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Free Person of Color
My name is Willie Graham a 27 year old free black. Its 1857 right now and I live in New Orleans. I support the North and hope they eliminate slavery from this young country and all of its land. I used to be a slave in Tennessee on a cotton plantation since the day I was born till I turned 19. I was young and rebellious. Never listening to my owner. I was whipped a couple times for sneaking in to the big house of my owner, John Mack, and stealing some food. But then one day listening on a couple conversations at church I heard a lady named Harriet Tubman had just escaped from a plantation in Maryland going north. I spread the rumor to all the blacks at the plantation. My best friend, Thomas, and I of course thought the same exact thing. Together we would plan an escape. We would escape west because for miles no man lived to catch us. We packed food given to us by the others at the camp.
Then one day at night just took off from the plantation. We arrived at cities like Memphis where heard that in New Orleans that blacks and whites got along and actually lived in the same city with no separation. We talked to this nice white man who gave us horses, food, and directions to New Orleans. So we started heading south and still a little west.
After a long journey we arrived in New Orleans. Thomas and I both worked as clerks for a nice man who ran a section of a big famous building called Calaboose(Ripley 198). Pay is half a dollar a day. That is pretty good compared to a lot of people around here. I can live of it. We are treated well by everyone around here. But there's a bad thing to our job. This building is big and has a lot of rooms for a lot of different things. And one room is where the slaves are sold or traded, whipped, and punished. It's the saddest thing to watch that people that I used to be like are being beaten while I'm free. But besides that everything about my job I love.
My boss taught Thomas and I how to read and write. It was required by the job. I haven't seen my family since I was two when my mom and dad were traded. My brothers and sisters were all traded away also. But my mom's best friend took care of me and watched me till I was 13 and her too was traded. But I still remember all the stories she told me of my parents. Now all have is Thomas. But that's good enough for me.
And as for slavery, I hope this new president 15th, James Buchanan, can end slavery(Cooper). This last president Franklin Pierce didn’t do too much(Cooper). Yeah I know south will not take that easy but if a war were to break out I would join the north army and its men to fight the south and its slavery. And besides can the south actually stand up to the north? What kind of fight can they put up against the north? And the north doesn't like or want slavery but are they doing anything to stop it? I mean this new Dred Scott Decision has every free black man running scared. No black even above the Missouri line is free, that's crazy(Stuckey). But I think sometime or later slavery will be abolished. I mean these abolitionists like Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrsion, and John Brown work too hard for nothing to happen. So one day all their work will pay off(Stuckey).
For me I feel that I will keep working with my friend Thomas until something happens between the north and south. Then Thomas and I will both fight alongside other free blacks so that we may guarantee the freedom of our brothers, and sisters.
Blassingame , John. Black New Orleans, 1860-1880. Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 2007. Print.
Cooper, William. "James Buchanan At A Glance." University of Virginia (2009) Web.28
Cutler, Stanley . "THE DRED SCOTT DECISION When Is A Free Man Free? ." (1967)
Web.28 May 2009.
Hanger , Kimberly S. Bounded Lives, Bounded Places: Free Black Society in Colonial
New Orleans, 1769-1803 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1997) 1, Questia,
28 May 2009
Harold W., Hurst. "Free Blacks in Antebellum Delmarva." Nov 2008 Web.28 May 2009.
Ripley, Peter C. ed., The Black Abolitionist Papers, vol. 1 (Chapel Hill, NC: University
of North Carolina Press, 1985) 198, Questia, 28 May 2009
Stuckey, Sterling and Linda Kerrigan Salvucci, eds. Call to Freedom. Austin: Holt,
Rinehart and Winston, 2003.
The Libary of Congress, "Free Blacks in the Antebellum Period." (2008) Web.28 May