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Part 2: One Night in the Lives of Slaves

One Night in the Lives of Slaves

Melinda: Auntie Jean, I am Ms. Thelma Harris’ oldest daughter. I wuz out there in deem fields singing with all the rest of deem when all of a sudden we all wuz struck by the Holy Ghost. We were so happy. We wished everybody felt the way we felt. Then that’s when it struck us. Why wuz it that Masa Sullivan don’t feel the way we felt? Why duz he have to own us? We hate Masa Sullivan!

Auntie Jean: (Speaking softly in a very sympathetic tone) Hate Masa Sullivan?

Auntie Jean: (In a very defensive tone) Now chillum, Masa Sullivan are not exactly the worst slave master a slave could have, Why, he don’t beat us or let none of his overseers beat us unless a slave done done something awfully bad. And…and our overseer don’t stand over us with guns and whips like some of the others do.

Hellen: (jumps up like a cheetah) Auntie Jean, this is Hellen, I’m Thelma’s second child. There are eight in all and six of us is guzs. What I have to say will hurt me more than you. There you is, sitting there working on that BEAUTIFUL quilt for your mistress. Indeed it is beautiful. But the shame of it_ you have worked the big house for three generations of Sullivans. You’ve been sewing expensive garments and making beautiful curtains and quilts till your old eyes is too blind to see the beautiful that you can do anymore. Now, just look at what you and May Jay is a-wearing…RAGS! Why aint you got some of deem beautiful garments wrapped around your body? Now tell us Auntie Jean, why aint you got some of deem beautiful draperies a-hanging from your shutters? And tell us why aint you got some of deem beautiful quilts you done made a-laying on your bed? Tell us Auntie Jean, please tell us why?

Auntie Jean slowed her rock, still speaking softly
Auntie Jean: You see chillum, we don’t know why God saw fit to make us beholding to another race of folk; but if we is good whiles we are toiling down here on earth, we is going to be free someday.

Lucy: My mother says you is a wise old woman, but to me you sound like a fool. You expect me to wait till I die to be free? Anyways, how can I be free buried down in the dark old earth with dirt thrown all in my face?

To be continued