After two weeks, I’ve finally finished reading To Be a Slave by Julius Lester. The book isn’t a long one, but with all that I have going on, I can’t sit and read books in a few hours like I can if I don’t have other things that need to be done.
To be a slave is a collection of different accounts–men and women that were enslaved. It is a record of their thoughts and feelings about living a life in slavery with the undying hope of one day being free.
I’ve always been a fan of history–especially my history. While it’s definitely not pleasant to read about what my ancestors have had to endure, I can definitely say that I admire their strength and their faith. I am reminded of the sacrifice and the bravery of my predecessors and I appreciate it.
I think my favorite part of this book was the last two chapters which discussed the Emancipation Proclamation and how life was afterwards. Without a doubt, those enslaved were overjoyed and rejoiced in the day where they were finally free, but the book also describes how short lived that freedom was. Of course the slaves were given their freedom officially and they were finally counted as human beings, but slavery did indeed still exist. Just in a different form.
The book gave different accounts and examples of the new forms of slavery and it saddened me when those accounts included how it wasn’t long before the slaves realized this. How free are you if you have nothing and the only way to ever be able to get a little something to be completely independent is to go back to your “owner” and ask to work for him. The book even mentions how when these free slaves returned to their previous owners, they weren’t necessarily paid with currency, but with the use of tools, and crops, etc. which were called shares. And when their boss finished tallying up what all that cost, they were in debt. And once again, they were enslaved.
I can go on and on about this subject and how I feel that slavery still exists. But, I’ll save that for another outlet. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading this book. But I knew I would before I even started.