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10 books about slavery
Pick up one of these featured titles on slavery in May 2021.
Send Judah First: The Erased Life of an Enslaved Soul by Brian C. Johnson
This book was published 2 years ago by Hidden Shelf Publishing House and takes approximately 8.7 hours to read.
A young girl's life is shattered when she is stolen from her African village in a midnight raid. Ruthlessly torn from her family to be beaten, chained, degraded, and enslaved in a heartless world she can barely comprehend. The slave ledger at Virginia's Belle Grove Plantation only reveals that Judah was purchased to be the cook, gave birth to 12 children, and died in April 1836. But, like the other 276 faceless names entered in that ledger, Judah lived. Brian C. Johnson's important work of historical fiction goes beyond what is recorded to portray the depth, humanity, and vulnerability of a beautiful soul all but erased by history. For Judah, as Johnson notes, "did the ultimate--she survived. Not as a weakling, but resilient and determined."
The Kitchen House: A Novel by Kathleen Grissom
Category: Family Saga
This book was published 11 years ago by Atria Books and takes approximately 12.3 hours to read.
Working as an indentured servant alongside slaves on a tobacco plantation, Lavinia, a 7-year-old Irish orphan with no memory of her past, finds her light skin and situation placing her between two very different worlds that test her loyalties. A first novel. Original.
It Wasn't About Slavery: Exposing the Great Lie of the Civil War by Samuel W. Mitcham Jr.
Category: Civil War
This book was published this year by Regnery History and takes approximately 8.0 hours to read.
No synopsis available at the moment.
White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America by Don Jordan
Category: Colonial Period
This book was published 13 years ago by NYU Press and takes approximately 10.7 hours to read.
White Cargo is the forgotten story of the thousands of Britons who lived and died in bondage in Britain's American colonies. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, more than 300,000 white people were shipped to America as slaves. Urchins were swept up from London's streets to labor in the tobacco fields, where life expectancy was no more than two years. Brothels were raided to provide "breeders" for Virginia. Hopeful migrants were duped into signing as indentured servants, unaware they would become personal property who could be bought, sold, and even gambled away. Transported convicts were paraded for sale like livestock. Drawing on letters crying for help, diaries, and court and government archives, Don Jordan and Michael Walsh demonstrate that the brutalities usually associated with black slavery alone were perpetrated on whites throughout British rule. The trade ended with American independence, but the British still tried to sell convicts in their former colonies, which prompted one of the most audacious plots in Anglo-American history. This is a saga of exploration and cruelty spanning 170 years that has been submerged under the overwhelming memory of black slavery. White Cargo brings the brutal, uncomfortable story to the surface.
Yellow Wife: A Novel by Sadeqa Johnson
This book was published this year by Simon & Schuster and takes approximately 9.6 hours to read.
“A fully immersive, intricately crafted story inspired by the pages of history. In Pheby, Sadeqa Johnson has created a woman whose struggle to survive and to protect the ones she loves will have readers turning the pages as fast as their fingers can fly. Simply enthralling.” —Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours Called "wholly engrossing" by New York Times bestselling author Kathleen Grissom, this harrowing story follows an enslaved woman forced to barter love and freedom while living in the most infamous slave jail in Virginia. Born on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia, Pheby Delores Brown has lived a relatively sheltered life. Shielded by her mother’s position as the estate’s medicine woman and cherished by the Master’s sister, she is set apart from the others on the plantation, belonging to neither world. She’d been promised freedom on her eighteenth birthday, but instead of the idyllic life she imagined with her true love, Essex Henry, Pheby is forced to leave the only home she has ever known. She unexpectedly finds herself thrust into the bowels of slavery at the infamous Devil’s Half Acre, a jail in Richmond, Virginia, where the enslaved are broken, tortured, and sold every day. There, Pheby is exposed not just to her Jailer’s cruelty but also to his contradictions. To survive, Pheby will have to outwit him, and she soon faces the ultimate sacrifice.
Mustard Seed by Laila Ibrahim
Category: Family Saga
This book was published 4 years ago by Lake Union Publishing and takes approximately 9.5 hours to read.
The bestselling author of Yellow Crocus returns with a haunting and tender story of three women returning to the plantation they once called home. Oberlin, Ohio, 1868. Lisbeth Johnson was born into privilege in the antebellum South. Jordan Freedman was born a slave to Mattie, Lisbeth's beloved nurse. The women have an unlikely bond deeper than friendship. Three years after the Civil War, Lisbeth and Mattie are tending their homes and families while Jordan, an aspiring suffragette, teaches at an integrated school. When Lisbeth discovers that her father is dying, she's summoned back to the Virginia plantation where she grew up. There she must face the Confederate family she betrayed by marrying an abolitionist. Jordan and Mattie return to Fair Oaks, too, to save the family they left behind, who still toil in oppression. For Lisbeth, it's a time for reconciliation. For Jordan and Mattie, it's time for liberation. As the Johnsons and Freedmans confront the injustice that binds them, as well as the bitterness and violence that seethes at its heart, the women must find the courage to free their families--and themselves--from the past.
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
This book was published 18 years ago by Beacon Press and takes approximately 8.8 hours to read.
Dana, a black woman, finds herself repeatedly transported to the antebellum South, where she must make sure that Rufus, the plantation owner's son, survives to father Dana's ancestor.
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Dover Thrift Editions) by Harriet Jacobs
Category: Black & African American
This book was published 20 years ago by Dover Publications and takes approximately 5.9 hours to read.
This autobiographical account by a former slave is one of the few extant narratives written by a woman. Written and published in 1861, it delivers a powerful portrayal of the brutality of slave life. Jacobs speaks frankly of her master's abuse and her eventual escape, in a tale of dauntless spirit and faith.
We estimate total reading time by multiplying a book's page count by an average reading speed of 2 minutes per page. Summaries sourced from Google Books.
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