AFAM Journal

AFAM Journal - Josh Kahn AFAM 474 December 4, 2008 Afam474...

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Josh Kahn AFAM 474 December 4, 2008 Afam474 Course Journal 8/27/08—The Hanging of Angelique The story of The Hanging of Angelique was extremely interesting to me because I had never really thought of Canada as hosting slavery. In retrospect, I guess this was kind of a naïve thought that a French and British colony would not have hosted slavery, but I had always had the notion that slavery had originated either in the southern United States or in the colonial Western Indies. After reading the book, I began to wonder whether a discontented white person that was accused of burning down a town would have been treated in a similar vein. While I do think that the public opinion would have been strongly against any person (assuming the same circumstantial evidence of seeing her exit the scene of the fire), I believe that the justice system would have been much more equitable to a white woman. I’m not sure if it was a product of the justice system being so ideologically different than our own, but it was amazing and outrageous to me how Angelique was assumed guilty and had to prove her innocence. The torture used in order to make her confess was set up to be a catch-22: if she didn’t confess, she would be subjected to endless agony and pain, but if she confessed then she would be put to death. Another intriguing aspect of this book was how the whites forced a black person to administer the torture to Angelique. It seems that the whites are somehow trying to wash their hands of the act by having the black torturer do their own dirty work. In the
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same sense, it seems that they are contributing to the rest of society’s dehumanization of black people by publically having a black person torture another black person. The actual hanging itself also raised equality questions in my mind—would the hanging have been scheduled for a Monday, when no one was working and everyone could watch, if she was a white woman? And would they have left her up from 7am to 7pm for the entire town to see if it had been a white woman? I highly doubt that either would have been the case had she been Caucasian. The class discussion on how the history of this story has changed over time also intrigued me. The diminishment of this story from a piece about a forced slave rebelling against the institution of slavery and literally burning the town to the ground to a story about a woman driven by her love for a man really shows the human desire for a fairy- tale explanation. The altered explanation also changes the angle of the history from an independent woman fighting for her rights in her only conceivable way to a heavily dependent woman following the commands of her lover. I believe this interpretation dilutes the facts and diminishes the plight of slavery that would drive Angelique to risk her own life and cause so much destruction. 9/3/08—The History of Mary Prince
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This document was uploaded on 10/28/2011 for the course AFAM 101 at UNC.

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AFAM Journal - Josh Kahn AFAM 474 December 4, 2008 Afam474...

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