Samuel Jennings

April 4, 2017
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Boston in 1775 is occupied by unrest and violence. War between British troops and patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes has turned the whole city into a battlefield. The brown earth, the torn, blasted earth that is shining greasily under the sun's rays, becomes the background of this restless, gloomy world of automatons. Soldiers are staggering forward among the shower of shells of raging and roaring bombardments. Among them there is a man, giving out precise and clear directions to his comrades, his voice steady and calm. He looks tall, young, brave and confident, just like every other experienced officers, except that his skin tone reveals his African descent—no one can ever imagine that only two years ago, this man, Samuel Jennings, was still a slave.

Born into slavery on a farm, Samuel spent all of his childhood and teenage years working for a rich owner of a plantation. Since he was little, he has witnessed some of the worst sides of humanity: how slaves were bought and sold at auctions like household objects or livestock, even used as barter or payment for debt; whites could kill a slave without repercussion, for they were not accountable to any authority for what happened to their slaves. Working from sunrise to well after dark was very common. If they were caught loafing on the job, they would be lashed and beaten up cruelly. Runaways were hunted like animals and imprisoned if they managed to survive. Despite such risk, some of his fellows were willing to take a shot and escape.
One day, when one of his best friends was shot to death by his owner, Samuel decided that he couldn't do this any more. From that day on, he saved every penny earned, trying to get out of that place as soon as possible. Finally, that day came when he had saved 27 pounds and 10 shillings in a tattered brown envelope tucked in the inner pocket of his worn out jacket, exactly how much he would need to buy himself freedom.
Samuel soon returned to the normal life that he had longed for. He found a job at a factory and fell in love with a beautiful girl called Mary. They soon established a family together and had an adorable son. Everything was going smoothly, but somehow, Samuel still felt that he lacked freedom, especially when he was treated with prejudice and discrimination by whites in his daily life. At this time, the war broke out in Boston. It was the backdrop to  the Battle of Bunker Hill, later known notoriously as one of the bloodiest battle during the Revolutionary War. That’s when Samuel felt his calling. He believed that once the colonies were freed from Britain, the ideas of liberty would allow African Americans to have more freedom and rights. So he left his wife and family in 1775 and enlisted in the rebel army.
Just like any other African American, he was given hard physical work at first, such as with building fortifications. But on an special occasion, his special talent in military matters was discovered by a general, so he was given the chance to grab a weapon and fight. He didn't fall short of others’ expectations. Jennings was considered a hero at Bunker Hill. He became famous for shooting the bullet which killed an important colonel on the British side. He was praised for his bravery and integrity at the battle, and was honored by 14 officers which is considered a huge honor. Samuel Jennings proved that a man of his race could do what seemed unlikely. He disregarded his background and former injustices in society in order to do his part for the war. He fought in order to be given a chance to help liberate the rebels from Britain and gave hope to countless other African Americans. He was able to help bring freedom to the British Colonies in the Americas.

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