This is a work of fiction, any resemblance to persons living or dead is coincidental. Most of the historic detail in this story might not be accurate, which is my fault.
I'm going to breeze through this story while it's flowing through my mind and so there will be mistakes, plot holes, poor grammar.
E.t.c, so I'm asking you to forgive the mistakes and please bear with me.
This isn't a story to spark racial controversy either and I hope it isn't perceived as such.
The Writer. 10/7/20
St. Luke's Parrish, 1848.
My former master, David Wilkes, has recorded in the "book" that my father was a mulatto slave born on another plantation and that my mother is Essie, one of the chamber maids in his own household.
Wether this is true or not, I can not say because the old records were destroyed in a fire.
I was born on the Magnolia plantation in the small, Parrish of St. Luke's in the winter of 1830 and I looked so much like Mister Wilkes children that there was no question who my
natural father was, despite what was allegedly recorded in the "book" and because of this his wife hated me with a jealous passion and would assign to me the dirtiest work.
"No high yellow, bastard child is going to hold a high position in this house." Missy would snarl whenever we were together. "Here gal, take this chamber pot and empty it. Mind you, don't spill any of it or I'll take a whip to you."
So I would carefully take the foul thing outside, carefully walk down the long stairs of the wide, front porch while trying my best not to trip and spill a drop of it.
Missy was my worst nightmare come to life. A native Georgian, she was haughty and beautiful and hateful to all but her husband and their two children.
There was not an ounce of grace running through her entire body but she especially despised my mother and I.
My mother, Essie herself was the child of a white man, who had sold her to a sugar cane plantation in New Orleans to pay off a gambling debt.
Her new owners were Italians who once owned one of the largest plantations in the county until it was burned to the ground and they were forced to return to Italy, leaving
their one hundred slaves in the care of their lawyer who systematically auctioned them off and this is how my mother became the property of Mr.David Wilkes.
So there I was, a child barely old enough to count from one to ten, tasked with the job of emptying Missy's disgusting chamber pot.
As I grew older, she begged her husband to send me to the dreaded cotton fields which is the lowest job on any plantation.
The field hands were treated poorly and were only valued for the amount of cotton that they could produce at the end of their work day and they were beaten if their quotas were even a half a pound off on the scales.
Fear seized my entire body at the mere thought of working in the fields, it would be the worst Hell and so I planned to run away.
"Is you done gone crazy gal?" Momma asked later that evening when we were alone together inside our cabin in the slave qaurters behind the Big house.
A fire was crackling in the hearth, sending bright sparks up the smoke blackened chimney.
Mama was seated in her rocking chair next to the cot that we shared on very cold nights, when even the fire couldn't warm our small cabin.
"Mast' Wilkes ain't sending you to no field." She sounded so sure of herself that my fears were soothed and I kneeled on the floor at her feet and laid my head in her lap.
Mama seemed to know things, secret things, as if she were a mind reader and if she said that Mister Wilkes wouldn't send me to the fields then I knew it to be true.
Essie was only fourteen when I was born and so she was still a young woman although her hazel eyes were weary from the burdens of a hard life.
Missy made all the serving girls hide their kinky hair beneath clean head scarves whenever they worked inside the Big house
but after work mama would unwound her scarf and shake free her fine, black hair which framed her thin, high cheekboned face like a silk, curtain.
I felt her gentle fingers playing with my own hateful, red curls and her touch was making me drowsy so I didn't really hear her when she said,
"Don't you worry 'bout nothing. Who ever heard of a man putting his own chile out in the fields? That's crazy."
And she was right, I hadn't needed to worry. David Wilkes refused to send me to the fields which infuriated his wife even more.
"Sophia is a bright girl, have Cookie train her for the kitchen." He instructed her and then left for another one of his many long "business" trips away from the plantation.
David Wilkes left his wife in charge of the house in his absense, and a man named Sam Hightower was the overseer of the field hands and generally ran everything else whenever the master was away.
Now Sam made no excuses about his feelings for the slaves.
To him we were beasts of burdens and as such he wouldn't back down from wrangling every inch of work from our tired bodies but at the same time he treated the field hands fairly and never struck them in anger like so many others.
Missy called me into her "sitting room" later that morning where she waited in her favorite "throne like" green velvet chair in front of the tall, French windows.
Today she was wearing a yellow, silk dress with tiny roses embroidered at the ruffled neck line and her black hair was scraped back in a chignon and decorated with real rose buds at her temples.
"You think that you're so special." Her voice was cold, "But you're nothing.
Mr. Wilkes wouldn't allow me to banish you to the fields, even though it's where you rightfully belong, you and that slutty mama of yours.
So I'm sending you to the kitchens to empty slops and carry garbage, haul in the wood for the stove and gut the chickens before Cookie, now go."