrous oppression of slavery.

William Craft and his wife, Ellen were slaves in the South, but they determined to escape so they devised an extraordinary plan. Ellen, even though a slave, was as white as her masters, so they decided to dress her like a white man and William would pose as their slave as they traveled to the north.

How they attained their liberty is as harrowing and suspenseful a tale as any you could hope to read, all the more so because it is true.

Many things struck me when reading this story.

One, I finally understand where and why the "one drop" rule was invented. For those of you who don't know, the "one drop" rule states that if a person has any black blood in them, even 1/56th or less, any at all, they are legally black.

Think how convenient this was for the slave trade. There was so much interbreeding between slave masters and female slaves who many masters obviously viewed as their harem, that an increasing number of slave children were mostly white. In order to justify this, as well as increasing the number of free labor on a plantation, slaves had to be considered black, even if for all practical purposes they were as white as the plantation owners.

This also increased the amount of kidnappings among newly arrived immigrants from Europe who, not speaking the language, were sold as slaves as well as poor white families selling their own children into slavery for money. I don't think this part of the history of slavery has been given the attention it is due.

What I love about William and Ellen Craft's story is their lack of rancor and, more importantly, their discernment between real Christianity and the fake Christianity the slave owners espoused.

They used the Bible to justify slavery, yet they conveniently ignore the scripture that said an owner had to free his slaves every seven years, not to mention the strict guidelines as to caring for and not abusing slaves. An abuse that was to be severely punished if exercised.

Because of certain laws passed about returning slaves to their owners, even if they were in the north, the Crafts moved to England until after the Civil War.

This narrative is short but spellbinding and I highly recommend it.

View all my reviews

And with this corona virus keeping children home, here is one for all my homeschooling bloggers:


Brian Joseph said...

The book sounds great. It sounds like an incredible story. The one - drop rule was really insidious.

That is a funny meme.

Safe and healthy.

Sandi said...

They enslaved their own children...

Sharon Wilfong said...

HI Brian! I always wondered why anyone would care about genealogy. It's so stupid. After reading this book, it made since. I've a number of books by "black" writers who were mostly white that dealt with this issue. How if a white man fell in love with a gorgeous white woman, but found out she was really "black" he couldn't marry her. Insane.

Although, interestingly, now it looks like today it's the opposite. A lot of white people think it's cool to be part black. I'm thinking of Rachel Donozel and some others I've read about.

Glad to know you and your wife are well.

mudpuddle said...

true morality is not present in cultural behaviors... what am i trying to say, here? oh: that people have to form their own ideas through their experiences, not through what others tell them... being kind and forgiving is a lot better than justifying behaviors, social or otherwise, by the old mantra: "everybody else does it"...

Sharon Wilfong said...

HI mudpuddle,

Unfortunately, I think the evidence of true morality is when you stick to it, even when you live in a time when it's not popular.

Many atrocities are justified because they're "normal" or feel normal.

I think social media, at least T.V. and movies have changed a lot of our cultural tide by making certain things "feel" normal by presenting them that way in shows and storylines.

Hope you're staying safe and healthy. No bike riding for you for a while. Me either.

mudpuddle said...

actually i still ride... i just avoid people which is pretty easy as most of them are home, haha...

Sharon Wilfong said...

Well, well, well, mudpuddle. Taking advantage of the situations, I see....;)

Carol said...

One of my sons sent me a similar meme. It had the first pic but the second was a pic of female superheroes. Nice. Sounds like a very interesting read. I recently read Frederick Douglas’s bio. Very sad but ultimately a victorious story of his life.
Keep well. Happy Easter - He is risen indeed! What a difference that makes!

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi Carol, my other favorite meme is a parent, after homeschooling their child a couple of weeks, goes out and rips off the "my child is a great student" bumper sticker from their car.

Happy Easter :)

Carol said...

Ha ha!

Sharon Wilfong said...

Hi Sandy!

That is exactly what they did and that blows my mind.