Today is Anti-Slavery Day.
In spite of the work of William Wilberforce and many others to abolish it, slavery is still alive and well, and not only in the Third World.
Across the planet, millions of children are forced to work for a pittance, or for nothing at all, some of them sold by their parents to unscrupulous traffickers in human beings. Young women are fooled by promises of lucrative work into lives of drugs and prostitution.
What better way to say “NO” to slavery than by recalling six important classic works of literature that have slavery as a theme:
1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Two boys, one of them a black slave, strike up a firm friendship.
2. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
A bittersweet look at American slavery portrays typical attitudes of the day.
3. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Slavery of a different kind, the Workhouse system, and the lot of orphans are the subjects of one of Dickens’s most enduring novels.
Actually, there are two classic novels with that title, the better known by Howard Fast, but also an earlier one by the Scottish writer James Leslie Mitchell. Both tell of the slave revolt in Rome in the first century BC.
5. Roots by Alex Haley
Roots is the story of Kunta Kinte, Haley’s ancestor, kidnapped from Africa and transported as a slave to the United States of America.
6. Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup
The memoir of a free African American kidnapped by slave traders and sold to a plantation owner in Louisiana.
Let’s abolish slavery for good!