Slavery Isn’t Such an Ugly Word….

Rape, pedophile, shit, faggot, nig–r,….now those are ugly words.  You can taste the filth in your mouth if you say them.  You are repulsed when you hear them.  Slavery‘ doesn’t sound ugly enough.  The word is bland, safe, and doesn’t make us sick in the way that other words do. Dear Reader, please understand that I’m not writing about what the word represents….I’m talking about the actual word. What happened in this country, during the 1800’s,  when a whole people were enslaved is emotionally unimaginable…..unless and until you read,  The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk-Kidd.  Available now.

A Review    reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing5 out of 5 quillsThe Invention of Wings

The story is of the Grimke sisters; Sarah and Nina, high born, white, plantation girls.  Based upon a true story, the author tells how the slave owner’s lives intertwine every day with their slaves.  The very slaves who are a part of the family if you talk to the owners.  A prison full of punishment if you were to speak with the slaves.  They connect awkwardly  because they both know that slavery is wrong and they each know that the other one knows it too.   Sue Monk-Kidd tells an atrocious tale of  Sarah’s mother beating, caning, and torturing her house slaves and then just hours later would order tea to be served by a maid whose back was still staining her dress with seeping blood. Of the ‘Work House’ in Charleston where slaves who had committed egregious ‘offenses’…. were sent to walk the treadmill.  If they slipped they fell into the gears of the machine to be permanently maimed or killed.  I’ve read my share of books about the ole’ South but never have I read such a riveting story about the life of a slave.

In the early days of abolition men and women, who did not believe in slavery, were stalked, beaten and frequently arrested for their beliefs.  Sarah and her sister ultimately become Quakers and become the most famous female abolitionists of that time.  They go on to champion women’s rights; one could argue another form of slavery in our history.

I have been a fan of Sue Monk-Kidd’s writings for years. (The Secret Life of Bees)  She never comes up short. She delivers more than the reader was expecting and with this book gave this reader a soul wrenching experience.  Oddly, shining out of this dark, dark time there was still hope.  I highly recommend this book!

Note:  Sue was unavailable for an interview at this time but her publicist did send this over:

Q. This is a work of historical fiction inspired by the real Grimké sisters, Sarah and Angelina. How did you discover them and what was it about them that you found to be interesting enough to create a story for a novel?

SMK: The novel began with a vague notion that I wanted to write a story about two sisters. I didn’t know initially, who the sisters might be or when and where they lived. Then, while visiting Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, I came upon the names of Sarah and Angelina Grimké on the Heritage Panels, which list women who’ve made important contributions to history. I discovered they were sisters from Charleston, the same city in which I was living. Embarrassingly enough, I’d never heard of them. Perhaps the most radical females to come out of the antebellum south, they were the first female abolition agents in the country and among the earliest pioneers for women’s rights…

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