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Kate Drumgoold
A Slave Girl's Story. Being an Autobiography of Kate Drumgoold
Brooklyn: The Author, 1898


The following annotations to A Slave Girl were compiled in the fall 2000 by Tiffany Hall and Bruke Sullivan, first-year students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as a class project in Professor William L. Andrews's First-Year Seminar on Slavery and Freedom in African American Literature and Film. We welcome any corrections, additions, or suggested revisions of these annotations. Send feedback to

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Land of EgyptA comparison of the South during the slavery era to Egypt when the ancient Israelites were held in bondage there. See Exodus 1-12.

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the Valleythe Valley of Virginia.

Petersburga city in south central Virginia.

the warThe Civil War (1861-1865).

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white motherMrs. Bettie House.

Richmond, Virginiathe state capitol and later the capitol of the Confederate States of America.

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Brooklyna borough of the city of New York, on western Long Island.

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war of 1865The Civil War.

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Castle Thundera large tobacco warehouse in Richmond, Virginia, mainly for the incarceration of prisoners; those males suspected of spying or disloyalty and Union sympathizers were sent here.

"true child of the King"a faithful Christian.

Lamb's Book of Lifethe promise of resurrection and eternal life for a faithful Christian.

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House of Godthe church.

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…the Lord has called her away from her child to be with Himdeath.

blessed landthe Christian heaven.

…those that have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lambthose Christians whose sins God has forgiven through the sacrifice of Christ.

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Doctor Jesusthe Christian Savior.

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Honor our fathers and our mothersExodus 20:12.

the OneJesus Christ.

blessed mansionthe Christian heaven.

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Followed my Lord and Master in the Jordanbaptism.

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Peace, be stillMark 4:39.

Jesus Savior Pilot Melines from a popular nineteenth-century Protestant hymn.

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First Readera primer, a book for beginning readers, probably in the McGuffey series.

smallpoxa disease, often fatal in the nineteenth century, caused by a virus that produces a red rash that develops into blisters.

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for God so loved the world of sinful men that He gave his only begotten sonJohn 3:16.

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Ethiopia shall yet stretch forth her handPsalm 68:31.

MosesHebrew prophet who led the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage.

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the MessiahIn the Christian religion, Jesus.

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Wayland Seminarya Baptist theological school located in northwest Washington, D.C., founded in 1867 for the formal education of newly freed slaves.

Bangor, Mainesmall city in central Maine.

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Harper's Ferrya small town in northeastern West Virginia located at the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers.

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typhoid feveran infectious, often fatal disease that affects the intestinal tract and the blood.

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yellow jaundicea yellowish skin and eye discoloration.

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God the father…Holy Ghostthe Christian trinity, the three divisions of the godhead.

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Peteran apostle of Christ who tried to walk on water when invited by Jesus. See Matthew 14: 25-33.

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Abraham Lincoln(1809-1865). the sixteenth US president, author of the Emancipation Proclamation, which granted freedom to slaves in the Confederacy on January 1, 1863.

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Ethiopianthe African American.

jublileemisspelling of jubilee, a season of celebration after the freeing of slaves.

John Brown(1800-1859), a white abolitionist whose execution following his abortive raid on the Harper's Ferry arsenal made him a martyr to the cause of freedom during the Civil War.

Ulysses S. Grant(1822-1885), 18th president of the US who was General in Chief of the Union armies at the close of the Civil War.

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Charles Sumner(1811-1874), U.S. Senator who strongly advocated the end of slavery.

Civil Rights Billa law guaranteeing basic property and legal rights to African Americans, passed by Congress in 1866, overriding the veto of President Andrew Johnson.

Frederick Douglass(1818-1895), African American abolitionist, civil rights advocate, and statesman.

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Well done thou, good and faithful servant, enter thou in the joys of the Lord.Matthew 25:21.

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Pilgrim Fathersthe founders of the Plymouth colony in Massachusetts in 1620.

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Confederate moneycurrency developed by the Confederate States of American during the Civil War.

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Coreansperhaps a misspelling of Koreans.

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Saratoga Springsa city in eastern New York.

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the Lord's daySunday, the Christian Sabbath.

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Blessed assurancea verse from a popular nineteenth-century Protestant hymn, "Blesse Assurance."

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mitessmall amounts of money.

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Praise the Lord, Oh, my soul, and all that is within me praise His holy nameSee Psalm 103: 1.

other ground…sandRephrasing of a line from a popular nineteenth-century Protestant hymn, "My Hope is Built on Nothing Less."

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Y.M.C.The Y.M.C.A., the Young Men's Christian Association.

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W.V.abbreviation of West Virginia.

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gratefnla misspelling of grateful.

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B&O railroadThe Baltimore and Ohio railroad begun in 1829, the first common railroad in the United States.

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Holy, holy, holy...The Doxology in many Protestant churches, the last verse of the seventeenth-century hymn, "Awake My Soul and with the Sun."

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Quakera member of the Society of Friends, a Christian denomination known for their opposition to slavery.

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Hillsdale Collegea college in central Michigan founded by Freewill Baptists.