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Old January 31st, 2012, 04:19 PM   #1
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Default A Negro's note to his former master

This is actually a pretty interesting read. Source

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In August of 1865, a Colonel P.H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee, wrote to his former slave, Jourdan Anderson, and requested that he come back to work on his farm. Jourdan — who, since being emancipated, had moved to Ohio, found paid work, and was now supporting his family — responded spectacularly by way of the letter seen below (a letter which, according to newspapers at the time, he dictated).

Rather than quote the numerous highlights in this letter, I'll simply leave you to enjoy it. Do make sure you read to the end.

(Source: The Freedmen's Book; Image: A group of escaped slaves in Virginia in 1862, courtesy of the Library of Congress.)

Dayton, Ohio,

August 7, 1865

To My Old Master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, Big Spring, Tennessee

Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin's to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again, and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville Hospital, but one of the neighbors told me that Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.

I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here. I get twenty-five dollars a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy,—the folks call her Mrs. Anderson,—and the children—Milly, Jane, and Grundy—go to school and are learning well. The teacher says Grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday school, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated. Sometimes we overhear others saying, "Them colored people were slaves" down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks; but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Colonel Anderson. Many darkeys would have been proud, as I used to be, to call you master. Now if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again.

As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor's visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams's Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night; but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.

In answering this letter, please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up, and both good-looking girls. You know how it was with poor Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve—and die, if it come to that—than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood. The great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.

Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.

From your old servant,

Jourdon Anderson.

IBuppityniggertryingtogetmoneyoutofthewhiteman
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Old January 31st, 2012, 05:41 PM   #2
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Definitely a good read.
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Old January 31st, 2012, 05:41 PM   #3
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im assuming the payment never came
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Old January 31st, 2012, 05:49 PM   #4
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Interesting.
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Old January 31st, 2012, 05:53 PM   #5
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And I'll end that letter with a Big 'ol "A fukc YOU MASTA"
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Old January 31st, 2012, 06:02 PM   #6
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Snopes has a good confirmation write up on this to show that their is some good back ground that this was written and published at that time, and in the correct locations.

I just don't understand why the Africans captured and sold their own people into slavery in exchange for beads and liquor.
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Old January 31st, 2012, 06:17 PM   #7
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.........I just don't understand why the Africans captured and sold their own people into slavery in exchange for beads and liquor.
I understand it. If somebody offered me a case of Jim Beam and some Mardi-gras beads I would come to your house, capture your ass with a big net and a tranquilizer gun and sell you to the black man. No problem and a good trade IMO.
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Old January 31st, 2012, 06:21 PM   #8
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I don't believe it. It is too well written and almost sounds like it was written in today's style.
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Old January 31st, 2012, 06:24 PM   #9
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I don't believe it. It is too well written and almost sounds like it was written in today's style.
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Old January 31st, 2012, 06:46 PM   #10
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Default ahh the humor

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I understand it. If somebody offered me a case of Jim Beam and some Mardi-gras beads I would come to your house, capture your ass with a big net and a tranquilizer gun and sell you to the black man. No problem and a good trade IMO.
I understand what you are saying. Some degenerative non domesticated animals would capture and sell their friends neighbors and country men into slavery.
There are pictures of the slaves working on the tomes of the pharaoh’s discussion within the old testimate, and all forms of secular writing.
The point is the civilized population believes it to be just as wrong to imprison your neighbor into slavery and sell them to the slave owner as it is to own the slave.
I’m glad I know where you stand on the subject, heathen.
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Old January 31st, 2012, 06:48 PM   #11
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I don't believe it. It is too well written and almost sounds like it was written in today's style.
I thought about that, but then I considered that since his kids were 'doing well in school' that maybe one of his kids wrote it for him? I dunno.
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Old January 31st, 2012, 08:28 PM   #12
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He shouldn't feel bad. I've been paying his ancesters for most of my life and I didn't get any work out of them.
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Old January 31st, 2012, 08:31 PM   #13
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I think its made up, but either way it makes for a decent story.
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Old January 31st, 2012, 09:04 PM   #14
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I don't believe it. It is too well written and almost sounds like it was written in today's style.
Exactly what I thought while I was reading it.
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Old January 31st, 2012, 09:09 PM   #15
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Black people are still animals. blacks = lowest form of life on earth.
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Old January 31st, 2012, 11:00 PM   #16
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Perfect story. Just in time for "be ashamed that you were born white" month.
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Old February 1st, 2012, 06:50 AM   #17
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Black people are still animals. blacks = lowest form of life on earth.
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Old February 1st, 2012, 06:52 AM   #18
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no, that was a heartfelt sentiment. I hate black people and want them all killed.
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Old February 1st, 2012, 07:03 AM   #19
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I enjoyed that. Thanks. It made me smile.
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Old February 1st, 2012, 07:05 AM   #20
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Reparations = welfare + food stamps
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