The Land of the Living

January 6, 2008
By Corey Zogg, Glide, OR

I used to sit around in a circle with my other young friends and fellow workers as this old man told us of this land. He called it "The Land of the Living". And he called it that for good reason.

I always used to think to myself as I walk around picking this cotton. But for a long time I never understood. Yet this whole time, I had answered this question in my complaints and wishes. When ever I had looked around to see how every one is doing, I could see it. Or, not see it. But before I tell you all of this I must first tell you my condition and where I am from.

My name is Antwan, I was born in Georgia. But I was separated from my family the day after I was born. I was sold, and I now live in Maryland. But I don't know if you would call it living. Most people would call it slavery. But I, well….we don't like to call it slavery.

After every day of work all of the little kids would gather around to listen to Grandpa tell us about this land of the living. Well, I should tell you that he is not actually our grandpa. But that is what he likes to be called. But anyways, this story that he told us. He told us the same story each and every day. That story of the living.

I never understood until I broke free of this work, or slavery. A woman named Harriet Tubman. She took us, all of us. And when I became a free man at the age of 23. I realized what grandpa had told us.

He always said, "There is a land directly below the north star where a there are living black men and women".

If you were to ever watch us workers work on our fields, we were like machines. Not breathing. Not talking. Just working, as if we were dead. But when we came to the north. You could see all of these black and white men working freely. And soon, we all felt alive.

I am in the land of the living.

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