Michelle B. Valdez
Block 7
AP US History
Slave Narrative

My Life

Down in the southern state of Kentucky is where I, Annie Williams, reside and I suppose you may say "live". I was born in Northampton, North Carolina and was sold at the age of about eight I will say, for house work. I am not sure of my actual birthday considering no one cared to record it. I never knew my Daddy because he was sold before I was born, but me Momma says he was a great and strong man who was sold because the master didn't know how to handle his money. When I was sold to a white man I'll always remember what Momma told me, and that was "As long as there is God in the world and in your heart, you'll be taken care of no matter where you are or who you're with". I took that with me and held the words close to my heart everywhere I went. I never saw my Momma again after that day. There I performed tasks such as cleaning, taking care of the children, and even cooking. I caught on well and was used a lot around the house. Thankfully I was never called on by the master, or used for other things than my work. At that house I was taught to read and write by Mrs. Hall, but when Mr. Hall found out he was furious saying that she was basically telling me to run away and kill them before I left, and ordered the lessons to stop. After that she taught me a few more times but when we were caught the last time he beat me harder than he ever had before and I couldn't work for days, so she stopped. I was always good at what I was put to do but, a few months after my ninth birthday I was sold again to Mr. Wilkes, where I still am today.
By the age of 16 the master began to notice that I was stronger than most women and that I was larger than most women. So, he tried me in the fields. Now, women usually don't work in the fields but there were a few exceptions, and I was one of them. Working in the fields was where we got treated like animals. No one cared how you felt that day, whether you were sick or well, you worked. Men and women of all ages worked in the fields, and always hope to be promoted to the indoor work that was not as harsh. I often cursed the fact that I was born, because I missed the easier house work that I knew I would probably never go back to. There in the fields I met Moses Horton, a fine young man and a good worker. We became close and I got pregnant at the age of 17. During my first pregnancy I worked in the fields for the most part and ended up with a miscarriage because I didn't eat enough for the baby. I had another child but he died of yellow fever when he was 4. After a long while I had another beautiful boy who was very strong and handsome. He was such a beautiful thing. But when he got old enough he was sold with his daddy to a man in Alabama. I never did love another man or have any other children, I just pray for them every day asking God to keep them safe and alive.
When we had free time we took advantage of it. Most of our ancestors were of different religions, but when they came to the states for slavery, they combined as one, and most came to Christianity. When we worshiped, we worshiped good. We had our banjos, our voices, and our bodies and that's all we needed. We weren't ashamed of our beliefs and how we felt about out Lord and Savior. We were able to go to church with the white men, but we had to sit in our own section. Even in the house of God we could not worship equally. As long as I got to hear the message, I accepted that fact.
Mr. Wilkes is a planter who owns more than 100 slaves and 175 acres of land. We rise one hour before sunrise from our white washed cabins and have a breakfast of a slice of bread and maybe a drink, and then we are off to work. We are to march in line and led by an overseer who is to keep us in line with a whip. The fields can be hell if you are weak; it is made for the strong and ones who may endure the pain. But, as we work not only do we talk but we sing. We are always singing in our fields. Singing our songs about God, about our freedom, or about how we wish life would be. Like old Douglass said, "Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy". But those men encouraged it thinking otherwise. After a long days work your hands are blistering, your feet are burning, and your back is aching from all that cotton picked. All year round no matter what time or weather, as long as there is work to be done you're going to be out slaving away. If we work too slow or do not perform the exact way they want us to, we are whipped into shape. We are usually able to talk but if the overseer doesn't feel like it then we are whipped without warning. Or even if he becomes bored he feels that we need a refreshment whipping. We come home when it is dark, and if it gets dark earlier we go and chop fire wood or do other jobs that need to be done until our time is up. Then we go home and see what we can find to eat for dinner, which is usually nothing more than scraps. The next day we repeat the same process, only instead hoping to get fewer whippings than the day before. Even though life may be monotonous I still find time to appreciate the gifts God has given me and I look forward to the day that all our people may be free. Until that day, life goes on.