Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Great Expectation

A portion of a letter written by a former slave, Ambrose Headen, who obtained his freedom after the Civil War. Life had been hard for the slaves but they were able to start a new life. The slaves rejoiced in the freedom they now knew. This letter was written in 1878 and explains some of the struggles of slavery and of the longing for freedom.

During all my slave life I never lost sight of freedom. It was always on my heart; it came to me like a solemn thought, and often circumstances much stimulated the desire to be free and raised great expectation of it...

We always called "freedom" "possum," so as to keep the white people from knowing what we were talking about. We all understood it... and now all my children are good scholars; one is a minister, one has charge of an academy; I have a good house of seven rooms, and eleven acres of land about it, besides a farm of 320 acres in the country.

Africans in America: America's Journey Through Slavery, by Charles Johnson and Patricia Smith, published by Harcourt Brace and Company, 1998, p. 443.

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