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Slavery Days in Old Kentucky

A True Story of a Father Who Sold His Wife and Four Children, By One of His Children

By Isaac Johnson

40 pp., 6 x 9

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-4187-4
    Published: September 2018
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-4188-1
    Published: September 2018

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A DocSouth Book, Distributed for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library

Isaac Johnson was born in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, in 1844. His father, Richard Yeager, was a white farmer and his mother, Jane Johnson, was an enslaved African from Madagascar. His parents lived together as husband and wife and had four children, including Isaac. In 1851, Yeager, unable to face neighbors' criticism, sold Jane and their children to various new masters and left the area. Isaac, who had not previously been aware of his enslavement, was thus abruptly separated from his mother and siblings at the age of seven. After a succession of owners and two failed escape attempts, Johnson finally achieved freedom when, during the Civil War, he fled his master's plantation and found refuge with a Union regiment marching through Kentucky. After the war he moved to Canada and began working as a mason and stonecutter, and later to New York. Published in 1901, Slavery Days in Old Kentucky, was written to argue against what Johnson saw as a romanticized nostalgia for slavery.

A DOCSOUTH BOOK. This collaboration between UNC Press and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library brings classic works from the digital library of Documenting the American South back into print. DocSouth Books uses the latest digital technologies to make these works available in paperback and e-book formats. Each book contains a short summary and is otherwise unaltered from the original publication. DocSouth Books provide affordable and easily accessible editions to a new generation of scholars, students, and general readers.

About the Author

Isaac Johnson (1844-1905) was a former slave who worked as a mason and stonecutter in Canada and New York. He and his wife Theodocia Allen had seven children. He published Slavery Days in Old Kentucky in 1901.
For more information about Isaac Johnson, visit the Author Page.