If you talk to anyone about slavery these days 99.98% of the people you talk to will say it’s wrong. But back when Booker T. Washington was alive America was fresh out of slavery, and around the time he wrote this we were still suffering from segregation. So many of you may think “Why do we need to study this argument?” Well, 1. He experienced slavery. While his experience wasn’t the worst story we have ever heard it is still a horrible story because one human is holding another human as property. And 2. These days I can guarantee none of you have spoken to a former slave. Unless maybe you are nearing a hundred and when you were a child you spoke to someone who was a child slave. So we younger people need to study and read these stories in order to understand them and do our darndest to not repeat them in any way, shape, or form. Some of us probably have parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents who remember when they had different bathrooms for different races but we weren’t there in the time of slavery.
One thing Washington says that I have read about before but never form the view point of someone who experienced it. Is how the slave system didn’t value family. Washington didn’t mention this but, many male slaves in good health, strong, good working were made to father children, because they were “good” slaves. So many children never knew who their fathers were. But many owners also took advantage of the women slaves. Washington himself never knew his biological father. The mothers were made to work all day so they never had time to be a parent.
Another thing he talks about is that practically no slaves knew how to read. This is very bad. Every human being wants to know things. Every human being is curious. I can remember being a child not yet knowing how to read, and asking “What does that say?” The reason we know that the Earth goes around the sun not the sun going around the Earth is because someone was curious. The reason a man has been to the moon, or that we know how deep The Challenger Deep is , the reason a human has been in The Challenger Deep, is because someone thought ” I wander…..” So to take away the ability to study about these things we wander about is horrible.
Another reason. It takes away some of the slaves ability to be on their own. He points this out when he talks about when the war was over. Every day of a slaves life they are told what to do. They never had to think, “What am I going to do to get by?” They didn’t get to make the decision. Everything they had was provided. They never had to find a place to live; they slept in what was provided. They never had to do searching for work. they were slaves: they didn’t have a choice. So when they had to start making these choices it was an adjustment.
Last: It took away their freedom. They didn’t have a choice. The literal definition of freedom is. 1. ” The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.” 2. “The state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.” They didn’t have this. They didn’t get to choose. Family’s were often split because different members were sold were to different owners. They didn’t have a choice.