True Power

True Power

Monday, August 6, 2012

Harriet Tubman's Letter to The Republican Party of 2012

I was born around 1820 or 21 in Dorchester County Maryland. Keeping track of my exact date of birth would be too much knowledge for my liitle ole head to be concerned with. My life, in my owner's eyes, was I only needed to be exposed to things he found relevant and important to my well being and abilities to get my work load of the day done. If I had to show my papers when stopped and asked about my origin or age would be a futile effort for a person considered as not a person or someone who did not belong to the land where I lived and worked.

For years I felt proud I had someone watching out for me making the hard decisions of my life. Or that is how my master thought I felt. In his own mind, this allowed me to get to the business of working. And man did I know how to work.

People these days are obsessed with their good looks. they get Botox or nose jobs and face lifts to make sure they look young and good. But if the truth be told, they look more like the wild animals I came across in the dark of night while leading other slaves to freedom.

No- beauty was never a luxury I had time to sit around and contemplate. I had scars on my face, neck, and body that God did not give me, but scars man decided I deserved.

One Mistress I was rented to worked me all day long and I had to rock her baby all night long and if that baby cried disturbing the Mistress, I would receive the whip across my neck. My scars were my beauty, if there were ever such a thing. They were my beauty because they made me long to be like those without the scars of slavery.

The scars were not just a cosmetic concern. The avoidance of receiving them made me a hard worker; bailing hay like any other man, trying to avoid the flogging.. Strong men marveled at me at my feats of physical stregnth. Little did I know or little did they know that along with my physicsl strenghth came internal strengnth and determination; piling up as high as the hay I chopped and stacked.

Now this young generation would balk at all of the suffering I went through, but they don't realize it is the suffering that made me stronger;  able to withstand the next blow of oppression offered by my Christian
tormentors.

Even though I watched my Christian owners live lives they said were in accordance with Jesus' teachings, I prayed right along with them for mercy. I prayed for my master much like the Christians of today pray for President Obama: "Oh dear Lord change dat man's heart and make him a Christian.'' It was good for the soul to pray. But when I learned I was to be sent to a chain gang in the far South my prayer quickly changed to " Lord if you aint't never going to change dat man's heart, kill him, Lord and take him out of de way so he won't do no more mischeif."

Boy oh boy was I surprised when the Master died as wickedly as he lived. It was then I realized the power of prayer and that my soul had to be clean in order for me to pray clean prayers for the Lord to hear.

Nineteen times I traveled back to the arms of danger to free my fellow man. Praying and trusting in God. How surprised, outright mistfied I was when I heard Allen West say he was the new me:

Always a fan of skewed historical references, Rep. Allen West went on Fox News yesterday to proclaim he's the "modern-day Harriet Tubman," and says he's the one that will get the nation's African-Americans off the "21st century plantation."

The "plantation" isn't a new reference for West, but being Harriet Tubman and taking black people on his "underground railroad" is a new one.

And who are the overseers of said "plantation?" Why, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters, and Barbara Lee, of course. But that's some sort of conspiracy theory orchestrated by "white liberals," West explains.

"I'm gonna be brutally honest," West said to Laura Ingraham, who was sitting in for Papa Bear Bill O'Reilly on the O'Reilly Factor yesterday. "White liberals have turned over to certain leaders -- perceived leaders -- in the black community like a Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, a Maxine Waters or Barbara Lee, and said, 'pacify and keep the black community firmly behind us regardless of the failures of our social welfare policies.'"

My memory and health sometimes failed me due to being raised under harsh conditions, and subjected to whippings even as a small child. At the age of 12 I was seriously injured by a blow to the head, inflicted by a white overseer for refusing to assist in tying up a man who had attempted escape. But I can recognize a pig stye filled with pig mess and Mr. West obviously knows nothing about plantation life or the heart of a slave master. Lawd, I need to pray a prayer of wisdom for dis man who has never felt the sting of a whip ripping his black flesh from his bare back.

Mr. West needs to know what caused me to want to leave a plantation instead of staying and waiting on the wonderful handouts I was privy to. This is what Mr.West fails to understand about me and my fellow slaves when he insists we love plantation life.
1. Clothing: Every year, slaves usually received two linen shirts, two pairs of trousers , one jacket, one pair of socks, one pair of shoes, an overcoat, and a wool hat. Because it was free means it was great Mr. West?
2. Food: Slaves usually received cornmeal salt herrings, and eight pounds of pork or fish each month for food.
3. Housing: Slaves houses were usually wooden shacks with dirt floors, but sometimes houses were made of boards nailed up with cracks stuffed with rags. The beds were collected pieces of straw or grass, and old rags, and only one blanket for a covering. A single room could have up to a dozen people-men, women, and children.
4. Childhood: When a slave was only 12 months old his/her mother could be sold far away. When a slave was four, they sometimes worked as a babysitter. When a slave was around the age of five, they would run errands and carry water to the field slaves. Around the age of eight, children would be expected to work on the plantation. I have heard of a woman named Michelle Bauchmann who is very proud of the children and foster children she had the fortune to raise to adulthood. How many tears would she have cried if just one of her babies were ripped from her arms. There is a common mother thread running through the core of every mother I believe. God gives parents the precious gift of children, a life anti-abortionists stand in the rain to protest against. I wonder sometimes how can any person make a statement on the horrors of broken families while sticking their chest out like a peacock pleased at raising double digits of children. This quote chills my old bones to the core: Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-parent household than was an African-American baby born after the election of the USA's first African-American President. To hear a mother's scream from being forced to give up her baby is a cry no one who has heard it can get over easily. It's a ghost that haunts an empty space in the heart.
5.Families: Over 32% of marriages were canceled by masters as a result of slaves being sold away from the family home. A slave husband could be parted from his wife, and children from their mothers.

6. Punishments: Slaves could be killed for murder, burglary, arson, and assault upon a white person. Plantation owners believed that this severe discipline would make the slaves too scared to rebel.

In South Carolina one slave owner would put nails in a barrel sticking out on the inside of the barrel, then put the slave in and roll him/her down a very long and steep hill. Another punishment slave owners used was to whip their slaves. Other slave owners in Virginia smoked their slaves. This involved whipping them and putting them in a tobacco smokehouse. Some other punishments were getting beaten with a chair, broom, tongs, shovel, shears, knife handles, the heavy end of a woman’s shoe, and an oak club.

Now I don't know Jessie Jackson peronally or this Al Sharpton, but I know this type of living is not being perpetrated by black people on black people. Lawd I worked so hard for my people to have a better life where they were free-free to make choices like the rest of the American people.

7. Religion: One of the main reasons masters didn’t want their slaves to become Christians involved the Bible. This was one reason why most plantation owners did what they could to stop their slaves from learning to read. In the South, black people were not usually allowed to attend church services. Black people in the North were more likely to attend church services. Drums, which were used in traditional religious ceremonies, where banned because overseers worried that they would be used to send messages.

I led slaves from the South to the North where they could live free from the threat of beatings and hangings. Where is Mr. West leading people living in horrid conditions not fit for animals? A plantation is a place of torment for money. Money in which the laborer never has access to. Only the master prospers. Hand outs did not factor into the life of a plantation. Free labor, working a human day and night while treating them like chattel was plantation life.

The new Moses seems to be telling free people they are slaves and slaves like handouts. No slave worked from sunup to sundown for free stuff. And believe me, the scars of slavery are so deep, no black person would ever need someone to follow them to freedom, their soul would ache to be free and they would find a way in the cold still blackness of night.

Well, yall I did all I could do while I could do it. The Underground Railroad served it's purpose. Freedom is a choice that has to be siezed daily. The 21st Century looks so different and yet, the need for money will always enslave those least likely to go to extremes to accumulate it to excess. I see people who don't have any money and recieve Medicare and no Health Insurance standing shoulder to shoulder with those against the government giving out hand outs. My mind goes blank from a severe blow I received. Wonder what has hit them in their heads?

"I grew up a neglected weed - ignorant of liberty, having no experience of it. I was not happy or contented; everytime I saw a white man I was afraid of being carried away. I had two sisters carried away in a chain gang - one of them left two children. We were always uneasy. Now I've been free. I know what slavery is. I have seen hundreds of escaped slaves but I never saw one who was willing to go back and be a slave. I have no opportunity to see my friends in my native land [the South]. We would rather stay in our native land if we could be as free there as we are here. I think slavery is the next thing to hell. If a person would send another into bondage he would, it appears to me, be bad enough to send him to hell if he could" --- Harriet Tubman


 

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