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As the Winds Blew Past

Author's note:

I wrote this piece keeping in mind the conditions of race relations in this country.

Author's note:

I wrote this piece keeping in mind the conditions of race relations in this country.

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Chapter 2

The sun’s rays infiltrated my eyelids in an almost taunting manner, to lure me out of my bed. I woke to a sharp cracking noise resounding far and near. I could identify that sound all too well. I lifted myself from out of the cot with no will to leave the somewhat comfort that my cabin provided me with. I bathed and readied myself for the drudgeries of the day, knowing full well that there was nothing I could do to aid that ill-fated soul out there. After every crack, a dreadful scream followed suit, almost like some demented music. After the bloody hour had ended, I stepped outside. I saw Moses. I could see the blood dripping down from his forehead and the lacerations on his back as he crawled off in a painful and most demoralizing manner. This was the life of an enslaved man, a man cheated out of his once God-given and constitutional rights and civil liberties. However terrible the things I had seen were, I never once lost the feeling that one day, I could walk the streets as my own man. One day the winds of change would wash upon us. One day, those who had sinned against us would be judged under the mighty eyes of god.
Louise grimaced and shook her head. “When will they learn?” She slowly opened the jar of flour and applied it on to his raw back.
He winced sharply, and quickly gasped as the cold flour was rubbed on to his bloody wounds. This had become a daily occurrence. The rancid smell of blood always lingering in the air, the terrible conditions, and the endless days of plowing the fields, shucking corn, and picking cotton had become a typical daily lifestyle for us.  The master himself very rarely actually came out to monitor us. He hired slave patrollers to harass us. Most of them were heavyset, burly, and had brains the size, less than or equal to that of a chickens. We called them paddy rollers for short, or sometimes just paddies. We picked the cotton mostly in August, while the corn picking season was in April or early May. The days blurred together, in their similarity. I still couldn’t entirely adjust my eyes to see this affliction on such a regular basis.
My first master however was a different story. Before any of this, I served a kindly old widow, by the name of Hemmings, who treated us slaves as human beings. She was an upright, decent woman. She gave us food, bibles, and as much freedom, a slave could possibly attain.  She was a completely different brand of the white man. She treated us as she would treat her own children, and read us the bible and taught us of god. Good people like her, gave me hope that one day things would change. She gave me hope that one day I could live my life as a free man not bound by chains, and dirty looks. To me, both of them were the same. In all truth, she was one of the best friends I ever had.
Ms. Hemmings used to tell us stories of her husband, Arnold Hemmings. “He was a good soldier, and an even better man.” She would always tell me. That is all I really knew of her husband.
She used to tell me that I was a very intelligent child. I remember Ms. Hemmings used to tell us that we would not be always slaves. It made me happy to think that I would be free some day or other. I could go to school, and I wouldn’t have to work on a field from dawn to dusk.
She used to sneaks books to my cabin, so the other slaves couldn’t see. As long as Ms. Hemmings lived, she used to teach me to read and write, at least a little. I learned the basics of English literature before she passed away. I still remember when she would invite me, and teach me things like, the alphabet and proper punctuation. In 1830, the state of Louisiana passed a law that made it illegal to teach slaves to read and write. She risked a lot by teaching me, but still did it, regardless of the laws against it. Those good days like all good things came to an end the day she took her last breath. I was the age of twenty four, when she passed. Every time we passed her grave, we would bow down in respect. The truth was that she gave me freedom, when she taught us how to read and write. She gave me the freedom to express myself. Shortly after, I was sold to her grandson Elijah Flint. Elijah had inherited her home and her plantation, or so he said.  The plantation spanned a grand five hundred acres. It was in Ms. Hemmings’ family for generations. The moment, Elijah Flint took over, was when everything changed, for the better, or for the worse, I did not know.
 

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