Home > Uncategorized > We may never know…

We may never know…

I’m with group 1 and we are working on the pre-civil war experience of an African American (free or enslaved) in Georgetown. Even though we are finding several sources of information to draw upon, we are finding some difficulties of really gaining an authentic account of what life would have been like for these men and woman during this era. This is because during this time, Blacks were not considered significant enough for whites to write about their history, and most African-Americans could not read or write for themselves during this time. They were property, and their lives were recorded accordingly. However, there are a few accounts of Blacks in the area that give some incite. These accounts may be slave narratives (written by blacks) or accounts in newspapers and old books (written by whites). Both are helpful reads that give the reader a general idea of life during that time. On the other hand, both accounts also have their pitfalls. The slave narratives can only offer one specific account of what life was like for that one individual during that era. Maybe that black person had a good master and did not have such a bad experience in Georgetown, or maybe another black person was tortured beyond reason and had a very painful/traumatic experience. These types of accounts are very subjective. They are based on the personal experience and most of them are difficult to understand because of the lack of literacy during that time. As for books (written by white authors) that encapsulate Georgetown’s history, these are almost always biased. Thus, playing down the severity of racism and the impact of slavery during this time. These choices, however, are almost all we have to choose from for this era.

Unfortunately, there are just some things we cannot find because there are gaps and areas that were not well documented at all. Therefore we will have to make some educated guesses based on the information we have. We may never discover what life was like back during that time, because we have to deal with issues such as perspective, illiteracy, and very few sources; but we can try.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. 4lillie5
    February 15, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    My group is also looking at old newspapers to get a feel for historic black experience and I imagine this is a problem we’ll run into as well. With so few resources relevant to the time and subject available and with those available likely biased it seems like a real challenge to try to untangle the past to create some kind of accurate representation of Georgetown history.

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