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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 5

Very rarely there would be incredible displays of humanity in a time that was just the opposite. Sometime, maybe we could see Flint help up a fallen elderly slave, or give us a free day off. Flint’s daughter or one of his two sons might sneak us an extra loaf of bread. His children were good natured, handsome young men and women. They would come to talk to us whenever they could, and we would always enjoy it. The question remained, was it enough? Were these small acts of kindness, enough to wipe away the horrors of slavery?  His wife however, was a much different situation. If she even saw any one of her children even remotely close to us “lower beings”, she would yell and shout and make a commotion till the sun went down. His wife was petty and shew, and as ugly on the inside as she was on the outside. She made him miserable with her tantrums, and would argue with him constantly. Whatever good that remained in Flint’s heart would disappear more and more every day. There was a rumor, that before his first wife died of disease, Elijah Flint was an approachable man with a jovial temperament. We didn’t get to see that aspect of him too much. The more elderly slaves told me that his first wife was a wonderful creature. She always would sport a beautiful smile, and could light up a room with her presence.
We could not dwell too long on the tragedies that we encountered. There was no time. Our lives comprised of doing the same thing autonomously for days, months and years. Every couple of months we would see a new face. We would see new ones arrive and old ones disappear. There were mothers separated from their children, and children separated from their mothers. The wrong pieces of the puzzle were forced together. The slave traders did not see families, but saw “products” for selling and purchasing. They cared little about our kindred bonds, and tore families apart by selling us just for some extra spending money. This affected us much more than it affected them. To the slave traders, it was just a job, but to us, to us it was our lives. When asked to define what they think slavery is, most of the slave traders described it as the responsible power over an unfortunate, heathen-like people.
Phillip was a young man on the plantation, a slave. Phillip’s mother and his father were both sold off, when he was just the tender age of four. He had a brother and sister too. Six years later, when he was ten, his sister was sold to a slave holder in Tennessee. His brother died of Cholera the year just after his sister was sold off. Ever since he was left by himself, Louise had raised him as her own son. Unlike me, Louise was born in to slavery on the same plantation. Her mother and Ms. Hemmings were very close and very dear friends, and for a long time. Louise’s mother died while giving birth to her. She told Hemmings her final wish, in the few moments she had left on this world. Her dying wish was that her daughter never be sold. She honored that wish, and even put it in her will, that Louise would never leave the plantation, and she never did.
There was a young man by the name of Davis who used to live there. He was close to the age of thirty, I reckon. He was sold to a man from South Carolina in 1855. Davis worked as what they called a “jobbing slave”. He and some other slaves were taken by their masters into nearby towns and ports, transporting finished produce to the dockside and collecting goods from the arriving ships. Some even worked day and night on the railroad tracks. They worked on whatever task they were given, by the men and women who paid their owners for their work. It was much more grueling work. I was lucky enough to just pick cotton, rather than moving boxes off and on ships. Those slaves would load and unload ships from dusk to dawn, and payment would go to their masters. The only motivation slaves had to keep on working, was the fear of losing their lives.
 

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