Harrower and Bluett

In “Some Memoirs of the Life of Job…”, Thomas Bluett writes on the life of a wrongfully enslaved man from the kingdom of Futa.  He details the journey of JOB into enslavement, beginning with his kidnapping in the territory of a neighboring tribe.  I found this very interesting because it is not something that is widely discussed.  In school, we don’t talk about how Africans were capturing other Africans to be sold as slaves, so reading JOB’s first hand experience was a new perspective that I didn’t know too much about.  Bluett also writes on the conditions under which Job lived and how while his master tried to make his life of enslavement “easier,” it is discussed how in 1731 his master allowed him a place to worship and other minor conveniences.  I found this interesting because while the master tried to make his life more “comfortable,” JOB was still enslaved and was treated differently because he was not accustomed to hard work because he was previously from a higher class in his tribe.  

In his diary John Harrower details his journey from Scotland to America and his voyage across the Atlantic.  Harrower begins by discussing how he left his home in 1773 looking for a better job, because he was more educated than most were, he was able to become a school-master and he signed servitude to a well off military family (Colonel Daingerfield).  Daingerfield provided him with food, clothing, and a place to live in, Harrower was luckier than most in his indenture because he was provided with a mostly “comfortable” life.  Similarly to Bluett, it is obvious that social standing was important among the two communities because those that were seen as “higher class” had more flexibility. 

2 thoughts on “Harrower and Bluett

  1. I like that you brought up the fact that the memoirs of Job discussed a lot of the “before” experience of slaves bought and taken from Africa. A lot of times in school it is briefly mentioned that slaves were sold to the Europeans in many cases by other Africans. Although, given that the systems and understandings of slavery in Africa were more closely aligned to what the Europeans would call indentured servitude, I doubt the Africans knew what system they were selling these people into and the large negative repercussions of those actions. Nonetheless, it is important that we do take a deeper look at the dynamics of the African peoples at the time in order to gain a fuller picture of what the forced migration experience was of these people.

  2. Hi! Going along with what Noell said, I liked how you talked about what happened to Job before he was enslaved. I had similar experiences in my classrooms growing up in terms of my teachers not talking about what came before arrival to the Colonies. When talking about people who were brought across the Atlantic, we always started with them on a ship, not how they ended up there. I agree with you that both men in these situations had a higher social standing than most during this time, likely leading to better circumstances than most others in indentured servitude/enslavement. Good job!

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