Uploaded by Therese Williams

The Effects of Slavery: Poetry in Motion

Dear Ancestors,
I will not even try to attempt to understand what you’ve been through for our sake...for their sake. You
were stolen, kidnapped, tortured to get on that ship. You were packed together like tomatoes in the bins
at the market. Your names were taken away from you in favor of “Boy”, “nXXXX”, “aunt ___” “uncle
___”, “That mulatto” “ ____-son” to show who was your owner. Your native tongue was whipped out
and washed out of your mouths. Your hand polished beads and colorful vibrant clothing was snatched
from your bodies. In its place you were given Master’s old tattered and soiled trousers and blouses.
Your gorgeous natural hair suffered from the harsh sun and the many bacteria and bugs that crawled
onto your head as you worked the cotton/tobacco fields. You were raped by master and bore his
caramel babies which you thought was a sign of hope for a better life. Your warrior markings were
covered from deep scarring of the whip. You saw your brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers and friends
necks dislodge from their shoulders hanging from trees. Master gave you scraps from their meal that
you worked all day making. You never saw your family again as you were sold all across the colonies,
but somehow you’d just repeat the process. You kept your spirits high with the word of God, your
songs, and dances and other small pieces of your culture that master allowed you to have. When you
ran away, masters dogs and horses will bite and trample you. You educated yourselves behind Master’s
back when instead he wanted you to fight his war and his battles.
You complied. You won. We won. You made USA the winner. You made USA a producer. You made
USA’s economy. You made the United States of America.
Our original culture was washed amid the Atlantic and buried in the soil of those fields you reaped.
Some of you found a way to run and purchase your “freedom”, We had to wait for Texas to catch up,
but finally on the 19th of June 1865, you were free, Ancestors. Look down on me as I play music for my
pleasure, not to entertain master. Look down on me as I wear golden bracelets around my wrists by my
pool, not the iron chains in the cargo hold of a ship. Look down on me as I speak three languages and
pursue another at my leisure, not because I was forced to. Look down on me as I sew and darn fine
fabrics for myself and fellow Queens, not for master's soirees . Ancestors, look down on me as I review
my land holdings that me nor any migrant workers have to lift a finger; guess who reaps the land for us?
Ancestors, one of you must’ve escaped. One of you must’ve purchased your freedom. One of you
must’ve prayed about the abolition of slavery. How would I exist without you?