Just finished A Slave No More by David W. Blight. Excellent book. Two slaves wrote manuscripts about their experiences in slavery and their escapes. Both manuscripts are included. The author also follows their lives and those of their descendants to complete their stories.
I recall reading Uncle Tom's Cabin when I was in high school and for the first time realizing that the life of slaves was not as I had thought, not what I had absorbed from the books and conversations I had contact with as a child. Slaves were not singing because they were happy. Masters were never benevolent. The first hand description of one of these men in Blight's book who as a boy in his late teens was taken to the whipping house for running away is too painful to contemplate. The resilience of these human beings to overcome the pain and suffering inflicted by their fellow human beings is beyond remarkable. I have no words to describe my sorrow at their treatment and my admiration for their courage.
It is coincidental that I read this during Black History Month. I have also enjoyed these books: Slaves in the Family by Edward Ball, The Hairstons, A Family in Black and White by Henry Wiencek, and the first book I read related to African American genealogy, Somerset Homecoming by Dorothy Redman. I would like to re-read it but apparently our library got rid of it. I would recommend all of these books.