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Slave Narratives

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  • DANptAL@aol.com
    Mark, I have read about 1200 of the Slave Narratives. Most had favorable things to say. In fact, I would guess 85% of those interviewed who expressed an
    Message 1 of 16 , Apr 30 9:51 PM
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      Mark,

      I have read about 1200 of the Slave Narratives. Most had favorable things to
      say. In fact, I would guess 85% of those interviewed who expressed an
      opinion had favorable things to say about slavery in the Ala. and Miss
      Narratives. Why do you suppose the State Archives selected those? I have
      some interesting quotes if anyone is interested.

      David Allen

      In a message dated 4/30/99 8:10:39 AM Central Daylight Time,
      MPalmer@... writes:

      << The web site of the Alabama Department of Archives and History
      has some information you might find helpful.

      Our section"Using Primary Sources in the Classroom: Slavery Unit," contains
      accounts of former slaves and slave owners in Alabama . You can find them at:
      http://www.archives.state.al.us/teacher/slavery.html
      >>
    • Debbie Pendleton
      Dear David (and other interested persons): I am responding for Mark since I was involved in the creation of the teaching units before Mark began working on our
      Message 2 of 16 , May 3, 1999
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        Dear David (and other interested persons):
        I am responding for Mark since I was involved in the creation of the teaching units before Mark began working on our web site. I'm afraid our decision making was influenced more by issues such as length (we wanted relatively short ones) and legibility (most are on old onion skin paper and many are blurred), than other more historically significant issues. We also wanted geographic balance and attempted to sample both positive and negative views of slavery. Another consideration was the use of dialect and how difficult the dialect would be for an elementary student or teacher to interpret. The teacher consultants on the project were given a number of narratives to choose from to develop the lesson and 5 were selected. I hope this background helps.

        Debbie Pendleton
        Assistant Director for Public Services
        Alabama Department of Archives and History
        PO Box 300100
        Montgomery, AL 36130-0100
        dpendlet@...
        http://www.archives.state.al.us

        >>> <DANptAL@...> 04/30/99 11:51PM >>>
        From: DANptAL@...


        Mark,

        I have read about 1200 of the Slave Narratives. Most had favorable things to
        say. In fact, I would guess 85% of those interviewed who expressed an
        opinion had favorable things to say about slavery in the Ala. and Miss
        Narratives. Why do you suppose the State Archives selected those? I have
        some interesting quotes if anyone is interested.

        David Allen

        In a message dated 4/30/99 8:10:39 AM Central Daylight Time,
        MPalmer@... writes:

        << The web site of the Alabama Department of Archives and History
        has some information you might find helpful.

        Our section"Using Primary Sources in the Classroom: Slavery Unit," contains
        accounts of former slaves and slave owners in Alabama . You can find them at:
        http://www.archives.state.al.us/teacher/slavery.html
        >>

        ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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        http://www.onelist.com
        Get re-acquainted through a ONElist community.
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      • DANptAL@aol.com
        In a message dated 5/3/99 3:14:53 PM Central Daylight Time, DPendlet@archives.state.al.us writes:
        Message 3 of 16 , May 3, 1999
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          In a message dated 5/3/99 3:14:53 PM Central Daylight Time,
          DPendlet@... writes:

          << From: "Debbie Pendleton" <DPendlet@...>

          Dear David (and other interested persons):
          I am responding for Mark since I was involved in the creation of the
          teaching units before Mark began working on our web site. I'm afraid our
          decision making was influenced more by issues such as length (we wanted
          relatively short ones) and legibility (most are on old onion skin paper and
          many are blurred), than other more historically significant issues. We also
          wanted geographic balance and attempted to sample both positive and negative
          views of slavery. Another consideration was the use of dialect and how
          difficult the dialect would be for an elementary student or teacher to
          interpret. The teacher consultants on the project were given a number of
          narratives to choose from to develop the lesson and 5 were selected. I hope
          this background helps.

          Debbie Pendleton
          Assistant Director for Public Services
          Alabama Department of Archives and History
          PO Box 300100
          Montgomery, AL 36130-0100
          dpendlet@...
          http://www.archives.state.al.us
          >>
          Thank you for resopnding Debbie. I just hope the intent was not to cover up
          all the favorable things the former slaves had to say about slave times. I
          have received several request off list for the quotes. Here they are for all
          to see.

          David Allen

          QUOTES FROM FORMER SLAVES COMPILED BY DAVID ALLEN FROM THE SLAVE NARRATIVES
          (INTERVIEWS IN THE LATE 1930'S)


          JANE FROM GEORGIANA, ALABAMA
          "Ole marster went off to war with a whole passel of sojers. He
          tole Uncle Jude
          to look after ole mistis en' evy'thing on the place 'till he come
          back. Uncle Jude made de slaves work harder than ole master did."



          " I seed de Yankees comin' ole mistis tole me to run back to de
          house en' git her gole watch en' chain, en one ob 'em grabbed it outa my han'
          an' put it in his pocket an tole another Yankee; I'se going to tek this home
          to my gal."


          "The house and the yard was plum full of Yankees an' they tore
          up everything looking for money an' jewelry. They ax me where it was hid. I
          tole em' I didn't know an' they said I was lyin' an' if I didn't tell em,
          they would kill me, lak a dam Rebel. En' I sho was skairt."


          " Ole marster an mistis dead an gone but I remembers them jes
          lak they was, when dey looked after us..... weather we belonged to them or
          dey belonged to us, I don't kno' which it was."


          LIGHTIN' MATHEWS OF THE JOEL MATHEWS PLANTATION, CAHABA
          " Master Joel musta been bawn on a sun shinny day 'cause he sho was bright
          an' good natured. Ever (slave) on the plantation loved him lak he was sent
          from heaven."





          SARA COLQUIT OF THE SAM RANEY PLANTATION, CAMP HILL, AL
          " We usta have some good times. We could have all the fun we wanted on
          sa'dday nights, an we sho had it, cutting monkey shines, and dancing all
          night long."


          TOM MCALPINE OF MARTERSVILLE, AL
          " Them Yankees jus' lak to scare everybody around the place to death. They
          shot up the town and took everything we had: cotton, sugar, flower, hams,
          preserves, clothes, corn everything boss, everything. They even burn up some
          houses."


          JOHN SMITH, SELMA, AL1
          "
          I took care of GENERAL WILSON'S horse. General Wilson was the head
          man in the Yankee army. But I didn't like their ways much. He wanted his
          horse kep' spick and span. He would take his white pocket hankerchef an' rub
          it over the horse and if it was dirty HE HAD ME WHUPPED."


          ADELINE WILLIS, WILKS CO. GA


          " Lewis (her husband) came runnin over there and wanted me and
          the children to go with him to live on the other plantation. I wouldn't
          go-no mam. I wouldn't leave my white folks and he wouldn't leave his. So we
          kept living like we did in slavery, but he come to see me every day."


          ADDIE VINSON, ATHENS, GA
          " some of the old slaves is still mad 'cause they is free and
          ain't got no master to feed 'em and give 'em warm clothes no more."


          PHIL TOWNS OF GOVENOR GEORGE TOWNS PLANTATION TAYLOR CO GA�
          " After the close of the war the Federal Soldiers were stationed
          in the towns to keep order. UNION FLAGS were placed everywhere, and a
          Southerner was accused of not respecting the flag if he passed under it
          without bowing. Penalties for this offense was TO BE HUNG BY THE THUMBS, TO
          CARRY GREASY POLES FOR A CERTAIN TIME, and numerous other punishments which
          caused a great deal of discomfort for the victims."



          JANE FLOYD OF SIMPSON CO. MISS.
          "Yo see, after de war ended de South was most ruint, everything
          was tore up and burnt down. The money was no good, everything changed. The
          Ku Klux Klan wuz 'bout all de law dey had down here."


          HAPPY DAYS7
          "Them wuz really happy days for us. Course we didn't have the
          advantages we have now, but there wuz sompin back there that we aint got now
          and thats security. Yes sir, we had somebody to go to when we was in
          trouble. We had a master that would fight for us an' help us, an' laugh with
          us an' cry with us. We had a Mistus that would nurse us when we wuz when we
          wuz sick and cumfort us when we had to be punished. I was born a slave, but
          I anit never been one. I'se been a worker for good peoples. You wouldn't
          call that being a slave would you


          MANDY LESLIE OF FAIRHOPE, AL
          " When the Yankees came through here, dey took my mammy off
          in de wagon, an' lef' me right side de road, an' when she try to get out de
          wagon to fetch me, dey hit her on de head and she fell back in de wagon and
          didn't hollar no more. Dey jes' driv' off up de big road. She mighta been
          dead, 'cause I aint never seed her no more."


          << From: DANptAL@...

          "Alabama SlaveNarratives" Quotes from interviews with former slaves
          compiled
          by David Allen.

          Frank Smith, Page 345
          "My new marster wan't lak my own whitefolks; so I up and runned away and jine
          de Yankee army....I didn't get no gun-I fought wid a fryin-pan."
          "We stayed in Nashville a while and when de war was over, Cap'n Esserton
          wnated ter tek me to Illinois wid him and give me a job; but I didn't lak de
          Yankees. Dey wanted you to wuk all de time, and dat's sump'n I hadn't been
          brung up to do."

          Mary Rice of Eufaula
          " Niggers dese days ain't neber knowed whut good times is. Mebbe dat's why
          dey ain't no count. And dey is so uppity, too, callin' dereselves 'cullud
          folkes and havin' gold teeth. Dey sez de mo' gold teeth dy has, de higher up
          in chu'ch dey sets. Huh!"

          Simon Phillips of Greensboro
          (Master) "I'll pay you one third the crops you raise. ( ) Them niggersjus'
          stays right there and works. Sometimes they loaned the massa money when he
          was hard pushed."
          Simon went to war as a body guard for John Edward Watkins, son of the
          plantation owner. He was in Joe Wheelers 51st(?) Cavalry. *(there was not a
          51st Cav)

          Everett Ingram of Opelika
          "De Yankees comed through de yard in May an' tol us: 'you is free.' De
          Yankees wasn't no good. Dey hung my mammy up in the smokehouse by her thumbs;
          tips of her toes just touchin' de floor, 'ca'se she wouldn't 'gree to give up
          her older chilluns. She never did, neither."

          Carrie Davis of Harris Co. Georgia
          "When de Yankees come dey handcuffed our folks and took 'em off."
        • fitz@stolaf.edu
          Dear Friends, With reference to Mr. Allen s comments, having worked with the Alabama slave narratives, they are generally more upbeat than one might expect.
          Message 4 of 16 , May 4, 1999
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            Dear Friends,

            With reference to Mr. Allen's comments, having worked with the Alabama slave
            narratives, they are generally more upbeat than one might expect. The
            comments on Yankee ill-treatment are also very common.

            However, in using the materials to evaluate slavery, if that is indeed
            the intent, one needs to beware of taking these comments at face value.
            There are some obvious issues of evidence one needs to bear in mind.

            The interviews were conducted in the late 1930s, 70 plus years after
            the end of slavery. This would make the interviewees mostly children before
            the war, too young to bear the full work demands of the system.
            The interviews were conducted (mostly) before white
            interviewers in the segregated South, where too much candor might seem
            counterproductive or at least impolite. Furthermore, in a time of
            Depression privation, elderly poor people might look with a certain
            nostalgia on a time when at least they would be fed.

            All this combined with the general human tendency for older people to look
            fondly on the circumstances of their youth, argues for a certain caution in
            interpreting these materials.

            Michael Fitzgerald
            fitz@...
            >
            > From: DANptAL@...
            >
            > In a message dated 5/3/99 3:14:53 PM Central Daylight Time,
            > DPendlet@... writes:
            >
            > << From: "Debbie Pendleton" <DPendlet@...>
            >
            > Dear David (and other interested persons):
            > I am responding for Mark since I was involved in the creation of the
            > teaching units before Mark began working on our web site. I'm afraid our
            > decision making was influenced more by issues such as length (we wanted
            > relatively short ones) and legibility (most are on old onion skin paper and
            > many are blurred), than other more historically significant issues. We also
            > wanted geographic balance and attempted to sample both positive and negative
            > views of slavery. Another consideration was the use of dialect and how
            > difficult the dialect would be for an elementary student or teacher to
            > interpret. The teacher consultants on the project were given a number of
            > narratives to choose from to develop the lesson and 5 were selected. I hope
            > this background helps.
            >
            > Debbie Pendleton
            > Assistant Director for Public Services
            > Alabama Department of Archives and History
            > PO Box 300100
            > Montgomery, AL 36130-0100
            > dpendlet@...
            > http://www.archives.state.al.us
            > >>
            > Thank you for resopnding Debbie. I just hope the intent was not to cover up
            > all the favorable things the former slaves had to say about slave times. I
            > have received several request off list for the quotes. Here they are for all
            > to see.
            >
            > David Allen
            >
            > QUOTES FROM FORMER SLAVES COMPILED BY DAVID ALLEN FROM THE SLAVE NARRATIVES
            > (INTERVIEWS IN THE LATE 1930'S)
            >
            >
            > JANE FROM GEORGIANA, ALABAMA
            > "Ole marster went off to war with a whole passel of sojers. He
            > tole Uncle Jude
            > to look after ole mistis en' evy'thing on the place 'till he come
            > back. Uncle Jude made de slaves work harder than ole master did."
            >
            >
            >
            > " I seed de Yankees comin' ole mistis tole me to run back to de
            > house en' git her gole watch en' chain, en one ob 'em grabbed it outa my han'
            > an' put it in his pocket an tole another Yankee; I'se going to tek this home
            > to my gal."
            >
            >
            > "The house and the yard was plum full of Yankees an' they tore
            > up everything looking for money an' jewelry. They ax me where it was hid. I
            > tole em' I didn't know an' they said I was lyin' an' if I didn't tell em,
            > they would kill me, lak a dam Rebel. En' I sho was skairt."
            >
            >
            > " Ole marster an mistis dead an gone but I remembers them jes
            > lak they was, when dey looked after us..... weather we belonged to them or
            > dey belonged to us, I don't kno' which it was."
            >
            >
            > LIGHTIN' MATHEWS OF THE JOEL MATHEWS PLANTATION, CAHABA
            > " Master Joel musta been bawn on a sun shinny day 'cause he sho was bright
            > an' good natured. Ever (slave) on the plantation loved him lak he was sent
            > from heaven."
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > SARA COLQUIT OF THE SAM RANEY PLANTATION, CAMP HILL, AL
            > " We usta have some good times. We could have all the fun we wanted on
            > sa'dday nights, an we sho had it, cutting monkey shines, and dancing all
            > night long."
            >
            >
            > TOM MCALPINE OF MARTERSVILLE, AL
            > " Them Yankees jus' lak to scare everybody around the place to death. They
            > shot up the town and took everything we had: cotton, sugar, flower, hams,
            > preserves, clothes, corn everything boss, everything. They even burn up some
            > houses."
            >
            >
            > JOHN SMITH, SELMA, AL1
            > "
            > I took care of GENERAL WILSON'S horse. General Wilson was the head
            > man in the Yankee army. But I didn't like their ways much. He wanted his
            > horse kep' spick and span. He would take his white pocket hankerchef an' rub
            > it over the horse and if it was dirty HE HAD ME WHUPPED."
            >
            >
            > ADELINE WILLIS, WILKS CO. GA
            >
            >
            > " Lewis (her husband) came runnin over there and wanted me and
            > the children to go with him to live on the other plantation. I wouldn't
            > go-no mam. I wouldn't leave my white folks and he wouldn't leave his. So we
            > kept living like we did in slavery, but he come to see me every day."
            >
            >
            > ADDIE VINSON, ATHENS, GA
            > " some of the old slaves is still mad 'cause they is free and
            > ain't got no master to feed 'em and give 'em warm clothes no more."
            >
            >
            > PHIL TOWNS OF GOVENOR GEORGE TOWNS PLANTATION TAYLOR CO GA�
            > " After the close of the war the Federal Soldiers were stationed
            > in the towns to keep order. UNION FLAGS were placed everywhere, and a
            > Southerner was accused of not respecting the flag if he passed under it
            > without bowing. Penalties for this offense was TO BE HUNG BY THE THUMBS, TO
            > CARRY GREASY POLES FOR A CERTAIN TIME, and numerous other punishments which
            > caused a great deal of discomfort for the victims."
            >
            >
            >
            > JANE FLOYD OF SIMPSON CO. MISS.
            > "Yo see, after de war ended de South was most ruint, everything
            > was tore up and burnt down. The money was no good, everything changed. The
            > Ku Klux Klan wuz 'bout all de law dey had down here."
            >
            >
            > HAPPY DAYS7
            > "Them wuz really happy days for us. Course we didn't have the
            > advantages we have now, but there wuz sompin back there that we aint got now
            > and thats security. Yes sir, we had somebody to go to when we was in
            > trouble. We had a master that would fight for us an' help us, an' laugh with
            > us an' cry with us. We had a Mistus that would nurse us when we wuz when we
            > wuz sick and cumfort us when we had to be punished. I was born a slave, but
            > I anit never been one. I'se been a worker for good peoples. You wouldn't
            > call that being a slave would you
            >
            >
            > MANDY LESLIE OF FAIRHOPE, AL
            > " When the Yankees came through here, dey took my mammy off
            > in de wagon, an' lef' me right side de road, an' when she try to get out de
            > wagon to fetch me, dey hit her on de head and she fell back in de wagon and
            > didn't hollar no more. Dey jes' driv' off up de big road. She mighta been
            > dead, 'cause I aint never seed her no more."
            >
            >
            > << From: DANptAL@...
            >
            > "Alabama SlaveNarratives" Quotes from interviews with former slaves
            > compiled
            > by David Allen.
            >
            > Frank Smith, Page 345
            > "My new marster wan't lak my own whitefolks; so I up and runned away and jine
            > de Yankee army....I didn't get no gun-I fought wid a fryin-pan."
            > "We stayed in Nashville a while and when de war was over, Cap'n Esserton
            > wnated ter tek me to Illinois wid him and give me a job; but I didn't lak de
            > Yankees. Dey wanted you to wuk all de time, and dat's sump'n I hadn't been
            > brung up to do."
            >
            > Mary Rice of Eufaula
            > " Niggers dese days ain't neber knowed whut good times is. Mebbe dat's why
            > dey ain't no count. And dey is so uppity, too, callin' dereselves 'cullud
            > folkes and havin' gold teeth. Dey sez de mo' gold teeth dy has, de higher up
            > in chu'ch dey sets. Huh!"
            >
            > Simon Phillips of Greensboro
            > (Master) "I'll pay you one third the crops you raise. ( ) Them niggersjus'
            > stays right there and works. Sometimes they loaned the massa money when he
            > was hard pushed."
            > Simon went to war as a body guard for John Edward Watkins, son of the
            > plantation owner. He was in Joe Wheelers 51st(?) Cavalry. *(there was not a
            > 51st Cav)
            >
            > Everett Ingram of Opelika
            > "De Yankees comed through de yard in May an' tol us: 'you is free.' De
            > Yankees wasn't no good. Dey hung my mammy up in the smokehouse by her thumbs;
            > tips of her toes just touchin' de floor, 'ca'se she wouldn't 'gree to give up
            > her older chilluns. She never did, neither."
            >
            > Carrie Davis of Harris Co. Georgia
            > "When de Yankees come dey handcuffed our folks and took 'em off."
            >
            > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
            > Wanting to get back in touch with old friends?
            > http://www.onelist.com
            > Reunite through a ONElist community.
            > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
            > Archives for the list can be viewed at
            > http://www.onelist.com/archives.cgi/alabamahistory
            >
          • DANptAL@xxx.xxx
            In a message dated 5/4/99 8:34:25 AM Central Daylight Time, fitz@stolaf.edu writes:
            Message 5 of 16 , May 4, 1999
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              In a message dated 5/4/99 8:34:25 AM Central Daylight Time, fitz@...
              writes:

              <<
              All this combined with the general human tendency for older people to look
              fondly on the circumstances of their youth, argues for a certain caution in
              interpreting these materials.
              >>
              Michael,

              While all of this needs to be taken into account, I am much more concerned by
              the portrayal of slavery in every Hollywood movie that deals with the
              subject. "Roots" by Alex Haley and the "Civil War" by Ken Burns are prime
              examples. And that is where caution in interpreting should be applied. I
              will accept the words of the old slaves any day before I would those current
              PC historians who have an agenda to promote.

              Just my thoughts,

              David Allen
            • Dean Costello
              ... by ... What do you mean by this? Portrayals of slavery run the gamut from Amistad (which I have been led to believe is fairly close to actual ) to the
              Message 6 of 16 , May 4, 1999
              • 0 Attachment
                At 02:44 PM 5/4/99 EDT, you wrote:
                >From: DANptAL@...
                >
                >In a message dated 5/4/99 8:34:25 AM Central Daylight Time, fitz@...
                >writes:
                >
                ><<
                > All this combined with the general human tendency for older people to look
                > fondly on the circumstances of their youth, argues for a certain caution in
                > interpreting these materials.
                > >>
                >Michael,
                >
                >While all of this needs to be taken into account, I am much more concerned
                by
                >the portrayal of slavery in every Hollywood movie that deals with the
                >subject.

                What do you mean by this? Portrayals of slavery run the gamut from
                "Amistad" (which I have been led to believe is fairly close to 'actual') to
                the absolutely hideous D.H. Lawrence "Birth of a Nation" (which led to the
                celebration/approval of the KKK, supported the racist policies of Woodrow
                Wilson, and was a "source" for "Gone With The Wind" [about which 'nuff said]).

                >"Roots" by Alex Haley and the "Civil War" by Ken Burns are prime
                >examples. And that is where caution in interpreting should be applied. I
                >will accept the words of the old slaves any day before I would those current
                >PC historians who have an agenda to promote.

                "...before I would those current PC historians who have an agenda to promote."

                Boy, talking about agendas...

                Okay, let's see: "Roots" was written in the early '70s (miniseries in
                1977), and "Civil War" was based upon Shelby Foote's "The Civil War", which
                was written in the 1950s to 1970s, depending on which volume you are
                "referencing" (Volume I--1958, Volume II--1963, Volume III--1974).

                Given that these books range from 25 to 41 years old, one is forced to
                describe them as current PC historians who have an agenda to promote.

                There indeed appear to be agendas here, but not by the authors.
                -
                Dean Costello
              • DANptAL@xxx.xxx
                In a message dated 5/4/99 2:40:52 PM Central Daylight Time, costello@earthlink.net writes:
                Message 7 of 16 , May 4, 1999
                • 0 Attachment
                  In a message dated 5/4/99 2:40:52 PM Central Daylight Time,
                  costello@... writes:

                  << What do you mean by this? Portrayals of slavery run the gamut from
                  "Amistad" (which I have been led to believe is fairly close to 'actual') to
                  the absolutely hideous D.H. Lawrence "Birth of a Nation" (which led to the
                  celebration/approval of the KKK, supported the racist policies of Woodrow
                  Wilson, and was a "source" for "Gone With The Wind" [about which 'nuff
                  said]).>>

                  My point is that slightly less that 6% of Southerners owned slaves (6.4% in
                  Alabama-1860 census). Then we have evidence in the Slave Narratives that most
                  have favorible things to say about slave days and their masters. Taking that
                  into account the percentage of Southerners that owned and abused their slaves
                  would extremely low and would surprise most people.

                  <<< >"Roots" by Alex Haley and the "Civil War" by Ken Burns are prime
                  >examples. And that is where caution in interpreting should be applied. I
                  >will accept the words of the old slaves any day before I would those
                  current
                  >PC historians who have an agenda to promote.

                  "...before I would those current PC historians who have an agenda to
                  promote."

                  Boy, talking about agendas...

                  Okay, let's see: "Roots" was written in the early '70s (miniseries in
                  1977), >>>

                  You are right about the date but the series runs regularly as a truthful
                  portrayal of slavery and Alex Haley was sued for plagerism and settled out of
                  court. It only took a moment to find the following on the net.
                  London Times 9/7/97

                  American TV boycotts expose' of Haley's Roots

                  by John Harlow
                  Arts Correspondent

                  AMERICAN television networks are boycotting a BBC documentary exposing the
                  extent to which Alex Haley falsified his family history in his best-selling
                  book, Roots.

                  Network executives admit they are worried that the program, which will be
                  broadcast in Britain next weekend as part of the Bookworm series, could cause
                  racial tension - especially in the Deep South where Haley, who died five
                  years ago, is most revered.

                  Roots was billed as the true story of Haley's family, traced back six
                  generations to a west African called Kunta Kinte who was captured by slave
                  traders in The Gambia and sold to American plantation owners. It was a
                  cultural phenomenon when it appeared in 1976 and earned Haley 200 literary
                  prizes, a 32 million dollar estate, the friendship of President Jimmy Carter
                  and the gratitude of black America. Within a year, however, doubts started
                  surfacing.

                  In 1977 The Sunday Times tracked down a folk historian in The Gambia who had
                  been a crucial source for Haley. The investigation exposed both men as deeply
                  unreliable. Other revelations about Haley's occasionally slipshod research
                  followed.

                  The Bookworm program suggests that Haley not only made mistakes but
                  deliberately falsified his own records for dramatic effect.

                  Philip Nobile, a writer who has spent years cross-checking the sources in
                  Roots, regards Haley as a shameless hoaxer: "Virtually every fact in the
                  closing critical pages of Roots is false. Nobody would have challenged this
                  book if it had been classified as fiction, but Haley defrauded the very
                  people he claimed he was championing."

                  Academics in the field of pan-African studies, where Roots is an essential
                  textbook, reluctantly agree. "We have accepted we must honour the spirit
                  rather than the letter of Roots, but to have it systematically demolished
                  would only play into the hands of white supremicists," said a teacher at
                  Tennessee University, where the records of Haley's 10-year search for his
                  ancestors are stored.

                  The Haley family rejects all claims against the author, suggesting the
                  evidence is "trivial and malicious". But Henrik Clarke, a veteran black
                  historian, told Bookworm: "As a people short of heroes, we sometimes take the
                  best we can get and sometimes we exaggerate them into something
                  a little bit better than they deserve to be."
                  ***********************************
                  I will post later on the remainder of your comments.

                  David Allen
                • fitz@xxxxxx.xxx
                  Just one point (of several possible) about the latest note: that 6.4% figure for slave ownership is misleading. I think it just refers to head of families,
                  Message 8 of 16 , May 5, 1999
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Just one point (of several possible) about the latest note: that 6.4%
                    figure for slave ownership is misleading. I think it just refers to
                    head of families, whereas figures for whole families are probably the
                    more appropriate statistic. If memory serves, for the South as a
                    whole the figure was 25% of all white households owned slaves in 1860,
                    down from 33% in 1850. The figures I believe are higher for the deep
                    South states like Alabama.

                    Slave ownership is pretty widespread in antebellum Alabama.

                    Michael Fitzgerald
                    fitz@...

                    >
                    > From: DANptAL@...
                    >
                    > In a message dated 5/4/99 2:40:52 PM Central Daylight Time,
                    > costello@... writes:
                    >
                    > << What do you mean by this? Portrayals of slavery run the gamut from
                    > "Amistad" (which I have been led to believe is fairly close to 'actual') to
                    > the absolutely hideous D.H. Lawrence "Birth of a Nation" (which led to the
                    > celebration/approval of the KKK, supported the racist policies of Woodrow
                    > Wilson, and was a "source" for "Gone With The Wind" [about which 'nuff
                    > said]).>>
                    >
                    > My point is that slightly less that 6% of Southerners owned slaves (6.4% in
                    > Alabama-1860 census). Then we have evidence in the Slave Narratives that most
                    > have favorible things to say about slave days and their masters. Taking that
                    > into account the percentage of Southerners that owned and abused their slaves
                    > would extremely low and would surprise most people.
                    >
                    > <<< >"Roots" by Alex Haley and the "Civil War" by Ken Burns are prime
                    > >examples. And that is where caution in interpreting should be applied. I
                    > >will accept the words of the old slaves any day before I would those
                    > current
                    > >PC historians who have an agenda to promote.
                    >
                    > "...before I would those current PC historians who have an agenda to
                    > promote."
                    >
                    > Boy, talking about agendas...
                    >
                    > Okay, let's see: "Roots" was written in the early '70s (miniseries in
                    > 1977), >>>
                    >
                    > You are right about the date but the series runs regularly as a truthful
                    > portrayal of slavery and Alex Haley was sued for plagerism and settled out of
                    > court. It only took a moment to find the following on the net.
                    > London Times 9/7/97
                    >
                    > American TV boycotts expose' of Haley's Roots
                    >
                    > by John Harlow
                    > Arts Correspondent
                    >
                    > AMERICAN television networks are boycotting a BBC documentary exposing the
                    > extent to which Alex Haley falsified his family history in his best-selling
                    > book, Roots.
                    >
                    > Network executives admit they are worried that the program, which will be
                    > broadcast in Britain next weekend as part of the Bookworm series, could cause
                    > racial tension - especially in the Deep South where Haley, who died five
                    > years ago, is most revered.
                    >
                    > Roots was billed as the true story of Haley's family, traced back six
                    > generations to a west African called Kunta Kinte who was captured by slave
                    > traders in The Gambia and sold to American plantation owners. It was a
                    > cultural phenomenon when it appeared in 1976 and earned Haley 200 literary
                    > prizes, a 32 million dollar estate, the friendship of President Jimmy Carter
                    > and the gratitude of black America. Within a year, however, doubts started
                    > surfacing.
                    >
                    > In 1977 The Sunday Times tracked down a folk historian in The Gambia who had
                    > been a crucial source for Haley. The investigation exposed both men as deeply
                    > unreliable. Other revelations about Haley's occasionally slipshod research
                    > followed.
                    >
                    > The Bookworm program suggests that Haley not only made mistakes but
                    > deliberately falsified his own records for dramatic effect.
                    >
                    > Philip Nobile, a writer who has spent years cross-checking the sources in
                    > Roots, regards Haley as a shameless hoaxer: "Virtually every fact in the
                    > closing critical pages of Roots is false. Nobody would have challenged this
                    > book if it had been classified as fiction, but Haley defrauded the very
                    > people he claimed he was championing."
                    >
                    > Academics in the field of pan-African studies, where Roots is an essential
                    > textbook, reluctantly agree. "We have accepted we must honour the spirit
                    > rather than the letter of Roots, but to have it systematically demolished
                    > would only play into the hands of white supremicists," said a teacher at
                    > Tennessee University, where the records of Haley's 10-year search for his
                    > ancestors are stored.
                    >
                    > The Haley family rejects all claims against the author, suggesting the
                    > evidence is "trivial and malicious". But Henrik Clarke, a veteran black
                    > historian, told Bookworm: "As a people short of heroes, we sometimes take the
                    > best we can get and sometimes we exaggerate them into something
                    > a little bit better than they deserve to be."
                    > ***********************************
                    > I will post later on the remainder of your comments.
                    >
                    > David Allen
                    >
                    > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    > The possibilities are endless!
                    > http://www.onelist.com
                    > ONElist has something for everyone!
                    > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    > Archives for the list can be viewed at
                    > http://www.onelist.com/archives.cgi/alabamahistory
                    >
                  • DANptAL@xxx.xxx
                    Michael, I have come across these claims before. Apparently they determined that the average household had 5 (?) members and claim that each member was a
                    Message 9 of 16 , May 5, 1999
                    • 0 Attachment
                      Michael,
                      I have come across these claims before. Apparently they determined that the
                      average household had 5 (?) members and claim that each member was a slave
                      owner. I consider this revisionist attempts to bloat the numbers.

                      If you own a business, a car or a house, are all the members of the household
                      owners?
                      Could women and children own property at that time?
                      What about the 69,000 single owners of slaves?
                      What about the thousands families who only owned one slave?

                      Another interesting figure that I found recently...there were only 8,000 who
                      owned more than 50 slaves. Of course that would be 40,000 to the revisionist.

                      I will rely on the census records.

                      David Allen

                      In a message dated 5/5/99 9:13:31 AM Central Daylight Time, fitz@...
                      writes:

                      << Just one point (of several possible) about the latest note: that 6.4%
                      figure for slave ownership is misleading. I think it just refers to
                      head of families, whereas figures for whole families are probably the
                      more appropriate statistic. If memory serves, for the South as a
                      whole the figure was 25% of all white households owned slaves in 1860,
                      down from 33% in 1850. The figures I believe are higher for the deep
                      South states like Alabama.

                      Slave ownership is pretty widespread in antebellum Alabama.

                      Michael Fitzgerald
                      fitz@... >>
                    • Margaret Storey
                      Dear Mr. Allen, What exactly is your point? You seem to feel that something is being hidden from people and appear to assign dastardly motivations to those
                      Message 10 of 16 , May 5, 1999
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Dear Mr. Allen,

                        What exactly is your point? You seem to feel that something is being "hidden" from people and appear to assign dastardly motivations to those who you claim are misleading people. Certainly you would not claim that all members of a slaveholding household--however big or small--did not feel a measure of ownership over that slave or slaves? All white members of that household could order any slave about, whether or not they held immediate title to a slave. Families with slaves--even only a few--were nonetheless slaveholders, and understood themselves as such. Moreover, the statistics you mention regarding the small proportion of slaveholders who owned over 50 slaves are well known (and well taught in college textbooks with which I have familiarity). That fact is not being hidden by anyone. While I understand and applaud your desire to clarify how we come to statistical knowledge, I'm not sure I understand what revision you wish us to adopt in light of this--however you cut it, slaves constituted 45% of Alabama's population; in all but the most mountainous counties of the hill country, slaves were prevalent throughout the state. What is your interpretation of the statistics? What do you believe they reveal to us about history?

                        Margaret Storey



                        Margaret M. Storey
                        Assistant Professor
                        DePaul University
                        Department of History
                        2320 N. Kenmore Avenue
                        Chicago, IL 60614
                        773.325.7482
                        mstorey@...

                        >>> <DANptAL@...> 05/05/99 10:19AM >>>
                        From: DANptAL@...

                        Michael,
                        I have come across these claims before. Apparently they determined that the
                        average household had 5 (?) members and claim that each member was a slave
                        owner. I consider this revisionist attempts to bloat the numbers.

                        If you own a business, a car or a house, are all the members of the household
                        owners?
                        Could women and children own property at that time?
                        What about the 69,000 single owners of slaves?
                        What about the thousands families who only owned one slave?

                        Another interesting figure that I found recently...there were only 8,000 who
                        owned more than 50 slaves. Of course that would be 40,000 to the revisionist.

                        I will rely on the census records.

                        David Allen

                        In a message dated 5/5/99 9:13:31 AM Central Daylight Time, fitz@...
                        writes:

                        << Just one point (of several possible) about the latest note: that 6.4%
                        figure for slave ownership is misleading. I think it just refers to
                        head of families, whereas figures for whole families are probably the
                        more appropriate statistic. If memory serves, for the South as a
                        whole the figure was 25% of all white households owned slaves in 1860,
                        down from 33% in 1850. The figures I believe are higher for the deep
                        South states like Alabama.

                        Slave ownership is pretty widespread in antebellum Alabama.

                        Michael Fitzgerald
                        fitz@... >>

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                      • DANptAL@xxx.xxx
                        In a message dated 5/5/99 10:44:52 AM Central Daylight Time, mstorey@wppost.depaul.edu writes:
                        Message 11 of 16 , May 5, 1999
                        • 0 Attachment
                          In a message dated 5/5/99 10:44:52 AM Central Daylight Time,
                          mstorey@... writes:

                          << I'm not sure I understand what revision you wish us to adopt in light of
                          this--however you cut it, slaves constituted 45% of Alabama's population; in
                          all but the most mountainous counties of the hill country, slaves were
                          prevalent throughout the state. What is your interpretation of the
                          statistics? What do you believe they reveal to us about history?
                          >>

                          Margaret,

                          My daughter's 8th grade history book stated 32% of Alabamians owned slaves.
                          This is not true! I think the revisionist do this to give credibility to the
                          erroneous idea the War for Southern Independence was fought to preserve
                          slavery.

                          David Allen
                        • Margaret Storey
                          Dear Mr. Allen, I suppose it is possible to again assign conspiratorial motives to the revisionists, but I m more willing to assign poor statistical research
                          Message 12 of 16 , May 5, 1999
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Dear Mr. Allen,
                            I suppose it is possible to again assign conspiratorial motives to the "revisionists," but I'm more willing to assign poor statistical research and presentation to the textbook writers than ideas of mass brainwashing about the War of Southern Independence. As for your assertion that the Civil War wasn't fought to preserve slavery, I doubt very seriously that your theory could withstand a few days reading Montgomery newspaper articles from the summer of 1860. While many soldiers who did not own slaves did not endorse fervent pro-slavery views, and probably fought for "home and hearth," as much as to preserve slavery, it is quite difficult to assign such ideas to men like William L. Yancey. Such leaders shaped the rhetoric of secesison around the right of men to carry slave property into the territories. Have you read these speeches and documents? There were multiple reasons behind each man's decision to fight in the war, but to argue that preservation of slavery wasn't one of those reasons is absurd and defies the historical record. Besides which, what does your assertion about a revisionist conspiracy tell us about the past? Again, what do you believe is at the root of the conspiracy you believe is afoot?

                            Margaret Storey

                            Margaret M. Storey
                            Assistant Professor
                            DePaul University
                            Department of History
                            2320 N. Kenmore Avenue
                            Chicago, IL 60614
                            773.325.7482
                            mstorey@...

                            >>> <DANptAL@...> 05/05/99 11:17AM >>>
                            From: DANptAL@...

                            In a message dated 5/5/99 10:44:52 AM Central Daylight Time,
                            mstorey@... writes:

                            << I'm not sure I understand what revision you wish us to adopt in light of
                            this--however you cut it, slaves constituted 45% of Alabama's population; in
                            all but the most mountainous counties of the hill country, slaves were
                            prevalent throughout the state. What is your interpretation of the
                            statistics? What do you believe they reveal to us about history?
                            >>

                            Margaret,

                            My daughter's 8th grade history book stated 32% of Alabamians owned slaves.
                            This is not true! I think the revisionist do this to give credibility to the
                            erroneous idea the War for Southern Independence was fought to preserve
                            slavery.

                            David Allen

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                          • Brian Kelly
                            Several points regarding Mr. Allen s objections to the pc interpretation of the slave experience. First off, he should at least admit fom the outset that he,
                            Message 13 of 16 , May 5, 1999
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Several points regarding Mr. Allen's objections to the "pc" interpretation
                              of the slave experience. First off, he should at least admit fom the
                              outset that he, too, has an agenda, albeit one that has only emerged in
                              bits and pieces thanks to Dr. Storey's persistence: to uphold the "truth"
                              about the benign impact of the slave system on the slaves themselves, to
                              minimize its importance in antebellum southern society, to dismiss it as
                              the central issue in the Civil War. One thing that should be
                              acknowledged is that all of this _was_ quite widely accepted by
                              historians, and by American society generally, until the rise of the
                              civil rights movement forced the academy to have another look, with the
                              experience of slaves and ex-slaves themselves at the center of the
                              picture. The attack on "pc" in the academy is aimed at making the tired,
                              old, -and, yes - racist shcolarship respectable once again.

                              Michael Fitzgerald's comments about the context of the Slave Narrative
                              interviews - the depression-era South - are important, but one other thing
                              should be added. The overthrow of Reconstruction, which Michael has
                              documented as well as anyone in his magnificent _Union League Movement in
                              the Deep South_ ushered in a period of unparallelled racial violence. The
                              antebellum social order, which left little room for doubt about
                              which race was on top, and which relied for its survival upon the steady
                              application of what might be called "low-level" racial violence (except in
                              cases of insurrection, when the gloves came off), achieved a certain sort
                              of equilibrium which was upset by emancipation. The Jim Crow era, which
                              lasted well through the period when these interviews were conducted, may
                              indeed have seemed like a step backward to many of those who had lived
                              through slavery, been discouraged by the triumph and seeming invincibility
                              of white supremacy in the decades which followed, and (as Micheal pointed
                              out) left destitute by regional and national indifference.

                              On the character of the war its hard to know where to start. The best
                              place, of course, is with CSA VP Alexander Stephens' "cornerstone speech,"
                              in which he identifies quite clearly slavery (and more generally racial
                              inequality) as the central issue of the War. Nobody queries rank-and-file
                              Serb or American troops on their reasons for fighting to determine the
                              "causes" of the conflict in the Balkans. Union and Confederate soldiers'
                              perceptions, while historically significant as a gauge of morale,
                              motivation, the effectiveness of respective governments' propaganda, etc.,
                              don't explain the causes of the Civil War.

                              Finally, I want to make it clear that while I disagree strongly with Mr.
                              Allen's perspective, and believe it to be discredited by the best
                              scholarship in the field, I welcome the chance to discuss these issues.
                              There are certainly vital questions at stake in weighing the use of
                              primary sources in reconstructing the past, and probably nowhere are these
                              questions so vital as in debating slavery, the Civil War, emancipation,
                              etc. But the verdict is in on whether slavery was a benevolent
                              institution, and on whether the social order which rested upon it was
                              compatible with democratic institutions. We should not surrender that
                              judgment lightly.

                              Brian Kelly
                              Florida International University
                            • Dean Costello
                              ... the ... Ummm, the few Confederate newspapers I have viewed from that period appear to make it perfectly clear that the war was indeed based on preserving
                              Message 14 of 16 , May 5, 1999
                              • 0 Attachment
                                ><< I'm not sure I understand what revision you wish us to adopt in light of
                                >this--however you cut it, slaves constituted 45% of Alabama's population; in
                                >all but the most mountainous counties of the hill country, slaves were
                                >prevalent throughout the state. What is your interpretation of the
                                >statistics? What do you believe they reveal to us about history?
                                >
                                >My daughter's 8th grade history book stated 32% of Alabamians owned slaves.
                                >This is not true! I think the revisionist do this to give credibility to
                                the
                                >erroneous idea the War for Southern Independence was fought to preserve
                                >slavery.

                                Ummm, the few Confederate newspapers I have viewed from that period appear
                                to make it perfectly clear that the war was indeed based on preserving
                                slavery. It is the "revisionists" in the 1880s and the 1920s who started
                                the move towards "The War of Northern Aggression" and other equally silly
                                descriptors and tried to add the concept of State's Rights to defend their
                                actions.

                                As to the use of "revisionist" as an apparent term of denigration:

                                There have been several changes of thought in terms of the reasons behind
                                the Civil War. My personal research (which admittedly is not all the
                                detailed since I have, well, a full-time job) tends to support the
                                currently growing trend that the Civil War was fought over slavery.

                                Depending on the period of time you are examining (e.g., Reconstruction,
                                Woodrow Wilson and "Birth of a Nation", anti-segregation in the 50s through
                                70s, the Reagan period of refusing to acknowledge racial problems, to the
                                present), the common belief of historians range from a war to end slavery
                                to a war to defeat rebel forces and/or a war to preserve State's Rights.
                                From my evaluation of historical literature, there appears to be a cyclic
                                approach to why the Civil War occurred.

                                As a result, the use of "revisionist" to describe historians that you don't
                                agree with is about as useful (and accurate) as describing anyone who is in
                                favor of gun control as communist, e.g., it doesn't make a lick of sense.
                                -
                                Dean Costello
                              • arque
                                send NO more mail please ... From: DANptAL@aol.com To: alabamahistory@onelist.com Date: Wednesday, May 05, 1999
                                Message 15 of 16 , May 6, 1999
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  send NO more mail please
                                  -----Original Message-----
                                  From: DANptAL@... <DANptAL@...>
                                  To: alabamahistory@onelist.com <alabamahistory@onelist.com>
                                  Date: Wednesday, May 05, 1999 3:11 PM
                                  Subject: Re: [alabamahistory] Slave Narratives


                                  >From: DANptAL@...
                                  >
                                  >In a message dated 5/4/99 2:40:52 PM Central Daylight Time,
                                  >costello@... writes:
                                  >
                                  ><< What do you mean by this? Portrayals of slavery run the gamut from
                                  > "Amistad" (which I have been led to believe is fairly close to 'actual')
                                  to
                                  > the absolutely hideous D.H. Lawrence "Birth of a Nation" (which led to the
                                  > celebration/approval of the KKK, supported the racist policies of Woodrow
                                  > Wilson, and was a "source" for "Gone With The Wind" [about which 'nuff
                                  >said]).>>
                                  >
                                  >My point is that slightly less that 6% of Southerners owned slaves (6.4% in
                                  >Alabama-1860 census). Then we have evidence in the Slave Narratives that
                                  most
                                  >have favorible things to say about slave days and their masters. Taking
                                  that
                                  >into account the percentage of Southerners that owned and abused their
                                  slaves
                                  >would extremely low and would surprise most people.
                                  >
                                  ><<< >"Roots" by Alex Haley and the "Civil War" by Ken Burns are prime
                                  > >examples. And that is where caution in interpreting should be applied.
                                  I
                                  > >will accept the words of the old slaves any day before I would those
                                  >current
                                  > >PC historians who have an agenda to promote.
                                  >
                                  > "...before I would those current PC historians who have an agenda to
                                  >promote."
                                  >
                                  > Boy, talking about agendas...
                                  >
                                  > Okay, let's see: "Roots" was written in the early '70s (miniseries in
                                  > 1977), >>>
                                  >
                                  >You are right about the date but the series runs regularly as a truthful
                                  >portrayal of slavery and Alex Haley was sued for plagerism and settled out
                                  of
                                  >court. It only took a moment to find the following on the net.
                                  >London Times 9/7/97
                                  >
                                  >American TV boycotts expose' of Haley's Roots
                                  >
                                  >by John Harlow
                                  >Arts Correspondent
                                  >
                                  >AMERICAN television networks are boycotting a BBC documentary exposing the
                                  >extent to which Alex Haley falsified his family history in his best-selling
                                  >book, Roots.
                                  >
                                  >Network executives admit they are worried that the program, which will be
                                  >broadcast in Britain next weekend as part of the Bookworm series, could
                                  cause
                                  >racial tension - especially in the Deep South where Haley, who died five
                                  >years ago, is most revered.
                                  >
                                  >Roots was billed as the true story of Haley's family, traced back six
                                  >generations to a west African called Kunta Kinte who was captured by slave
                                  >traders in The Gambia and sold to American plantation owners. It was a
                                  >cultural phenomenon when it appeared in 1976 and earned Haley 200 literary
                                  >prizes, a 32 million dollar estate, the friendship of President Jimmy
                                  Carter
                                  >and the gratitude of black America. Within a year, however, doubts started
                                  >surfacing.
                                  >
                                  >In 1977 The Sunday Times tracked down a folk historian in The Gambia who
                                  had
                                  >been a crucial source for Haley. The investigation exposed both men as
                                  deeply
                                  >unreliable. Other revelations about Haley's occasionally slipshod research
                                  >followed.
                                  >
                                  >The Bookworm program suggests that Haley not only made mistakes but
                                  >deliberately falsified his own records for dramatic effect.
                                  >
                                  >Philip Nobile, a writer who has spent years cross-checking the sources in
                                  >Roots, regards Haley as a shameless hoaxer: "Virtually every fact in the
                                  >closing critical pages of Roots is false. Nobody would have challenged this
                                  >book if it had been classified as fiction, but Haley defrauded the very
                                  >people he claimed he was championing."
                                  >
                                  >Academics in the field of pan-African studies, where Roots is an essential
                                  >textbook, reluctantly agree. "We have accepted we must honour the spirit
                                  >rather than the letter of Roots, but to have it systematically demolished
                                  >would only play into the hands of white supremicists," said a teacher at
                                  >Tennessee University, where the records of Haley's 10-year search for his
                                  >ancestors are stored.
                                  >
                                  >The Haley family rejects all claims against the author, suggesting the
                                  >evidence is "trivial and malicious". But Henrik Clarke, a veteran black
                                  >historian, told Bookworm: "As a people short of heroes, we sometimes take
                                  the
                                  >best we can get and sometimes we exaggerate them into something
                                  >a little bit better than they deserve to be."
                                  >***********************************
                                  >I will post later on the remainder of your comments.
                                  >
                                  >David Allen
                                  >
                                  >------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  >The possibilities are endless!
                                  >http://www.onelist.com
                                  >ONElist has something for everyone!
                                  >------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  >Archives for the list can be viewed at
                                  >http://www.onelist.com/archives.cgi/alabamahistory
                                  >
                                • arque
                                  send NO more mail please ... From: DANptAL@aol.com To: alabamahistory@onelist.com Date: Wednesday, May 05, 1999
                                  Message 16 of 16 , May 6, 1999
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    send NO more mail please
                                    -----Original Message-----
                                    From: DANptAL@... <DANptAL@...>
                                    To: alabamahistory@onelist.com <alabamahistory@onelist.com>
                                    Date: Wednesday, May 05, 1999 3:11 PM
                                    Subject: Re: [alabamahistory] Slave Narratives


                                    >From: DANptAL@...
                                    >
                                    >In a message dated 5/4/99 2:40:52 PM Central Daylight Time,
                                    >costello@... writes:
                                    >
                                    ><< What do you mean by this? Portrayals of slavery run the gamut from
                                    > "Amistad" (which I have been led to believe is fairly close to 'actual')
                                    to
                                    > the absolutely hideous D.H. Lawrence "Birth of a Nation" (which led to the
                                    > celebration/approval of the KKK, supported the racist policies of Woodrow
                                    > Wilson, and was a "source" for "Gone With The Wind" [about which 'nuff
                                    >said]).>>
                                    >
                                    >My point is that slightly less that 6% of Southerners owned slaves (6.4% in
                                    >Alabama-1860 census). Then we have evidence in the Slave Narratives that
                                    most
                                    >have favorible things to say about slave days and their masters. Taking
                                    that
                                    >into account the percentage of Southerners that owned and abused their
                                    slaves
                                    >would extremely low and would surprise most people.
                                    >
                                    ><<< >"Roots" by Alex Haley and the "Civil War" by Ken Burns are prime
                                    > >examples. And that is where caution in interpreting should be applied.
                                    I
                                    > >will accept the words of the old slaves any day before I would those
                                    >current
                                    > >PC historians who have an agenda to promote.
                                    >
                                    > "...before I would those current PC historians who have an agenda to
                                    >promote."
                                    >
                                    > Boy, talking about agendas...
                                    >
                                    > Okay, let's see: "Roots" was written in the early '70s (miniseries in
                                    > 1977), >>>
                                    >
                                    >You are right about the date but the series runs regularly as a truthful
                                    >portrayal of slavery and Alex Haley was sued for plagerism and settled out
                                    of
                                    >court. It only took a moment to find the following on the net.
                                    >London Times 9/7/97
                                    >
                                    >American TV boycotts expose' of Haley's Roots
                                    >
                                    >by John Harlow
                                    >Arts Correspondent
                                    >
                                    >AMERICAN television networks are boycotting a BBC documentary exposing the
                                    >extent to which Alex Haley falsified his family history in his best-selling
                                    >book, Roots.
                                    >
                                    >Network executives admit they are worried that the program, which will be
                                    >broadcast in Britain next weekend as part of the Bookworm series, could
                                    cause
                                    >racial tension - especially in the Deep South where Haley, who died five
                                    >years ago, is most revered.
                                    >
                                    >Roots was billed as the true story of Haley's family, traced back six
                                    >generations to a west African called Kunta Kinte who was captured by slave
                                    >traders in The Gambia and sold to American plantation owners. It was a
                                    >cultural phenomenon when it appeared in 1976 and earned Haley 200 literary
                                    >prizes, a 32 million dollar estate, the friendship of President Jimmy
                                    Carter
                                    >and the gratitude of black America. Within a year, however, doubts started
                                    >surfacing.
                                    >
                                    >In 1977 The Sunday Times tracked down a folk historian in The Gambia who
                                    had
                                    >been a crucial source for Haley. The investigation exposed both men as
                                    deeply
                                    >unreliable. Other revelations about Haley's occasionally slipshod research
                                    >followed.
                                    >
                                    >The Bookworm program suggests that Haley not only made mistakes but
                                    >deliberately falsified his own records for dramatic effect.
                                    >
                                    >Philip Nobile, a writer who has spent years cross-checking the sources in
                                    >Roots, regards Haley as a shameless hoaxer: "Virtually every fact in the
                                    >closing critical pages of Roots is false. Nobody would have challenged this
                                    >book if it had been classified as fiction, but Haley defrauded the very
                                    >people he claimed he was championing."
                                    >
                                    >Academics in the field of pan-African studies, where Roots is an essential
                                    >textbook, reluctantly agree. "We have accepted we must honour the spirit
                                    >rather than the letter of Roots, but to have it systematically demolished
                                    >would only play into the hands of white supremicists," said a teacher at
                                    >Tennessee University, where the records of Haley's 10-year search for his
                                    >ancestors are stored.
                                    >
                                    >The Haley family rejects all claims against the author, suggesting the
                                    >evidence is "trivial and malicious". But Henrik Clarke, a veteran black
                                    >historian, told Bookworm: "As a people short of heroes, we sometimes take
                                    the
                                    >best we can get and sometimes we exaggerate them into something
                                    >a little bit better than they deserve to be."
                                    >***********************************
                                    >I will post later on the remainder of your comments.
                                    >
                                    >David Allen
                                    >
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