Patsey after the Flogging

random topic 001 (continued)

Cropped segment from The Staking Out and Flogging of the Girl Patsey - Twelve Years a Slave

The severe flogging of the slave Patsey was a traumatic, life-changing event. It was likely what today we would call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Solomon Northup writes of how Patsey was affected in Twelve Years a Slave:

A blessed thing it would have been for her —days and weeks and months of misery it would have saved her —had she never lifted up her head in life again. Indeed, from that time forward she was not what she had been. The burden of a deep melancholy weighed heavily on her spirits. She no longer moved with that buoyant and elastic step — there was not that mirthful sparkle in her eyes that formerly distinguished her. The bounding vigor —the sprightly, laughter-loving spirit of her youth, were gone. She fell into a mournful and desponding mood, and often-times would start up in her sleep, and with raised hands, plead for mercy. She became more silent than she was, toiling all day in our midst, not uttering a word. A care-worn, pitiful expression settled on her face, and it was her humor now to weep, rather than rejoice. If ever there was a broken heart — one crushed and blighted by the rude grasp of suffering and misfortune —it was Patsey’s.

She had been reared no better than her master’s beast —looked upon merely as a valuable and handsome animal —and consequently possessed but a limited amount of knowledge. And yet a faint light cast its rays over her intellect, so that it was not wholly dark. She had a dim perception of God and of eternity, and a still more dim perception of a Saviour who had died even for such as her. She entertained but confused notions of a future life —not comprehending the distinction between the corporeal and spiritual existence. Happiness, in her mind, was exemption from stripes —from labor —from the cruelty of masters and overseers. Her idea of the joy of heaven was simply rest and is fully expressed in these lines of a melancholy bard:

“I ask no paradise on high,
With cares on earth oppressed,
The only heaven for which I sigh,
Is rest, eternal rest.”

america, american history, history, life, louisiana

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  • Hilary Aug 27, 2016

    Hi Mike – appalling what man did and can do … to others. Not easy to read these … Hilary
    Hilary recently posted…Last Remembrance … # WEP Gardens Entry …My Profile

    • Mike Aug 27, 2016

      A lot of people really do not perceive what it was like to be a slave or what the slave-based culture of the American south was like. Apologists will argue something like “Well, slavery might not have been ideal, but it really wasn’t that bad. And at any rate, the Confederacy did not fight for slavery! They fought for states’ rights!”

      The Confederacy fought to preserve and extend the institution of slavery. The Federals fought to preserve the Union (the entire United States). The North did not go into the war to free the slaves.
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  • David Fiske Aug 27, 2016

    During the Civil War, Union troops encountered Patsey at the Epps plantation, and she was taken away from there. No information (so far) on her later whereabouts. See http://hikeghosttowns.com/patsey.htm

    • Mike Aug 28, 2016

      Hi David — Thanks. I’d actually already seen that. I have a third post in the series coming out on the 3rd that goes into that a bit more. I went down a similar path as you, it seems, and had transcribed the pertinent portion of the Mexico Independent piece before I stumbled upon your page.

      I end my post with: “It seems that Patsey had survived until the Union troops came through and, then, emancipated, did exactly what Meredith Melançon suggested, got ‘the heck outta this place!'”
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