Saturday, October 27, 2018

Reading - 18C American Woman with a Book

1776 Charles Willson Peale (American artist, 1741-1827) Mrs James Latimer marking her place in a book

 Historian Janet Cornelius says, “literacy was a two-edged sword” for owners: slaves’ literacy might serve to increase the owners’ control, “but resourceful slaves seized the opportunity to expand their own powers.” Many slave-owners were nervous about educating their slaves, because  slaves who learned to read & write gained privacy, leisure time, & mobility. A few wrote their own passes & escaped from slavery. Literate slaves also taught others & served as conduits for information within a slave communication network.  Literacy could be the 1st step on the path to freedom.