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In the War Where I was Young

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Dark. Surrounding me everywhere. I was like a blind person rushing into a crowd of bullets. My dark skin blended in with the night. Being in the 54th Massachusetts was an honor. But who exactly was I fighting for? Half of the United States hated me. I won’t be honored when I die. The North isn’t exactly against slavery. At least that’s not what their fighting for. Honor. Stubborn pride, maybe. Our general motioned us to stand down. We were in Confederate lands. And black.
My grandfather worked the fields. I could almost smell the sweat, blood, and tears poured into them. The hairs on the back of my neck stood straight up. My Mama was born free, and had gone to the North for a better life. She works in a textile factory. My Pa…I never knew him. Probably beaten to death by a white man. My lips curled back in hate. My brother, Jaleel, was quivering in fright. My God, the boy was only 17. I was 23.

I looked up and the stars were shining. Ironic, considering we were rushing to our deaths in a place where our own families have lain dead. I crouched into the muddy swap. The mud gushing beneath my boots. I looked at my brother and a look of understanding passed between us, his dark black eyes meeting my muddy brown ones. I would protect him. No matter what it costs me.

I hugged him quickly and crawled, following the men in front of me. I looked at the sky and I saw the stars were fading and the sun started to play peek-a-boo on the horizon. I hoped it stayed down long enough for us to go across this land. Because if the Confederacy saw us…we’re finished.



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