Monday, April 21, 2014

I returned to Kingsley Plantation on Saturday to continue my essay on the slave cabins.  It was a relatively pleasant day, but there was strong sun.  I got quite sweaty during the hour or two I photographed and couldn't help remembering that slaves spent all day working in those conditions, and later in the season, far, far worse.  When I needed to, I stood in shade.  When they needed to, they couldn't.

Here's a passage by Solomon Northup who wrote Twelve Years a Slave in 1853.  He had been born a free man living in upstate New York until captured by slavers and sent south to be sold into bondage.  He had been a farmer and musician:  "Alas, had it not been for my beloved violin, I scarcely know how I could have endured the long years of was my companion – the friend of my bosom – trumpeting loudly when I was joyful, and uttering its soft melodious consolations when I was sad. Often, at midnight when sleep had fled affrighted from the cabin and my soul was disturbed and troubled with the contemplation of my fate, it would sing me a song of peace."  It was difficult to copy the text so filled were my eyes with tears.  

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