White Slaves, African Masters: An Anthology of American Barbary Captivity Narratives by Paul Baepler
Some of the most popular stories in nineteenth-century America were dramatic tales of whites captured and enslaved in North Africa. This book brings together a selection of these Berber narratives,…
White Slaves, African Masters synopsis
Some of the most popular stories in nineteenth-century America were dramatic tales of whites captured and enslaved in North Africa. This book brings together a selection of these Berber narratives, which have greatly influenced early American attitudes toward race, slavery, and nationalism.
Although Berber tribes began to seize North American colonists early in 1625, the stories of Berber families began to flourish only after the American Revolution. During these years, US stories of Berber prisoners forced the US government to pay humiliating praise to African rulers, spurring the impetus for the creation of the US Navy and bringing the first American war after the revolution.
These tales were also used to justify and destroy slavery. The accounts collected here range from John Foss's 1798 story, which was released by the Thomas Jefferson administration to honor one-sixth of the annual federal budget, to the story of Eon Perdecares, whose abduction in Tangier in 1904 prompted Theodore Roosevelt to send warships to Morocco and inspire film 1975 "The Wind and the Lion".
It also included the unusual story of Robert Adams, an African-American of light skinned who was kidnapped by Arabs and used to hunt down black slaves. Captured by black villagers supposedly white; then sold again to a group of Arabs, some of whom were blown up by a British diplomat. These tales open a chapter of the history of ancient American literature, highlighting the most common types of narration of the Indian narrative and the narrative of the American slave..
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