Thursday, August 28, 2014
Assata's Stolen Email to MaryLovesJustice
My grandfather on my mother's side told his children about an event that happened when he was a little slave boy in the Mississippi Delta. He said Masta rang the bell to gather the slaves, which was highly unusual for the middle of a work day. All the slaves left the fields or stopped cooking or cleaning the Big House - whatever they were doing anywhere on the plantation, they stopped and assembled in the dusty yard of the slave quarters. Old Man Nelson, as my grandfather was called in his later years, said that there was a soldier dressed in blue and sitting atop a large black horse in the middle of their common yard. The masta was there, also. My grandfather said the soldier read to them from a paper that I imagine looked like a scroll. After the soldier finished reading, nobody said a word. The soldier then said, "That means you're free."
After that, some of the former slaves went back into the fields to complete their day's work, and others returned to their various tasks. Eventually, the idea of being free got through to some of them, and they left the plantation although they were given no money to sustain themselves as they began their new lives as freed men and women. That is why others accepted Masta's offer to stay and continue their slave jobs in exchange for rent on the shack and their rations of food and clothes. They were called "sharecroppers."
My grandfather, who was literate, grew up and became a Methodist minister and was respected by blacks and whites (to a certain point). My mother's dad never looked at a white person in the face but always kept his eyes cast downward at his feet respectfully whenever they addressed him. I must take after my Father's side. He said, "RESIST evil, and it will flee from you" James 4:7.