A Letter To The Editor Of The North Star

To the Editor of the North Star,

I came from the south. I came from the land of plantations, from the land of Slaves. I left all that. Here is where the Abolitionist Movement is. And here is where I wish to be.

When I was six, my father took me to a slave auction. I saw him bid for a slave for me. When he got the girl, she was wrenched from her mother and forced to leave with us.

I was forbidden to teach her, praise her, or speak to her. As soon as I could (when I was eight), I freed her. She was my first slave.

Horrified, my father decided she hadn’t been good enough for me. He took me to the auction again and found another slave, who he beat obsessively when she did something wrong. He sold her when I was twelve because she tried to run away.

I begged him not to get me another slave. He did. This one lasted longer than the others, but ran away one day and was not found.

I have seen the horrors of slavery. My tutor took me to a whipping once in our barn, for ‘educational’ purposes. It is horrible. The driver, who often is a slave, chains the slave who is being whipped to a post. The slave is beaten as many times as the master wants, and then given no medical help for the bleeding.

I have also seen the sadness in the fields. The slaves work from morning to night, and get no breaks. A young woman who was pregnant had her child in the field, and father wouldn’t let her leave. Somehow, both she and the baby lived.

I left the plantation as soon as I could. When I was nineteen, I went to Cincinnati, and I haven’t been back since. I became a conductor, and have helped get 57 parcels to Canada in the last two years. I hope this erases anything bad I said to slaves in my childhood.

My father and mother never taught me that slaves were people. The first time I looked into a slave’s eyes, and saw humanity, I was startled. But despite my coaxing, father kept slaves.

The terrible things that happen in slavery (whipping, selling, forcing humans to work in fields, treating humans like they are nothing) still go on. So rise, abolitionists, and escort parcels to Canada. Meet in the Graham & Pearson warehouse tonight at 800. We can help the slaves.

Sincerely,
Charlotte Barnson





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