Start reading Celia, A Slave on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Celia, A Slave

Celia, A Slave [Kindle Edition]

Melton A McLaurin
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £6.99
Kindle Price: £3.62 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £3.37 (48%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £3.62  
Hardcover £20.38  
Mass Market Paperback £5.84  
Kindle Daily Deal
Kindle Daily Deal: Up to 70% off
Each day we unveil a new book deal at a specially discounted price--for that day only. Learn more about the Kindle Daily Deal or sign up for the Kindle Daily Deal Newsletter to receive free e-mail notifications about each day's deal.

Product Description


"McLaurin's novelistic approach to history results in an information-packed, thought-provoking piece of theater. McLaurin's meticulous research brings forward layers of information that set the scene and reconstruct the details of an "insignificant" life."--"Booklist"

Product Description

Illuminating the moral dilemmas that lie at the heart of a slaveholding society, this book tells the story of a young slave who was sexually exploited by her master and ultimately executed for his murder.

Celia was only fourteen years old when she was acquired by John Newsom, an aging widower and one of the most prosperous and respected citizens of Callaway County, Missouri. The pattern of sexual abuse that would mark their entire relationship began almost immediately. After purchasing Celia in a neighboring county, Newsom raped her on the journey back to his farm. He then established her in a small cabin near his house and visited her regularly (most likely with the knowledge of the son and two daughters who lived with him). Over the next five years, Celia bore Newsom two children; meanwhile, she became involved with a slave named George and resolved at his insistence to end the relationship with her master. When Newsom refused, Celia one night struck him fatally with a club and disposed of his body in her fireplace.

Her act quickly discovered, Celia was brought to trial. She received a surprisingly vigorous defense from her court-appointed attorneys, who built their case on a state law allowing women the use of deadly force to defend their honor. Nevertheless, the court upheld the tenets of a white social order that wielded almost total control over the lives of slaves. Celia was found guilty and hanged.

Melton A. McLaurin uses Celia's story to reveal the tensions that strained the fabric of antebellum southern society. Celia's case demonstrates how one master's abuse of power over a single slave forced whites to make moral decisions about the nature of slavery. McLaurin focuses sharply on the role of gender, exploring the degree to which female slaves were sexually exploited, the conditions that often prevented white women from stopping such abuse, and the inability of male slaves to defend slave women. Setting the case in the context of the 1850s slavery debates, he also probes the manner in which the legal system was used to justify slavery. By granting slaves certain statutory rights (which were usually rendered meaningless by the customary prerogatives of masters), southerners could argue that they observed moral restraint in the operations of their peculiar institution.

An important addition to our understanding of the pre-Civil War era, Celia, A Slave is also an intensely compelling narrative of one woman pushed beyond the limits of her endurance by a system that denied her humanity at the most basic level.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1861 KB
  • Print Length: 195 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0380803364
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press (19 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0820341592
  • ISBN-13: 978-0820341590
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #288,610 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A forced read that became a blessing... 31 Jan 1998
By A Customer
I was forced to read this short book in college. As I turned each page, I became more connected to the protagonist, Celia and her struggle to escape the control and degradation emposed on her by her master. This story sheds light on the antebellum South's lifestyle and mentality toward "Negroes" as property versus percentages of persons. A MUST READ, especially for African American youth seeking a personal understanding!
Was this review helpful to you?
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I, at first, bought this book because I was curious about it, having read the recent news about Florida's "Black Widow", in which references were made to "Celia". I liked the book because it was purely historical in nature, but provided powerful insights into motivation for this murder, and slavery in Missouri in the 1850's. Because I generally do not read very much (not much patience), I found the compact nature of this documentary to be quite helpful. I am sincerely baffled as to why this book has not been made into a movie.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True accounts 25 Aug 2013
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This account of a slave, written by herself is excellent. If you are genuinely interested in getting a feel of what slavery was, written by someone who was directly affected by it, then this is for you. Celia will give you insight into how slavery was a cancer of the soul to many of the slave owners, you will feel her emotions as she progresses through her life. All in all an excellent read and something that richly deserves my 100% recommendation.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic ... Rewarding 30 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read this book after a history professor mentioned her casein class. It was not required reading material, but it sounded interesting.
This book was purely based on historical facts, which often leave out a great deal of detail, but the author addresses some possible implications of certain documentable facts within the trial.
This book is great, and everyone should read it in order to better understand the "Peculiar Institution" of our nation's past.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3.0 out of 5 stars good book 19 April 2014
By Lee
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
A vey good true story to read and I like them sort of true story books my mum has a few
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2.0 out of 5 stars NOT GOOD READING 10 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Didn,t find book good reading, just couldnt get into it. Maybe good for students doing research or writing a paper
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars Celia 15 Dec 2012
By Bee212
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Very sad story I would loved having more information about celia but there wasn't enough information about her and her past before she lived with the old man or about her parents :/
But It's a must read
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Celia, a slave: A True Story 16 Dec 2011
By Diane
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
A good little read on past slave history and Celia what a lady of her time ! A small compact book , so can fit into your pocket or handbag :-)
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 4 months ago by Christopher S Bell
5.0 out of 5 stars can't wait to read
Got this book ata great price I felt.and I'm really enjoying far but I love all things that are about the old southern plantations and the people who lived then
Published 10 months ago by AMANDA BURTON
5.0 out of 5 stars It's the best
I like very much this item. I recommend to everyone.
This a story of llive that we never forget and we must always remember.
Published 11 months ago by Isabel Teixeira Abreu Cunha
3.0 out of 5 stars Celia A Slave. Paperback book
I enjoyed the story, which was a true account. However, I do think it is overpriced because the quality of the paper and the print is very poor.
Published on 11 Jan 2012 by Lynne Pursey Curtis
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard going.
I bought this book to read on the plane on the way to Tenerife. I thought it would be a good read, but there are so many references to different things I found it very hard. Read more
Published on 17 Sep 2011 by riggalynn
1.0 out of 5 stars Difficult to finish
I really did not find this book readable , Im sure there is valuble history within its pages but I found the story telling poor & for me the lessons punctuating the story spoiled... Read more
Published on 14 Oct 2009 by Johannah
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read!
I Bought this book after seeking to know more about African history,
enslavement and the effects it had on society,
and it is a very sad but also inspiring story about a... Read more
Published on 19 Jun 2008 by read4life
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category