Short Response 1, Craft Narrative

In the narrative Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; or, the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery, a variety of allusions are utilized to add to the narrative and emphasize the ways that slavery impacted society as a whole, as well as to grow the literary authority of the narrative. Biblical references are commonly used throughout Craft’s account of his wife and his escape from slavery. In this time period when civil violence was growing and racial issues were at the forefront of societal issues, it was common for Christians to both approve of and partake in keeping slaves. While nowadays it seems as though this would never be the case based on the ideals that present-day Christians are seemingly committed to, it was their opinions and thoughts that seemed to validate the practicing of slavery.

Craft acknowledges the acceptance of slavery by Christians by pointing out the opinions of various reverends from throughout the North. By quoting northern reverends, he is able to emphasize that the belief that slavery did not go against the Bible was not only common in the South, as would be expected, but was accepted throughout the country. Most notably, Craft points to views pertaining to the Fugitive Slave Act. Rev. Dr. Taylor from New Haven, Connecticut encouraged the church to follow the law and, therefore, return any fugitive slaves to the southern states. Rev. Bishop Hopkins of Vermont not only backs the Fugitive Slave Act, but goes so far as to say that since the Old Testament warrants slavery and the New Testament does not address it, slavery is thus permitted by the Bible (Craft, 96). He proposed that Christians were allowed to have slaves, as long as they treated them properly. Proper treatment, however, is not something that seemed to be addressed by these reverends. They simply trusted their fellow followers of Christ to treat the slaves respectfully, despite the fact that they were considered as nothing more than property.

Craft never directly counters the statements made by the reverends – he doesn’t explicitly say that the Lord was against slavery, but rather shows the invalidity of this belief by comparing his own journey to the Israelite’s escape from Egypt. When speaking of his master searching for him upon their arrival in Philadelphia, Craft equates the master’s troubled feeling to that of the Israelites as they approached the Red Sea during their flee from Egypt (Craft, 75). While this comparison serves to show a parallel in stories of fleeing from slavery, it is also important because it allows Craft to show that the Lord does not condone slavery as many were preaching throughout the country. It was the Lord’s work that parted the Red Sea and ultimately enabled the Israelites to escape from Egypt. This reference clearly counters the assertion that the Bible permitted slavery, seeing as it was by the work of God that these people were able to be released from their bondage to slavery.

Craft’s allusions to the Bible, both through the views of men deemed “holy” and the events of the flee from Egypt, stress the contrast between what people were saying and believing, and what was actually true. He is able to portray that even though claims were made that the Old Testament doesn’t condemn slavery, it is obvious that the Lord was against those who were enslaving when the Red Sea flooded back on them. His use of Biblical references enables him to call out the Christians who were being tolerant of slavery and not fighting back before numerous lives were lost due to the cruel practices that were all too common.

First reflection on the Afric-American Picture Gallery

The “Afric-American Picture Gallery” is a series of papers authored by Ethiop, a pseudoname, and published in the Anglo-African Magazine of 1859. Contrary to its title, Ethiop’s essays do not come with any illustrations whatsoever (perhaps he espouses the need for increased visibility of black art). Instead, it is a collection of descriptions of imaginary pieces of art and a mish-mash of different genres of stories. But it matters little whether or not there are any illustrations, because for Ethiop’s purposes, art is just a medium for putting forth ideas. By following the critic and interpretations from the narrator, we are drawn into an argument and view that Ethiop composes.

Let’s take a look at, for example, “Picture IX. – Mount Vernon”. The narrator begins with a tirade about the popularity and prevalence of “Mount Vernon” in American society then. It is a eminent symbol much like our American flag today. Such a picture of Mount Vernon should no doubt be drawn with much patriotism and glory for it was “once the Home of the Father of his Country”. Yet with the convenience of the picture being imagined, Ethiop is able to distort this glorified symbol and present his own stark and shocking view. He describes upon the decay of the house. The subsequent observation of the depiction slavery, especially with Washington’s very own bones for sale, suggests strongly that slavery is the cause of this decay. With this, Ethiop has called upon the patriotism of Americans to effect a change into their thinking.

Another perplexing aspect of Ethiop’s papers is the writing style. He begins the papers with a series of descriptions of a few pictures. Then, the narrator goes on an adventure before going back to the gallery to take part in a titillating debate.


Make America Great Again


Let America be America Again by Langston Hughes (1994)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—

Let it be that great strong land of love

Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme

That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty

Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,

But opportunity is real, and life is free,

Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,

Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?

And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,

I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.

I am the red man driven from the land,

I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek—

And finding only the same old stupid plan

Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,

Tangled in that ancient endless chain

Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!

Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!

Of work the men! Of take the pay!

Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.

I am the worker sold to the machine.

I am the Negro, servant to you all.

I am the people, humble, hungry, mean—

Hungry yet today despite the dream.

Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!

I am the man who never got ahead,

The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream

In the Old World while still a serf of kings,

Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,

That even yet its mighty daring sings

In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned

That’s made America the land it has become.

O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas

In search of what I meant to be my home—

For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,

And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,

And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came

To build a “homeland of the free.”

The free?

Who said the free?  Not me?

Surely not me?  The millions on relief today?

The millions shot down when we strike?

The millions who have nothing for our pay?

For all the dreams we’ve dreamed

And all the songs we’ve sung

And all the hopes we’ve held

And all the flags we’ve hung,

The millions who have nothing for our pay—

Except the dream that’s almost dead today.

O, let America be America again—

The land that never has been yet—

And yet must be—the land where every man is free.

The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—

Who made America,

Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,

Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,

Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose—

The steel of freedom does not stain.

From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,

We must take back our land again,


O, yes,

I say it plain,

America never was America to me,

And yet I swear this oath—

America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,

The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,

We, the people, must redeem

The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.

The mountains and the endless plain—

All, all the stretch of these great green states—

And make America again!


This poem, though written 24 years ago, speaks volumes to the present.. The 45th president ran on a campaign that he would “make America great again;” how ironic is it that a white, straight, privileged man would take the same words written by a black man and use it to promote prejudice against “others?” Exploitation is nothing new, especially in America. As we’ve seen through the stories of brave black men and women, the white man has done so much to suppress the greatness that the black community possesses.

“Equality is the air we breathe,” writes Hughes, in a sarcastic tone, referring to the Declaration of Independence, which stated that “all men are created equal;” however, “all” only meant some for the founding fathers. Blacks did not have any rights, still sold as slaves for 97 years after America declared its independence from Britain. With Hughes describing equality as air, I can only imagine that only some are free to let the air go through their lungs without fear, whereas blacks had to hold theirs for hundreds of years, well after the Emancipation Proclamation, well after Jim Crow, and well after this poem was written.

Hughes later writes “torn from Black Africa’s strand I came / To build a ‘homeland of the free’,” which points out that the slaves of America built much of the greatness of this country. As the Afric-American Picture Gallery demonstrates, there is so much Black Excellence that is sewn into the fabric of America, often unnoticed. In picture No. 3 of the Gallery, the author points out “that the first bosom that was bared to the blast of war was black; the first blood that drenched the path-way which led up to American liberty, was from the veins of a colored man” (54). Without the death of Crispus Attucks, the land of the free would not have been possible.

“O, let America be America again— / The land that never has been yet—” says the speaker. Once again, Hughes reinforces that America cannot be great “again” because it never has been, not as long as minorities have been (and continue to be) disenfranchised. America cannot be America again as long as Haiti is allegedly referred to as a “shit-hole country” when few know who Touissant L’Overture is. This poem eloquently points out the ironies of American patriotism while simultaneously criticizing the dark past of the country as well. It is unfortunate that the poem was so relevant in the 1990s, but even more upsetting that it is almost verbatim to the rhetoric of today. There is much work to do, but visiting these narratives as lessons is important in becoming more inclusive and more educated in what it might be like to walk in someone else’s shoes, which would certainly make America great.

Make America Great Again

As if it were so great before


As if America ever truly recognized its


Short Reflection 1: William Craft’s Narrative and The Pilgrim’s Progress

One of the most significant allusions that William Craft utilizes in his narrative is his allusion to John Bunyan’s novel The Pilgrim’s Progress. The Pilgrim’s Progress was published in two parts by John Bunyan. Part 1 was published in 1678 and Part 2 was published in 1684. The Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory about the idea of Christian salvation. In the novel, Bunyan chronicles the journey of a pilgrim named Christian who travels from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. Multiple times in his narrative, William Craft alludes to The Pilgrim’s Progress and compares his journey to that of Christian’s.

The first allusion to The Pilgrim’s Progress occurs on page 70, when William is approached by an officer in Philadelphia who is suspicious of William’s intentions. The officer informs William that his master must prove he has a right to bring his slave to Philadelphia, which causes great unease for William and Ellen. However, William states, “We knew it would never do to turn back to the “City of Destruction,” like Bunyan’s Mistrust and Timorous, because they saw lions in the narrow way after ascending the hill Difficulty; but press on, like noble Christian and Hopeful, to the great city in which dwelt a few “shining ones.” (Craft 70). The “City of Destruction” to which Craft refers is the undesirable place of sin where Christian begins his journey. In this allusion, Craft compares the awful and dangerous South to Bunyan’s allegorical City of Destruction. Additionally, he compares his desire to persevere in the face of difficulty to Christian’s desire to continue towards “the great city.”

Craft again alludes to Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress while Craft is travelling on train from Baltimore to Philadelphia. Craft states, “I, like Bunyan’s Christian in the arbour, went to sleep at the wrong time, and took too long a nap” (74). This comparison to Christian further solidifies Craft’s suggestion that his journey from slavery in the South to freedom in the North was very similar to Christian’s journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. This specific reference to sleep emphasizes that both Craft and Christian struggled and were not perfect on their journeys to salvation.

The third allusion to The Pilgrim’s Progress occurs on page 78, when Craft writes, “The sight of those lights and that announcement made me feel almost as happy as Bunyan’s Christian must have felt when he first caught sight of the cross. I, like him, felt that the straps that bound the heavy burden to my back began to pop, and the load to roll off” (78). At this point in Craft’s narrative, Craft knows he has finally reached the north, specifically Philadelphia, which means he is on free land. Upon the realization of his freedom, Craft feels great happiness and relief. The scene with which Craft compares his arrival to Philadelphia is when Christian arrives at the Holy Cross in The Pilgrim’s Progress. When Christian arrives at the Holy Cross, the burden of sin finally leaves him, and he is reenergized for the rest of the journey. While the burden is lifted from William Craft when he arrives in Philadelphia, the burden of sin is lifted from Christian when he arrives at the Holy Cross.

In conclusion, William Craft’s allusion to John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress adds significant value to Craft’s narrative by performing various functions. Firstly, the comparison roots Craft’s narrative in Christian theology and compares the Crafts’ escape to the journey of Christian. Additionally, the allusion gives Craft’s narrative additional legitimacy and authority, as The Pilgrim’s Progress is a very significant literary work. Finally, by comparing his escape to that of Christian in The Pilgrim’s Progress, William Craft exposes the blatant hypocrisy that many Christians of the 1800s used to defend and promote slavery.



Keeble, N.H. “The Pilgrim’s Progress: Overview.” Reference Guide to English Literature, edited by D. L. Kirkpatrick, 2nd ed., St. James Press, 1991. Literature Resource Center Accessed 28 Jan. 2018.

“Overview: The Pilgrim’s Progress.” Gale Online Encyclopedia, Gale, 2018. Literature Resource Center Accessed 28 Jan. 2018.

Reflection on Running A Thousand Miles For Freedom

Reflection on Running A Thousand Miles For Freedom

The slave narrative Running a Thousand Miles For Freedom; Or, the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery tells the story of William Craft and his wife escaping the clutches of slavery to earn their freedom. The Crafts, both enslaved in the South, fled to the North in hopes of escaping slavery and earning their liberty. However, after the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, the Crafts left the United States, seeking refuge in England. Throughout, the narrative William Craft discussed the relation between religion and slavery. Ultimately, highlighting the shortcomings of the argument for slavery.

In the narrative, Craft analyzes the link between American slavery and Christianity. He states that he and his wife did not experience the cruel and evil side of slavery, but they were deprived of all legal rights and could not call the bones that God gave them their own. Christian slaveholders claimed that “…God made the black man to be slave for the white (37).” Craft explains that they, the slaveholders, believe that every free colored persons was in open rebellion of heaven and that they, the slave owners, are the agents of God and may pour upon sinners unrestrained vengeance. The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 highlights this type of thinking, since all free slaves living in the North could now be sold or taken back into slavery. William states that “this shameful conduct [slavery] gave me a thorough hatred, not for true Christianity, but for slave-holding piety (10).”; whereas piety is defined as devout fulfillment of religious obligations. One of the Bishops of Vermont stated, in a lecture, that “every Christian is authorised by the Divine Law to own slaves, provided they were not treated with unnecessary cruelty (97).” William argues that slavery was not approved by God. He clarifies that God was against slavery that in the Bible in the 23rd chapter of Deuteronomy, it is stated that “Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee. He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him.” Craft lists another example from the Bible stating “ hide the outcast. Bewray not him that wandereth. Let mine outcasts dwell with thee. Be thou a convert to them from the face of the spoiler.” Craft further supports his argument with the allusion of the south as Egypt and slaves as the Israelites. The Israelites enslaved in Egypt guided by God escaped slavery and headed to the promised land, Israel. The connection between the slaves and the Israelites is that they are both children of God, forced to submit to mankind and escape to a promise land of freedom.The argument is since God wanted the Israelites freed from chains, why would he want the American slaves in chains? Crafts argues that God is completely for the freedom of all. In addition, Craft attacks the integrity of Christian slave owners by stating that they are so eager “…to prostrate themselves before the great idol of slavery (98)” The slave owners were going against God’s word by worshipping a false and evil idol, slavery. Ultimately, Craft’s narrative forces the audience to question the true state of what makes one a true follower of the Almighty God.

In Craft’s slave narrative, he clarifies the clear distinction between blasphemy and the gospel. The actions of slaveholders were not only sins against fellow men and women, but disrespect toward God and the divine gospel. Slaveholders used the Bible as a way to suppress slaves, due to their inability to read and interpret the text. The usage of the Bible as a way to suppress others is not only used in the past but in the present. Currently in America and most of the world, Christians use the gospel as a way to suppress those who are homosexuals or anyone who disagrees with the Christian text. There are few passages that clearly define homosexuals as unnaturally and ungodly.Such as in Leviticus 18:22, it’s written that “you shall not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”. I do not know the true will of the Lord, but what I do know is that man does not decide what is right and holy. The true master of mankind and all it’s beings is God, creator of heaven and earth, a fact known by William Craft then and the mass majority of people today.

Alexa Ramlall Reflection One – “One-Drop Rule” Embodied in the William and Ellen Craft Slave Narrative

Alexa Ramlall

English 129

Ms. Boyd

28 January, 2018

“One-Drop Rule” Embodied in the William and Ellen Craft Slave Narrative

            Slavery in the American South was built upon a system of distinct separation in physical attributes, mental capacity, and human rights between white and black races. “The Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery”, a narrative written by a black slave, hones in on the experiences of biracial or mulatto slaves, and both the hardships and opportunities this afforded them. In the beginning of the narrative, we learn that Ellen Craft was born to her master who was a white man and the master’s slave, her black mother (Craft, 2). Contrary to most slave narratives, this one does not heavily detail brutal slave life on plantations or in their shabby living quarters, but instead provides historical context for the laws that affected how slaves were treated as property and how easily they were separated from their families. As the anger and injustice mounted on the eve of the civil war, this narrative served to show the public that black people are indeed human beings with intelligence and skin complexion cannot determine how a person is treated in society.

The South abided by the informal “One –Drop Rule” which defined a black person as anyone with as little as one drop of “black blood” (Davis). This allowed slave owners to embody the perspective that each race had a distinct blood type correlating to physical and mental capacity. It also enabled whites to massively enlarge the slave population with the offspring of slave holders. For example, Ellen Craft was a slave to her own father. This rule also led to the kidnapping of young white, children and enforcing them into slavery after portraying these children as mixed with black blood. The Muller daughters were kidnapped upon arrival to New Orleans and months later, a family member spotted Salome Muller in a wine shop as a slave. In order to testify, the Mullers had to provide evidence that Salome was their white child and not a mixed black person by providing witnesses such as the midwife who delivered her. After trial, it was found that Salome had no trace of African American descent and was being unlawfully enslaved (Craft, 3-4). Another case detailed a seven year old boy stolen from his Ohio home and then tanned and stained in a way where he was indistinguishable from a person of color, and sold as a slave in Virginia (Craft, 7). The narrative detailed the laws of the South that stated any child born to a slave mother, even if his or father was white, would be considered a slave. It was also considered unlawful for anyone of purely European descent in the slave states to intermarry with a person of African extraction, but a white man could live with as many colored women as he pleased without damaging his reputation (Craft, 7). Male slave owners actually preferred biracial female slaves, due to their aesthetically pleasing features, where rape and concubinage frequently occurred. As a result, many quadroons and octoroons (one fourth and one eighth African American) were born to slave holders, who possessed white physical features and were sometimes indistinguishable from pure whites, such as Ellen Craft (Davis). However, these biracial people were considered fully black by society and subjected to slavery. This definition of a black person is inextricably woven into the history of America and was later used to justify slavery and uphold the caste system Jim Crow Laws of segregation. Since blacks are defined by the one-drop rule, they are a socially constructed race for the advantage of white people, so that they are able to enslave more of the population and justify it with the “science” of black blood equating to lower mental capacity and certain physical traits. The one drop rule only applied to persons of African descent and at the time, America was the only country in the world who practiced this.

This flawed way of thinking is what allowed William and Ellen Craft to escape the South into freedom. By creating a disguise, cutting her hair, and covering parts of her face, Ellen was able to pass for a white slave owner and pretend her husband was her slave accompanying her across the border (Craft). This completely dismisses the South slave states’ way of thinking because although Ellen possessed “black blood”, she was intelligent in developing an elaborate escape plan, was taken as white by other slave owners on the train, and was able to become fully literate. William and Ellen Craft showed that people do not fit into distinct categories, whether it is black and white or man and woman, because they were able to break these stereotypes and gain freedom!


Works Cited

Craft, W. and Craft, E. (1860). Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; or,  the Escape of  William and Ellen Craft from Slavery. London: William Tweedie, pp.1-34.

Davis, J. (1991). Mixed Race America – Who Is Black? One Nation’s Definition. [online] Available at: . [Accessed 28 Jan. 2018].


Aidee’s Reflection Post one

A few days ago I sat in one of my friend’s sociology class on race and ethnicities, the subject of the day was a film the examined the different portrayals of the African Americans that were enslaved and the African American that were  “free”. The enslaved African American was characterized as the mami, the uncle, ect. These characters were well behaved, loyal, and attentive to their masters every need. They were happy, well feed, and housed “blackies”. The mami character was a parallel to the white mall head of the house, expressing the so thought incompetence of the black male. The free blacks were loud, bum-ish, and shown in images with monkey like features. The children were dehumanized by having them play with crocodiles and even die in children’s books. The endpoint was to show how much better off black people where, but actually showed  how much better off a civilized white society is when blacks are enslaved.

My interpretation of the picture and the conversation surrounding  picture 26 “Condition” made me think back to that lecture.  The characters involved in the conversation seemed white and from different parts of society, they were contemplating the effects of free black people. Considering that this discussion occurred on the eve of the civil war, it is of high importance. In the film I watched, one of the concerns of the white people was that black people didn’t have the mental capacity to think for themselves. This lack of mental capacity was also noted in William and Ellen Crafts Escape with the white “Christian” slave owner believing her slaves were better while under her control. In the “Condition” there is a young black on the bank of a river dressed in rags while around him to one side are beautiful fields and the other side there are yachts. He is described to be in a trance of “interference of stolid content … Pale and emaciated he sits” (Ethiop 243). The questions of “can such a subject be improved” is asked (244).

The white viewers interpreted the boy’s facial expression as him not knowing what to do with his new found freedom, that is his condition. To them, he a black man, that just doesn’t have the intelligence to be free. The Doctor believes that by changing the youth’s nature his condition will improve, while the Skeptic believes its by giving the youth wealth and intelligence (that he lacks probably because he is black). The author clearly related to the reader that these two suggestions are actually the same. At this time period being poor and in poverty went hand and hand with being black. The Skeptic noted that by giving the youth money he wouldn’t have to change his repulsive features (ebon face, dull eye, curly hair), these features are a part of the youth’s nature. The money would make people look past his blackness. Perhaps even view him as white? I drew to this conclusion by making a stretch from a Brazilian literature class I took last semester. One of the authors were read, Machado de Assis, had black slave grandparents but since he was a prominent wealthy member of society in Brazil he wasn’t viewed as black.  The narrator fires back by explaining the true significance of the picture. This is an image of a young black man that has risked his life and relied on his intelligence and strength to break through barriers to obtain his freedom but now is tired. The youth “has all the great essentials common to humanity.” (Ethiop 244). The youth lacks nothing expect the opportunities he will miss out on due to the racism in the United States.

Other examples in the African American Picture Gallery could have been used as examples to show that this piece of literature was ahead of its time, already predicting the types of conversations and other barriers free blacks would face.




Work Cited

Ethiop. “Afric-American Picture Gallery” (1859). just-



Win Martin Post 1: 19th Century Southern Christian Doctrine

In the narrative of William and Ellen Craft, many of the white slave owners that the couple meets on their journey are professed Christians and believed that their slave ownership was backed up with Christian doctrine. For example, the lady on the train who mistook William for “her Ned” told Ellen that her son, who was “a good Christian minister,” advised her not to “worry and send her soul to hell” for the sake of her slaves and to just sell them all instead (p. 65). In addition to this, Craft later writes about a plethora of white Reverends who not only approve of slavery but emphasize its importance. However, many of these “Christians” who advocate for slavery misinterpret the Biblical references that they draw from. The idea of this “Christian” slaveholder idea is a hallmark of slave narratives and was obviously abundant in Southern states. One New York Times article said, “This ‘Gospel Civilization,’ … didn’t just permit slavery – it required it.” This begs the question: what sort of doctrine does the Bible preach that condones the atrocious practices that were occurring in the South?

One of the primary arguments that white Christian proponents of slavery used was that Jesus is never recorded of speaking directly against slavery. Looking on the surface level of Gospel accounts, they were right in that Jesus never directly said, “Don’t have slaves.” Southern slaveholders argued that if he was against slavery, surely he would have condemned it wouldn’t he? If it was an important issue, surely he would have said that it was wrong and shouldn’t be done, right? By looking through the lenses of assuming that slaves weren’t people, slaveholders would be right in assuming God was okay with slavery. However, as soon as slaves are seen as people, this logic that Jesus condoned slavery falls apart. Take the story of the Good Samaritan for example. After telling a crowd to “love your neighbor as yourself, Jesus tells this story to define exactly what a neighbor is. In this parable, a Jewish man, who was robbed, beaten and left for dead on the side of the road, was passed by three Jewish temple priests (who would know the command of Leviticus 19:18 to love one’s neighbor). And who should come and help the man but a Samaritan! In this period, a Samaritan was viewed with the same disgust and hatred by the Israelites as Blacks were viewed by Whites in the 18th and 19th centuries. But instead of holding a well-deserved grudge against the Jew, the Samaritan puts the Jewish man on his donkey, takes him to an inn and pays for his every need! This example of mercy is Jesus’s definition of a “neighbor,” and he closes with a command for the listeners to, “Go and do likewise.” According to this definition, blacks are the neighbors of whites, and according to this command, they have a responsibility to love them as such if they truly are Christians. So, if a slaveholder would never choose to sell himself into slavery, under what, or whose, authority are they enslaving blacks against their will?

William Craft described in his slave narrative a hallmark of similar narratives at that time: a “Christian” slaveholder. He accurately describes how many whites saw slaves: property, not people. Yet, upon looking at this account in the Gospel of Luke, it is seen that everyone who has breath is a person and a soul that deserves the same respect and love that one would show to himself or herself. This is the hypocrisy of Southern Christian doctrine that tries to promote slavery and is something Craft accurately labels as “slave-holding piety,” (p.10).

Bassett, Thom. “The South, the War and ‘Christian Slavery’.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 Apr. 2012,

Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Tyndale House Publishers, 2013.
Craft, William. “Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom.” Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2001,

Post One-

While reading Running a Thousand Miles For Freedom; Or, the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery (1860), you cannot help but feel as if you are with this empowered couple as they are escaping their southern shackles during this trying journey. William Craft is able to shape this narrative into one that explains the adversities he and his wife, Ellen Craft, faced. He does this without excessively describing the brutality which he had to face, unlike most slave narratives. This is rhetorical strategy is ironic, along with many other things in Craft’s narrative, making irony a shaping force in this narrative.

When thinking of irony in this narrative we can initially begin with the plan in which look at the way they escaped. Ellen Craft was a black woman, however, she had to act as a white male. These two characters are two completely opposite things politically and socially during these times. However, when “passing” through towns along this journey she was able to join this class and exposing her and William to the true beliefs of those who they were escaping.

While traveling with those who they were running from the Craft’s encountered many different types of people, and most of these situations showed different ironies. One time the couple encountered a Virginian gentleman and his two daughters, who, “‘…fell in love with the wrong chap.’ ” (60) This situation was ironic because the women fell in love with a southern gentleman who wasn’t a gentleman at all. This scene of irony shows how though White Southerners believed they were the wisest of them all, they couldn’t help but fall in love with a black woman.

Another time of irony during the Craft’s travel was when they met the Christian slave owner. Her husband had freed his slaves in his will, yet she decided it was best to sell them back into slavery. This woman was guided by her, “…dear son who is a good Christian minister…” (65) to do so. This shows the hypocrisy of the people of the south during this time because they twisted the truth of the Bible to match their wants of slavery. The Bible doesn’t support slavery, especially that based on the color of their skin, yet these people morphed this work to fit their own standards.

When showing these beliefs of the people on the South, along with his journey, William Craft does not use words of hate to degrade their character in any way. This narrative still shows how hateful, and ignorant, these people truly are though. This shows how the people were making unjust prejudices and hate, ruining the lives of many African-Americans.

Lucas B Short Reflection 1

Lucas Baldridge

Professor Boyd

28 January 2018

ENGL 129

The Craft Narrative, although written to discuss the times of slavery, is still a good descriptor for the modern issue of racism and racial prejudice. Ongoing racism is a world-wide issue and is the most prominent social issue around the world. In an allegorical manner, William Craft, the narrator of this text, describes his interactions with racism as he and his wife, Ellen Craft, ventured their way to freedom. The main plot was of William and Ellen’s escape; however, William Craft made a point to also attract attention to the issues surrounding racism in a more indirect way.

There are two kinds of racial injustices that I would like to discuss. The first racial injustice shown in the text comes from the treatment of slaves. These slaves were denied all human rights, which is absolutely horrifying in itself, but were also attacked and punished for being of African decent. In some cases, such as the case involving Salomé Muller, whites were sold in to slavery solely because they appeared to be black (Craft, 4). People were being sold as slaves simply for racial appearance, which goes to show how intense slaveholders were about racial differences. If someone, who may even be white, had a darker complexion than white skin, they were instantly mistreated. However, do not let this occasional mistreatment of some white Americans hide the hardships faced by all African slaves. William Craft displays even more harassment on page 8, as Craft discusses how women were “severely flogged” as punishment. Slaves were not only denied civil and human rights, but additionally were punished for the complexion of their skin. Sadly, this social matter still is not solved in modern day America. African-American citizens are continuously harassed, both physically and socially, to this day. Racial difference should not be the targeting factor for one’s presumed character, as shown in multiple occasions throughout The Craft Narrative.

The second most prominent racial issue within The Craft Narrative is racial prejudice. William and Ellen Craft foresaw acceptance and pure freedom in their escape, but were continuously hazed by surrounding citizens just because of their skin color. One occurrence of this prejudice is shown in St. John’s, New Brunswick, as William and Ellen Craft try to stay the night in a hotel. Ellen was treated with utmost respect, as she was assumed to be white, while William Craft was instantly neglected stay at the hotel purely because he was of African decent. The butler of the St. John’s hotel denied William a room to stay in based off of wrongful opinions regarding African-Americans (Craft, 101). Since the South portrayed them with such negativity, much of the world assumed the Southern opinion was correct, even though supporters of slavery were the only problematic human beings in this narrative. The racial prejudice continued to live on even as William and Ellen made their way to Halifax. William sent his ‘white’ wife to find shelter because he knew they “were still under the influence of the low Yankee prejudice” (Craft, 105). Of course, Ellen was offered a room until the landlady discovered William would also be staying with her. William and Ellen craft did not fully feel free until they “stepped upon the shore at Liverpool” (Craft, 108).

William Craft’s Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; or, the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery captivated the harsh livelihood of all African decedents during the times preluding the Civil War. This notion of chattel slavery denied Africans basic human rights everyone deserves, and it was all because of racial difference. Between the prejudice and harassment described by William Craft, black people were all in need of escape. Knowing that some of these prejudices live on today is quite daunting, and this issue needs to be addressed. Someone’s race should never be the deciding factor for any mistreatment or exclusion. William Craft’s response to these racial issues were constructed in a calmly manner, which goes to show the great character within himself. Hate was not the answer for William, despite the continuous hate he faced throughout his victorious escape with Ellen.



Craft, William. William Craft. Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; or, the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery.