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white mother1AChicago Tribune, January 10, 1856. The reservoir of acid-attack stories is far from exhausted, but the series has been a ratings disaster (?!) so I’m turning to more upbeat topics for a while. Here, for example, is a deeply poignant anecdote about how one man’s seething racism converted him to the noble cause of abolition. Get out your handkerchiefs before you read any further.
white mother2AGosh, it restores one’s faith in humankind, don’t it?


  1. I loved the acid-attack series!

    • Thanks. And don’t worry, I’m not done with the genre.

  2. I’ve seen a lot of old news, and even read some books where cities were just referred to as “the town of A—“, etc. Here I can kind of understand why, but it often seems to be used for no good reason. Any idea why it was so common to do that?

  3. In a work of fiction, it’s intended to create a sense of verisimilitude, as if the story were true but the names were withheld to protect the author from litigation, or maybe to protect innocent reputations. Gives it an immediate, gossipy, roman a cle kind of feel, see?

    But this is presented as nonfiction, so I’d guess the main idea is that of protecting Mr. C from contumely and reprisal. But who knows if Mr. C actually existed, given that this item is excerpted from a famous abolitionist tract. I’m not saying any of the details about slavery or slave markets here ring false–they don’t. But that doesn’t mean this exemplary anecdote wasn’t made up by the propagandist.

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