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AUDIO BOOK READING chp 4 BREAKING THE CHAINS, WM.L.KATZ
Jenny Smith Fletcher was the daughter of W. H. Smith, founder of Nicodemus. She was the first postmistress and schoolteacher in Nicodemus, Kansas. She was also one of the original charter members of the A.M.E. Church.
Formerly enslaved African Americans left Kentucky in organized colonies to experience freedom in the "promised land" of Kansas. Nicodemus represents the involvement of African Americans in the westward expansion and settlement of the Great Plains. It is the oldest and only remaining Black settlement west of the Mississippi River.
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AUDIO BOOK READING - BREAKING THE CHAINS, Week 4 Chapter 4 Resistance
Although slave revolts constituted the most dramatic form of slave resistance, they were by no means the only method of reprisal. Arson proved to be an exceptionally effective and consequently frequent form of retaliation. In 1795, slave-set fires in Charleston, South Carolina, prompted the governor to declare a day of fasting. More arson there in 1804 resulted in the destruction of six ships and hundreds of homes. The problem of arson was so widespread that, in 1820, the American Fire Insurance Company of Philadelphia stopped issuing policies in the South.
Assaults and attempts at assassination were also common. In 1740, accusations that slaves were attempting to poison New York City's water supply resulted in widespread arrests and executions. Poison attempts were so frequent they were even referred to in the lyrics of at least one slave song. Vandalism and destruction of crops were also regular occurrences.
I went to the slaver and inquired what was her price for me. She said a thousand dollars.... I opened a regular place of business...
During this time I had found it politic to go shabbily dressed, and to appear to be very poor, but to pay my mistress for my services promptly. I kept my money hid, never venturing to put out a penny, nor to let any body but my wife know that I was making any. The thousand dollars was what I supposed my mistress would ask for me, and so I determined now what I would do.
I opened a regular place of business, labelled my tobacco in a conspicuous manner with the names of “Edward and Lunsford Lane,” and of some of the persons who sold it for me, — established agencies for the sale in various parts of the State, one at Fayetteville, one at Salisbury, one at Chapel Hill, and so on, — sold my articles from my place of business, and about town, also deposited them in stores on commission, and thus, after paying my mistress for my time, and rendering such support as necessary to my family.
I found in the space of some six or eight years, that I had collected the sum of one thousand dollars.
Listen in as The Gist of Freedom continues The Summer Audio Book Series with William Katz, Breaking The Chains
I could not legally purchase it, and as the laws forbid emancipation except, for “meritorious services.” This done, Mr. Smith endeavored to emancipate me formally, and to get my manumission recorded; I tried also; but the court judged that I had done nothing “meritorious,” and so I remained, nominally only, the slave of Mr. Smith for a year; when, feeling unsafe in that relation, I accompanied him to New York whither he was going to purchase goods, and was there regularly and formally made a freeman, and there my manumission was recorded.
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