Fifty Years in Chains

Or, the Life of an American Slave

By Charles Ball

240 pp., 6 x 9, 1 halftone

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-0784-9
    Published: December 2012
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-0785-6
    Published: December 2012

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

Fifty Years in Chains: Or, the Life of an American Slave (1859) was an abridged and unauthorized reprint of the earlier Slavery in the United States (1836). In the narratives, Ball describes his experiences as a slave, including the uncertainty of slave life and the ways in which the slaves are forced to suffer inhumane conditions. He recounts the qualities of his various masters and the ways in which his fortune depended on their temperament. As slave narrative scholar William L. Andrews has noted, Ball's oft-repeated narrative directly influenced the manner and matter of later fugitive slave narratives.

A DOCSOUTH BOOK. This collaboration between UNC Press and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Library brings classic works back into print. DocSouth Books editions are selected from the digital library of Documenting the American South and are unaltered from the original publication. The DocSouth series uses digital technology to offer e-books and print-on-demand publications, providing affordable and accessible editions to a new generation of scholars, students, and general readers.

About the Author

Charles Ball was born on a tobacco plantation in Calvert County, Maryland, in 1781 and escaped from slavery in 1809.
For more information about Charles Ball, visit the Author Page.