He was a babe in arms when they came through town to read what they called The Declaration and his mother and his father heard those words “All men are created equal”. And his father heard those words and said “We are going to be free! All of us, we are all going to be free!” and he grabbed his baby boy and held him up over his head and danced around and said “My baby boy is going to be free!”

He was on his deathbed when they came around again. He had worked from the time he was five, he had labored. He had sired 17 children from five different women and seen them all sold out to other plantations, and he outlived them all and all his grandchildren too. And when they came to him and said “There’s A Proclamation – there is A Proclamation that slavery is not allowed anymore” he shook his head and said “All my life. All my life.”

© 2020 Bruce Merchant

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