Unchained Memories Movie Reaction

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I. Introduction and Purpose “Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives” gives viewers a chance to understand the stories of slavery from a new perspective- from those who experienced it first hand. The Slave Narratives are collective volumes containing interviews of just a few of the 100,000 slaves still living of the four million who had originally been freed at the time of the Emancipation Proclamation. This film is a series of readings of some of these testimonies by actors who bring the stories alive for viewers. II. Slave Life, According to Ex-Slaves Straight from the interviews of those who had personally experienced slavery came the accounts of what life was like for them during the days of slavery. Following are just a few of the aspects of their experiences and lives that these people shared. A) Master-Slave Relationships The dynamics of the relationships of the slave owners and their slaves are very well described in the stories read in this film. The way in which the owners treated slaves served ultimately to allow them to keep their slaves submissive, cooperative, and fearful. i. The ranging accounts indicate that the ways that the slaves were treated varied. By and large, however, the treatment of the slaves can be summarized as inhumane and barbaric. a) Humiliation was a key aspect of many slave owners’ tactics. It was used to keep the slaves in line, reminding them that they had no power. b) Rape of the slave women by the masters was used as a way in which to humiliate both the men and women, serving to belittle the women while leaving the men powerless to protect their women. ii. When describing her experience, one former slave commented on the intense and relentless work schedule that the slaves kept. a) Slaves were often forced to work from sun up to sun down,
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