Essay about Celia, A Slave

Words: 3299
Pages: 14

Celia, a Slave In the summer of 1855, a slave named Celia committed a crime that would test the laws and precedents placed on slaves in Missouri during this time period. Celia was only fourteen when purchased by a slave owner, Robert Newsom in 1850. Five years after being purchased, she murdered her owner in self-defense because he tried to rape her. Throughout the 1800’s, slaves had few rights, if any at all. Celia, A Slave brings up many questions about these rights because of the controversy surrounding a black woman and her white owner. Many of these questions were also sparked because of the brutal crime Celia committed. One of the many questions brought up while reading this book was the relationship between Celia and her …show more content…
So when a slave wanted to end a relationship like this, it was unheard of. A slave could not go and seek legal counsel in this type of situation because there were no laws that helped slaves during this time period.
The only laws that were helpful during the 1850’s had to do with when a man raped a woman. Only under certain circumstances did this help women. When a black man raped a white woman or a white man who raped a white woman, legal actions were taken to seek justice. In a situation when a white slave owner raped his black slave, it was often looked over and ignored because of the frequency of this terrible act.
A slave’s only hope would be to ask a friend of the master or even family members for help; which is what Celia did when she wanted to end the sexual relationship between herself and Robert Newsom. In some cases, outside people like friends or family may try to help, but that never guaranteed that the owner would stop his abuse. If a black female slave was raped by her white master, there was nothing that could legally be done to help her; she was property of her owner and that meant he could do what he wanted. Lawyers could not intervene in that type of situation because they would risk their license or their standing in the community, for the same reasons judges could not step forward either. No one could help a black slave if they ever came forward and wanted to seek legal help for the