Celia a Slave: A True Story by Melton A. McLaurin

University of Georgia Press

$20.00
Adding to cart… The item has been added

Originally published in 1991, Celia, a Slave illuminates the moral dilemmas that lie at the heart of a slaveholding society by telling the story of a young slave who was sexually exploited by her enslaver and ultimately executed for his murder. Melton A. McLaurin uses Celia's story to reveal the tensions that strained the fabric of antebellum southern society by focusing on the role of gender and the manner in which the legal system was used to justify slavery. An important addition to our understanding of the pre-Civil War era, Celia, a Slave is also an intensely compelling narrative of one woman pushed beyond the limits of her endurance by a system that denied her humanity at the most basic level.

In 1850, fourteen-year-old Celia became the property of Robert Newsom, a prosperous and respected Missouri farmer. For the next five years, she was cruelly and repeatedly molested by her abusive master--and bore him two children in the process. But in 1855, driven to the limits of her endurance, Celia fought back. And at the tender age of eighteen, the desperate and frightened young black woman found herself on trial for Newsom's murder--the defendant in a landmark courtroom battle that threatened to undermine the very foundations of the South's most cherished institution. Based on court records, correspondences and newspaper accounts past and present, Celia, A Slave is a powerful masterwork of passion and scholarship--a stunning literary achievement that brilliantly illuminates one of the most extraordinary events in the long, dark history of slavery in America.

About the Author

Melton A. McLaurin is professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He is author of eight books, including the award-winning Separate Pasts: Growing Up White in the Segregated South.

Product Specifications

Published by University of Georgia Press, 2021. Paperback, 176 pages.