What can we learn about slavery from Vyry’s childhood in Jubilee?

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From Vyry’s childhood, the reader of Jubilee can learn that slavery included male slaveholders’ sexual domination of enslaved women, the separation of babies from their parents, and the forced labor of even very young enslaved children.

Vyry’s father was a white man, John Morris Dutton, who repeatedly sexually assaulted and...

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From Vyry’s childhood, the reader of Jubilee can learn that slavery included male slaveholders’ sexual domination of enslaved women, the separation of babies from their parents, and the forced labor of even very young enslaved children.

Vyry’s father was a white man, John Morris Dutton, who repeatedly sexually assaulted and impregnated Hetta, an African American woman he owned; the last child he fathered with her was Vyry. The light-skinned girl was taken away from her mother as an infant because her appearance reminded Salina, Dutton’s wife, of her husband’s sexual involvement with slaves. Living on another Dutton family property and raised by a different female slave, as a toddler, Vyry could not even recognize her mother. Later, she was brought back to the Duttons’ home, where she was forced to work as a house servant. Enslaved children were forbidden from attending school. The work of children often included waiting on their fathers and half-siblings, such as Vyry had to do for Lilian.

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