Since there was no winner for week 3, for week 4 we will have 2 winners!!!
*Here’s what you need to do*
Grandma, why do you cry when you look at that picture? This picture is of your great-great great grandmother. My mother’s mother grandmother and she was a slave. What’s a slave grandma? It’s a person who has to do something against their will. In this case, they were brought to this land with out wanting to be here. Is it a bad thing? Yes baby, come over here and I will tell you what my mother told me.
It started in a little village in Nigeria. Her name was Abisola which meant “born into a wealthy family” and she was the daughter of an oba or chief. She was an only daughter.
She grew up with her Iya learning how to become a woman. She was the apple of her father’s eye, and he made sure that everything was taken care for her.
In the beginning of her 12th season, her father came to her and said that she would be married to the son of another oba. This would ensure peace between the two tribes. Her Iya said is this a good thing? I have had dreams about this and there can be nothing but bad to be come of this. Her father said things will be okay. It will happen on the son’s fourteenth year, which will be in 14 days time.
Little did she know that in 14 days she would never see any of her new or old family again.
Over the next few days her Iya showed her the things that she would need to know to take care of her self and her new husband to be. She explained to her about her time, when mother earth caused her to flow to cleanse herself and that no man was to touch her during that time. How to prepare certain dishes that would insure that she would be fertile. She would be ok, or so she thought.
On the morning of her betrothed 14 season, her Iya dressed her in a ceremonial dress that she had made for her. She looked at her and said you leave here a child, but tonight you will be a woman. She hugged her tightly, not knowing that this would be the last time she would ever see her daughter again.
They traveled to the next village, where she would no longer be a little girl, she would become a woman. I’m scared she told her Iya, so was I. you will learn everything that you need to know. I have taught you everything that my Iya taught me. All will be good.
Soon their party arrived at the tribe of her betrothed. She was put in to a hut of her own, as she was not to see her man until sunset. Her Iya and the Iya of Adebayo attended to her. She was bathed in a bath of milk and honey as befitting a wife of a first born. Her hair was done with flowers placed in it. She was placed in a gown of pure silk and fed dates and drank goat’s milk. She was left alone to rest as it would be a long night.
Soon sunset had come and it was time. A ceremonial veil was put over head and she was let out to meet her new husband. A feast was held uniting the two tribes was held and she was introduced to her husband. She was scared when she saw him. She was so small in stature and he was so big. They sat together and began to talk to each other and she began to get more comfortable with him. Maybe this would not bad at all. Finally they went to their hut and began to make love. Her Iya had tried to explain to her the pain of her first time, but she did not expect the searing pain as he entered her. He grunted and he felt her blood flow proving that she was indeed a virgin. He was gentle with her though and soon she began to enjoy herself and gave herself to her husband.
She did not remember falling asleep but she awoke to a great commotion outside of her hut there were strange men fighting with the men of the tribe with these fire sticks she watched her father fall and there was so much blood. She was grabbed by two men and drug into her hut. She screamed Adebayo, Adebayo and then all went dark.
She awoke to men arguing over her. You killed her, one man screamed. She would have brought a fair price. She is not dead; I just hit her hard enough to knock her out. But what about all the blood, I didn’t do that it was here when we drug her in here. Her legs were covered with it. My god she’s only a child. Well pick her up we need to get going. The men are already gone. What few women there are will go on another ship. We will have to make 3 more stops to pick up the rest of them. She did not say a word. She could not understand them but she had a feeling this was the last time she would see her home land again.
She faded in and out as they traveled through the jungle. Eventually she awoke and found that she was chained to another female as they walked. There were many prayers and wailing as they made their journey. She had no idea as to where they were going but she only know that it was not back to her home.
Every day it seemed that someone died. They took them out of the chains and let them lay to be eaten by the animals of the jungle. She willed herself not to die in the jungle; she was determined to make it to the end.
After six cycles of the sun, they made it to the big water. She thought that she saw Adebayo but she could not yell to him. She had no voice, her voice was parched. She saw in front of her the biggest boat that she had ever seen. She was now truly scared. Her heart began to pound, and her legs began to shake. One of the men dragged her on board and chained her into the bowels of the boat. Now she knew all was lost and finally she began to cry.
For many cycles of the sun she traveled. Some of the women on the boat died from disease and hunger. They were thrown overboard. Once every few days they were washed with sea water, especially during their time with mother earth. The salt in the water burned their wounds from their chains but she did not cry out. She would not give in, she would not submit.
One morning she heard a yell from the deck. We are here, we are here! We can finally get these miserable wenches off this boat. It’s bad luck to have a woman on a boat anyway. Get them up here and put those burlap dresses on them. She was brought up to the deck with the rest of the women, and marched to the holding pen. There they were ogled by these pale men and pointed at by their women. There were people of her own color but they would not look at them. One by one they were brought out and looked at. They checked their hair for mites, made sure that they had all their teeth. Some of the men squeezed their breasts and even stuck their fingers inside of them. One man tried that with her and she bit him. He slapped her so hard she saw stars. They removed him away from her and another one took a look at her and said you will come home with me. She didn’t understand him but there was something in his voice that made her think that it would be alright.
The man who had slapped her tried to bid on her, but the kind man was able to purchase her. Come with me he said. He took her chain and moved off and she followed, puzzled as to why she was now to leave with him. I need some one young to help keep my house. My slave that I have now is old and will not be able to it for much longer. So you will have to learn and learn quickly. She will teach you everything that you will need to know.
After a ride of one sun’s cycle they arrived to his house. As she was the only slave that he had bought it didn’t take long to get her out of the wagon. Jezzy, he called. Jezzy come and see who I have brought to help you. I don’t need any help, a soft voice said; I can still do what needs to be done around here. Sure you can old woman, come help get her settled. A woman who reminded her of her Iya walked out and looked at her. She is only a child, why did you buy her? To keep her away from Jones, he said. He felt her up right there and then when she bit him he hit her. I almost killed him then and there. The old woman looked at her and said come on child I’ll get you settled.
Over time Jezzy taught her how to read the language and how to read and write. But the older woman was getting weaker. Abi as they called her now began to take over more and more of the day to day work, until one day she was doing every thing that needed to be done in the house. The man said nothing but complimented her on the house and dinner from time to time.
One morning Abi went in to give Jezzy her morning coffee but the old woman wouldn’t wake up. She ran to get the man and they both ran back to her little house, but it was too late. Jezzy had passed during the night. He came out and said the house is yours now. You will stay here; we will have a service for Jezzy this afternoon. My name is Johnson, Sean Johnson. Don’t worry about breakfast today I don’t think I could eat. Abi stayed with the old woman until some men came to get her to take her to be buried. Abi prayed that Jezzy would find peace and that what god she believed in would take care of her in the afterlife.
Over the next ten years coming to her 24th season or year, she watched over Mr. Johnson and took care of his house. He had never been married and had received his farm from his parents. He had no need for a large plantation, as he had money, but had a modest farm with 10 slaves that he treated well. He also had a running feud with Jones, his neighbor to the west of him. Jones wanted his land and had staged raids but had not been successful.
Early one fall morning Abi smelled smoke, and ran out of her house to see the big house in flames. She tried to run into the house but an old field hand named jebidiah stopped her. We need to go child, there is nothing we can do for the massa. He was shot in the back by Jones. We need to leave. If we can get to the Underground Railroad, we can get to the north and we can be free. But we have to go now! Abi took a look back and the burning house and said a silent prayer for Sean’s soul and ran into the woods.
For the next 3 months abi’s life consisted of running from place to place. Sleeping and hiding during the day, and moving during the night. Jebidiah saved her life one night when they were almost caught by slave hunters. He gave his life so that she could escape.
She made her way to the town of Ripley, Ohio where she was able to start her life over. She got a job in a seamstress shop. It was here that she met her future husband, who was a blacksmith. They were married and had your great-great grand mother. She told her story to her and it has been passed down to the firstborn grand child every since.
The grand daughter looked up at her and asked, do you think that slavery will return? No baby that is why we tell these things to you and when you get older, you will do the same. Yes grand ma I will, I truly will.
Question: Who was Abisola’s owner, and why was he killed?
Week 3 and 4’s winner will be announced this coming Saturday…
HAVE FUN & GOOD LUCK!!!
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