STOLEN CHILDHOOD: Slave Youth in Nineteenth-Century America by Wilma King

STOLEN CHILDHOOD: Slave Youth in Nineteenth-Century America

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It is a maxim of social theory that slavery wreaked its greatest destruction on the black family. Long ignored in those theories is the place of children as such; how they meted out their lives separate from the adults around them. King (History/Michigan State Univ.) attempts to detail this neglected part of the story but ultimately fails to show the peculiar complexity of the lives of slave children. Her problem is likely a problem of sources. As she acknowledges herself, there are very few primary records that deal with children alone. Thus the book is left to make speculations that are sketchy at best, often extrapolating facts about adult slave life to the lives of slave children in order to fill in gaps. King touches momentarily on a subject of great interest when she discusses slave children's discovery of their condition as slaves, a topic rife with serious philosophical and sociological issues that could be meaningfully teased out through a focus on children. But King's brief treatment leaves too many important questions unexplored, and the result is ultimately unsatisfying.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0253211867
Page count: 269pp
Publisher: Indiana Univ.