"With Diary of a Contraband: The Civil War Passage of a Black Sailor, William B. Gould IV has delivered something both inspirational and of real consequence to the world of American history. ...the reader is able to look back over 140 years and view the life of a slave who seized his freedom and embarked on a journey rich in historical significance and overflowing with personal drama and danger."
In a tone often both
understated and sardonic, the diary includes observations about slavery,
race relations, the War of the Rebellion itself, the colonization of blacks,
and the pardons given to Confederates after the war, as well as numerous
references to meetings and correspondence with those who were trying to
lobby for and promote a good Reconstruction policy in the South (many
of William B. Gouldís associates became prominent in Republican politics
in North Carolina at the warís conclusion). Though not particularly introspective,
the diary also speaks of loneliness at sea, particularly his frustration
over lack of correspondence from Cornelia Williams Read, whom he married
within two months of his discharge from the Navy in Massachusetts in late
1865. It also speaks sometimes about personally difficult or embarrassing
circumstances, and sometimes about gaiety, meetings, and concerts, and
the people who attended them.
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