Digital Story: Slave Marriage

Master William Harris lives on the other
side of a long dirt road and owns a young male slave named Carl Thompson.
We have known each other all of our lives and now he wants to marry me.
We don’t get to see each other very often because we live and work on separate plantations.
He says it is better this way because he couldn’t stand the sight of me being beaten, cursed, and insulted by my unmerciful master. My master, Mr. Henry Manson
doesn’t let me visit Kyle but he lets him come over on weekends.
We decided we will get married, but only if we get our master’s permission,
for we cannot do anything without it. They agreed to the marriage and the ceremony
will be this evening. Paul is really excited about this marriage thing,
but I have a feeling we’re being tricked. They know that when we get married and have us
some kids we aren’t gonna wanna run away. All master wants is to lock us black folk us in a room and make him some more workers for his own fields.
He just wants to put more food on his own table but what about all of us, what about
me? I’m tired of living this life but the only
people that matter are mister and misses white folk. I’m not getting
married just to have children for master. I love this man. I always imagined this day to be the happiest day of my life,
but I feel otherwise. I am scared at making a commitment
to someone I love, and then we end up getting separated
and put on different plantations. What if when we have children they take them
and sell them to a different master. I don’t know if I could live not knowing
where my kids are and if their father or I would ever get to see them again. I have no doubts that Mr. Manson will steal my children from me, I’ve seen him do it to others. We are about
to get married on the porch of Mr. Henry Manson and his wife,
Mrs. Sarah’s farm house. They are actually kind enough to let us
have it here. Mrs. Sarah is dressing me up in a nice dress and is pinning my hair back. She is trying real hard to be nice to me
but I can sense her fakeness. A small crowd has gathered by the front steps of the porch, with Mr. White, a minister of the Gospel, he’s gonna do our wedding vows. I pray that he wont make Carl and I
promise that we will always be true to each other forsaking all others, because I know our masters can make us break such a promise. The ceremony will include the slave marriage ritual of jumping the broom, which means once we say I do, we jump over a broomstick. If one of us don’t jump the broom right the
other one will be declared the ruler of the household. Carl wants us to
jump the broom because he says it’s good luck. I think it’s stupid. I was told that the
ritual was made up by the white folk to make fun at us black folk. I will do it only for Carl’s piece of mind. We are officially married now, I will be able to love my husband and
start us the family. I can’t help but to second guess my decisions concerning our
future, is this really who I wanna be?
Am I doomed to be a slave on this farm for the rest of my life, fighting to stay
alive and praying to my God that they wont separate me from my husband
and children. Why must I be forced to live my life this way? Why did God make me be born a slave?
Both of my parents were slaves. Am I ready to live the same life they did,
only to be beaten and bruised to serve my white masters
going nowhere in life. Or, will God see fit for us to be free?
To be able to live in this new world having the same privileges as the ones
who beat us. Do I keep my mouth shut and be happy that I’m still alive?
Freedom is a dream I have for me and my family. A dream I hope that one
day will come true. [music]

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