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In researching my book, The Rattling of the Chains, I decided to read original material that gives one insights on the true life and customs of the Africian -Caribbeian American Slave. Too many were made up, guessed at or wrote about the evils of slavery, but little about slave life.
This poem called Sugar Cane by James Grianger is the best of them all. Published in 1764 he a Scottish trained doctor shared details about the slave as a skilled healer, and how the community operated. As a georgic poem presented in four books, it describes every plant, herbs and medicine used by the slave community. He claims I write out of truth not genius, out of experience, not fancy. Either way it assisted me to understand the life of slave, how they worked, ate and treated the various sicknesses . In my book, I incorporated the names, terms and expression used by slaves and masters alike wherever I could.
I recommend this book without any reservation for use by historians and social scientists. For the next 100 years, a dozen other earlier British and European writers copied the style and tried to repeat the scholarship of Grainger who used the writings of Robert Roberson (1736) ,Francis Williams Edward Ware (1638) Thomas Tryon( 1684) and others. After Grianger a host of writers such as John Singleton (1760) who wrote about the slave in the West-Indies. Most of these writers can be found in the book, Caribbeana by Thomas Kriser (1999) Who did an outstanding job Arrowhead Institute . Errol D. Alexander, PhD

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