Garner is Great Black Kentuckian

COVINGTON - Margaret Garner, a slave who killed her 2-year old daughter rather than see the child become a slave, was honored Thursday as a Great Black Kentuckian.

How is this honorable?

Read more here

That is an interesting and sad story. I can see why she would be admired and considered a heroine if she had sacraficed her own life to help end slavery. However, I have great difficulty accepting how killing somebody else, especially an innocent child, can be considered admirable, or even justifiable, even if it is to contribute toward a greater good. Thus, while it isn’t straight forward, I agree with you. It is horribly sad that this women was so degraded by slavery that she saw this is an option, but I still can’t accept this as moral behavior, and certainly not admirable. Although I do believe slavery was, and is, a horrible evil and sacrifices to end it in the US were necessary. In a sense I see a parallel to war. Sometimes there are causes sufficiently just that it is still moral to wage war even knowing that some innocents will inevtiably be killed. However, even in a “Just War” purposely killing innocents remains a crime.

A sad fact is that more people, by numbers, now live in slavery today than ever before in history. The linked story, I believe was originally published in the Boston Globe.

that would be like someone today killing their child because they don’t want them growing up in this immoral society we live in and there is so much suffering and danger and poverty and hardship and we live with so many threats from terrorism and natural disasters.

everyone’s life is a struggle. i am not saying that i think slavery was okay, because it was terrible. we are all put here to try and repair the world in some way. how do we not know that her child could have made some kind of contribution to society that would have resulted in a significant change?

:(This is just is she great? As some of the posters on the link said, she killed her child, but didn’t kill herself,and wound up dying 2 years later.
If say her daughter had been taken from her and sold let’s say.And she vowed that there and then she would try to do something to help slave families stay together,and end slavery,then she would be great.Harriet Tubman is great, she’s not.

No, I don’t that that is an accurate comparison. While I am not familiar with Garner’s life and what she suffered, there is no doubt that slavery in the US often involved torture and sometimes recurring rape. The life of a slave was very very different from the hardships and worries we encounter today. I don’t think we can pass judgment on her.

As for whether she was great black Kentuckian… I will have to leave that to the black residents of Kentucky to say. Certainly her action highlights the desperation and horror that was experienced by slaves. The incident is a clear reminder, 150 years later, of the demonic nightmare our country created. Perhaps her selection is meant to make us remember this.

I am from Cincinnati. Margaret Garner escaped from slavery across the Ohio river from terrible suffering in slavery. At that time the Fugitive Slave Act was in existence which allowed slave owners to come into free states to reclaim their “property”. Margaret garner was at the end of her rope and at the end or her luck. When the slave owners and dogs finally caught up with her she was hiding in a shack or something and she completely freaked out -went nuts really- tried to kill all the children so the slave hunters wouldn’t get them. i think she thought on some level that they were better off dead. So only succeeded in killing the one child thank goodness. She was viewed as completely crazy after that by both the slave and the free community.
This incident is the subject of Toni Morrison’s award winning book " Beloved" which is part fictional as it tells the story from the point of view of the child who died. It is a very, very good book set here in Cincinnati.

I’m not sure what any of us would do if we knew our children were going to be put into a lifetime of abuse and torture that we had been experiencing first hand. I’m not condoning her actions just saying it was a terrible situation and we should not be too hasty to judge her personally.

we hear of stories often in our country where the father kills his children and his wife and then himself.

so i think it is a fair comparison. today people lose hope in our world and do desperate things and they are not slaves.

i wonder if any of the jewish people who were herded into ghettos or who knew they were being sent to concentration camps killed their children. if you followed the thinking of this kentucky slave woman, you could say that the jewish people did not want their children to fall into the hands of the nazis and so they killed their children. i don’t have the facts, but i don’t think this happened often if at all.
i saw the movie Beloved. it was weird. i did not know that it was based on anyone’s life.
slavery was not created by our country. slavery has been around forever and still exists today. no, the life of a slave was not easy. they were treated inhumanely and it is a chapter in our nation’s history that we are not proud of. we were not the only country who used slaves. she probably was feeling desperate, scared and crazy at the same time.
i don’t know that i would define her act as great. tragic would be a better word.
i am sorry, but i just don’t think her act should put her in a category of being called "great:.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit