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 To My Old Master 
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Modmin Dude
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Post To My Old Master
Letter Of Note wrote:
Monday, 30 January 2012
To My Old Master
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In August of 1865, a Colonel P.H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee, wrote to his former slave, Jourdan Anderson, and requested that he come back to work on his farm. Jourdan — who, since being emancipated, had moved to Ohio, found paid work, and was now supporting his family — responded spectacularly by way of the letter seen below (a letter which, according to newspapers at the time, he dictated).

Rather than quote the numerous highlights in this letter, I'll simply leave you to enjoy it. Do make sure you read to the end.

(Source: The Freedmen's Book; Image: A group of escaped slaves in Virginia in 1862, courtesy of the Library of Congress.)


Dayton, Ohio,

August 7, 1865

To My Old Master, Colonel P.H. Anderson, Big Spring, Tennessee

Sir: I got your letter, and was glad to find that you had not forgotten Jourdon, and that you wanted me to come back and live with you again, promising to do better for me than anybody else can. I have often felt uneasy about you. I thought the Yankees would have hung you long before this, for harboring Rebs they found at your house. I suppose they never heard about your going to Colonel Martin's to kill the Union soldier that was left by his company in their stable. Although you shot at me twice before I left you, I did not want to hear of your being hurt, and am glad you are still living. It would do me good to go back to the dear old home again, and see Miss Mary and Miss Martha and Allen, Esther, Green, and Lee. Give my love to them all, and tell them I hope we will meet in the better world, if not in this. I would have gone back to see you all when I was working in the Nashville Hospital, but one of the neighbors told me that Henry intended to shoot me if he ever got a chance.

I want to know particularly what the good chance is you propose to give me. I am doing tolerably well here. I get twenty-five dollars a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy,—the folks call her Mrs. Anderson,—and the children—Milly, Jane, and Grundy—go to school and are learning well. The teacher says Grundy has a head for a preacher. They go to Sunday school, and Mandy and me attend church regularly. We are kindly treated. Sometimes we overhear others saying, "Them colored people were slaves" down in Tennessee. The children feel hurt when they hear such remarks; but I tell them it was no disgrace in Tennessee to belong to Colonel Anderson. Many darkeys would have been proud, as I used to be, to call you master. Now if you will write and say what wages you will give me, I will be better able to decide whether it would be to my advantage to move back again.

As to my freedom, which you say I can have, there is nothing to be gained on that score, as I got my free papers in 1864 from the Provost-Marshal-General of the Department of Nashville. Mandy says she would be afraid to go back without some proof that you were disposed to treat us justly and kindly; and we have concluded to test your sincerity by asking you to send us our wages for the time we served you. This will make us forget and forgive old scores, and rely on your justice and friendship in the future. I served you faithfully for thirty-two years, and Mandy twenty years. At twenty-five dollars a month for me, and two dollars a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to eleven thousand six hundred and eighty dollars. Add to this the interest for the time our wages have been kept back, and deduct what you paid for our clothing, and three doctor's visits to me, and pulling a tooth for Mandy, and the balance will show what we are in justice entitled to. Please send the money by Adams's Express, in care of V. Winters, Esq., Dayton, Ohio. If you fail to pay us for faithful labors in the past, we can have little faith in your promises in the future. We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense. Here I draw my wages every Saturday night; but in Tennessee there was never any pay-day for the negroes any more than for the horses and cows. Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.

In answering this letter, please state if there would be any safety for my Milly and Jane, who are now grown up, and both good-looking girls. You know how it was with poor Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve—and die, if it come to that—than have my girls brought to shame by the violence and wickedness of their young masters. You will also please state if there has been any schools opened for the colored children in your neighborhood. The great desire of my life now is to give my children an education, and have them form virtuous habits.

Say howdy to George Carter, and thank him for taking the pistol from you when you were shooting at me.

From your old servant,

Jourdon Anderson.

http://www.lettersofnote.com/2012/01/to ... aster.html

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January 31st, 2012, 3:20 pm
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Post Re: To My Old Master
Interesting read, but I'm not sure where you were going with this, could you explain it please?

I would like to encourage you to check out this book if you truly want to read some of the dramatic history of the USA.

Below is the review of the book, "Under God" by Toby Mac and Michael Tait. Don't worry, it's not as preachy as you would think. It illustrates the lives of people like Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver and others. But even moreso, it shows that the Freedmen actually became Republican after the Civil War, and held many government offices, because they had the numbers in votes. This terrified the former Slave owners who banded together to form little groups with initials for names and began a terror campaign that lasted 100 year or more. Amazingly, these same Slave owners were Democratic and kind of makes you wonder how things have developed today.

My personal belief is that Liberals are trying to return everyone to the plantation with government handouts, food stamps, housing, medical scare, utility allotments, cell phone packages, and so on. Heck, why do we need to work when Uncle Tom is going to give us everything? But I digress....

In the same uncompromising style of Jesus Freaks, bestselling authors Michael Tait and TobyMac of dc Talk now urge readers to take their stand for America's future--by examining our past. Using unforgettable accounts of both famous and little-known Americans, Under God examines the stories of men and women who forged our nation. Against these, they pair the dark side of America's legacy--racism, slavery, injustice--in order that a new generation might seek God's face and avoid repeating sins of the past. The authors draw on the resources of WallBuilders, a national organization that distributes historical, legal, and statistical information and helps citizens become active in their communities.

It is a very good read, without being too preachy, and it illustrates our National Heritage, much to our shame. It also shows how awesome a contribution, the African Americans have done for this country, in something other than sports.

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February 1st, 2012, 9:46 am
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Post Re: To My Old Master
WarEr4Christ wrote:
Interesting read, but I'm not sure where you were going with this, could you explain it please?

Why does there have to be an angle / end game? I found the article interesting and thought I would share it, nothing more. No need to try to read into it.

Why can't we just take things for what they are these days? Why does there always have to be an agenda? Read the article if you want to, if you don't, no big deal. If you feel compelled to comment, do so; if not, then don't. Seems rather simple to me :confused:

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February 1st, 2012, 10:21 am
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Post Re: To My Old Master
Whoa! Slow your roll tootsie!

I wasn't asking if you had an agenda, I was asking why you posted it. I found it to be interesting too, and actually enjoyed the read. In fact, I'd of loved to see the "old master's" face when he read the letter. Having said that, if you'd of said, "I found this and thought this was interesting enough to share" my question would have been answered at the start. This happens to be another prime example where email, thread, and text proves to be a poor medium of communication.

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2 Chronicles 10:14, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."


February 1st, 2012, 12:29 pm
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Post Re: To My Old Master
WarEr4Christ wrote:
Whoa! Slow your roll tootsie!

I wasn't asking if you had an agenda, I was asking why you posted it.


Really cause I interpreted your response just like Wags when you started with...

WarEr4Christ wrote:
I'm not sure where you were going with this, could you explain it please?


When you ask someone where they are "going with this" that does speak to an agenda.

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February 1st, 2012, 1:38 pm
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Post Re: To My Old Master
:oops: Well don't I appear to have egg on my face! My apologizes? It wasn't my intent to suggest you had an agenda, I was just trying to understand why you had posted it. Again, I find it to be very interesting, and I think you'll appreciate the suggested book, as it gives a very detailed struggle of the African American culture within the American Culture. It goes so far as to document the "lynchings" that happened by State, and sometimes by county if I remember correctly. It's a tragic story for us as a society, but there was a lot of beauty that came from their struggles.

So my apologies on suggesting an agenda, it's not what I meant


@Pablo, did you get my message on fb?

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2 Chronicles 10:14, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."


February 1st, 2012, 2:05 pm
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Post Re: To My Old Master
FWIW... I really don't see the relevance, and didn't find it "interesting" without an underlying agenda...

So what you're saying is a slave master wanted his slave back, and the slave wanted to be paid for prior service... That isn't exactly revolutionary.


February 1st, 2012, 2:57 pm
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Post Re: To My Old Master
no...but it was a good read about someone who chose the high road when they had every right to be bitter and resentful.

Thanks for posting wags

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February 1st, 2012, 6:14 pm
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Post Re: To My Old Master
I agree with Reg Joe, but I also see what WJB is saying too. I have heard whispers around the inner city environments that I work in that there have been meetings in South Africa of all places to demand retribution of the U.S. Government for lost wages, tortures, rapes, and so on, from 150 years ago. I've heard such companies as Conrail, are supposed to have a lawsuit brought against them.

Having said that, the grace that this former slave demonstrated, while being very blunt about what he suffered was awesome!

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2 Chronicles 10:14, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."


February 1st, 2012, 10:50 pm
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Post Re: To My Old Master
BREAKING NEWS!!! Titanic hits iceberg!

If I were inclined to do so, I suppose that I could find a story where a former slave decided to happily continue working for their former master, but why bother? This story, other than for the purposes of race baiting, is about as significant and relevant as the winner of Dancing With The Stars. It is what it is, so continue on.

P.S. I was gonna add "my wayward son." to the end of my last sentence , but thought better of it. :D

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February 2nd, 2012, 3:55 am
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Post Re: To My Old Master
ok like the article dont like the artticle...it's all a matter of taste. but what I dont understand is this. why does it appear that some of you guys are offended by this letter?


I dont understand....

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February 2nd, 2012, 1:17 pm
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Post Re: To My Old Master
Personally, I thought it was a freakin' awesome letter. Well written, and basically told the guy off without being derogatory. I doubt many of us would be as even handed in their response as this particular gentleman was.

As for finding evidence of slaves who continued working for their owners after the Emancipation....yes, that happened. What does that mean, that slavery wasn't such a bad thing? No, it means that these were people who were given their freedom, but not the means to enjoy it or use it to make a better life. So they stayed in their comfort zone, even if it was considered deplorable by our standards. And there were some plantation owners who didn't treat their slaves with disdain and violence. That is something that often gets overlooked, that not all slave owners were evil folk who beat and raped the slaves at every opportunity. One must remember that it was how things were back then, and had been that way in other countries for thousands of years before. It doesn't make it right, but it just explains why it was happening here.

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February 2nd, 2012, 1:57 pm
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Post Re: To My Old Master
m2karateman wrote:
Personally, I thought it was a freakin' awesome letter. Well written, and basically told the guy off without being derogatory. I doubt many of us would be as even handed in their response as this particular gentleman was.

As for finding evidence of slaves who continued working for their owners after the Emancipation....yes, that happened. What does that mean, that slavery wasn't such a bad thing? No, it means that these were people who were given their freedom, but not the means to enjoy it or use it to make a better life. So they stayed in their comfort zone, even if it was considered deplorable by our standards. And there were some plantation owners who didn't treat their slaves with disdain and violence. That is something that often gets overlooked, that not all slave owners were evil folk who beat and raped the slaves at every opportunity. One must remember that it was how things were back then, and had been that way in other countries for thousands of years before. It doesn't make it right, but it just explains why it was happening here.


I agree. And actually, MOST slave owners did treat their slaves with respect. It was about 30% of them that treated their slaves badly.


February 2nd, 2012, 2:04 pm
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Post Re: To My Old Master
regularjoe12 wrote:
ok like the article dont like the artticle...it's all a matter of taste. but what I dont understand is this. why does it appear that some of you guys are offended by this letter?


I dont understand....



I'm not offended by it in any way, but it was presented as a "must read to the very end" as if it were going to make some terrific point or have some sort of zinger that made you think, and it definitely was nothing of the sort. If it were presented as a "cute story by a former slave" I would have read it and shrugged, or not read it at all, which is about where I see its worth.


February 2nd, 2012, 3:19 pm
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Post Re: To My Old Master
wjb21ndtown wrote:
regularjoe12 wrote:
ok like the article dont like the artticle...it's all a matter of taste. but what I dont understand is this. why does it appear that some of you guys are offended by this letter?


I dont understand....



I'm not offended by it in any way, but it was presented as a "must read to the very end" as if it were going to make some terrific point or have some sort of zinger that made you think, and it definitely was nothing of the sort. If it were presented as a "cute story by a former slave" I would have read it and shrugged, or not read it at all, which is about where I see its worth.


Holy Cow. I have to agree with WJB. That's twice in 1 week. The end is near.


February 2nd, 2012, 3:32 pm
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