In this PSA, I want you to explore several multi-media sites to get a better idea of slavery. Read the chapter, of course, but also look at the following:
- This web page has the famous photo and short biography of the escaped slave Gordon, whose back shows massive scars from whippings. Some of the links may be broken, but you can read the story and see some of the pictures. http://usslave.blogspot.com/2011/10/whipping-scars-on-back-of-fugitive.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)
- Here is a drawing of a slave being flogged around 1850. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h1528.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)
- Here are some sites for slave songs. The first link contains recorded songs from the 1930s. You can click on as many as you want, but listen to “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.” The second link is a video of Bruce Springsteen’s version of “O Mary Don’t You Weep,” a slave song. The other links are recordings of the same slave song. While there have been a lot of renditions of this song, you might also want to go to iTunes and listen to how some versions are slow and sad and others are peppy and toe-tapping.
- https://archive.org/details/TDavidFranklinTheSoundsofSlavery (Links to an external site.)
- Bruce Springsteen’s version:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tebjshm7f_I (Links to an external site.)
- Chorale version:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ved4eyyODrI (Links to an external site.)
- Field hand version:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDh2zRm1dwQ (Links to an external site.)
- This essay by the historian Nell Irvin Painter examines the psychological aspects of slavery on both blacks and whites, especially children.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4i3084.html (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)
Using the same rubric as other PSAs, answer the following (1 paragraph per numbered question):
1. After looking at the images, what impact do you believe the images would have had on the abolitionist movement? Which image was most effective?
2. Discuss the various purposes of slave songs. What do the songs tell you about the life in America at this time?
3. After reading Painter’s essay, discuss the psychological aspects of slave beatings on the “observer.” How does the black “observer” differ from the white “observer”?