Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful book that contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.
Imagine being looked up and down and being valued as less than chair. Less than an ox. Less than a dress. Maybe about the same as a lantern.
You, an object. An object to sell.
In his gentle yet deeply powerful way, Ashley Bryan goes to the heart of how a slave is given a monetary value by the slave owner, tempering this with the one thing that can't be bought or sold - dreams.
Inspired by the actual will of a plantation owner that lists the worth of each and every one of his workers, Bryan, through expansive poetry, imagines and interprets each person's life on the plantation, as well as the life their owner knew nothing about - their dreams and pride in knowing that they were worth far more than an overseer or madam ever would guess.
"[A] heartrending exploration of what slavery meant to those who were deemed 'property.' It leaps from the pages through the commanding performances of Patricia R. Floyd and Kevin R. Free. Their emotionally connected narration leaves no doubt as to the cruelty of a system that treated human beings no differently from cattle or household goods. And yet, hope prevailed, and the belief in eventual freedom persisted, all made clear through crisp narration, measured cadence, and - sometimes - song." (AudioFile)
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