I’ve re-blogged this from Tumblr: originally received from foundingfatherfest:
I find this rather sad and an indictment of so called
… O, you happy free women, contrast your New Year’s day with that of the poor bond-woman! With you it is a pleasant season, and the light of the day is blessed. Friendly wishes meet you every where, and gifts are showered upon you. Even hearts that have been estranged from you soften at this season, and lips that have been silent echo back, “I wish you a happy New Year.” Children bring their little offerings, and raise their rosy lips for a caress. They are your own, and no hand but that of death can take them from you.
But to the slave mother New Year’s day comes laden with peculiar sorrows.
She sits on her cold cabin floor, watching the children who may all be torn from her the next morning; and often does she wish that she and they might die before the day dawns. She might be an ignorant creature, degraded by the system that has brutalized her from childhood; but she has a mother’s instincts, and is capable of feeling a mother’s agonies.
One one of these sale days, I saw a mother lead seven children to the auction-block. She knew that some of them would be taken from her; but they took all. The children were sold to a slave-trader, and their mother was brought by a man in her own town. Before night her children were all far away. She begged the trader to tell her where he intended to take them; this he refused to do. How could he, when he knew he would sell them, one by one, wherever he could command the highest price? I met that mother in the street, and her wild, haggard face lives to-day in my mind. She wrung her hands in anguish, and exclaimed, “Gone! All gone! Why don’t God kill me?” I had no words wherewith to comfort her. Instances of this kind are of daily, yea, of hourly occurrence.” —
Harriet Ann Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of A Slave Girl Written By Herself
But you know. At least they maybe got an allowance. Maybe. If “Massa” was feeling generous.