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Runaways from then until Now

Non-fiction Modern Day Slavery with Literature Notes

By Jenia SilverPublished about a year ago 5 min read
Slaves in the State of Texas before 1863's Emancipation Proclamation (Houston Chronicle)

When entering the two words "Human Slavery" into Google, I received over 61 million results. In the photo for this article, I researched actual slavery and its history. This photo was from an archive held at the Houston Chronicle. While I am from the south, a state called Texas, the history of our foundation lies in the ugly truth of a past. Slavery was a reality that took the freedoms from African Americans, for a use of false commercial profits. A war was fought to ensure protections that slavery was unfair and unneeded.

All throughout life being a student I was taught very little about the truth and slavery. Economically driven in the 1800's, our country struggled to set forth a peaceful resolve. Black History Month highlights some of the stories of documented freed slaves. Yet, learning the history is limited. Inspiring historical presences about slaves fighting back yielded stories of those who could run away.

Media has the potential to share a part of our life that would have never been known. Songs; stories; novels and textbooks all portray a differing side to the existence of a dark past: Slavery. One that will not be ignored or go untold. While some of the most weel known authors were freed slaves themselves, their life remains an invaluable testimony to over-coming the atrocity of Human Slavery.

Before I open the mind to more than a 100 years of history, I interlude this moment of lyrical reasoning. A song I would hear as a young teen in times when the Berlin Wall had been knocked down freeing more than two bordering nations from the hold of the Cold War era. As times are tough now, war is in the press remember this: running away is for those who never knew how to fight. Running away means survival and the fact your freedom is ahead of you.

Soul Asylum’s Runaway Train:

Chorus to the song explained it all:

Run Away Train Never Going Back

Wrong Way on a one-way track

Seems like I should be getting somewhere…….

Somehow, I am neither here nor there……

The songs goes on several more stanzas leading to the conclusion:

I’m in too Deep, there’s No Way Out…

Now a selection as a banned book for its true- life controversy, Mark Twain’s novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, published in 1885 is set on this young boy’s pursuit of running away to be free. Tom Sawyer meets his new best friend, a young boy around the same teen age who is running away shocked at slavery existing. The story of this classic tale of literature is set onto The Mississippi River. Down the river the two boys travel as runaways to seek fun. The quiet peace on the side of a river is hiding the conception of war and slavery.

The plot directs the audience to know running away was an effort of Quakers to help those in need. The war between the North and the South would change our country forever. Quakers were humanitarians during and before the Civil War dating from 1841 to 1845. Running away at times when plantation owners had privileges to own slaves was unlawful. Brought into America on ships from the country of Africa was not a slave's choice.

Some slaves, who if were freed, desired to learn how to read. A few of those fortunate men and women would go on to educate others. Their stories open a method to appreciate knowing the difference.

Two names to give here which set aside fiction from fact: Harriett Tubman and Fredrick Douglas.

Mr. Douglas was a freed slave escaping through traveling northern seaports. The memoirs of his life were published as The Life and Times of Fredrick Douglas (1881 and 1892). One such essay was named: Learning How to Read and Write. In this work, he recalls how his mistreatment as a slave took onto his first tutor, “Slavery soon proved as injurious to her as it did me.” The burden of this work provides evidence of his effort to survive needed to be shared for others to know.

Once freed, Frederick Douglas, assisted others at doing the same. His abolitionist movement published a few periodicals named: North Star and Douglas’ Monthly. After the Civil War had ended, former volunteer fighter who rose to the ranks of Union General in the battlefields were rewarded his efforts. Under President Rutherford B. Hayes he held a position at the White House as the first freed slave to have official employment.

Harriet Tubman also led slaves to freedom during the Civil War. Another abolitionist that gave directions to a secret passage in a tunnel heading north. It was known as the Underground Railroad. Runaways could have been captured, and real-life threats tormented those seeking to be free. From Ferry Raids to violent uprisings, Ms. Tubman is a fighter to put an end to the hold that the South used to profit from. Slavery consisting to workers laboring in fields up to 12 hours a day in unlivable conditions without pay. Nowadays the abuse of practice of labor should never restrain citizenship.

From the signing of The Emancipation Proclamation (which ended slavery), given by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863; to 160 years later in 2023 slavery still exists. Countries like Ukraine; Afghanistan and unknown parts of South American countries all claim questionably the whereabouts of lost children from refugeeing populations. Since 2014, word of separated children at the Texas and Mexico border have been in the press. Something has to be done.

Fiction or fact, the references of the written word had intentions to do more than entertain. Amazon Originals in 2021 airs the historical drama: The Underground Railroad. In the 1980’s we were left to rent the movie: Gone with the Wind at Blockbuster. As more activists and educators center to teach Race Theory and Gender Studies the topic of Modern-Day Slavery is hush. I reflect on times when this term “Modern Slavery” was not a vocabulary word for an elementary student. History is being lived now that will mold generations after our own.

Running is not for everyone. The help to survive after running away is a life-long challenge to some. Some stay and fight. Others may need protecting. Remember Freedom is not Free. No one deserves Modern Day Slavery. No citizen should be abandoned of citizenship or governmental protections. Leaders must lead and followers must be safe to do their part.

studentvintagecoursescollegefact or fiction

About the Creator

Jenia Silver

Jenia is from North Texas, college educated, loves to write and create stories. The years of internet publications have brought on many other sites. Vocal.Media is the fifth site to publish this creator.

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