Almost A SLAVE
by G. Denson
In her breakthrough collection, “Honey, I Love: And Other Love Poems” (1978), Eloise Greenfield described the courage of Harriet Tubman, the former slave who led many to freedom.
Her writings celebrate diversity in children’s literature.
As I was reading this particular excerpt from one of her collections, I thought of an experience I had as a young black person, and how I almost became a slave,( or at least that’s how I felt about it.)
“Nineteen times she went back South to get three hundred others.
She ran for her freedom nineteen times
To save Black sisters and brothers.
Harriet Tubman didn’t take no stuff.
Wasn’t scared of nothing neither.
Didn’t come in this world to be no slave;
And didn’t stay one neither;
And didn’t stay one neither.
“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” ― Rudyard Kipling
I may have told you this story before.
When I graduated from high school my friend and I decided it was time to try our wings and take flight. This is when, in my view, I almost became a slave.
We found information about the elite up state sending tickets to young, I’ll say young black folks, because they’re the ones that would respond. They would respond out of desperation. The information was that they would send tickets for young women to come to where they were to take live-in jobs.
My friend and I took the bait. We received our tickets and went on our way. We were destined for New Jersey. Once we got there, we were introduced to our masters. lol! I was assigned to my room in the basement of the home.
The next day, she took me aside and told me I was not what she wanted. She said she was expecting someone that resembled the woman on the old grit box. If I’m not mistaken, they’ve changed the label now. However, on the old one, the woman on the box was of dark, dark complexion and had her hair hid under a scarf, or cloth, tied at the nape of her neck.
Hearing this, my friend and I knew this was not for us. We saw it as her wanting me to be her slave. As Ms Greenville said, “we didn’t come in this world to be no slave” so we conspired to escape via way of the “Underground Railroad” which, in actuality, was on the bus to her dad’s house in the closest city, Newark, New Jersey.
We met up the next morning, took a cab to the bus station and escaped to Newark. And that, my loves is how I almost became a slave.