A Slave Narrative

Posted by: Aarju Pandey

This is a peek into life in America as a slave. A window into America’s dark and dirty side. I have chosen, to make this narrative all the more interesting, to write this in southern dialect. If you do not understand the English here, it is because of that.

In school, I watched a movie with my classmates. This was an insight into slave life and just how horrible and terrifying it was. After watching those slave narratives, I was inspired to write my own slave narrative as a way to assess to …

…horror I felt after watching that documentary. A slave narrative is basically a slave telling about his or her experiences as a slave or sharing stories or memories. Around the time of the great depression, people went around interviewing former slaves to discover the real horror. This is an example of what a narrative might have looked like.

They comes from the big house one night. We was all sleeping soundly and we was tired after a long day o’ working in the fields. Our hut was a ways from the big house, bouts 1 ½ miles. It took bouts a good half hour if you came a’ walking. My daughter was the first wake up, then she wake us all up fast. We hears footsteps near the hut. My husband, he gots real scared and he says, “They gon’ get us.” I was real worried, “Get who?” I says, “We sho’ ain’t gone done anything to ‘em.” Then, my eldest son says, “Mama, Papa n’ me, we stole the bread.” I was silent. He says, “You was real hungry and we wants for you to be happy.” I was still silent, then I says, “So them comes down here to punish y’all,” My daughter screamed and the baby was crying hard. I hugged them real close and says, “It’s gon’ be mighty fine, now don’t you go fretting.” But I sho’ couldn’t go blaming them I was worried myself. I thought, “ What are they gon’ do to us?”

They knocks on our door and says, “Come on out y’all Negroes.” I recollects that we was all totally quiet. Finally, my eldest son go out and talks to ‘em white folks. He says “What do y’all wants?” And they tells him that bread was stolen from the mistress’ pantry. They asks him if he know who done it. But before he could say one word, my husband go out and says, “I done it!” Them whites got real angry, and then they tells him, “And what makes you think, a dirty lil’ Negro like you coulda gone and stole the mistress’ bread?!” He gots real angry, my husband and my son answered for him. My son gone and say, “We was hungry.” And then it was a terrible sight almost to much for human eyes. Them whites come up and they says, “We gon’ lynch y’all men.” I cried out to the sky, “Lord, help!” Then one of ‘em beasts says, “And y’all womenfolk are gon’ stands here and watch.”

My daughters burst into hot tears, with each passing second and each falling teardrop the hurt came faster and more powerful. Before long we was all crying, ‘ceptings my husband and son. They stands tall and proud like nothing could ever stop them from being who they were. The whites took out the ropes, one was fixing the ropes to that big tree. And the other two were cackling away at our misery. But I was in shock, I couldn’ts believe this was happening. I runs up to the whites and says, “Please sir…..h-h-hang m-me, but not my son…please!” One of the people slapped my face hard and spit on me. He says, “You negro, you ain’t gon’ interfere, or your daughter here will be next!” I screamed and held my gal’s hand tight, I sho’ was not bouts to lose her. They made my husband and son get on the blocks, then they slowly moved the blocks, laughing heartily alls the while. Suddenly, I hears two deafening cracks. I sho’ knowed what they were, never gots that sound outta my head. Those cracks was my husband’s and son’s neck breaking.

It was all over, our whole world split to pieces in one night, in that one moment, my husband’s and son’s last moment. My daughter fell to the ground and lay there, never to rise again. She hits her head on a rock and died instantly. But I survives ‘longs with my baby. I survives and lives to tell my story.

I believe that this narrative is as accurate as I can get, as of now. It tells the story of a slave woman who witnesses her own husband’s and son’s lynching (hanging.) Slaves were treated with the respect of animal droppings. They were called uncivilized and much worse too. The actual terror of what it felt like to be a slave cannot be possible felt by anyone other that the slaves themselves. But we can learn as much as possible and make sure nothing like this ever happens again. Also, we can learn from this exactly how much tolerance and sense of community these people really had.

A Slave Narrative was last modified: January 18th, 2007 by Aarju Pandey

Blog Comments

  1. dovan

    Whenever I read Aarju’s articles,I get amazed twice.

    first, by the sensibility of the article

    and next, by the age of the author.

    I had heard that she is only in grade 6.

    Aarju, u r so thoughtful for your age.

  2. Shamesh

    I felt really bad for the Woman and her family. here’s just an example of what’s going around. Today also people so called CIVILIZED and RICH are dominating lower class family. We must be aware and try to do RIGHT THING.
    Bravo Aarju

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