Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I can’t have a birthday. How can that be? According to the records, I do not exist. The gist of it is this: my momma was raised in slavery. So was I. She was raped by her master, a bastard of a man. He had the right because he was white to do anything he wanted to to his lawful property.

I was born a boy in a house of Southern belles, but my arrival brought no joy. I grew up just another hand to work the land and serve white folk whether it be food or drink or commit sins against almighty God; But I trust God understands I was prisoner in a hostile, hateful land.

I know I’ll get to Heaven. Let my masters rot in hell.

One night my momma wake me, “Get dressed, we gonna ‘scape. You daddy he rape me again, then watch whiles other white mens do the same.”

My momma and me, we made it to freedom land north of the Mason-Dixon line, where folks were kind and treated us fine and momma and me, we lived free.

Years went by, it came time for momma to die. I sat by her bed and cried. Not momma. With eyes wide open and a smile, said: “Don’t worry your head, my son. For me, life in Heaven‘s already begun. A brand new cabin’s gonna be my home. The angels made my bed, clean sheets and all.

“There are pictures on the wall. Sun’s shining through a window by the door. No more work. lots of rest . I get the best. Pork chops three meals a day if that’s what I crave, and a pot of hot tea to keep me warm while I watch the cherubs play.

“Imagine that! Me, once a slave, treated like a queen. God done seen to that.”

Momma sighed, closed her eyes and passed over to the other side. I won’t say she died. Because maybe there’s a better life waiting for you when this life on earth is through.

After I told the story of mama and me he signed my citizen papers, wrote down my brand new age. shook my hand, wished me well.

As started for the door. he called me back and said: “You were born in 1924. You will be sixty-five on the Fourth of July.“


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