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Harry Smith, b. 1815?
Fifty Years of Slavery in the United States of America
Grand Rapids, MI:: West Michigan Printing Co., 1891.


According to the brief biographical sketch that introduces this work, Harry Smith was born in Kentucky in 1815. He remained in slavery until freed by Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Smith then moved to Indiana and later Michigan, where he finally settled with his wife.

Smith's narrative, Fifty Years of Slavery (1891), relates not only his personal experiences, but also includes many anecdotes about other Kentucky slaves and masters. Many of his stories are humorous and pleasant, relating to sporting adventures and leisure activities. Others, however, relate instances of neglect, violence, and the mistreatment of slaves by their masters and other white authorities. Although Smith's narrative focuses primarily on slave family life on large plantations, it also highlights the interactions between whites and blacks, and the dynamics of those relationships.

Monique Prince

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