In William Craft's narrative, "Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom," he illustrates the harsh nature of slavery in the socially corrupted and brutal South. He retells stories of his friends, relatives, and most importantly of the brave escape to freedom with his wife Ellen. Throughout his narrative, Craft also portrays the way women and female slaves were viewed and treated in the 1800's, which accounted for much of the cruelty that came from the slave owners. .
In the beginning of the story, Craft describes the painful memories of the time he spent as a slave. He recalls experiencing being separated from both his parents and his siblings. He explains that his parents were sold because they were getting too old and were no longer of any use. He makes the statement: “But how will the case stand with those reckless traffickers in human flesh and blood who plunged the poisonous dagger of separation into those loving hearts which God has for so many years closely joined together.” (Craft, p.8) However, one of the most compelling incidents is the time when his sister was sold to a man, and he was not allowed to say goodbye to her.
Among the harsh treatment that all slaves received, female slaves received some of the worst. Craft describes a story he remembers about a young girl named Antoinette, who was mostly white. Antoinette had been sold as a slave, though she was not born one, to a drunk who had planned to take full advantage of her. She ended up jumping out of a window to her death, to escape being used for sex. This is just one example of the disgusting nature of white Southern men during the 1800's, and how they viewed women slaves.
Female slaves were not only taken advantage of but this act was often used a punishment. In Craft's narrative he says, “that the villains to whom these defenseless creatures are sent, not only flog them as they are ordered but frequently compel them to submit to the greatest indignity.