August 13, 2009
By Anonymous

It’s pitch dark. I cannot see anything but only sense what’s surrounding me. I can hear the breathing of myself and the others. I can feel chains grasped tightly around my wrists and legs, and the motion of the ship rocking back and forth. I am famished so badly that I can barely shift myself. I do not know where they are taking us, but that it will not be anywhere pleasurable, nor safe. My name is Akeela and I am an American slave. I do not know how old I am, but that I was born in a small town in Maryland. My parents were perished when I was an infant. However, the only thing on my mind is the path to freedom.
The ship has stopped. I can hear the men out on deck. One of them opens the door to this hidden partition. “Come on! Come on! Hustle!” he yells. He then guides us out and to our owner. His name is Captain Barely. I do not know why they call him “captain” Barley, but I’m inferring he might’ve been a sailor once. I’ve only heard of him that he is fierce and treats his slaves like filth. He is very wealthy and owns about five hundred slaves and fifty farms. Shortly after we get to the plantation we are put to work. The overseer’s name is Dudley. He is a drunk and is very cruel. While the sun is scorching on my back I think about my son, Bailey. I plan to escape through the Underground Railroad of which I heard is a series of houses and conductors. Although, I have to wait until the right time to escape. A few hours have passed by and the sun is starting to set. I have to see my son. I search around to see if Dudley is watching. To my surprise, he is not there. I quickly take off through the woods feeling the rocks, sticks, and stones crunching against my feet. After awhile when I arrive, I spot the cabin of my son, then immediately go in and start comforting him, telling him I am here and everything will be fine. After laying with him awhile I head through the long voyage back to my plantation. I start to get worried noticing that the sun is arriving and knowing what the punishment is if I am not back by daylight. Immediately, I begin to speed up. By the time I arrive it is morning. I hear Dudley yelling for me to come, I run to him at once. “Yes sir?” “Captain Barley wants to see you”, he says. I nervously proceed to the Captain. “You wanted to see me sir?” “Come with me”, he says. I follow him to an abandoned cabin house and he closes the door behind us. He soon pulls out a whip. I shriek deafeningly as he intensely beats me with it until blood runs down my back. I cry with anger and pain, knowing that I didn’t quite make it back in time. He then lets me go and I am put back to work. I feel so angry that I want to pummel anything that comes my way. Afterward, I think of my escape plan long into the day.
Captain Barley was really furious at me the other day, accordingly he gave me extra and harder work to do. I feel so nervous about escaping, but I know that it’s what I have to do to be free. I cannot wait any longer; therefore I have to head out tonight. As time goes by, I’m thinking about my plan to escape. While I’m working, I’m thinking and thinking and nothing seems to give me an idea. As nightfall hits, I’m panicking because I have not yet thought of a plan. Then out of nowhere, while no one is watching, I run, my feet just taking me through the woods. I’m running and running to no particular destination. Then all of a sudden I distinguish the little dipper, the North Star! Thus now I’m running north until I spot a conductor and quickly jump on. This continued for days as I would occasionally stop to hide and rest. I ran and ran until my legs felt as if they were going to rupture. After a few days of this, I spotted a message. I couldn’t understand it but I recognized the word “Canada”. My heart raced as I continued to run. I froze, this was unreal. I couldn’t believe it but I made it!
Five years later I am married to a fine gentleman named Isaac Howard. We have started our own family. Even better was that a year ago I met up with my son, Bailey! He had made it to Canada too! I thought I would never stop crying when I saw him. Now, we all live together. I regretted leaving without him, but the two of us would not have survived together. Sometimes I would think back to my terrifying journey of the Underground Railroad. However, for now I am proud of my success, I am happy, and best of all, I am free.

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