Letter From a Former Slave to his Former Master

From Digital History:

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 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 Col. 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 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 $25 a month, with victuals and clothing; have a comfortable home for Mandy (the folks here 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, “The 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 Col. Anderson. Many darkies would have been proud, as I used to was, 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 are sincerely 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 $25 a month for me, and $2 a week for Mandy, our earnings would amount to $11,680. Add to this the interest for the time our wages has 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 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 Matilda and Catherine. I would rather stay here and starve and die if it comes 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. <>P.S. — 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

Ghost Cities Of 2100

From Forbes (So you have to make do with the annoying slideshow “feature”)

Could some of the world’s cities disappear by 2100? It’s hard to predict, of course, but factors as diverse as global warming, industrial decay and aging populations mean that even as the global urban population continues to grow, some cities are facing possible extinction.

Daily Dose of Ingersoll

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I look again, but toward the future now. The popes and priests
and kings are gone, — the altars and the thrones have mingled with
the dust, — the aristocracy of land and cloud have perished from
the earth and air, and all the gods are dead. A new religion sheds
its glory on mankind. It is the gospel of this world, the religion
of the body, of the heart and brain, the evangel of health and joy.
I see a world at peace, where labor reaps its true reward, a world
without prisons, without workhouses, without asylums for the
insane, a world on which the gibbet’s shadow does not fall, a world
where the poor girl, trying to win bread with the needle, the
needle that has been called “the asp for the breast of the poor,”
is not driven to the desperate choice of crime or death, of suicide
or shame. I see a world without the beggar’s outstretched palm, the
miser’s heartless, stony stare, the piteous wail of want, the
pallid face of crime, the livid lips of lies, the cruel eyes of
scorn. I see a race without disease of flesh or brain, shapely and
fair, the married harmony of form and use, and as I look life
lengthens, fear dies, joy deepens, love intensifies. The world is
free. This shall be.

Robert Green Ingersoll – “Which Way” (1884)