Thomas Lewis

In this interview, the interviewer recounts in the first person formerly enslaved person Thomas Lewis’s explanation of why enslaved people resisted and the consequence of that resistance. 
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… There was no such thing as being good to slaves. Many people were better than others, but a slave belonged to his master and there was no way to get out of it. A strong man was hard to make work. He would fight so that the white men trying to hold him would be breathless. Then there was nothing to do but kill him. If a slave resisted, and his master killed him, it was the same as self-defense today. If a cruel master whipped a slave to death, it put the fear into the other slaves…

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
Thomas Lewis1857 (approx. 80)Estella R. DodsonUnknown
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
Bloomignton, ININKY
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
Resistance, ViolenceSpencer County, First Person, Witnessed Extreme Cruelty, Union Troops, Klan/Mob Violence, Hired Out