Archive for September, 2008
Tracing my lineage through blood and spirit, within a slave narrative.
Awhile back, I visited the site of the slave auction block in Cahaba. It is a grassy area, an otherwise unassuming square.
In truth, the auction block was a place of horror, of cruelty–and the stage for countless African-American families to be formed or broken. Shackled together, new families formed as they trod on dusty feet into uncertain fate. Families were torn asunder as mothers grabbed and screamed for lost children. Many begged or bargained for mercy, in a desperate attempt to save something–their loved ones, their pride, their lives. The lash struck against naked skin, cutting through until blood and pus spilled on the soil like so many tears.
The crumbled auction blocks lie in ruins, unseen amongst long grass and faded memory. Let us not forgot. The labor of every slave is the foundation for our very lives, and the hope for our children. It is my hope that my ancestors will be proud of how I received the hard fought inheritance of freedom, of dignity.
In Our Hearts, 2008
A slave narrative that struck a cord…
Interviewee: Fitzpatrick, Reuben
“One time I was taken to the slave market and I was screwed on the block and Mr. Martin bought me and my Mamma. The man who was selling us would holler, “Who’ll bid? Who’ll bid?” We was supposed to be spry and fidgety as to make the men bid. My furst Marster was Wash Jones. He wan’t no good to us. He would hit us wid his cane jes’ as if it had been a switch. Be like the way Marse Wash treated us niggers. He bought us for his son.”
Source: Ancestry Library Edition
For More Information:
Old Cahawba, Alabama’s Most Famous Ghost Town: http://www.cahawba.com/
The Slavery and Civil War Museum (1410 Water Ave., Selma, AL)
Wickipedia: Cahaba, Alabama