Black History Month Around Town - Letter to an Old Master


Today's post was suggested by a dear follower on my Facebook page and here on the blog too. On my first black history post, Sally called my attention to this letter of note that has been going round the internet and wondered if I could feature it. I checked it out and read the entire letter on Letters of Note. This blog hop post is supposed to be about black history month events in your city, state, or on the web. I think this fits perfectly. My thoughts and feelings are inserted between the paragraphs, please share yours.

I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor's visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams's Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio.
When I read this part I was like, good on you! 


You know, it's so easy to discount the free labor a lot of the slaves supplied to their owners in the guise of "letting bygones be bygones". I agree, but still!
If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night; but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.
Wow, but this man is a smooth operator. Can you see how he is softly but surely calling out the old master?
In answering this letter, please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up, and both good-looking girls. You know how it was with poor Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve—and die, if it come to that—than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood. The great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.
I found this part heart breaking. The slave's life wasn't an easy one. I know that. I have seen the movies, read the books. But reading it in the words and from the eyes of a real person, hmmm...

You can read the whole letter HERE.

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