scroll to top
Stuck on your essay?
Get ideas from this essay and see how your work stacks up
Word Count: 697
Davidson and Lytle pose an interesting question about racial and class perceptions in their chapter entitled The View from the Bottom Rail Seeking to demonstrate that our understanding of what it meant to be a slave is far from complete they ask the reader to consider context expectation and caste in order to arrive at a more complete understanding of the peculiar institution This social history attempts to supplement and perhaps even refashion our understanding of slavery One of the first elements of their analysis is to focus on nontraditional subjects Historians have so often used members of the highest social classes to inform their work that the result was patently one-dimensional This bias was in large part due to the production of primary sources so called bottom railers did not leave much by way of written or documentary evidence for the researcher to consider in her analysis Our understanding of slavery has come largely from white accounts It is easy to see how this understanding could be skewed as the authors use of the Squires Jackson example so clearly suggests Simple survival dictated that slaves would mislead masters Beliefs in white superiority meant that masters would manufacture a reality rather than accept actions that challenged it The authors provide ample materials both primary and secondary to demonstrate the white view of slavery The development of oral history during the Great Depression offered great hope to historians that a corrective to the whiteclass bias of the past had been found The Federal Writers Project included a section whose task was to interview former slaves Here at last was the word of slaves about their condition The American Slave A Composite Biography filled nineteen volumes But Davidson and Lytle suggest that thre are a number of methodological concerns that should cause us to approach this collection with a degree of skepticism They also identify a number of sources that describe the methods of conducting oral history
@Kibin is a lifesaver for my essay right now!!
- Sandra Slivka, student @ UC Berkeley
Wow, this is the best essay help I've ever received!
- Camvu Pham, student @ U of M
If I'd known about @Kibin in college, I would have gotten much more sleep
- Jen Soust, alumni @ UCLA