In a scene from William Wells Brown's Clotelle: A Tale of the Southern States (1864), a magistrate questions an imprisoned enslaved man who was sentenced to death after attempting to escape. Believing that his act was part of a larger slave revolt, the magistrate promises the jailed man that his life might be spared if he provides information about the plot. The man refuses.
"Life," answered the doomed man, "is worth nought to a slave. What right has a slave to himself, his wife, or his children? We are kept in heathenish darkness, by laws especially enacted to make our instruction a criminal offence; and our bones, sinews, blood, and nerves are exposed to the market for sale."
Citation: Clotelle: A Tale of the Southern States. PS1139 .B9 C5 1864. Special Collections, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA