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Is this truly moral? An Enslaved Persons Appeal. I am going to first start off by defining the difference between the two terms “Slave and Enslaved”. I also want to say we are not slaves but enslaved people instead. I’ve come to the understanding that the term slave/slavery is misused. I have done it, the one thing you people didn’t want us to do, and that was to learn how to read and write. Don’t you get it? If I were a slave I would have followed your every command and we wouldn’t be here, me writing this appeal, and you reading this very appeal. The fact that I am my own person and have my own will shows that we aren’t slaves and instead we are enslaved people. This shows exactly what I mentioned previously.
Now with that all said obviously in no means am I a slave, me writing this appeal to you shows that. A slave is someone who has no will of their own its essentially, a goal state, in which you wish to impose upon us. The truth of the matter is we were enslaved, we have our own will, and we will not stop fighting for freedom. If we do stop, we will reach that goal state and finally be deemed a true slave. With all that said do you think what you are doing is moral still? Because of the way slavery is set up, people who are enslaved have no sense of unity. We have all been separated from each other. One way in which we combatted this problem was through the black convention movement. Through Black leaders we found ways to network with each other, we would meet up with one another and discuss about how communities and ways of improving them.
We also would take on different jobs in order to improve our way of living, things like elevating free black status as well as ways we can abolish slavery. “We are as a people, chained together. We are one people – one in general complexion, one in a common degradation, one in popular estimation. As one rises, al must rise, and as one falls all must fall” (Pg. 228). I quoted this because it was one major idea of one of the various conventions we set up. All this means is that for slavery to end we must all hold up our own parts for us to abolishing slavery. We must look out for each other, care for one another, and help each other grow and eventually reach freedom. Another way in which we were able to combat the system was through the black press which was key in networking with one another. There were many newspapers that were published but short-lived unfortunately. This leads up to the man by the name of Frederick Douglass.
First, I am going to back track to the point I made earlier about the two terms Slave and Enslaved. If we were slaves, we wouldn’t be finding ways to end slavery and help each other out. The man I would like to talk about, Frederick Douglass, furthermore proves the difference between a slave and an enslaved person very well. Mr. Douglass wrote what was considered the most influential newspaper in 1847 called the North Star. This newspaper from what I know was very well written, it attacked slavery in all its forms and aspects. It not only was targeted to just the black audience but also attracted white readers. Once again, he to, has done what you didn’t what him to do, he learned to read and write and made a very influential paper that not only attracted black people but also white people alike. Frederick Douglass not only wrote a great newspaper but also a great speech. In his speech he talks about the various things that the slave power can do such as silencing the voice of other abolitionist, and even go as far as to cut our tongues and burn our anti-slavery books in order to keep slavery alive. He then mentions that the slave power will be ill at ease, and this to me was Frederick Douglass’s way of saying slavery wont stick around. He believed strongly that we could end slavery, I too believe it. Now I ask once again is enslaving an entire people who I might add, have their own will and rights to freedom, moral? As you guys adapted, we very much adapted as well. When you guys started patrolling the areas, we found loopholes around your security and ways of warning each other. We would sing songs in order to warn one another about nearby patrollers. A few of us even learned yet again to read and write and learned to forge their own passes. It is very hard to get ink and paper and yet we figured out ways to get our hands on them. Why do you think we kept escaping even after seeing what happens to those who were caught? Because in a way it was in itself a form of our resistance. Think about it, it costed you time and money, and because of that it reminded you guys that we very much have a will of our own. The term slave, a goal state, obviously wasn’t met if we wouldn’t back down in our attempts to attain our freedom.
The underground railroad was a way in which we adapted to the everchanging system of slavery. It is a network of black and white antislavery activists who would shelter escaped slaves. Keep in mind this network wasn’t just black antislavery activists, but also white antislavery activists. We got help from a few of your people who disagreed with slavery. Still think you are right and moral? What was one thing that worried you guys? It was the hiring/living out system that worried you guys so much. Why did it worry you? Because through the system we “slaves” or rather we enslaved people got a degree of freedom. We used the system that you all set up against you guys. By living cheaply and working many hours a few of use were able to buy ourselves out of the system in which you call slavery, we bought our freedom. Again, this is another distinguishable trait between a slave and an enslaved person. We obviously are not as dumb as you guys initially thought, seeing as you set us up in a system called Chattel Slavery and made us out to be just as equal as other chattel. We were compared to animals and furniture, tell me when is the last time you have had an animal revolt and write a written appeal for its freedom? You still think its moral now? We will continue to fight for our freedom and it seems to me that the fight for freedom has expanded and is receiving help from others. Abraham Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation in an effort to free the enslaved people in states that still rebelled against the United States. I read further into the Emancipation Proclamation and learned that this was Abrahams hope for the gradual or complete abolishment of slavery as stated later in the Emancipation Proclamation. I also learned that the problem with the Emancipation Proclamation and why it didn’t directly free any enslaved people is because it was Abraham Lincoln asking for the freedom of them. As I continued to read the emancipation proclamation I began to see that Abraham Lincoln had no control over the confederate states, therefore he couldn’t make you guys free any slaves. If Abraham Lincoln a man who owned slaves himself wrote a proclamation to try to end slavery than I know the rest of you can to.
While the Emancipation Proclamation may not have done anything directly, I believe some day it will lead to great things such as the abolishment of slavery. After reading all of this, do you still believe what you are doing is morally right? I wrote this appeal because much like you we are human. We think and feel, the same as you. We have rights just as much as you do. We are not inferior to you in anyway. You made us out to be to the equivalent of animals and yet here we are asking for our freedom, asking for us to have the same opportunities you get. We aren’t slaves, it should be clear to you by now that this is true. This written appeal itself shows you that I am not what you say I am. I have learned to read, I have learned to write, and here I stand asking for my freedom.
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