Narrative of the Life of J.D. Green, a Runaway Slave, from Kentucky

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Excerpt;NARRATIVE, &c.My father and mother were owned by Judge Charles Earle, of Queen Anne's County, Maryland, and I was born on the 24th of August, 1813.From eight to eleven years of age I was employed as an errand boy, carrying water principally for domestic purposes, for 113 slaves and the family. As I grew older, in the mornings I was employed looking after the cows, and waiting in the house, and at twelve years I remember being in great danger of losing my life in a singular way. I had seen the relish with which master and friends took drink from a bottle, and seeing a similar bottle in the closet, I thought what was good for them would be good for me, and I laid hold of the bottle and took a good draught of (Oh, horror of horrors) oxalic acid, and the doctor said my safety was occasioned by a habit I had of putting my head in the milk pail and drinking milk, as by doing so the milk caused me to vomit and saved my life. About this time my mother was sold to a trader named Woodfork, and where she was conveyed I have not heard up to the present time. This circumstance caused serious reflections in my mind, as to the situation of slaves, and caused me to contrast the condition of a white boy with mine, which the following occurrence will more vividly pourtray. One morning after my mother was sold, a white boy was stealing corn out of my master's barn, and I said for this act we black boys will be whipped until one of us confesses to have done that we are all innocent of, as such is the case in every instance; and I thought, Oh, that master was here, or the overseer, I would then let them see what becomes of the corn. But, I saw he was off with the corn to the extent of half a bushel, and I will say nothing about it until they miss it, and if I tell them they wont believe me if he denies it, because he is white and I am black. Oh! how dreadful it is to be black! Why was I born black? It would have been better had I not been born at all. Only yesterday, my mother was sold to go to, not one of us knows were, and I am left alone, and I have no hope of seeing her again. At this moment a raven alighted on a tree over my head, and I cried, "Oh, Raven! if I had wings like you, I would soon find my mother and be happy again." ...
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