HARD TRIALS ON: MY WAY by John Anthony Scott


Email this review


Scott strongly maintains that the anti-slavery movement was begun and developed by the slaves themselves through various manifestations -- violent, non-violent and purely cultural resistance; that the appearance of abolitionist sentiment among whites in the North was a later reaction to this; and that decades of segregation have produced a distinct Black nationality. Scott uses primary sources to build his case and does so effectively -- with Frederick Law Olmstead's journalism puncturing the myth of the planter aristocracy; a searching portrait of Nat Turner; and the narrative of Solomon Northrup (Twelve Years as a Slave) to remind us of the large part played by blacks, including slaves, in the Underground Railroad. The method is, however, highly selective; it almost seems that William Lloyd Garrison was the first northern white ever to oppose slavery, and many important leaders (such as Frederick Douglass) are barely mentioned. This is intriguing social history and an accessible presentation of 19th century documents, but readers should keep in mind that -- though they have the weight of much recent scholarship behind them -- Scott's conclusions are still in the arena of ongoing historical debate.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1974
Publisher: Knopf