A Black Slave Woman in the Old South

 

I don't know as much about this woman as I would like, because I only came across her recently as I was reading a marvelous book written bya slave woman who was taught to read and write by her owner - a white woman - whose husband wouldn't stop trying to use her sexually throughout her adolescence and early adult years until she finally managed to escape and make her way north, where she was encouraged to write her memoirs.

In the course of her narrative, this woman also describes the agony of most slave women - especially house-slaves - who were used sexually, habitually and often, by their white masters, for which they were hated by their white mistresses (who blamed them) - and separated from their children, who were sold as soon as they could function without breast milk. Additionally, any union between black slave men and women was punished by both beatings and separation. The men were usually labeled as both dangerous and incorrigible and sold cheaply to another owner.

The farther in the book I read, the more I realized how intimately I recognized this scenario. The dawning of my awareness of this familiarity dovetailed with my lifelong yearning to be with black people, including frequent dreams of being in a tiny dark one-room hut or cabin, all of us children curled up together in a big bed like puppies.

I am told that on the first day of kindergarten I tried to bring a little black boy home with me after school, and was unconsolable when they told me I couldn't.

When we moved down to Texas, I was thrilled to in a part of the country with a lot of black people in it. I became obsessed with seeing them on the streets, and even had an automobile collision (a glancing blow) one morning while I was turning left at an intersection and had became totally fixated by the image of a black woman standing on the corner waiting for a bus. I just kept turning left, and hit the left front corner of a car turning right from that direction.

Click here to read about Billy Williams in Chapter 24, right near the bottom of the chapter.

By the time we left Texas, after living there for nine years, I had developed a reputation as a lover of black people, and was told that our dentist was sure that I was planning to sell our house to a black family. I guess he had seen people going in and out pretty frequently, as I developed a few black friendships.

When I began working withThe Brothers, the ghetto mens' action group I worked for in the sixties, I felt completely at home and safe among my brothers. You can read about them in Chapter 32, about 2/3rds of the way to the end at myrems32, introduced by Leon Van Dyke's picture.

My partner now is black, and, although we fight and rage occasionally, or separate in silence and mutual displeasure, we always come back to a shared feeling of rightness, pleasure and commitment to each other. See this story starting in Chapter 40, about 3/5ths of the way to the end at myrems40.

Back to My Past Lives page
Back to the preface to My Reminiscences.