Download Full Text (277 KB)
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
What Are Slaves? is about an eight-year-old, biracial boy named Danny who visits a historical antebellum era plantation with his mother. While observing the now present day museum, a picture of slave children working in a field catches Danny’s eye. Curious and having never learned about slaves, Danny inquires to his mother about what the children his age are doing. Danny’s mother gives him an explanation of what slaves are and how they ended up in their situation. Going from one photo exhibit to another, Danny asks his mother for reasons regarding the slaves’ appearance, workload, and education, all of which she patiently explains. After grasping the concept of a slave and realizing that their oppression was all based on the color of skin, Danny becomes upset and mentions that the whole thing seems unfair. His mother replies that keeping slaves is unfair and explains how slavery ended because of people working together to change an unfair problem. She then makes sure Danny knows that unequal treatment towards people of color still exists today, and tells him to always make sure he treats everyone with respect regardless of their skin color.
A children's book narrative authored by undergraduate students enrolled in Professor Eckelmann Berghel's HIST 3920: United States Race and Childhood course in 2018 Spring at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
Race relations -- Fiction; United States -- Race relations -- Juvenile literature
Children's and Young Adult Literature | United States History
United States Race and Childhood Fiction for Young Readers
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
Yarbrough, Sarah and Solberg, Sami, "What Are Slaves?" (2018). https://scholar.utc.edu/race-and-childhood/4