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Slave owners called this actual slave insurrection Old Nat's War.
By Hard Times
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Rated "G" by the Author.
This is a story based on an actual slave revold in 1830.
Diary Of A Slave
I was paralyzed with fear as I watched my slave master escort my Aunt Hester into the kitchen and tie her hands to a ceiling support beam. She was stretched so tight that her toes barely touched the floor, stripped naked. He used a thick leather strap more than 4 feet long. The beating began while I tried desperately to hide from the horrifying spectacle. It lasted for so long, at age 6 I knew my frail body could not withstand such a vicious beating. She began screaming and no matter how I covered my ears I could hear those terrible moans and screams. There was so much blood pooling at her feet she became weak and could no longer scream. When he finally cut her down Aunt Hester slipped and fell in her own blood and had to be carried by several slaves to her shanty. It required several weeks before she could even walk again.
From my earliest years I despised slavery like the plague. It was a monster that lurked behind every tree and every dark place. I did every thing I could to show my contempt for that institution and for that reason I was punished more often than the average slave. I was beaten and starved on a regular basis. It was around my 18th year that Captain Anthony decided to hire me out for one year to a ruthless slave breaker.
The slave breaker named Delmore Hymen, was the utmost worst nightmare for any slave residing within Hampton, County, Maryland to have to experience. Captain Anthony, my first owner, did the absolute worst thing he could, because he thought I was rebellious. Indeed I was rebellious and wanted to let the world know I am one of the most discontent slaves that has ever been. He rented me out to Mr. Delmore Hymen to keep me for one year. Mr. Hymen was a notorious slave breaker. Arriving there it all seemed to be the usual kind of plantation; except when I gazed into the barn and noticed all the torture devices that would make any madman proud. There were leather straps and thongs, whipping posts and all manner of shackles and chains. It was only tools used to torment and mutilate my fellow black slaves. I discovered that dying wasn’t my worst fear in life. It was destined to be the longest year of my life. It would change my life forever.
At first it was the same routine, and then the brutal whippings started. For even the smallest infraction the overseer would strap me to the post within the barn and flog me until I could hardly see. I often thought of Aunt Hester and how her spirit was so broken even her own close relatives did not recognize the semblance of the woman she once was. I was beaten so terribly while with Mr. Hymen that I determined to hang onto every shred of dignity I could muster to not ever be so broken and reduced as Aunt Hester. Four months hadn’t passed when the occasion arose that the overseer ordered one of my cotton picking comrades named Charlie to whip me within an inch of my life! I had a cold and was unable to perform my normal duties. Charlie and I were very close at that time and of all things he did not want to perform the duty of whipping his best friend. I felt it was a test. It was a common myth that black people didn’t have the same capacity for love as did white people. However, that was the biggest lie ever told. Charlie just stood there and refused to take the whip. I promised Charlie that I would teach him how to read and write and that bonded he and I for life. I had been there for 7 months and had suffered under the lash two to three times each month and was determined to not allow it to happen again in my life. Charlie just stood there frozen in place.
“God damn it Charlie! I told you to tie up that nigger’s hands and whip him within an inch of his life!”
No matter how much Mr. Hymen yelled, Charlie refused to tie my hands to the whipping post, nor would he reach out to take the whip. It was a kind of stand-off and that is when the biggest event of my life took place.
“Ok, then I will have to whip both of you nigger slaves!”
He attempted to tie my hands together and I resisted for the first time in my life. I soon discovered I was much stronger than Mr. Hymen and more courageous than he suspected. While he wrestled with me I distinctly noticed a hint of a smile on Charlie’s face. There’s so much power in humor even during the most wretched of times. It was the kind of humor that happens when injustice is surprisingly overpowered by the most unsuspecting hero. I did not hesitate to call myself a hero in this instance. After struggling for what seemed like forever I felt his strength lessening fast. I took advantage of that fact and punched him square in the mouth and he went down. The whipping lash lay at his feet. Since I knew I already had committed an unforgivable taboo by striking a white man, I grabbed the whip firmly by the handle and wailed on him with all my might. When I finished, Mr. Hymen could hardly stand. I felt like the man that just hit Satan in the mouth after waiting patiently for a thousand years. I knew if I had the choice to do it over again I would have defended myself much sooner. I knew it was my last stand and mentally prepared myself for dying. I would not see another sunrise.
Mr. Hymen was finally able to drag himself to his feet with a little help from Charlie and staggered away from the barn. The next thing I realized I was loaded into the same wagon that brought me there. I imagined we were heading for the nearest wooded area where I would be shot and disposed of. After that Mr. Hymen could simply claim that I ran away. What followed was to be a lesson in the many faces of slavery and mysterious powers of God that be. It was a long and bumpy ride back to Master Anthony’s plantation. If we were indeed heading that way it was beyond my understanding why. Master Anthony was standing by the gate when we arrived as if he already knew. He wasn’t expecting my return for 6 more months. He opened the gate leading to the front entrance to the big house. Mr. Hymen hopped down from the wagon and stood firmly face to face with my current master, Captain Anthony.
“Mr. Anthony sir, with all do respect I am returning slave Frederick 6 months early, because he has been broken and I should say you will never have a problem from him as long as you own him.”
When he made that statement I was totally dumbfounded! Mr. Hymen never mentioned the conflict and my conquest between him and me. I could only take a wild guess what was going to follow. What followed was my manhood was restored and for the remainder of my life no one dare put their hands on me disrespectfully. It took me considerable time to realize that was the only way Mr. Hymen could save face. As the most feared slave breaker in the county, he couldn’t afford to murder me and have to explain to Captain Anthony why. Even worse yet, to have it known that I whipped the slave breaker like he belonged to me would make Hymen a laughingstock. Either way you look at it I was the victor and one of God’s true miracles. It was as if Master Anthony knew that I had finally claimed my manhood and that I would never allow myself to be flogged again without a fight. I am fully convinced that I am one of the only black men alive that actually broke a well established slave breaker and survived. It teetered in the balance, but teetered in my direction at last. I only wish Aunt Hester were still alive so she might have gained hope and not given up so soon. My mental and physical wounds will heal in time and I will surely dedicate my life to help others.
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