The skin of every human being contains a slave.
courtesy of Dave Thomson
Man is the only Slave. And he is the only animal who enslaves. He has always
been a slave in one form or another, and has always held other slaves in bondage
under him in one way or another. In our day he is always some man's slave for
wages, and does that man's work; and this slave has other slaves under him for
minor wages, and they do his work. The higher animals are the only ones who
exclusively do their own work and provide their own living.
- "The Lowest Animal"
No animal inflicts it but Man and the Ant; no animal endures it with contentment
and transmits it to his posterity without shame but Man alone.
- "Letters from a Dog to Another Dog Explaining and Accounting for Man"
|In those old slave-holding days the whole community
was agreed as to one thing--the awful sacredness of slave property. To help
steal a horse or a cow was a low crime, but to help a hunted slave, or feed
him or shelter him, or hide him, or comfort him, in his troubles, his terrors,
his despair, or hesitate to promptly to betray him to the slave-catcher
when opportunity offered was a much baser crime, & carried with it a
stain, a moral smirch which nothing could wipe away. That this sentiment
should exist among slave-owners is comprehensible--there were good commercial
reasons for it--but that it should exist & did exist among the paupers,
the loafers the tag-rag & bobtail of the community, & in a passionate
& uncompromising form, is not in our remote day realizable. It seemed
natural enough to me then; natural enough that Huck & his father the
worthless loafer should feel it & approve it, though it seems now absurd.
It shows that that strange thing, the conscience--the unerring monitor--can
be trained to approve any wild thing you want it to approve if you begin
its education early & stick to it.
- Notebook #35 (reprinted in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Univ. of California Press, 2003)
...the "poor whites" of our South who were always despised, and frequently
insulted, by the slave lords around them, and who owed their base condition
simply to the presence of slavery in their midst, were yet pusillanimously ready
to side with the slave lords in all political moves for the upholding and perpetuating
of slavery, and did also finally shoulder their muskets and pour out their lives
in an effort to prevent the destruction of that very institution which degraded
them. And there was only one redeeming feature connected with that pitiful piece
of history; and that was, that secretly the "poor white" did detest
the slave lord, and did feel his own shame. That feeling was not brought to
the surface, but the fact that it was there and could have been brought out,
under favoring circumstances, was something--in fact it was enough; for it showed
that a man is at bottom a man, after all, even if it doesn't show on the outside.
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Our Civil War was a blot on our history, but not as great a blot as the buying
and selling of Negro souls.
- quoted by Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch in letter to New York Herald Tribune, November 19, 1941
Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search