Prayer in a Trading Yard
Major C. Grays Denice F. Burkett
The auction is the darkest and most depressing part of Black History. The auction is the epitome of helplessness and victimization. Stephen Williams shares the experience of being auctioned in a slave trading yard. Stephen's mama however, was a "very very religious women". She violated yard rules by praying with others, then voluntarily admitted her guilt. Does God really answer prayer? Come and see how her prayers were answered.
We ain't been in New Orleans very long till Mr. Abram took sick and die, and we is taken to the trader yard to be sold. I reckon I musta been 'bout six or mebbe seven year old, at the time.
Major Long was the one who owned the trader yard where we was put, and I guess We was kept there 'bout a week, 'fore my sister Mary was sold away from us.
One morning, our family is all kinda huddled up together in a cornet of the yard away from the rest, and 'long comes Major Long carring his bullwhip in his hand, with another man. He makes Mary stand up and says to the man with him, "Here's jes' the girl you want for a nurse girl. "
Mama begs Major Long not to separate us folks, and hugged mary and Jane and me to her. The major and the man with him talks a while, and then the major come over to where we are and pulled Mary away from Mamn. and he and the man took her off. "twan't till after Freedom that we ever saw her again.
Man, man, folks what didn't go through slavery ain't got no idea what it was. I reckon there musta been a hundred colored folks in that trader yard, and the dirt and smell was terrible, terrible. I was jes' a little chap, like I've told you, but I can remember that place like it happened yesterday-- husbands sold away from wives, and children taken awav from mothers. A trader, them days, didn't think no more of selling a baby or little child away from its mother than takinp a little calf away from a cow.
I rec'lec', the night after Mary is sold away from us, the colored folks in the trader yard hold prayer meeting. Mama was very religious-very religious--and it ever a soul went to Heaven, hers did. Seems like Major Long was gone that evening, and Mama and some more of the folks in the yard got together for a praying time. Didn't do no singing, 'cause that would have 'tracted attention, and the major didn't 'low no meetings. But someone saw the folks prayin and told him the next morning, and he come out in the yard with a cat-o'-nine-tails and rounds everybody up. Then, he said, "You niggers what was praying last night, step out here. "
None come out, though, 'cept Mama, 'cause they was 'fraid they was going to get whipped Major said to Mama, "Well, you are the only truthful one in the yard, and I won't whip you, 'cause you have been truthful. I'll see if I can keep you and your man and your other children together and not see you serarate." Mama jes' fell on her knees and thanked the good Lord right in front of the major, and he never touched her with his whip.
Twan't but a little while till he comes back and says for us to get our bundles and come with him. We didn't know where we was going, but any place was better'n that trader yard. Jes' to get away from that place was a blessing from ther good Lord.
The major kept his word to Mama and sell us to Mr. Dan sullivan, and he takes us up, to Alexandria in a wagon.
Bull Whip Days, The Slaves Remember
My Jesus, you’s always been my true master. You’s the one that keep my children and my man and me. Eyes knows that. Times ain’t never been easy. Don’t know if there is easy times til Glory. But, time gets harder since master gone on. But, you’s always been faithful. Eyes see’s your hand in all things. The sun, the moon, stars everywhere. Smell of the sweet dew in the mornin. Trees, fresh dirt growing all kinds of nourishment. Chicks, eggs and even old snakes has them places here in this land of yours.
Eyes knows my Mary in your hands cause I put all my children there from the time they’s see’s this face of mines. I give them back to you Jesus. (SAFE KEEPING) Just eyes been all my born days. My insides feel gutted out like the pig was gutted; NOW that my Mary gone. But she’s gone be nursing a misses upnorth tending to needs of master and his misses. Be in the big house; my Mary. Good nourishment’s in the bit house. No bullwhip for my Mary, lease not on a regular. You’s still blessing I can see your hands working. (safe keeping) Eyes love my children, keep o loving, can’t stop, can’t forget. Insides gutted out. Pray Jesus Pray. I sees ya work all’s my life, my man do to. You’s do right by us. Right all you know Jesus. Does right, wee’s be together til wee’s see Glory for ourseles. Bullwhip ain’t no hurt like gutten out feelen. Wee’s stay together Jesus. Eyes see’s my Mary in Glory if I don’t see’s her no moor here. See’s her your hands, gives her to you at first birth.
All the time looken for Glory days but you know wee’s still here in these old bullwhip days. You have you way’s with that old bullwhip soon Jesus. Pray Pray - these masters can’t whip you. Eyes seen your ways yonder here Jesus. Moves your ways here now Jesus. Makes this master a feeling man. All’s will be well master Jesus. Make this master a feeling man. Gives’s us a new home together where fresh air smells fine.....
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