Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery
Leon F. Litwack
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award
Based on hitherto unexamined sources: interviews with ex-slaves, diaries and accounts by former slaveholders, this "rich and admirably written book" (Eugene Genovese, The New York Times Book Review) aims to show how, during the Civil War and after Emancipation, blacks and whites interacted in ways that dramatized not only their mutual dependency, but the ambiguities and tensions that had always been latent in "the peculiar institution."
1. "The Faithful Slave"
2. Black Liberators
3. Kingdom Comin'
4. Slaves No More
5. How Free is Free?
6. The Feel of Freedom: Moving About
7. Back to Work: The Old Compulsions
8. Back to Work: The New Dependency
9. The Gospel and the Primer
10. Becoming a People
the problem of police violence—he ordered the arrest of any policeman found in possession of a revolver or club.142 Despite black testimony and some black jurors, the quality of justice on the eve of Radical Reconstruction largely reflected white power and the determination to preserve it. If anyone thought the freedmen were enjoying equal protection under the law, a black resident of Macon, Georgia, invited him to visit the local courtroom and observe the proceedings. “A white man may assault a
sometimes with the promise of clothing, passing themselves off as free, much to our amusement.”7 To leave the plantation or farm, his worldly possessions stuffed into a small bundle slung over his shoulder, came easily to some, not so easily to most. On numerous places, the entire black population decamped at the same time, as if prearranged, leaving the owners to wallow in self-pity and to utter those familiar cries of betrayal. “Every Negro has left us,” the wife of a South Carolina planter
the congested cities, Fisk warned, “you will wear your lives away in a constant struggle to pay high rent for miserable dwellings and scanty allowances of food. Many of your children, I greatly fear, will be found wandering through the streets as vagrants—plunging into the worst of vices, and filling the workhouses and jails.”51 Invoking almost the same images, black leaders, newspapers, and conventions repeated the same advice and affirmed the agrarian mystique to which most Americans—white and
all! … O Mr. Whipple! what shall I say? my heart is full. My sensitive spirit was lacerated through and through by the sights and sounds I heard and witnessed last Sunday. No Eva shed more tears in one day than fell streaming down my cheeks last Sabbath.”52 To redeem the oppressed, the ignorant, and the fallen was the finest kind of missionary work, and since the early days of Union occupation various evangelical and nonsectarian societies in the North had begun to dispatch teachers to the South
suspected of an intention to spring on the fourth of next month. The information may be true or false, but they are being well watched in every section where there are any suspects. Our faith is in God.”133 Nor were the fears of white men and women entirely illusory; they could on occasion assume a terrible reality. The war was not even a year old when Mary Chesnut heard that her cousin—Betsey Witherspoon of Society Hill—had been found dead in her bed, although she had been “quite well” the