Celia, A Slave by Melton A. McLaurin
In the book Celia, A Slave by Melton A. McLaurin, the accounts of one woman's life are bound together in a vivid way to relay the circumstances surrounding a female slave's cruel life. The life of this woman named Celia was filled with acts of molestation, rape, murder, and eventual execution. Through the use of court records, correspondences, and newspaper accounts, the author delineated in chronological order the life of Celia: from her purchase by Robert Newsom to her execution on December 21, 1855.
When Robert Newsom bought Celia from an unnamed person, the first night that he spent with her he raped Celia. This act was repeated numerously throughout the next five years. It is told to the reader that Celia almost certainly was purchased to replace Newsom's wife who had died months earlier. After years of sexual torment and abuse, Celia killed her master and burned his body to avoid being caught.
However, she was caught, tried, and executed for her crime. This of course was not the whole story. Many factors come into play when explaining why Celia murdered Robert Newsom and determining the right course of action for her punishment.
The factors influencing Celia's behavior can be attributed to the years of rape sustained by Celia. In addition to the emotional instability that encourages Celia to murder Newsom is the ultimatum given by Celia's lover, George, to "quit the old man" (30) or risk losing him as a companion. Also, many people had the opportunity to stand up for Celia and stop the abuse, but for personal reasons, those who knew of the crimes chose to remain quiet. All of these factors have the same thing in common: they each present a person or persons dealing with their...