Today, I arrived at the plantation with my younger brother. I cannot believe that I had survived the entire journey from Africa to America below deck. Even though, I had tried to kill myself, twice, by not eating. Alas, they prevented me by placing some sort of screw device in my mouth in order to open it and force me to eat. After the second attempt, I realized there will be no one to take care of my young brother, so I tried my best to keep myself, and my brother, alive. We had some trouble when a customer bought me. I argued with “my master” to also buy my brother with me, in which he finally agreed, but for half the price.
I have always heard rumors about masters that whip slaves who don’t do their job. I fear for my brother more than myself, for he does not do well with following orders. “My master” shoved us inside the barn, where he told us the rules of the place. Finally, when he finished blabbering, he gave us the tools to start working. Then while working, I realized we were the only slaves around.
October 14, 1857
Work. Work. Work. That word is now stuck in my head. I cannot remember anything that happened in the past few months except working. Occasionally, “My Master” beats us up for fun. He picks up a whip on his way out, whips us a few times, then he goes on to his outing. The same thing happens when he gets home.
Until today. Today, his wife got out of the house for the first time, with suitcases packed up. Then “my master” yelled at her from the door and slammed it shut. He got out late at night, which was unusual for him, because he usually closes his lights at 9:30p.m. When he came back, about 2:00a.m., he looked drunk like hell.
He grabbed the stone whip, with spikes on the edge. He has never touched that whip ever, must have saved it for disobedient slaves; luckily we are as good as a lamb. Then he grabbed my brother, waking him from his sleep, and whipped him hard. I was shocked of what he did. I tried to fight him for my brother, but he would just whip me once and go on with my brother. I then pleaded him to hit me instead, but he just wouldn’t listen. Then finally, he stopped. Amazingly, I saw tears drop from his eyes. Tears actually coming out, but I am not sure if it was for killing my brother or the loss of his wife. When I saw my brother, I knew it was too late he was dead.
February 27, 1858
It has been quiet since my brother died. It felt like everything died with him. I could no longer hear the birds singing, or feel the wind passing by. Even “my master” has stopped whipping me; maybe he doesn’t want to risk losing another slave. His outings were less often than before. It was like working at a grave that has crops. Then I saw “my master” leaving the house, he looked at me for a minute, then looked at the plantation. He realized that more work had been done when my brother was alive. Then he went on. When he came back, he brought with him a slave, a female slave. She was beautiful, like the sun rising from the east. I felt that my worries had left me. Then I saw “my master” smiling, he must have wanted us to get married, and have children. That way, he could get free slaves.
When my master left, I went up to the woman. She just kept on working, pretending to not know I was there. Until I coughed, did she turn around to look at me. I realized that “my master” gave us quick glances to see how we are doing. At night, I decided to sleep on the hay sack and let the woman sleep on the bed. For it would be strange for two people of the opposite gender, to sleep in the same bed without getting married.
December 3, 1858
Today, my wife is expecting her first child. Of course, “my master” gladly funded the doctor, for he was cheaper than a slave. I could hear my wife’s screams of pain. I was pacing back and forth outside the house, waiting to hear the news. Until finally, the screaming ceased, and the doctor came out rubbing his glasses. “It is a boy”, he told me. My face grew to a wide grin, tears almost falling from my eyes. I could not stop thanking the doctor and shaking his hands. Then I remembered my brother. I grew silent and sat on the porch. The tears in my eyes finally fell across my cheeks. Oh how I wish my brother was here to see my son. He would have been happy to be a role model for him.
“My master” came out of the house with a smile on his face. He now has a third slave to work on his plantation. He saw my state of remorse, and welcomed me inside to see my son and clean up. He told me that he is going to make a celebration for the birth of my son (his new slave). When I went inside, I washed my face so that I would not ruin the happy moment for my wife. I came in the room. I saw my wife holding the baby between her arms. Tears of joy falling from her eyes. She looked at me with a bright smile across her face.
September 30, 1865
After the Civil War, my family was set free. We decided however, to stay at the plantation and get paid for our work. This was the only thing we were good at. My almost 7-year old son, my wife, and I will stay here where I buried my brother. We couldn’t think of a way to live if we ever set foot in other towns. My boss, former “master”, gladly accepted the offer of us getting paid. Even though it was a small amount, it was still enough to keep us living.