Sour Grapes Post Election 2012

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Black Woman's Civil War Memories

by Susie King Taylor:

Taylor was born a slave in 1848 on an island off the coast of Georgia. She gained her freedom and worked as a laundress for an African-American Union regiment during the war.

Taylor recalls how she learned to read and write and then herself became a teacher. She offers fascinating details about her life with the troops. She had many different duties beyond laundry service. I loved the episode where she recalls concocting "a very delicious custard" from turtle eggs and canned condensed milk, and serving it to the troops.

Taylor condemns the lack of appreciation shown for both black and white Civil War veterans. She also condemns early 20th century racism. Reading her book I was reminded of W.E.B. Du Bois' classic "The Souls of Black Folk," which was first published around the same time; I think the two books complement each other well.

Taylor ends on a note of hope and pride, noting "my people are striving" for better lives. This book is, in my opinion, an important milestone in African American literature.

First published in 1902. A new edition, edited by Patricia Romero and featuring an introduction by Willie Lee Rose, appeared in 1988. In that new intro Rose declared, "There is nothing even vaguely resembling Susie King Taylor's small volume of random recollections in the entire literature of the Civil War, or in that of any other American conflict insofar as I am aware." Indeed, this book is a rare and valuable historical document.

A Black Woman's Civil War Memoirs: Reminiscences of My Life in Camp With the 33rd U.S. Colored Troops, Late 1st South Carolina Volunteerswritten by Susie King Taylor, Patricia W. RomeroStudio : M. Wiener M. Wiener Pub.Publisher : M. Wiener Pub.Released : 1988-04

No comments:

Post a Comment