Charles Jones Narrative

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Charles Jones Narrative



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EYES ON THE BOOK 031321 CHARLES JONES

Feinberg then set up his own law firm in Washington D. He was on a train back to the capitol on the morning of September 11th, , when multiple airplanes crashed into the twin towers and the pentagon. Feinberg wanted to oversee the fund. Hagel made the call and Ashcroft appointed Feinberg the special master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund without hesitation — mostly because no one else wanted the job. In the twenty years since, Feinberg has gone on to monopolize the legal market he incidentally invented: the facilitation of compensation for victims of disasters.

Now 75 years old, Feinberg hints at no plans of retiring. Just this past spring, his firm was selected to handle the half-billion dollar fund for families of the individuals who were killed in the and crashes of the Boeing Max airplanes. In a recent interview with the Financial Times , Feinberg looked back in awe at his unique and unlikely career. Wolf was born in Buffalo, New York, but was raised in Indiana after his family relocated. He returned to the Northeast to attend the Rochester Institute of Technology and, after college, moved to Manhattan. He worked for 14 years as a sales rep for Kodak, before leaving to launch a direct-sales business through Amway.

A passionate singer, he joined the Village Light Opera Group. Life changed for Wolf when he met his future wife Katherine in She was a classically trained pianist from Wales and an accompanist for the Philbeach Society, an amateur opera group in London. When the first plane struck the north tower at AM, Katherine had just settled into her desk. Wolf was in his apartment, less than a mile away, when he heard the boom. He rushed outside and saw plumes of smoke filling the downtown skyline. By the time the second tower fell, he knew he would never see his wife again.

His first demand was to extend the timeframe people had to seek medical treatment after the attack in order to qualify for compensation. Thanks to his initial efforts, the period increased from 24 hours to 96 hours, but as the film Worth details, his fight against the fund grew much wider in scope. Years later, when a utilities truck sucked a skeleton out of a manhole near the crash site, Wolf asked then-mayor Bloomberg to restart the search for remains. He provided guidance on the redevelopment of the Ground Zero site and has acted as an ongoing spokesperson for family members of victims during meetings with senators, presidents, and foreign officials.

As recently as , Wolf still lived in the apartment he shared with Katherine. After slavery was abolished in North America in , at least fifty former slaves wrote or dictated book-length accounts of their lives. During the Depression of the s, the Federal Writers Project gathered oral personal histories from 2, former slaves, whose testimony eventually filled eighteen volumes. The first fugitive slave narrative in the United States, the Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave, Written by Himself , revealed for the first time to readers in the North the horrors of chattel slavery in the American South and the pervasiveness of racial injustice in New England.

Title page, The Confessions of Nat Turner. In the late summer of in Southampton County, Virginia, an insurrection of slaves fomented by a black preacher named Nat Turner crystallized the impending crisis into which slavery was taking the nation. After dictating a narrative hurried into publication under the title The Confessions of Nat Turner , the leader of the most successful slave revolt in U. Led by the crusading white journalist William Lloyd Garrison, these abolitionists demanded the immediate end of slavery throughout the United States.

Southern response to the Turner revolt spurred anti-slavery agitation, including the publication of slave narratives. From to the end of the slavery era, the fugitive slave narrative dominated the literary landscape of antebellum black America, far outnumbering the autobiographies of free people of color, not to mention the handful of novels published by African Americans.

Most of the major authors of African American literature before , such as Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, and Harriet Jacobs, launched their writing careers via narratives of their experience as slaves. Advertised in the abolitionist press and sold at antislavery meetings throughout the English-speaking world, a significant number of antebellum slave narratives went through multiple editions and sold in the tens of thousands. The widespread, sometimes international, popularity of the narratives of celebrated fugitives such as Douglass, William Wells Brown, Henry Box Brown, Henry Bibb, and William and Ellen Craft was not solely attributable to the publicity the narratives received from the antislavery movement.

Readers could see that, as one reviewer put it, "the slave who endeavours to recover his freedom is associating with himself no small part of the romance of the time. A fugitive from Maryland slavery, Douglass spent four years honing his skills as an abolitionist lecturer before setting about the task of writing his autobiography. During the first five years of its publication, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave is estimated to have sold at least 30, copies, a greater number of sales than Moby-Dick , Walden , and Song of Myself could have amassed in common during the first five years of their publication.

As social and political conflict in the United States at mid-century centered more and more on the presence and fate of African Douglass's My Bondage and My Freedom expanded the scope of the slave narrative to critique racism. Americans, the slave narrative took on an unprecedented urgency and candor, unmasking as never before the moral and social complexities of the American caste and class system in the North as well as the South. Harriet Jacobs, the earliest known African American female slave to author her own narrative, also challenged conventional ideas about slavery and freedom in her strikingly original Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself But in demonstrating how she fought Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl challenges the image of the female slave as victim.

The writing of Jacobs; the feminist oratory of the "Libyan sybil," Sojourner Truth; and the renowned example of Harriet Tubman, the fearless conductor of runaways on the Underground Railroad, enriched African American literature with new models of female self-expression and heroism. In the s, slave narratives contributed to the mounting national debate over slavery. After the abolition of slavery in former slaves continued to publish their autobiographies, often to show how the rigors of slavery had prepared them for full participation in the post-Civil War social and economic order. The influence of the slave narrative reaches into the twentieth-first century.

Ten years later, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn , ostensibly the autobiography of a poor-white teenager who tries to help an older slave escape, became a major white contribution to the American fugitive slave narrative. The biggest selling of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century slave narratives was Booker T. What does the title page of a slave narrative tell us? The title page of a slave narrative bears significant clues as to the authorship of the narrative itself. Narratives that identify the subject and author of the text as one and the same represent, in the eyes of many scholars, the most authoritative texts in the tradition.

Ask students why it would be important for white readers of the mid-nineteenth century to see the Written by Himself or Herself subtitle in these narratives? Students should understand that identifying a slave narrator as literate and capable of independent literary expression was a powerful way to combat a key proslavery myth, which held that slaves were unself-conscious and incapable of mastering the arts of literacy. Students should remember that in mid-nineteenth-century America, where many whites had had little or no schooling, literacy was a marker of social prestige and economic power. What is the significance of the prefaces and introductions found in many slave narratives? Typically, the antebellum slave narrative carries a black message inside a white envelope.

Prefatory and sometimes appended matter by whites attest to the reliability and good character of the black narrator while calling attention to what the narrative would reveal about the moral abominations of slavery. In both cases, the prefaces seek to authenticate the veracity of the narratives that follow them. A good question to ask students is, why did these narratives need such prefaces? Usually, the antebellum slave narrator portrays slavery as a condition of extreme physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual deprivation, a kind of hell on earth. Since most antebellum narratives Slave narratives adapt the rite-of-passage story to propagandistic purposes. Students will learn a great deal from some narratives—such as those of Grimes, Bibb, and Northup—about the day-to-day grind of back-breaking agricultural labor that we often associate with slavery.

Such narratives are not always as self-reflective as readers today might like. Students should understand that fugitive slaves could not assume that whites were interested in what they thought or how they felt about matters other than slavery. Douglass, for instance, spent a crucial part of his boyhood in a port city where he had access to information and had the opportunity to learn to read. In his young manhood he had the opportunity to learn a trade and hire his time in Baltimore. Wells Brown, another skilled slave, had the advantage of working primarily as a house servant, not a field hand. Students could ask themselves why slaves with these comparative advantages were the ones who not only risked everything to escape but then wrote so passionately and eloquently about the injustices of their enslavement.

What is the turning-point in a slave narrative? Is it when the slave resolves to escape or when he or she arrives in the North? How does the slave arrive at the decision to escape? Does the narrator portray a process of growing awareness, dissatisfaction, and resistance that culminates in the escape effort? Most slave narratives portray a process by which the narrator realizes the injustices and dangers facing him or her, tries to resist them—sometimes physically, sometimes through deceit or verbal opposition—but eventually resolves to risk everything for the sake of freedom.

Douglass, on the other hand, refused to disclose the means by which he made his escape, thereby directly contradicting the expectations of the form he himself had adopted. Why would Douglass make such a decision, knowing his readership wanted to read these kinds of escape accounts in his post-Civil War Life and Times of Frederick Douglass , he explained how he made his way to freedom? How do most slave narratives end? How do they portray life in the North? In some well-known antebellum narratives, the attainment of freedom is signaled not simply by reaching the so-called free states but by renaming oneself Douglass and William Wells Brown make a point of explaining why , finding employment, marrying, and, in some cases, dedicating significant energy to antislavery activism.

Few slave narratives condemn the widespread racial discrimination and injustice that African Americans endured in the North. The Life of William Grimes is a remarkable exception. Those slaves who have kind masters, are perhaps as happy as the generality of mankind. They are not aware that their condition can be better, and I dont know as it can: indeed it cannot by their own exertions. I would advise no slave to leave his master. If he runs away, he is most sure to be taken. If he is not, he will ever be in the apprehension of it. And I do think there is no inducement for a slave to leave his master, and be set free in the northern states. I have had to work hard; I have been often cheated, insulted, abused, and injured; yet a black man, if he will be industrious and honest, he can get along here as well as any one who is poor, and in a situation to be imposed on.

I have been very unfortunate in life in this respect. Notwithstanding all my struggles and sufferings, and injuries, I have been an honest man. There is no one who can come forward and say he knows any thing against Grimes. This I know, that I have been punished for being suspected of things, of which, some of those who were loudest against me, were actually guilty. The practice of warning poor people out of town is very cruel. It may be necessary that towns should have that power, otherwise some might be overrun with paupers. But it is mighty apt to be abused. A poor man just gets a going in business, and is then warned to depart.

Perhaps he has a family, and dont know where to go, or what to do. I am a poor man, and ignorant. But I am a man of sense. I have seen them contributing at church for the heathen, to build churches, and send out preachers to them, yet there was no place where I could get a seat in the church. I knew in New-Haven, Indians and negroes, come from a great many thousand miles, sent to be educated, while there were people I knew in the town, cold and hungry, and ignorant. They have kind of societies to make clothes, for those, who they say, go naked in their own countries. I have forebore to mention names in my history where it might give the least pain, in this I have made it less interesting and injured myself.

I may sometimes be a little mistaken, as I have to write from memory, and there is a great deal I have omitted from want of recollection at the time of writing. I cannot speak as I feel on some subjects. If those who read my history, think I have not led a life of trial, I have failed to give a correct representation. I have learned to read and write pretty well; if I had opportunity I could learn very fast. My wife has a tolerable good education, which has been a help to me. I hope some will buy my books from charity, but I am no beggar. If it were not for the stripes on my back which were made while I was a slave.

I would in my will, leave my skin a legacy to the government, desiring that it might be taken off and made into parchment, and then bind the constitution of glorious happy and free America. Let the skin of an American slave, bind the charter of American Liberty. Bruce came to me and entreated me to leave the city the next morning. She said her house was watched, and it was possible that some clew to me might be obtained. I refused to take her advice. She pleaded with an earnest tenderness, that ought to have moved me; but I was in a bitter, disheartened mood. I was weary of flying from pillar to post. I had been chased during half my life, and it seemed as if the chase was never to end.

There I sat, in that great city [New York], guiltless of crime, yet not daring to worship God in any of the churches. God forgive the black and bitter thoughts I indulged on that Sabbath day! The Scripture says, "Oppression makes even a wise man mad;" and I was not wise. I had been told that Mr. This it was, more than any thing else, that roused such a tempest in my soul. Benjamin was with his uncle William in California, but my innocent young daughter had come to spend a vacation with me. Dear Mrs. I seem to see the expression of her face, as she turned away discouraged by my obstinate mood. Finding her expostulations unavailing, she sent Ellen to entreat me. She came to us in a carriage, bringing a well-filled trunk for my journey-trusting that by this time I would listen to reason.

I yielded to her, as I ought to have done before. The next day, baby and I set out in a heavy snow storm, bound for New England again. I received letters from the City of Iniquity, addressed to me under an assumed name. In a few days one came from Mrs. Bruce, informing me that my new master was still searching for me, and that she intended to put an end to this persecution by buying my freedom. I felt grateful for the kindness that prompted this offer, but the idea was not so pleasant to me as might have been expected. The more my mind had become enlightened, the more difficult it was for me to consider myself an article of property; and to pay money to those who had so grievously oppressed me seemed like taking from my sufferings the glory of triumph.

I wrote to Mrs. Bruce, thanking her, but saying that being sold from one owner to another seemed too much like slavery; that such a great obligation could not be easily cancelled; and that I preferred to go to my brother in California. Without my knowledge, Mrs. Bruce employed a gentleman in New York to enter into negotiations with Mr. He proposed to pay three hundred dollars down, if Mr. Dodge would sell me, and enter into obligations to relinquish all claim to me or my children forever after. He who called himself my master said he scorned so small an offer for such a valuable servant.

The gentleman replied, "You can do as you choose, sir. If you reject this offer you will never get any thing; for the woman has friends who will convey her and her children out of the country. Dodge concluded that "half a loaf was better than no bread," and he agreed to the proffered terms. By the next mail I received this brief letter from Mrs. Bruce: "I am rejoiced to tell you that the money for your freedom has been paid to Mr. Come home to-morrow. I long to see you and my sweet babe. My brain reeled as I read these lines. So I was sold at last! A human being sold in the free city of New York!

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