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Leadership & Management

12 Years as a slave

12 Years a Slave12 Years as a Slave: Surprisingly Still Rings True



This is from the book “12 Years as a slave” by Solomon Northup, describing how cotton picking was managed on the plantation.

“An ordinary day’s work is two hundred pounds. A slave who is accustomed to picking, is punished, if he or she brings in a less quantity than that.

There is a great difference among them as regards this kind of labor. Some of them seem to have a natural knack, or quickness, which enables them to pick with great celerity, and with both hands, while others, with whatever practice or industry, are utterly unable to come up to the ordinary standard. Such hands are taken from the cotton field and employed in other business.

Patsey, of whom I shall have more to say, was known as the most remarkable cotton picker on Bayou Boeuf. She picked with both hands and with such surprising rapidity, that five hundred pounds…

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About Sarah

I am a mental health nurse with 10 years experience working with people with a lived experience and their carers. I have very little interest in focusing on what is wrong with people and prefer to focus on people's aspirations and what is right with them. I care about equality and the small things that remind us of the bigger picture. I love art, music, novel ideas, psychology, science and the way in which these various entities intersect. I am blogging in an entirely personal capacity. My views do not reflect my employer's.


4 thoughts on “12 Years as a slave

  1. Hi Sarah

    Yes, it is the case I understand still certainly abroad, though of course we read daily at home how migrants to this country and poorly educated low paid UK citizens. They know only too well.

    Keep doing what yer doing Girl.


    Posted by pez6660 Perry | January 15, 2014, 7:35 pm
    • Thanks Perry

      Hope all is going well. I found this blog really interesting as I had not really thought of things this way… I am due to see the film this Friday – apparently its very good.

      Best Wishes,


      Posted by Sarah | January 15, 2014, 7:43 pm
      • Hi Sarah

          Yes I have it on my radar too to see… enjoy.

        Forgot to mention I have just launched a new exhibition at Dimbola Photographic gallery (I live right opposite them) It is on now and continues to the end of Feb. I have attached some info for you. 

        On the MH front I am about to start volunteer working at the Sevenacres Mental Health unit in Newport as a peer advocate. Hope it leads to paid work. You might well receive a letter from NHS Solent as I have put you forward as someone who I have worked with. Hope though the place has changed since 2011! see this link: http://www.iwcp.co.uk/news/news/report-criticises-isle-of-wight-mental-health-unit-38686.aspx

        Say Hi to any of the “gang” if you see any of them still please Sarah.

        Kindest Regards    Mr Perry Clifton


        Posted by pez6660 | January 15, 2014, 10:37 pm
  2. Nice one Perry – I will say hello to the Reach Out project crew for you:)

    Best Wishes,


    Posted by Sarah | January 17, 2014, 9:14 am

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I am a mental health nurse turned manager who enjoys live music and gadgets. I have recently taken up photography as a way to keep sane whilst I am studying for my Msc in Health Care Management.

I am very passionate about my work which I find rewarding and enlightening. I am blogging in an entirely personal capacity. My views do not reflect those of my employer.

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