Slave Catchers and Slave Resistors
‘Slave Catchers, Slave Resisters’ is a 100 minutes, 2005 film which is meant to give an account of how the matters were during the slave trade period. Richardson (2005) mainly focuses on the issue of slave policing on how it happened in the North as well as the South. It analyses the methods that were used to catch and control the slaves, which included armed community patrol for slaves, use of militia, federal law as well as paid slave catchers. These were just some of the methods that were used to attain and contain the slaves. On the other hand, it also tells of how the slaves tried to resist being taken into slavery, and also how they tried to regain their independence after they were put into captivity. It is a matter in which the slave catchers and slave dealers tried as much as they could to get the slaves, while the slaves were keen on trying to escape the trap. The story is set at around the end of the civil war, looking at the repercussions of the war. In order to create the story, the film uses materials such as archival records, interviews and recreations. Looking at the creative, chronological and sequenced film, it is easy to depict the nature of the relationship that existed between the slaves and the slave holders. This is as indicated in the paragraphs below.
On one end, it can be seen that the relationship between slave and master was not a cordial relationship. The masters looked at the slaves as property, not as fellow human beings. It is for this reason that Richardson (2005) observes that the masters used very crude methods to catch and even restrain the slaves. First of all, they used bloodhounds to round up the slaves, and retrieve them when they tried to escape form the farms. This cruel treatment made the slaves embittered towards their masters. As such, they were keen to get away from them. It was a feeling of resentment and hatred that the slaves had towards the masters.
Maybe one of the crudest ways that the masters used to gain control over the slaves is the dehumanizing nature in which they did it. Richardson (2005) observes that the masters had strong and rigid rules which controlled the slaves. They also had tracking dogs which could be used to track the slaves who escaped from their plantations. At this point, Richardson (2005) observes that one of the breeders of these dogs was later to be a president of the U.S. Negro Acts and other legislations were also part of the diverse methods used by the masters to gain control over the slaves, besides the catchers who were hired in the North and the South to help in the same.
In a summative form, Richardson (2005) indicates that the slave masters were very harsh in the manner in which they treated the slaves. they did not have respect for their human dignity nor did they respects the rights of the slaves. This could be the reason as to why the slaves were so bitter towards their masters.
Due to the bitterness, the slaves also reacted in a manner which made the relationship get even worse. Richardson (2005) indicates that just as the masters were keen to keep their slaves, so were the slaves keen at keeping and attaining their independence. He indicates that even when it seemed that the dream of freedom was so far, the slaves did not give up. They were keen on attaining their independence one way or another. They even tried to form blockades along the slave catcher’s lines so as to prevent the catchers from getting their men. From the manner in which the film relates the story, it can be deduced that the slaves’ and the masters’ relationship was very tense; a powder keg that would explode at any moment. They both had the zeal and vigor to advance their course, and could stop at nothing. It was only unfortunate that under such circumstances it was the slaves who suffered the most; they were whipped, had bloodhounds unleashed on them and even physically assaulted. Despite all these, they were still keen on attaining their independence.
Richardson (2005) observes that even after the slaves won the war and were to be set free, the reality of the relationship with their masters still haunted them. He indicates that even as they tried to advance their lives; build schools, churches and have a good life, they were still not free of the humiliation by the slave policing of their masters. He indicates that groups such as the Ku Klux Klan were a re-incarnation of the slave police, only that this time it came up with more violence and brutality against the African Americans, who were the former slave.
In conclusion, it can be said that the relationship between the slaves and their masters was antagonistic in nature. They could not see eye to eye, and this led to the animosity that existed between them. The slaves wanted their freedom and liberty, while the masters wanted laborers for their farms. This contributed to the conflict and cruel encounters.