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2 Burnside African American Studies- Slavery and Reconstruction

Slaves in the Family

by

Slaves in the Family Cover

 

 

Reading Group Guide

1. In the interview accompanying this guide, Edward Ball and Sonya Fordham discuss what they learned about slavery in school. What did you learn about slavery in school? How much of what you learned and what was taught was influenced by where you grew up, your own race, or the race of your teachers?

2. What did you learn about slavery and the history of African-Americans in America from this book that you did not already know? What surprised you about what you learned? 3. Do you feel the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s succeeded? Why or why not? What impact has the movement had on your life?

4. The subject of reparations for the descendants of slaves is one that Ball and Fordham touch upon in their interview. What are your feelings about reparations? What are the arguments for and against paying reparations in your view?

5. Do you know of a history of slavery in your own family, and if so, would you do as Edward Ball has and try to contact descendants of the slaves or the descendants of slave owners? Why would you want to contact them? What reaction would you expect?

6. Were you surprised by any of the reactions Ball received from descendants he contacted and met? Why or why not?

7. In one of his conversations with Leon Smalls, Ball asks Smalls if it is better to talk about the past and get it out in the open, or keep things in the past and let them rest (p. 126). Do you agree with Smalls's response that it's better to talk about and confront the past?

8. Much of Ball's story took place in or around Charleston, South Carolina, and his conversation with Fordham further discusses the community in Charleston today. How do whites, African-Americans, Asians, and people of other races interact in your community? Are there still traces of slavery's influence in your community? Have race relations in your community changed in your lifetime? What factors contributed to any changes? How is your community different from or similar to the portrait Fordham and Ball paint of Charleston?

9. Many people say, "Don't talk to me about slavery, because my family came to America after the Civil War." What do you reply to Ball's statement that white families who came to the United States after the end of slavery struggled, especially immigrants who arrived via Ellis Island; but that these families also benefited from the inheritance of slavery, because they entered a caste society, created by racism, that gave white immigrants better housing, education, and jobs than native-born black Americans and lifted whites into the middle class?

10. What is your opinion of Ball's view that white Americans are not responsible for the slave past, but they are accountable for it; that they are obliged to come to terms with it, because slavery not only did damage to many Americans, but it also shaped what it means to be white?

Product Details

ISBN:
9780345431059
Author:
Ball, Edward
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Location:
New York :
Subject:
People of Color
Subject:
Biography
Subject:
Historical - U.S.
Subject:
Afro-americans
Subject:
Slavery
Subject:
South carolina
Subject:
Slaves
Subject:
Plantation life
Subject:
African Americans
Subject:
Slaveholders
Subject:
Charleston Region (S.C.) Biography.
Subject:
Charleston Region
Subject:
cultural heritage
Subject:
Charleston Region (S.C.) Race relations.
Subject:
Ball family
Subject:
Historical
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
December 1998
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
544
Dimensions:
8.2 x 5.51 x 1 in 1.0625 lb

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Related Subjects


Biography » Historical
History and Social Science » African American Studies » General
History and Social Science » African American Studies » Slavery and Reconstruction
History and Social Science » Sociology » Slavery

Slaves in the Family Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.50 In Stock
Product details 544 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345431059 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Ball's impressive detective work and the black voices it records build a monumental and extraordinary case history of the rise and fall of America's most shameful institution."
"Review" by , "A tour de force....[A] remarkable book....Part oral history, this unique family saga is a catharsis and a searching inventory of racially divided American society."
"Review" by , "Everyone should read and learn from this luminous book....Like Alex Haley's Roots, through which African American history came into national focus....The book is not only honest in its scrupulous reporting but also personal narrative at its finest."
"Review" by , "Ball is a first-rate scholar-journalist....Outside Faulkner, it will be hard to find a more poignant, powerful account of a white man struggling with his and his nation's past."
"Review" by , "A masterpiece...remarkable....[A] large omnium gatherum of enchanting fireside anecdotes, secrets teased out of reluctant fragments from the remote past..."
"Synopsis" by , A former Village Voice columnist journeys into his family's slave-owning past, telling the story of black and white families who lived side by side for five generations.
"Synopsis" by , The moving, critically acclaimed story of one man's journey to find the descendants of the slaves who lived on his own family's plantation. "A work of breathtaking generosity and courage".--Pat Conroy. 48-page insert.
"Synopsis" by , NATIONAL BESTSELLER

"[A] LANDMARK BOOK."

--San Francisco Chronicle

"POWERFUL."

--The New York Times Book Review

"GRIPPING."

--The Boston Sunday Globe

"BRILLIANT."

--The New Yorker

"EVERYONE SHOULD READ AND LEARN FROM THIS LUMINOUS BOOK...Like Alex Haley's Roots, through which African American history came into national focus...Slaves in the Family has the potential for creating a perceptual shift in the American mind...The book is not only honest in its scrupulous reporting but also personal narrative at its finest."  

--San Francisco Chronicle

"BALL IS A FIRST-RATE SCHOLAR-JOURNALIST...He's also a good detective, tracking down the many descendants of Ball slaves from New York to California and back in the South and coaxing them, often with some difficulty, to tell their stories...Outside Faulkner, it will be hard to find a more poignant, powerful account of a white man struggling with his and his nation's past."

--The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"A MASTERPIECE...REMARKABLE...It is a work about slaves in the family.  But it is also a large omnium gatherum of enchanting fireside anecdotes, secrets teased out of reluctant fragments from the remote past, the real lives of blacks and whites whose stories had been lost in the disintegrating churn of time until Edward Ball's patient reconstructions."  

--The Raleigh News & Observer

"A TOUR DE FORCE...The heart of this remarkable book consists of his sleuthing--tracking down and interviewing the descendants of former Ball slaves across the country... Part oral history, this unique family saga is a catharsis and a searching inventory of racially divided American society."

--Publishers Weekly (starred and boxed review)

"A PAGEANTRY OF PASSIONS AND STRUGGLES."

--African Sun Times

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