Self-Taught! (Part II: In Memory of Spottswood Rice)

Today, I fell in love …with the internet. I returned to a letter written by a soldier for the Union Army, Spottswood Rice, that I first read more than ten years ago in Families and Freedom: A Documentary History of African American Kinship in the Civil War Era by Ira Berlin and Leslie Rowland.  In the letter, Rice (who learned to read and write as a slave by tricking his young “master”) leaves no stone unturned in letting a slave-mistress know what he has in mind if she continues to refuse to give him his child (who she believes is her property.)  By visiting Angela Walton-Raji’s blog, I participated in Walton-Raji’s archival research that witnesses the life of this man and his family. Her website allowed me to finally fill in the picture that Rice’s letter gave me when I first read it more than 10 years ago.