Bullwhip Days: The Slaves Remember

James Mellon, Editor Grove Press $27.5 (460p) ISBN 978-1-55584-210-9
Twenty-nine oral histories and additional excerpts, selected from 2000 interviews with former slaves conducted in the 1930s for a WPA Federal Writers Project, document the conditions of slavery that, Mellon ( The Face of Lincoln ) maintains, lie at the root of today's racism. Chilling examples of brutality and degradation alternate with moving accounts of humane treatment and affectionate respect between master and slave. Despite the close bonds that developed between some whites and blacks, however, racial and cultural confrontation dominated most relationships, ``timelessly freezing them in an attitude of mutual rejection'' that today still defies the Jeffersonian promise of real equality. Grouped by subjectabuse of both adults and children, religion, education, Civil War and Reconstructionthese annals of everyday life recorded in flavorful vernacular portray the resourcefulness and faith with which slaves survived. Photos not seen by PW. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Paperback - 460 pages - 978-0-380-70884-0
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