Love Born into Slavery

February 4th, 1822 – Columbia, South Carolina

“You doin’ an awful lot of grinnin’ tonight, Jeremiah.”

“And I’ma keep on grinnin’.” Jeremiah grabbed his new wife by the waist and brought her close to him. “We been married now for forty-one days. Now what you thank about that?”

Sarah laughed and rested in the crevice of his labor sculpted chest. “You still countin the days, I see. Well it’s been the best forty-one days of my twenty-three years. Let’s get some supper and get to bed; it’s like the sun been risin’ earlier every mornin’.”

The two sat and enjoyed supper at the table Jeremiah had made himself. They had been so deep in each other’s thoughts that the sudden banging on the door startled them both to embarrassment. The bad thing about knocking in this hour is that rarely does anything good come from it. Jeremiah stood from the table and made his way to the door. He cautiously opened it and did not like the sight that stood before him.

“Evenin’, Masta Jamison.”

“Evenin’, Jeremiah.”

Jeremiah opened the door a bit wider and stepped out onto the porch of his small shack of a home. He looked to the left and right of his home to see if any others were with the master. His mind raced as he thought if he had done anything that would have called for a late-night beating — no; not since last year.

“What brang you down from the big house at this late hour, Boss?” Jeremiah asked, nervous of the response.

Mr. Jamison sucked in a gulp of air and started, “I need Sarah up at the house for a few chores.” There was a pause. “You know, since the lady of the house is gone to visit her mother.”

Jeremiah’s stomach turned in knots. He knew what that meant, and he could smell the liquor coming off of Jamison. “You mean to tell me that Sarah ain’t been doin’ her duties during the day, Masta Jamison?” he asked. “Since it’s late and she gettin’ ready for bed, I can come on ova’ and do whateva you need.” The attempt to deter the situation was obviously going nowhere, but Jeremiah had to try. There might be some change in heart that would spare them from such disgrace.

“Now these here are lady duties, Jeremiah. Just send Sarah on out and she’ll be back in about an hour.” The pause was longer and quieter than the first. “Boy, am I gonna have any trouble out of you tonight? If so, you about to get you and that lil’ nigga wife of yours a real bad lashin’!”

Jeremiah turned and went into the house. His wife was staring at him with hopeful eyes, welling with tears. “Sarah, Masta gonna need you up at the house for just a few minutes,” he said as assuredly as possible.

“I ain’t goin’ up there, Jeremiah,” she whimpered. “You remember what he did to that girl last year? He gonna do that to me, Jeremiah!”

“No he ain’t,” he responded. “One thang for sho; if you don’t go he likely gone beat you real bad, and I don’t wanna see you hurt, Sarah. If you go, he just might need the bathrooms cleaned or somethin’ small like that. It’ll be alright.” He kissed her on the forehead and walked her to the door.

**********

Hours later, Sarah gently walked back into the house. Jeremiah was sitting in his dinner chair in the middle of the floor. His hands held his head up as he sat slumped over, staring at the floor. Sarah came and sat on the floor in front of him. Her face was bruised and clothes were torn. He stared at his wife, and she stared back at him. Jeremiah stood up over her and went to bed without saying a single word. She cried until she fell asleep; right there on the floor.

As Jeremiah lay in the bed, he thought about his wife laying there on the floor. He had never learned to deal with any problems without use of force. It was all he had ever known. The only two people that had ever calmed him or had been able to get him to talk, was his mother and his best friend from years back — Sarah. Those were the only people he had ever trusted since his father and siblings were all sold away. He knew in his mind, that none of what had happened was Sarah’s fault, but he felt as though it was his. He thought that if there was anything ever worth dying for, it should have been that. He hated himself for not doing more. He hated himself for the fear that he let lead him and his wife into this situation. He wanted to tell her. He knew that if he did tell her, that they could heal together. But his disdain for the white man who had defiled his wife, caused him to be disgusted by the sight of her. His emotions for her were spread in every direction that his heart could reach. So he did nothing; he said nothing.

Sarah knew Jeremiah. She knew how he thought and why he though it. So she did nothing; she said nothing. He needed time and space. After it was noticeable that she was pregnant, he said to her at supper, “I’m running away to Charleston. It’s a free man, named Denmark Vesey, talking about starting a revolt.”

“Don’t go, Jeremiah,” she said as tears ran down her face. “I’m pregnant and I’m scared.” With those words, Jeremiah saw that he still had a duty to serve as a man and as her husband. He had not been degraded to uselessness, though he had felt as such the whole time. He got up and rushed to Sarah and hugged her like he had wanted to on the night she returned from the big house.

**********

On day three-hundred and two of their marriage, Sarah gave birth to a beautiful chocolate baby girl. Their relief was immeasurable to say the least. Jeremiah thanked his wife for asking him to stay. If he had fled, he would have surely been caught and killed, and he would have missed out on seeing this little girl. Sarah thanked him for being the man that he was, making things work for them, and not just him.

They both thanked God for what they had, and for keeping them from worse; and prayed that one day their baby would see better days.

Week 8 Recap

Another successful week has come and gone. My Daniel story still has not made its way onto my schedule. I will not say that I am going to do it this week, because for the last two weeks I have said that I would get to it and have not. So do I still consider last week a success? Yes. Yes I do.

The enjoyment of my work comes from the enjoyment of my readers. This week has been very rewarding for me. I have received some very encouraging feedback, and this week in particular readers have expressed how much they have enjoyed themselves in the Park. So therefore, I appreciate everyone who took the time to read. Searching for time and fighting the feeling of being unproductive becomes a lot easier when you know there are people who enjoy what you do. Many times I write as though I have the entire United States as an audience. Even though I do not, I carry the image to always produce. So when I hear positive feedback, it means a lot. So thank you all.

On Monday, November 3, I wrote on the appreciation that you should have for your own life. A lot of times we lose focus on our lives. In doing so, food, shelter and clothing become things that  don’t matter. If we keep these three things in mind, with God at the forefront, we should all be able to know that we live pretty good lives. If we go through things or have been through things, take them as learning experiences and keep moving forward. Always focus on what’s ahead and take the time that you have to be grateful and happy instead of complaining about what you do not have.

Tuesday, November 5, I wrote an impromptu essay about fighting off the pressures of name-calling in order to reinvent yourself. I was actually just sitting and thinking about a few changes I have to make in order to become a better individual. As I was thinking about how minor the changes were that I have to make, I started to compare myself (which is not always a good thing to do) to people who have to make major changes to their entire lifestyles. I only have to worry about making the changes; I don’t have to think about making the changes along with people talking about you and discouraging you from moving forward. The hardest part of making changes for the better, will be people who remind you of what you were. If you can get past that though, everything will be okay.

Thursday, November 6, I had the pleasure of attending a lecture held by Professor Leslie M. Harris of Emory University, on her book Slavery and Freedom in Savannah. My perspective was opened to a lot of things that I thought I already knew. (I may owe the British a personal apology for my biased United Stated views, but I’ll see after I finish the book.) I learned a lot about the history of Georgia and slavery that I had not known in an hour-long lecture. I look forward to completing the read. As far as Leslie Harris is concerned, she was a delightful person that I am glad to have the pleasure in meeting. She shared some valuable insight with me concerning making progress. I’m sure she is very well rehearsed in making everyone she talk to feel like some type of special, but nonetheless, I appreciated her wisdom and look forward to using it to move forward.

Saturday, November 8, (when I should have been doing my recap) I completed Bridges. I just had fun doing that article. I brought back some good childhood memories. I will be hunting on Amazon for Three Billy Goats Gruff, The Great Mouse Detective (it’s on Netflix; check it out), and Disney’s Peter Pan (1953). I just enjoyed raking my own brain, trying to figure out how I came to develop an admiration for something I had no idea I cared about. That was just fun and I really enjoyed writing it.

Well, that’s all for last week. I haven’t had much time to prepare anything for this week, but I’m sure there will be something we will find to chat about. I added a Contact page to the blog, so please feel free to reach out with topics or questions that you may want my Perspective on as a guy, a Christian, a Black-American, a writer or whatever. Even if we disagree, that’s good too because disagreements raise more room for thinking than two of the same perspectives.

Have a great week ahead! Keep an open perspective! Show compassion!

And smile… Life is better when you smile. I found that it’s easier to meet people, greet people, and even get through to people if you address them first with a smile. So try to smile a bit more this week! 🙂