Diary of Caroline Seabury

Caroline Seabury, Author, Suzanne L. Bunkers, Designed by University of Wisconsin Press $30 (160p) ISBN 978-0-299-12870-8
In this illuminating memoir of life in the American South before and during the Civil War, Seabury (1827-1893), a white, middle-class New England teacher, tells of leaving her home in 1854 and relocating to Mississippi, where she teaches the daughters of rich Southern plantation-owning families until 1863, when she returns North. A ``Yankee'' outsider, Seabury describes the ``great gulf'' between husbandless female instructors like herself and the ``dilapidated'' Southern aristocracy. She decries slavery and, despite her naivete and prejudice, writes movingly about the plight of black women. When she sees a widowed servant being sold without her children at a slave auction, she observes, ``the woman said not a word, but her looks told what was in her heart . . . she sobbed bitterly. . . . Here was one of my own sex almost as light in color. . . . I could not keep back my own tears. . . .'' This is an eloquent historical record that raises disturbing questions about the lingering psychological effects of slavery on our society today. Bunkers is a professor of English at Mankato State University in Minnesota. Illustrations not seen by PW. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-0-299-12874-6
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