Friday, December 2, 2011

My Life as a Slave

Questions from by Julia Eileen Moser

Imagine the year is 1870. You were once a slave who escaped on the Underground Railroad. You have been asked to share the story of your courageous journey and to describe the brave people who helped you along the way. Answer any or all of the questions below.

To help you answer these questions, think about what you’ve learned in this online activity, from the background slideshows to the story of the slave who escaped from Kentucky. If you want to learn even more, read the “Slave Stories.”

Type your answers in the box under each question. When you’re done, you can print out your story to share a hard copy with friends and family.

QUESTION 1Tell me about your life as a slave. Where did you live? What kinds of work did you do? What were some of the hardest things about your life?
Answer: I lived in Kentucky. I watched Ms. Barry's children for her in the afternoons, and in the mornings I picked cotton in the fields until 11:30. My siblings Mary and Gregory worked in the corn in the mornings, and then Gregory swapped to "waiter" duty- delivering lunch for Ms. Barry and her children while Mary doubled back with an ear of corn for her to split with our 2 year old brother Paul in the slave cabin, until Gregory and I got back at 8:59 for a quick "dinner" before settling on the hard straw mattress on the floor.

QUESTION 2Tell me about your escape from the South. Why did you decide to flee? How did you travel? How did you find your way? How did you survive? How did you feel?
Answer: One night, when I came back to the slave cabin after a particularly long and tiring day, I walked in the door and looked around- and decided that we had to leave. I conveyed this message to the family when Gregory came back with tomato sauce all over himself and a scared expression on his face, which soon turned into a determined one when we decided on a plan. At midnight the next day, Gregory, (who knew the kitchen best) stole 4 pears, 7 ears of corn, and 1 large turkey. He signaled to us and we each took a share of the load and hit the road. We walked quite a long way before anything happened. It was a bit scary as we followed the North Star, occasionally feeling for moss on the trees.

QUESTION 3Tell me about the people you encountered on the Underground Railroad. What kinds of people did you come across? What are some of the different ways that they helped you? How did the abolitionists influence the Underground Railroad?
Answer: The next night we were traveling by the Ohio River when we saw a black man standing in the thicket. He beckoned to us. We were about to go over when we heard a pack of dogs. They obviously knew we were gone back in Kentucky. I shouted "Quickly!" and pulled everyone into the water just as the dogs rounded the corner. I then remembered that none of us could swim. I grasped frantically for something, ANYTHING, to pull us to safety. I grabbed a ledge, pulled,--and yanked us onto the other side of the Ohio River! We had crossed without knowing it. We waved to the black man on the other side-and the dogs-and left. I soon saw a candle in a window and led everyone to the door. That is how we traveled for weeks, knocking on doors, hiding in the Underground Railroad.

QUESTION 4Tell me about when what happened after you reached freedom. Where did you settle? Why did you choose that place? What kind of work did you do? What were some of the challenges you faced? How did you feel starting your new life?
Answer: Finally, we made it to Canada. We started looking around, to see if anyone knew where we might make a living. We tried a door. It was locked. We knocked. There was something strangely familiar about the voice that told us to enter. "We were wondering if you------------" Gregory gasped. The woman standing in the doorway gasped. When I looked in, I saw why. "Mom? Dad?" We had a group hug. We're still living here today, happily ever after.

No comments:

Post a Comment