Race Relations.docx - Critical Essay 1 Freedom and Control...

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Critical Essay 1: Freedom and Control“You will not replace us” chanted marchers in the Unite the Right rally of Charlottesville,Virginia protesting the removal of confederate statues. Tiki torches in hand, hundreds of white supremacists gathered to fight for a country they view as theirs, in fear of it being taken from them. The statues but a figurehead for what the protesters truly fear the loss of: control. Control over the narrative of the regions dark past, over which historical figure are glorified, over the psyches of fellow citizens forced to walk the streets named of confederate leaders and the slave-owners of their ancestors who walked the same streets in shackles. From centuries prior to the headlines of today’s newspapers, the meaning of freedom in the context of race in America is that of control.“Give me liberty or give me death” words famously uttered by Patrick Henry in his speech to the 2nd Virgina Convention. A sentiment that was later echoed by Toussaint Louverturewhen he claimed “I took up arms for the freedom of my color It is our own we will defend it or perish”.Liberty or death, an ideal inherent to most all rebellions was undoubtedly championed byNat Turner during his rebellion in August of 1831. In his jailhouse confession to lawyer Thomas Grey, Turner at the inception of his uprising is reported to claim: “I saluted them on coming up, and asked Will how came he there, he answered, his life was worth no more than others, and his liberty as dear to him. I asked him if he thought to obtain it? He said he would, or loose his life. This was enough to put him in full confidence” (Grey 1831, 12). The desire of freedom, even at the cost of death was tapped into by Nat in assembling what would amass to be 70 slaves that
would go onto travel from plantation to plantation liberating slaves and kill upwards of 50-60 whites as they progressed. Turner’s rebellion, while relatively small in the amount of violence the rebels were able to inflict, was effective in confirming the widespread paranoia of plantation owners of a slave ledrevolt. It is in this sense that the rebellion was successful insofar as it instilled a psychological fear in the minds of slave-owners, a method of control only previously exercised by the slave-owners over control over their slaves. Many have speculated that the subduing of this wide-spread paranoia was the financial motive in Grey’s publication of Turner’s confession. Turner’s rebellion was also a success in that it gave Nat and those who followed him

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