Bedford, H. F. and Colbourn, T. The Americans: A Brief History to 1877. New York, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1972.
Unger, I. (ed.) American Issues: A Primary Source Reader in United States History. New Jersey, Prentice Hall, 1994.
Douglass, F. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. New York, Anchor Books, 1973.
Beckett, Ian F. W., The American Civil War: The War Correspondents. New Hampshire: Alan Sutton, 1993.
In reality, black slaves were not allowed education, were not considered to have a right to their children (since, being owned property their offspring were considered property extensions), and were often treated to the most inhumane and deplorable abuses imaginable. If we want to see how unrealistic Mitchell’s portrayal of black slaves truly is compared to the reality, we need look at another book, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave. In his book Douglass chronicles the horrors and abusive conditions known to most black slaves at the hands of their tyrannical and sadistic white owners. In Douglass’ account, being slopped like so many hogs, being severely whipped for even imagined transgressions, and experiencing a complete lack of humanity in white slave owners, represent much more accurately the real life experiences of slaves. In one section of the work, he discusses how a new mistress who at first appeared the kindest and finest woman he had ever known soon became just one more tyrannical, inhumane white woman once she was empowered as a slave owner, “This kind heart had but a short time to remain such. The fatal poison of irresponsible power was already in her hands, and soon commenced its infernal work. That cheerful eye, under the influence of slavery, soon became red with rage; that voice, made all of sweet accord, changed to one of harsh and horrid discord; and that angelic face gave place to that of a demon” (Douglass 36). Of course, this is mild compared to the brutal whippings and