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ENGL411: African-American Literature

Unit 2: Literature of Slavery   The literature of slavery is the literature of freedom as well.  Slave narratives were produced by former slaves and were instrumental in documenting life on the plantations for slaves and for abolitionists to further their cause.  This unit will explore the writings of slaves (Wheatley) as well as the slave narratives of those who escaped their captivity (Douglass).  In this unit, you will study the characteristics of slave narratives and trace how those narratives influenced the genre of slave novels. 

Unit 2 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 21.5 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 2.1: 0.5 hour

☐    Subunit 2.2: 4.25 hours ☐    Subunit 2.2.1: 3.75 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2.2: 0.5 hour

☐    Subunit 2.3: 6 hours ☐    Subunit 2.3.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.3.2: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 2.3.3: 0.5 hour

☐    Subunit 2.4: 7 hours ☐    Subunit 2.4.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.4.2: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.4.3: 2.5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.4.4: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 2.5: 3.75 hours

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Explain the influence of slavery on the development of African American literature. - Identify the characteristics of slave narratives and apply them to texts. - Explain the use of slave narratives by abolitionists. - Compare and contrast the experiences related in slave narratives written by men and women. - Explain the trope of the "tragic mulatto" and its relation to the sentimental in African American slave narratives.

2.1 Conditions of Slavery   - Lecture: UC College Prep’s US History: Lesson 25 King Cotton Topic Three: “Condition of Slaves” Link: UC College Prep’s US History: Lesson 25 King Cotton Topic Three: “Condition of Slaves” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Once at the above linked site, click on the “Start Lesson” button to begin the lecture.  Move ahead to the third section, “Condition of Slaves” and view this entire portion of the presentation.  Then, click on the “text” tab, and read the three pages of information on the conditions of slaves.  You may also want to click on the images under “Explore.”
 
You should spend approximately 30 minutes exploring this interactive lecture.
 
Terms of Use: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-No Derivatives 3.0 License.  Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

2.2 Poetry   2.2.1 The First African American Poet, Lucy Terry   - Reading: PoemHunter: Lucy Terry Prince’s “Bars Fight” Link: PoemHunter: Lucy Terry Prince’s “Bars Fight” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this poem by former slave and poet, Lucy Terry Prince. It may be useful to read this a few times to enhance your understanding.
 
Terms of Use: This resource is in the Public Domain.

  • Reading: Memorial Hall Museum Online: David R. Proper’s "Lucy Terry Prince - Singer of History” Link: Memorial Hall Museum Online: David R. Proper’s "Lucy Terry Prince - Singer of History” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read the entire webpage.  David R. Proper details Lucy Terry’s life and provides a look at the background of "Bars Fight."  You should dedicate approximately 3 hours to reading and studying this text.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

2.2.2 Phillis Wheatley as Colonial Poet   - Reading: Virginia Commonwealth University’s version of Phillis Wheatley’s “On Being Brought from Africa to America” (1773) Link: Virginia Commonwealth University’s version of Phillis Wheatley’s “On Being Brought from Africa to America” (HTML)
 
Instructions: First, read the brief poem one or more times; try reading the poem on the page and also reading the poem aloud.  Then, read the poem again, and hover your mouse over the words in red font in order to see study notes to aid your understanding of the poem.  This reading should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use for the webpage displayed above. 

  • Reading: University of Houston’s Engines of our Ingenuity: John H. Lienhard’s “Phillis Wheatley” Link: University of Houston’s Engines of our Ingenuity: John H. Lienhard’s “Phillis Wheatley” (HTML or QuickTime)

    Instructions: Please read this text for an overview of Wheatley’s life and career.  Alternatively, you may click on the link to listen to an audio version (about 3:30 minutes) of this lecture.  Note how the two colonial poets discussed in subunit 2.2 of this course, Terry and Wheatley, strove to replicate the style of the contemporary poetry of Europe.  Reading and note taking should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

2.3 Voices against Slavery   2.3.1 Abolition and the Press   - Reading: South Carolina State University: Professor Stanley Harrold’s "Abolitionist Movement" Link: South Carolina State University: Professor Stanley Harrold’s "Abolitionist Movement" (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this entire lecture.  The abolitionist movement was greatly aided by a press that was reaching free blacks through both black presses and white abolitionist papers.  This reading should take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

2.3.2 David Walker's Call to Violence   - Reading: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s version of David Walker’s "Appeal in Four Articles" Link: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s version of David Walker’s "Appeal in Four Articles" (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire transcription of Walker’s “Appeals in Four Articles,” and view the images of the primary source.  You should spend approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes studying this reading.

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the
webpage displayed above. 
  • Lecture: UC College Prep’s US History: Lesson 31 Reform Crusades Topic Four: “Abolitionism” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

    Submit Materials

2.3.3 Sojourner Truth: Slavery and Gender   - Reading: Fordham University’s Modern History Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Sojourner Truth’s "Ain't I a Woman?" Link: Fordham University’s Modern History Sourcebook: Professor Paul Halsall’s version of Sojourner Truth’s "Ain't I a Woman?" (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?”  In the two readings from subunits 2.2.2 and 2.2.3, Walker and Sojourner Truth both demand change by appealing to their audience's Christian beliefs.  Sojourner Truth introduces gender into the argument and Walker approves of violence to instigate change.  This reading should take you approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

  • Reading: Colorado College: Maciej Konieczny and Ugyen Sass's “Slavery and Gender” Link: Colorado College: Maciej Konieczny and Ugyen Sass's “Slavery and Gender” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Click the link above, scroll down and click on the “Slavery and Gender” link. Please read this entire lecture to learn about the gender differences in slavery and to help contextualize your readings of David Walker and Sojourner Truth.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

2.4 Slave Narratives   2.4.1 Characteristics of Slave Narratives   - Lecture: Annenberg Foundation’s American Passages: A Literary Survey: “Episode 7: Slavery and Freedom” Link: Annenberg Foundation’s American Passages: A Literary Survey: “Episode 7: Slavery and Freedom” (Adobe Flash)
 
Instructions: Scroll down the webpage to episode 7 “Slavery and Freedom,” and click on the “VOD” icon to launch the video.  Please watch the entire video (28:23 minutes).  Please note that this lecture also covers the topics outlined in subunits 2.4.3 and 2.4.4.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Washington State University: Professor Donna Campbell’s “The Slave Narrative” and “Characteristics of the Slave Narrative” Links: Washington State University: Professor Donna Campbell’s “The Slave Narrative” (HTML) and “Characteristics of the Slave Narrative” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please read the first lecture in its entirety for a definition, general information, and examples of the slave narrative.  Note that some of the hyperlinks are broken in this text, though most that work may be useful in studying associated content.  Then, read the second lecture that breaks down the common conventions of the slave narrative.  You should dedicate approximately 1 hour to reading these texts.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.4.2 Slave Narratives and Abolitionists   - Reading: Cornell University’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections: “I Will Be Heard!” Abolitionism in America” Link: Cornell University’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections: “I Will Be Heard!” Abolitionism in America” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Begin by reading the introduction and then click on “continue the tour” at the bottom of the webpage, or click on the titles of each section in the table of contents, to read from “Origins of Abolitionism” to “Thirteenth Amendment.”  Reading and note taking should take approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above. 

2.4.3 Frederick Douglass   - Reading: University of Virginia, Electronic Text Center: Frederick Douglass’s Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: “Chapter 1”

Link: University of Virginia Library, Electronic Text Center:
Frederick Douglass’s *Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass*:
“[Chapter
1](http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/DouNarr.html)”
(HTML)  
    
 Instructions: Please read Chapter 1, an autobiographical narrative
of Frederick Douglass, a leader of the abolitionist movement. 
Please dedicate approximately 1 hour to reading and studying this
text.  

 Terms of Use: This text is in the public domain.  Please respect
the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.
  • Lecture: YouTube: University of Houston: Dr. Barry Wood’s “Frederick Douglass: The Story of an Escaped Slave” Link: YouTube: University of Houston: Dr. Barry Wood’s “Frederick Douglass: The Story of an Escaped Slave” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Please view the entire lecture (1 hour and 24 minutes) for additional biographical information and the important historical contributions of Frederick Douglass.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

2.4.4 Harriet Jacobs and the Question of Slave Narrative Authenticity   - Reading: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s version of Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: “Chapter XVII: The Flight” Link: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s version of Harriet Jacobs’ Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: “Chapter XVII: The Flight” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read “Chapter XVII: The Flight” in its entirety (pages 145-149).  Jacobs states that "Slavery is terrible for men, but it is far more terrible for women."  Douglass and Jacobs’ two slave narratives are exemplars of the genre but differ in their attention to gender issues, particularly the issue of education that Douglass obtained but Jacobs did not.  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Lecture: YouTube: University of Houston: Dr. Barry Wood’s “Harriet Ann Jacobs: The Story of a Slave Girl” Link: YouTube: University of Houston: Dr. Barry Wood’s “Harriet Ann Jacobs: The Story of a Slave Girl” (YouTube)
     
    Instructions: Please view the entire video lecture (1 hour and 24 minutes) for biographical information on the life of Harriet Ann Jacobs.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.5 Slave Novels   2.5.1 Sentimentalism as Technique in Slave Novels   - Reading: Washington State University: Professor Donna Campbell’s “Domestic or Sentimental Fiction, 1820-1865” Link: Washington State University: Professor Donna Campbell’s “Domestic or Sentimental Fiction, 1820-1865” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire lecture notes and note where these themes are used in the selections from William Wells Brown and Harriet Wilson.  Note the argument of whether Harriet Beecher Stowe should be included as a practitioner of sentimental fiction; particularly, focus on the text in the “Context and Controversy” section.  This reading should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
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2.5.2 The Tragic Mulatto as Trope   - Reading: Ferris State University: David Pilgrim’s “The Tragic Mulatto Myth” Link: Ferris State University: David Pilgrim’s “The Tragic Mulatto Myth” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire lecture, which provides an overview of the origin and evolution of the literary character of the tragic mulatto.  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.5.3 William Wells Brown and the Sentimental Fiction of Slavery   - Reading: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s version of William Wells Brown’s Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter: “Chapter XV: To-Day a Mistress, To Morrow a Slave” Link: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s version of William Wells Brown’s Clotel; or, The President’s Daughter: “Chapter XV: Tod-Day a Mistress, To Morrow a Slave” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read “Chapter XV” in its entirety (pages 143-146).  Brown's Clotel is an example of a novel of "passing," whereby a light-skinned African American is able to "pass" for white, and a sentimental novel.  This reading should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

  • Reading: CBS Interactive Business Network Resource Library: African American Review, M. Giulia Fabi’s “The ‘Unregarded Expressions of the Feelings of the Negroes:’ Gender, Slave Resistance, and William Wells Brown’s Revisions of Clotel” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

    Submit Materials

2.5.4 Harriet E. Wilson's Lesser Known Slave Novel   - Reading: Penguin’s Reading Guide to Our Nig Link: Penguin’s Reading Guide to Our Nig (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this introductory information to Harriet E. Wilson’s Our Nig prior to reading chapters from the book.  This reading should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.

  • Reading: University of Virginia’s American Studies: Harriet E. Wilson’s Our Nig: “Chapter I: Mag Smith, My Mother” Link: University of Virginia’s American Studies: Harriet E. Wilson’s Our Nig:Chapter I: Mag Smith, My Mother” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read Chapter 1 in its entirety.  Harriet Wilson's slave novel Our Nig was problematic for contemporary abolitionists, because it did not fit squarely within the slave narrative tradition.  This reading should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use on the webpage displayed above.