Abolitionist Literature

Diana Shao, Judy Xu, David Lee, Austin Zhang

The Life and Sufferings of John Joseph

Biography

John Joseph was born in Ashantee to distinguished Chiefs of a Western African tribe. He was kidnapped when he was three by an opposing tribe during a war and taken as a slave to New Orleans, Louisiana, along with his sister. He made many attempts to escape and was continually whipped inhumanely. By the grace of one of his kind masters, he was able to accept Christ and became a Christian who believed that all men were equal under God. He escaped to England after obtaining his freedom and published his narrative in the hopes of showing Americans the error in their ways in relationship with their Christian beliefs.


Summary

After trying to escape his first slave owner, Mr. Johnstone, Joseph was sold to a kinder master, Mr. Smith, who treated him well and introduced him to God. However, Mr. Smith gambled him away to a Dr. Browne, who was very cruel and treated Joseph poorly. After several attempts to escape, Joseph finally obtains his freedom with the help of a Native American and some British sailors. After his escape, Joseph wanted to find his sister and allow her to share in his gift of freedom. His detailed description of the harsh treatments he faced and the hope he had found in religion moved many and inspired slaves that desired to be free, which allowed the abolitionist movement to gain more supporters.

Inspiration

John Joseph was inspired by the idea of freedom that he knew every man deserved. He wanted escape from the cruel, life usurping treatment that his final slave master used. After being used to a kind slave master that introduced to him justice and kindness and the grace of God, the harsh treatments he faced became unbearable, especially when he knew that all were equal under God.

Importance

John Joseph’s narrative truly brought into perspective the disparity between the actions and beliefs of Americans in relation to God. He continually mentions the equality that every man deserves because God created every man equally; then, he contrasts this with how he was unfairly treated. By demonstrating the hypocritical nature of American values, John Joseph called for change with his honest, humble foray into American politics.


Information referenced from ""John Joseph. The Life and Sufferings of John Joseph, a Native of Ashantee, in Western Africa: Who Was Stolen from His Parents at the Age of 3 Years, and Sold to Mr. Johnstone, a Cotton Planter, in New Orleans, South America." John Joseph. The Life and Sufferings of John Joseph, a Native of Ashantee, in Western Africa: Who Was Stolen from His Parents at the Age of 3 Years, and Sold to Mr. Johnstone, a Cotton Planter, in New Orleans, South America. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2015."

Frederick Douglass

This man has a special place in the abolitionist movement because of his unrelenting dedication to freedom and equality for ALL people. Here are a few of his life accomplishments in his endless pursuit towards the American Dream

  1. 1841 Employed as lecturer for Anti-Slavery society
  2. 1843 Toured around the U.S. with the American Anti-Slavery Society's Hundred Conventions project
  3. 1845 Published A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave
  4. 1847 Publishes North Star newspaper, became known as an eloquent speaker for emancipation and women's rights
  5. 1848 Was active during the Seneca Falls Women's Rights Convention
  6. 1855 his 2nd autobiography (My Bondage and My Freedom) helped many runaway slaves gain freedom through the underground railroad
  7. 1863 Worked closely with Abraham Lincoln before and after the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation
  8. 1874 was made the President of the Reconstruction Freedman's Savings Bank
  9. 1874 Worked with Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee
  10. 1881 Became a federal marshal for the District of Columbia in 1877


For more information see:

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Biography

Full Name: Harriet Beecher Stowe

Date of Birth: june 14th, 1811

Place of Birth: Litchfield, CT, USA

Date of Death: july 1th, 1896


Spouse Calvin Ellis Stowe


Harriet Beecher Stowe was a religious woman from a religious family. She went to Hartford Female Seminary and became a teacher. After moving to Cincinnati, Ohio, she saw suffering life of black people from Cincinnati riot of 1829. This affected Harriet became great foundation of her writing.


Book cover



Summary

Uncle Tom, who is one of the faithful sevant of Mr. Shellby, was sold from his master and he moved to many plantations. He met many people and started to see the unfairness of the slavery and started have new perspective. At the end, Tom tried to save other slaves but he get beaten up and die for them.


Importance

Uncle Tom's Cabin was the trigger of the civil war and made great influence to Americans. The strength of the this book was making slavery from political or economical problems which are not closely related to the citizens to personal and emotional problem that can bring people's sympathy. This affected in other social reforms and internationally.


For more information, please visit:

https://www.harrietbeecherstowecenter.org/utc/impact.shtml

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Conclusion

Abolitionist writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, and John Joseph changed people's perspective towards slavery by using their personal experiences and powerful emotional messages to inspire empathy within their readers. Harriet faced black people suffering from cincinnati riot and wrote it emotionally. John Joseph's slave narrative marked the sharp contrast between Americans' religious beliefs and their actions by pushing for change in the equality of men. Frederick Douglass totally changed the world's perspective towards slavery and human rights