By Christian Parenti
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Additional info for The Soft Cage: Surveillance in America from Slavery to the War on Terror
36 Numerous slave narratives and Works Progress Administration interviews with former bondspersons dwell on the importance of reading, but 23 THE SOFT CAGE no author approaches the eloquence, clarity, and measured wrath of Frederick Douglass. His well-known odyssey into literacy and freedom began as a boy with the aid of his owner's wife, who at first was immensely proud of his progress. In fact, Mrs. Auld "exultingly" and naively told her husband about her apt pupil "and of her intention to persevere in teaching [him]...
29 THE SOFT CAGE For even more physical detail: Negro man Slave named Bob, Copper color, high cheek bones, 511 inches high, weighs about 150 pounds' 22 years old very white teeth and a space between the center of the upper teeth. 55 The wanted posters and ads are examples of both antebellum social control and of the technical and organizational inadequacy of that control: biometric identification was applied to runaways after the fact. WAR AND STANDARDIZATION The Civil War created among other problems a crisis of identification in the South.
30 Or these: 22 ANTEBELLUM ID RUN away from the subscriber, a Mulatto girl named Agnes... 31 RUN AWAY from the subscriber. . a servant named SAMUEL HOMES. . 32 White indentured servants, like slaves, were known to hack into the mainframe of literacy. "33 Both whites and Blacks shared their skills: an indented servant man named WILLIAM GILL, whose dialect will very readily discover him to be an Irishman.... 34 Owners in search of escapees called attention to forged passes in part to encourage greater scrutiny of such documents.