By William L. Andrews, Regina E. Mason
Lifetime of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave is the 1st fugitive slave narrative in American background. simply because Grimes wrote and released his narrative on his personal, with no deference to white editors, publishers, or sponsors, his existence has an immediacy, candor, and no-holds-barred realism unprecedented within the well-known antebellum slave narratives of the interval. This variation of Grimes's autobiography represents an old partnership among famous student of the African American slave narrative, William L. Andrews, and Regina Mason, Grimes's great-great-great-granddaughter. Their wide historic and genealogical learn has produced an authoritative, copiously annotated textual content that includes pages from an unique Grimes kin Bible, transcriptions of the 1824 correspondence that set the phrases for the author's self-purchase in Connecticut (nine years after his break out from Savannah, Georgia), and lots of different extraordinary photos that invoke the existence and occasions of William Grimes.
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Extra info for Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave
He modest merit sought to ﬁnd, And pay it its desert: He had no malice in his mind— No rufﬂes on his shirt. His neighbors he did not abuse, Was sociable and gay; He wore large buckles in his shoes, And chang’d them every day. His knowledge hid from public gaze, He did not bring to view— Nor make a noise town-meeting days, As many people do. His worldly goods he never threw In trust to fortune’s chances; But liv’d (as all his brothers do) In easy circumstances. Thus, undisturb’d by anxious care, His peaceful moments ran; Life of William Grimes 33 And ev’ry body said he was A ﬁne old gentleman.
29 Grimes’s narrative, however, lodges lasting complaints against many of the whites he encountered in the South. He bears a special grudge toward the wife of his ﬁrst master, William Gibbons Stuart, whose hatred, either because of jealousy or because the lightskinned slave boy was also Mrs. Stuart’s ﬁrst cousin, brought him many harsh beatings before he had reached the age of ten. “Young as I was then, I can yet remember her cruelty with emotions of indignation that almost drove me to curses.
His neighbors he did not abuse, Was sociable and gay; He wore large buckles in his shoes, And chang’d them every day. His knowledge hid from public gaze, He did not bring to view— Nor make a noise town-meeting days, As many people do. His worldly goods he never threw In trust to fortune’s chances; But liv’d (as all his brothers do) In easy circumstances. Thus, undisturb’d by anxious care, His peaceful moments ran; Life of William Grimes 33 And ev’ry body said he was A ﬁne old gentleman. Good people all, give cheerful thought To Grimes’ memory: As doth his cousin, ESEK SHORT, Who made this poetry.