Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Escape Plans

It is interesting to see the various codes and secret signals that slaves created in order to communicate escape plans. Some strategies, like the quilt code, seem more elaborate but less likely of being discovered by whites and slaveowners. The quilt code would be a great way to relay directions, except it is harder to make a quilt than say sing a song, and the slaves have to be able to decode the quilt. Song seems to me the easiest way to communicate plans, but some of the songs seem like they'd be easily figured out by whites. Some of the lyrics are somewhat obvious and could have made whites suspicious of slaves running away. For example, "Follow the Drinking Gourd" clearly implies directions. It is still amazing to see how effective these songs were  in helping many slaves run away to freedom. I wonder how many whites did not pick up on these songs, maybe they were not paying attention or were not around when they were sung. The slaves seemed to be very strategical in how they formed escaped plans and how they communicated directions to other slaves.

6 comments:

Joseph Martin said...

I agree that the plans to escape slavery were very elaborate because they had to be in order to work. Plans are an important motif in Beloved because as slaves, they had no freedom to make their own plans without danger of being reprimanded. Also, the main plan of the whole novel, the plan to escape, was well thought out and planned ahead of time, but in the end went awry. The only reason that Sethe got away was because after her milk was stolen, no one expected her to run because she was in the late stages of pregnancy and had other young children. This goes to show the luck required to have a successful escape attempt because no amount of planning can predict unforeseeable circumstances.

Savannah Watermeier said...

I kind of question the quilt code. How did every single slave know what all of the the quilt tiles meant? How did they even decide to use quilts? They weren't allowed to congregate in large quantities, so they couldn't have had some "slave convention" to discuss all this. If the quilts were so popular, how did the white slave masters not find out about them? I think the quilt codes are pretty cool; I just question their practicality.

Rickeia Coleman said...

Yea I agree with Savannah like how in the world did all the slaves know what each one of these things meant. Unless it was something that was passed down form each generation and it just became accepted in the slave community. However, I think it's cool to see some of the methods which slaves would invent in order to help them escape. The struggle to escape slavery was tremendous and slaves created very elaborate means to escape. I just wonder how everything passed on since they had limited contact with one another and I think it would be more interesting to see how they passed this information to one another.

Luke Jeanfreau said...

I think it's easy to see the quilt code as something that's too complex to be useful, but you have to understand that this was a life or death situation for those that used it. If it wasn't complicated, their owners would notice, and attempted escape was not taken lightly. There really just weren't any safer ways of communicating publicly.

Brooke Williamson said...

I really think it's interesting how the slaves formulated plans in order to communicate and devise escape routes. This signifies the desperation they felt to escape due to slavery. Thus, slaves needed to create unique methods in order to communicate with one another.

Bailey Taylor said...

I don't really understand how the quilt code worked. How did someone just come up with all these symbols and the idea of the quilt and then suddenly all the slaves were able to interpret the meaning? It is a really clever idea I just don't understand how it was executed across the country.