Slavery Imagined Through Historical Documentation
Fictional Tale Based on a True Beginning
March 20 1805
My name is Pricilla. I am fifty-nine years old. My birth name was Kai which means child of love. I was born into a village in West Africa, from the town of Badagry. My tribe is the Mandinka. When I was four years old my mother was sold into slavery by my father’s family. He had been killed during a raid of our village. At ten years old, on April 9th 1756, I met my fate that had been similar to my mother’s; I too had become part of the slave trading market. The difference between our stories is that I was kidnapped. I was down by the river filling up our water pots, and three black men grabbed me. Two of them held my legs and one held my arms and supported my back. They shoved something in my mouth and told me to be quiet. They carried me to a truck that had a canvas covering. My greatest fear was leaving my sister Asha (life). I could see her playing in the distance, and I never got to say goodbye.
I was put on a ship and my legs and arms were bound, I laid on my right side, and became sick with the rocking of the waves. I threw up on the deck and tried to inch myself backwards to escape my face laying in my own vomit. I was terrified that I would be punished for soiling the floor.
March 25, 1805
I don’t know how long I was on the ship; it was several days at least, maybe weeks. I lost count.
I was given very little mush to eat on maybe the third day and two sips of water during the trip.
I later found out that we went to Bance Island at Sierra Leon. I was taken to a holding castle.
An older lady removed my clothing and rubbed my body with palm oil. They then dressed mein dirty rags. They lined up all the men, then the women, and lastly the children by size.
I could hear the men screaming, and I began to cry. When it was my turn, they lifted up my upper rag, and pushed hot metal into my flesh. I screamed. The pushed me aside and pointed me in the direction of a far door. As I walked towards the door, pain radiated throughout my whole body.
I do not even know how I endured that day. This was the event that begins my initial hopes of death.
March 29, 1805
I was held in the holding place for several days. They came in one morning and shackled the men together and the women and the children separately. They led us to a bigger ship called Hare. They put the men below in holding cells. And the women and the smaller children were allowed to be above to roam somewhat freely. The Captain and crew were less evil to the upper deck passengers. They would sometimes play with us, teach us different games, and gave us old clothes. They would feed us the mush mixture twice a day. We didn’t get water as often and developed dehydrated sores around our mouths. Some of the children misbehaved. They refused to eat, and they threatened the slaveholder’s investment by not eating. The crew would torture them until they ate, or force feed them. The slaves that became sick were thrown overboard in hopes to prevent the spreading of the disease The journey was full of crying, starving, thirst, and vicious unrelenting storms. Days blurred into nights. Sixteen out of 84 people died. On June 30th 1756 we arrived in Charleston South Carolina.
April 2, 1805
A wealthy plantation owner named Elias Ball II purchased four boys and two girls at an auction for 600 pounds. He gave me an English name: Priscilla. He estimated our ages. I was taken to Ball’s Plantation. Elias was a robust man with light hair and squinty eyes. The plantation main house is a beautiful three story house that had a large wraparound porch, surrounded by tall evergreen trees. I was given a moth eaten dress and given the job of house servant. I cleaned all three stories and took care of all domestic chores. As I grew in age my duties changed to caring for my master’s children. Anna, the oldest child taught me how to read and write. I started this journal to document my survival.
April 28, 1805
The house slaves were treated better than the field slaves.
The field slaves were regularly whipped and beaten, and occasionally killed. The field slaves were often whipped until their backs were a solid mass of lumps, and holes.
They were expected to continue their normal duties no matter how bad their punishments were.
I often looked at my fellow slaves and knew that I could have had it worse. In my dreams I often visit Africa and Asha and I skip and play, and laugh.
May 4, 1805
During the 18th century the slave trade across the Atlantic soared. The shipment of black African slaves became even more cruel and merciless. By the American Revolution there was five hundred thousand Negro slaves in colonies, this marked the tragic migration of my people that planted seeds of difficulty that would permanently mark this nation(http://library.thinkquest.org/20619/African.html). In 1780 Pennsylvania was the first state in the Union to abolish slavery that began the journey for total slavery expulsion.
Handlin (1972). Immigration, The Journey to America. Retrieved December 18, 2010 from http://library.thinkquest.org/20619/African.html
Harper, D. (2003). Slavery in the North. Retrieved December 18, 2010 from http://www.slavenorth.com/author.htm
Vasconcelleos, C.A (2010). Children in the Slave Trade. From http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/teaching-modules/141