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I WAS A SLAVE IN 1950s AMERICA
Hopefully, by expressing my opinion, as well as my feelings about this subject, I am not lessoning what the term slavery actually means. I know that many African Americans suffered greatly at the hands of numerous plantation owners.
I am not exactly sure when slavery was abolished in America. I am sure one of my grade school teachers taught me about such things but at that time that probably meant very little to me.
My plantation was known as the “Children’s Home Society Receiving Home,” located in Jacksonville, Florida. Some fifty acres tucked away behind large oak trees and long rows of bamboo lined the large steel rusting fences.
There was no cotton to be picked and there were no crops to be harvested; but there were acres upon acres which had to be tended to. I, from the age of five, was one of the chosen ones who tended to such matters. It was I who looked after the master and her quarters.
Was it all the hard work that made me a slave? I don’t think so.
Are we not all slaves when we go to work each and everyday? If that be the case; then what makes one a slave?
As a sixty-two year old white man, who feels he was treated as a slave, I can tell you it was not the endless hours of hard work that allows me to harbor such feelings and memories. It was the degrading manner in which I was treated and spoken to. Talked to and talked about as if I were nothing more than a piece of garbage. A human being made to feel that I, and the other children, was totally worthless to the world.
I cannot count the times we children were called “worthless little niggers,” by the Master/Matron Mother Winters.
Even as a child, I knew those were only a bunch of stupid letters; all put together to form words; but still they went deep into my soul. Just as did the words “stupid,” illegitimate,” “bastard,” “ugly,” and “retarded.” In fourteen years, I had no right to go to the bathroom or get a drink of water without first asking permission. I served my master well; I washed her dishes, serviced her quarters and cleaned her toilet. Yes, I was sold, bought and owned by CHSFL. There is no doubt in my mind (whatsoever) that as a child I was once a slave in America.