Slavery during the Civil War was a variety of things. It was racist, unfair, revealing of social status, revealing of political preference, and often times scary. In my Women’s Studies class this week, we read and noted two separate accounts of the slavery days. The first was Lucinda Davis, a slave to an Indian who spoke creek, and the second was Mary Reynolds, a girl born into slavery. Their accounts are both very real, but there are some differences in the way that each woman was treated.
Lucinda’s record of the slavery seemed light. She was basically called to slavery because the “big man” in the Upper Creek’s child named Luwina had a baby boy. Lucinda often found herself looking after this child. She recalls many particular events in her lifetime.. She recalled many of her recipes she used, such as the one in particular for Sofki. She recalled that her master always had some in the house and offered it to anyone who wanted some. She also recalled how her master would buy cloth and clothe his slaves. She recalled dancing and the funny songs that were made up in accordance with the dance, and she also remembers a less exciting dance known as the “drunk dance,” where they apparently cheat on each other under the excuse of alcohol, and the consequence of that on the woman is to apparently have the “rims of her ears” cut off. As well as these happy times, she also experiences some less happy memories. She remembers the beginnings of the war, the customs at funerals and the way they would shoot their guns, and the running away of the other slaves, leaving only her there. Overall, Lucinda probably wouldn’t be particularly happy that she is a slave, but she seemed content with her life.
Mary, on the other hand, witnessed some unfortunate events. Her master was a seemingly pretty wealthy doctor, who would buy the best slaves he could find with his fortune. One of the first stories she tells about her time in slavery was the fact that they would beat their workers, stating that “slavery was the worst days was ever seed in the world.” She discussed her food, saying that sometimes the slaves could have a tiny patch of food to grow and she ate potatoes often. She also recalled that sometimes, she would literally work until it was so cold that her hands began to bleed. There was much mistreatment in this slave community, and a man named Mr. Kidd once beat her almost to death when he thought she might have known something about the escape of one of her fellow slaves. She finally is able to move on with her life in Texas after the war. Unlike Ms. Davis, Mary was in a bad place in slavery
These may both be accounts of slavery, but they are entirely different. Though slavery probably wouldn’t be fun in either account, Lucinda had a much better time with it than Mary. In slavery, sometimes slaves were treated with respect, but most of the time, they were treated as bad as criminals.