The Gospel




7*[Blest Are They Who Show Mercy; Mercy Shall Be Theirs.]

 “Do you know, the pore white folks of the South mostly had a harder time than the colored folks, under slavery, because the other white folks did not want them around. Many pore white folks would have starved if it had not been for slaves who stole food from their masters to feed the white folks...“

 Rachel Cruze, Bull Whip Days, p209

Slavery days were difficult for the tender hearted. This narrative reveals the pain of the slave and the tender hearted as well. Master Newman could feel the pain of the whipped slave but he felt powerless since it was not his position to take action. As a result he joined the ranks of the broken hearted. In this next narrative a tenderhearted women struggled with the same dilemma except she decides to take action.

"Maser Newman was a slow easy-goin' sort of a man who took everything as it comes, takin' bad and good luck jest alak. He say not ter worry 'bout bad luck, 'cause worryin' won't do no good, and it would do you a lot of harm. He hardly ever did get mad, but when he did, you bettah leave him alone.

Maser Newman was tender-hearted, too. I know because 'bout de maddest I ever seen him was one evenin' when he comes in from one of de neighbor slave owners, and he sho' was mad; he was jest shakin'. Missus Jane-dat was his wife-went out ter his horse when he rode up, 'cause she could tell dat sumpin' was wrong, and she said, "Nath, what in de world is wrong?" And he begin tellin' her 'bout seem' dis feller whip one of his slaves unmercifully, and de slave beggin' him ter stop, and dis man laughin' and cussin'. Dis man keeps on whippin' him, and Maser Newman got on his horse and come home ter keep from jumpin' on him. I didn't hear all he was sayin'-I was afraid ter let Maser Newman see me listenin' ter what he was saying, while he was mad-but I heard enough ter tell dat it was 'bout dis man beatin' one his slaves nearly ter death."

 Mollie Dawson, Bullwhip Days, p421

"Marse Tom been dead long time now. I 'lieve he's in hell. Seem like that where he 'long. He was a terrible mean man and had a indiff'ent, mean wife. But he had the fines', sweetes' chillun the Lawd ever let live and breathe on this earth. They's so kind and sorrowin' over us slaves."

"Some them chillun used to read us li'l things out of papers and books. We'd look at them papers and books like they somethin' mighty curious, but we better not let Marse Tom or his wife know it!

  William Moore, Bull Whip Days

It is easy among the cruel to be inhumane because it is safe. It is easy as well to be humane when every one is at peace. But it requires great courage to make a stand for humanity when we have fight alone. Sally Jordan  decided that she had to make a righteous stand.

 “ I wuz skeered of Marse Jordan, an' all of de grown niggahs was too, 'cept Leonard an' Burrus Allen. Dem niggahs wuzn' skeered of nothin'. lf de Debil hese'f had come an' shook er stick at 'em, dey'd hit him back. Leonard wuz er big black buck niggah-he was de bigges' niggah I ever seed-an' Burrus wuz near 'bout as big, an' dey 'spized Marse Jordan like pizen.”

  “I wuz sort of skeered of Mis' Sally, too. When Marse Jordan wusn'  roun' she was sweet an' kind, but when he wuz roun' , she wuz er "yes,  suh, yes, suh," woman. Everythin' he tole her to do she done. He made her slap Mammy one time, 'kaze when she passes his coffee she spilled some in de saucer. Mis'Sally hit Mammy easy, but Marse  jorad say, "Hit her, Sally. Hit de black bitch like she 'zerve to be hit. " Den Mis' Sally draw back her hand an' hit Mammy in de face,  pow. Den she went back to her place at the table an' play like she eatin' her breakfas'. Den, when Marse Jordan leave, she come in de kitchen an' put her arms roun' Mammy an' cry, an' Mammy pat her on de back an' she cry, too. I loved Mis' Sally when Marse Jordan wuzn' roun'.”

“  Marse Jordan's two sons went to de War. Dey went ali dressed up in dey fightin' clothes. Young Marse Jordan wuz jus' like Mis' Sally, but Marse Gregory wuz like Marse Jordan, even to de bully way he walk. Young Marse Jordan never come back from de War, but 'twould take more den er bullet to kill Marse Gregory. He too mean to die anyhow, 'kaze de Debil didn' want him an' de Lawd wouldn' have him. One day Marse Gregory come home on er furlow. He think he look pretty wid his sword clankin' an' his boots shinin'. He wuz er colonel, lootenent, er somethin'. He wuz struttin' roun' de yard showin off, when Leonard Allen say under his breath, "Look at dat goddamn sojer. He fightin' to keep us niggahs from bein' free. "    'Bout dat time Marse Jordan come up. He look at Leonard an' say,  "Wat yo' mumblin' 'bout?  Dat big Leonard wuzn' skeered. He say, "I say, 'Look at dat goddamn sojer. He fightin' to keep us niggahs from bein' free!' "    Marse Jordan face begun to swell. It turned so red de blood near 'bout bust out. He turned to Pappy an' tole him to go an' bring him his shotgun. When Pappy come back Mis' Sally come wid him. De tears wuz streamin' down her face. She run up to Marse Jordan an' caught his arm. Ole Marse flung her off an' took de gun from Pappy. He leveled it on Leonard an' tole him to pull his shirt open. Leonard opened his shirt and stood dere big as er black giant, sneerin' at Ole Marse.  Den Mis' Sally run up again an' stood 'tween dat gun an Leonard.  Ole Marse yell to Pappy an' tole him to take dat woman out of de way, but nobody ain't moved to touch Mis' Sally an' she didn't move neither; she jus' stood dere facin' Ole Marse. Den Ole Marse let down de gun. He teached over an' slapped Mis' Sally down, den picked up de gun an' shot er hole in Leonard ches' big as yo' fis'. Den he took up Mis' Sally an' toted her in de house. But I wuz so skeered dat I run an' hid in de stable loft, an' even wid my eyes shut I could see Leonard layin' on de groun' wid dat bloody hole in his ches' an' dat sneer on his black mouf.”

   “When de War ended Mis' Sally come to Mammy an' say, "Fanny, I's sho' glad yo's free. Yo' can go now an' yo' won' ever have to be er slave no more.   But Mammy, she ain't had no notion of leavin' Mis' Sally. She put her arms roun' her an' call her "Baby, " an' tell her she goin' to stay wid her long as she live. An' she did stay wid her. Me an' Mammy bofe stayed wid Mis' Sally 'twell she died.”

                      Fanny Cannady, Bull Whip Days, p78


8* [Blest Are The Single-Hearted For They Shall See God.]

 Sometimes it appears that God will not answer our prayers and the situation is hopeless. It is difficult to love a God that appears to not love us. The slave’s faith was tested in the trader yard. One slave possessed the faith in God to shed her blood for him and her prayers were answered. She accomplished in a trader yard what Christ's apostles had difficulty doing.

“ 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 carrying 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 Mama 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 separate." 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 the 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.”

 -Stephen Williams, Bullwhip Days, The Slaves Remember, J. Mellon, p290



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Revised: 05/13/09.