Sunday, May 26, 2019

Murder in missouri: celia’s story

Slavery in America is one of the most thought-provoking yet controversial episodes in modern history. Essentially an economic system, its tentacles reached north, south, east, and west.The culture of hard workerry, particularly as it developed in the south, was a complex web of affectionate and labor arrangements ranging from gang to task labor, skilled and unskilled workers, field and domestic servants. Perpetual servitude found legitimacy in the construction of topical anaesthetic and state laws intentional to undermine the ability of black men, women, and their children to negotiate the conditions of labor and leisure.Although ubiquitous, the character of slavery was unique to each region and the extent of its acceptance determined by local politics and positiveness.In the north, where the soil was unsuitable for an agricultural based economy, the factory system developed allowing for the rapid conversion of southern grown raw materials to finished goods. In the south the p lantation system emerged due, in large part, to the richness of the soil, numerous waterways, and the widespread of slave laborers both domestic and imported.In the west, where virgin land was most racy during the early nineteenth-century, young men like Robert Newsom left the depleted regions of Virginia, oftentimes with their families and slaves, to seek fortune and a better life.It was this promise and its fulfillment, argues Melton A. McLaurin in his true story, Celia, A Slave, that inspired people like Newsom to emigrate to Missouri. 1 A decisive region in pro and anti-slavery debates, the Missouri Compromise of 1821 insured that there would be slavery in the old Louisiana Territory. By 1850 Newsom was well respected and considered comfortably well off. 2In antebellum Missouri, plantations were more the exception than the rule as the economic profitability determined the number of slaves owned by a small farmer. Still slaves were considered property and enslaved women were alw ays subject to the internal advances of the master.These coerced and morally questionable encounters oftentimes produced children who were the determination of the mistresss hate and a reminder of her husbands promiscuity. Enslaved women in Callaway County, Missouri, much like those in other slaveholding regions, were without legal or community protection and, all too often, their suppressed anger erupted in violence and, in some solecisms, the brutal murder of their master and sexual abuser.3Consider the case of Celia, a slave. Celia was purchased by Robert Newsom when she just fourteen years old. Convinced that she should be his continuous sex partner and not simply a cook, he ransacked her on the return trip to Callaway County. After repeated unwelcome sexual encounters, she bore two children and, at some point, Newsom provided her with a luxurious cabin near to his home near a beat gloomy path.4As it turns out, Celia fell in love with George, a slave owned by Newsom who wa s aware of his Newsoms sexual assaults. George gave Celia an ultimatum demanding that if she did not force Newsom to stop having sexual relations with her their relationship would be over. 5 Celia confronted Newsom who ignored her warnings. She even turned to his daughters for help. It was then that Celia decided she would resort to a somatic attack to repel his advances.6When Newsom arrived on the night of June 23, 1855 as promised, Celia hit him with a stick. When he reached for her again, Celia raised the club with both hands and once again brought it crashing down on Newsoms skull.7 Celia disposed of the body by burning it in the hearth. On the following morning she asked Newsoms grandson, Coffee Waynescott, to clean out her fireplace and carry the ashes out in a container and, after which, he spilled the remains in the grass. 81 Melton A, McLaurin, Celia, A Slave A True Story of Violence and revenge in Antebellum Missouri (Athens University of Georgia Press), 3 4-8, (hereina fter cited as Celia, A Slave).2 Under the terms of the Compromise, Missouri was to be admitted to the Union as a slave state Ibid, 8. 3 McLaurin, Celia A Slave, 14-16 95-101.

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