Examining the facts gives you the opportunity to learn the truth.
Lydia's eyes sparkle with interest and anticipation, "Did you see the burning?" she asks. Lydia was two young to remember, but she had heard the story and always enjoyed hearing it again. To her it was a time when the women had shown a courage and dignity that made her proud to be a woman.
"Thoughts of the fire ignite within me, feelings of bitterness and anger," Charley said, "and it takes effort to force myself to look pass the hate." As a way of consoling Charley, Julia said, "Instead of focusing on the injustice, I find it helpful to focus on the courage of those willing to give their life for the cause of Freedom. Freedom not only for the slaves, but for all of us."
"It’s all very disturbing," Charley said. It was as if some mysterious force was at work undermining the efforts of our Anti-Slavery Societies. Others noticed it too, and were fed up with the inactivity. 'Gradual emancipation,' is what some argued, but we demanded Immediate Freedom. To clean and strengthen our ranks, Lloyd Garrison's Massachusetts's Anti-Slavery Society, the New York Anti-Slavery Society, and those wanting to form a Western Anti-Slavery Society united under a new charter, with a new purpose. This we did on the historic date of December 4, 1833, when in Philadelphia we formed the American Anti-Slavery Society, and later, the Women's Anti-Slavery Society. The American Anti-Slavery Society had two goals. One, demand an immediate end to slavery. And two, end racial prejudice by educating the slave so he can stand as an equal."
Charley stands up and stretches. Others, who have been listening, draw closer. Charley continues: "The burning of Pennsylvania Hall was an attack against women. It was their hall, built with their money. It was the largest building of its time. The first floor contained stores and committee rooms, the second and third floors, the gallery. The main entrance opened into a wide hallway adorned with priceless chandeliers and works of art. The stairs, in a wide arch, led up into the auditorium where gas-lit chandeliers brilliantly illuminated the plush blue chairs. The dedication ceremonies were held on Wednesday, May 16, 1838.
Three thousand crowded into the hall, while many more had to be turned away. The next evening a mob burned it to the ground while the police and firemen watched."
Miss Ames, a young girl of about 16 years of age, in shock and pain, cried out, "Why? What horrible thing did the women do to justify the burning their beautiful Hall?" Her mother, out of embarrassment, started to scold her for the outburst, but Charley interrupted. "Miss Ames, it is a pleasure knowing that you listen with your heart." Others nodded and smiled in agreement.
In answer to Miss Ames question, Charley, with a soft kind expression, looks her in the eyes, and says, "Their crime was wanting for the slave and women, Freedom of the Press; Freedom of Speech; and an equal standing in Law."
Abby, known for her fire and passion, interrupts. "The Public Ledger of Philadelphia wrote an article stating that 'a woman is a nobody.' Like a slave, we were property and had no rights." "Pennsylvania Hall," Abby said, "was our answer to being denied the right to meet, and to give public speeches. To celebrate the grand opening of our Hall we had as guest speakers, William Lloyd Garrison and Angelina Grimke' Weld. Garrison gave the opening address, then as Maria Chapman stepped to the podium; a shouting vulgar mob broke into the Hall in an attempt to prevent us women from speaking. Seeing that the women on the stage were not intimidated, gave the audience courage, for suddenly, the men turned to face the mob. Powerful men, black and white, young and old moved in one huge mass to confront the mob. Like cowards, the mob retreated. With order restored, Maria started to speak. At hearing the sound of a woman's voice, the men outside started to stomp their feet and shout in an attempt to drown her out. Maria said a few words, then introduced Angelina, the daughter of Judge Grimke' of South Carolina. At the sound of Angelina's southern accent, the shouts became louder, and stones started hitting the windows. Angelina raised her voice, and said: "Here it, hear it! The voices outside tells us that the spirit of slavery is here in the North. Cast out the spirit of slavery from your own hearts, and then lend your aid to convert the South." Abby pauses in reflection, "These words of Angelina made us face the reality of our own prejudices."
Miss Ashley is in her nineties. She has been a free slave since March 3, 1833. She enters the conversation, saying: "Angelina felt our pain. Many times I caught her crying at each crack of the whip. Later, at the risk of being beaten, Angelina sneaked out of the house at night and attended to our wounds. She taught us how to read and write, though it was against the law of South Carolina for her to do so."
Miss Ashley pauses to collect her thoughts. "What angered the crowds that night more than anything else was Angelina saying that she never saw a happy slave. Our masters were telling everyone that we enjoyed being slaves, that it made us happy to serve them. Oh! How I love what Angelina then said. It is so true."
Miss Ashley again stops, but this time to enjoy the memory. Eager to have Miss Ashley continue, Lydia and Miss Ames both beg, "Please Miss Ashley, tell us." "What did Angelina say?"
Miss Ashley props herself up, as if she was the one speaking that night. Then, in a voice that is the perfect imitation of a white southern lady, Miss Ashley recites: "I have never seen a happy slave. I have seen him dance in his chains, it is true, but he was not happy. There is a wide difference between happiness and mirth. Man can not enjoy happiness while his manhood is destroyed. Slaves, however, may be and sometimes are mirthful. When hope is extinguished, they say, 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.'" Then suddenly, in her own voice, Miss Ashley in an angry outburst, said: "Cursed as a fool is any slave who dares deny it." Everyone applauds.
Charley, recognizing the significance and power of Miss Ashley's words, states: "I believe this to be true with every form of slavery, whether it be enslavement to pride, prejudice, or vice. One is never truly happy. Maybe mirthful, with a 'Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die' attitude, but not happy." Some of the guests are nodding in agreement, while others are softly saying to each other, "Yes!" "How true."
After taking a sip of her drink, Miss Ashley asks, "Do you want to know what happened the next day, after Angelina gave that speech?" "Yes, please tell us," Lydia begs.
Miss Ashley looks around the room to make sure everyone is listening, then, in a slow, but articulate voice, relates an act of great courage and solidarity: "The next morning a small group of us women met at the Hall for a business meeting. Since we were just a few, the crowd grew more violent. Instead of dispersing the mob, the Mayor sent a written request asking us to keep colored people from attending our meetings. To demonstrate how we felt, and to prove that we would not cower, nor be intimidated, we left the Hall arm in arm. A white woman on the outside facing the crowd, and a colored woman on her arm, on the inside toward the wall of the Hall. This display of solidarity was met with shouts, curses and stones, which injured one woman."
George interrupts to explain: "The woman they injured was Charley's mother; she later died from the wounds." "She was such a sweet, gentle lady," Abbey said, "it deeply pained us all."
Miss Ashley continues: "To prevent further violence we decided to cancel our evening meeting. To assure the Mayor that the meeting was cancelled, we gave him the key to the Hall. At this point the Mayor should have dispersed the crowd, but he refused to do so. As night fell the gas to the public lamps were shut off. Apparently, this was some sort of signal, for the mob surged forward, breaking down the doors. They ripped down the Venetian blinds, threw our books, pamphlets and records into piles, and set everything on fire. When the building collapsed, the crowd cheered."
James Power, a native of Wexford Ireland, speaks up, "From personal experience I know how those noble and courageous women must have felt at hearing the crowd cheering. Nothing is more depressing. No decent human rejoices at the suffering of others. Their cheering, is as if they are clapping themselves on the back and rejoicing that they are now a shameful degraded human."
Hearing James say this, disturbs George. "How can you say that?" Instead of answering, James stands up, removes his jacket, and then his shirt. At the sight of the scars, the women let out a gasp! "The marks are a present that South Carolina gave me on December 25, 1859." After pausing, and letting what he said sink in, he explains:
South Carolina advertised in newspapers here in Philadelphia for a stonecutter. I sent a bid, they accepted, and a contract was signed.
For nine months I worked on their State House in Columbia, South Carolina. After finishing the job, they cheated me out of my pay by accusing me of speaking against slavery. I was arrested and held in a cell for three days, during which time I was denied the use of a pen, ink, and all communications with friends.
My trial was a sham, a mere pretense to salve their conscience. Four persons were brought before the Mayor to testify against me. "Agen slavery, Herd'm spak agen slavery," they said. In reply, I asked, "What did I say that was illegal?" They didn't say, just laughed. Instead of making them answer, the Major ordered me to shut my mouth. It was obvious to me that the Mayor had already decided what he was going to do. So I tried to be as apologetic and cooperative as I could. The penalty, the Mayor said, was death, though he would do what he could to save me. I was returned to the cell, not knowing what was to happen.
Upon return to my cell I tried to recall, "What possibly could I have said?" The only thing I could remember was making the comment that "the white laborer, because he does not have a slave, and has to work, is treated as a degraded inferior person," but that was months ago.
My food was two scanty meals a day. "Is my sentence a slow death by starvation?" I asked. The jailer said, "You deserve no more than what we feed a slave."
Six days passed, and still no word of what was going to happen to me. On the seventh day, two Marshals appeared, "You are so fond on slaves that we are going to give you a slave's escort." I was led up Main Street to where a crowd was waiting. As I approached, the crowd started hooting and yelling in excitement.
For the crowd's amusement, the Marshals forced two black slaves to drag me through the puddles and muddy places of the street and State House yard. To my surprise, there standing on the steps of the State House, Yes, on the very steps I had built, was the Speaker of the House and two other members of the Legislature, laughing.
The crowd had increased to several thousand when finally a troop of horsemen arrived. At first my heart rose in expectation of a rescue, but quickly the brutal reality dawned on me. They were my executioners. With the troops in front leading the way, I was marched for some three miles to a place called, "The Junction." Here the procession stopped, and preparations were made for the punishment. The crowd cried, "Brand him!" "Burn him!" "Spike him to death!" Some pointed their pistols at my head, others waved stout sticks in my face, threatening to beat me to death.
The Vigilance Committee ordered me to strip naked. There were women and children in the crowd, so I refused to do as ordered. Since I would not undress myself, they forced a slave to unclothe me. My coat and shirt were removed, and my pantaloons pulled down to my feet. They placed a cowhide whip into the hand of a slave and ordered him to draw blood with every stroke. Carefully they counted out thirty-nine lashes. There is nothing we experience in life to which I can liken the pain.
At this point, James slowly turns so that everyone can fully see the scars and wounds on his back. "My legs look just as bad," he said. There I was bleeding from head to foot, when out of the crowd comes a man carrying a bucket of tar. His sneer and wicked glee cuts me like a knife. Two slaves were ordered to rub the tar into the cuts, covering my entire body. It clotted in my hair and eyebrows. After this ceremony, I was covered with feathers. To avoid being dragged, I pulled up my pantaloons and stumbled along. In this humiliating, exposed condition, I was conducted to the railroad station. As we approached, the engineer blows a continuous blast on his whistle. Later, I discovered that this was their signal to alert others to come and join the fun.
The size of the jeering, taunting, crowd convinced me that I was not the first. They were accustomed to seeing this kind of torture and looked forward to it with great pleasure, and anticipation.
These so-called respectable southern gentlemen, honored and pampered by northerners, had their separate car for their slaves, and here I was thrown. To them it was funny to see a white man in black tar and white feathers sitting among black men.
A citizen of Charleston who was traveling on the train, at the sight of my pitiful condition, stepped down from the train and entered into a neighboring hotel. On the way back to the train he brought with him a cup of coffee and some biscuits. To the surprise of others, the man stepped over to my car, and gave them to me.
Immediately, a crowd formed.
Only one among thousands had a heart that was strong enough to do what was good and kind. And what did they do to him? They threatened him with the same treatment that they gave me. Then, while forcing him to watch, they dragged me off the train and again tarred me. For the lack of feathers, they used their precious cotton. Finally, the train signaled that it is leaving. The mob's taunting goodbye still rings in my ears, "In Charleston you will receive 130 lashes!"
As the train approached each new train-station, the engineer gave his whistle a long prolonged blast to signal that he had on board another victim. By the time the train reached the station, a mob had formed to add fresh insults and threats.
When we arrived in Charleston the police took me to a prison. Here I received for the first time, soap and water to wash off the tar, and oil to soften my wounds. Several times a mob formed outside, demanding that I be released to them. After a few days a physician was sent to examine my wounds. He said, "Your case is a mild one, compared to that of a man we have lying in the City Hospital." After a week, I was secretly taken from my cell and placed on a steamer headed for New York.
James pauses to pick up his shirt. As he puts it on, he asks: "Do you know why they had their slaves whip, tar and feather me?" No one answers, so James answers his own question: "It's so that they can legally say they never touched me. When I attempted to sue them, they wrote, "Sue our slaves, they are the ones that got a little rough with you." I wrote back, asking: "Why would a slave want to mistreat me?" Their answer, "It's the slaves way of teaching people not to speak against their master. As for your pay, you were paid in full."
Everyone consoles James.
"We are glad you survived."
"It's good you shared your pain."
"What do you plan to do now?"
"I am leaving next week with Mrs. Booth, Mrs. Eaton, and Mrs. Reese for Fort Pillow, Tennessee, to help build a school." James turns to Charley, "Are you and George coming?"
"I've not discussed it with George, but I've decided to go," Charley said. Julia looks at Charley with soft warm eyes, that say "I am proud of you." "Please, excuse us," Charley said, as he reaches for Julia's hand. She rises, and they walk off in the direction of the gardens.
"I've brought with me the plans for the hospital," James said. "They are in the den." At that, James turns and walks towards the den. The guests eagerly follow.
For George, what Charley said is a stunning blow, and he's upset. Angrily he gets up and heads for the front door, opens it, and then circles around the left side of the house, walking in the direction of the orchards. It is spring.
The warmth of the sun, the blossoms, the bright colors and smells soothe George's pain and hurt. Mrs. Booth, observing that George seemed upset, follows at a respectful distance. Though Charley takes George for granted, what troubles him the most are the schemes that Charley uses to trick him into doing what he doesn't want to do.
George hears the crunch of footsteps and turns. It is Mrs. Booth. He starts to turn his back to her, but thinks, "this would be childish and foolish." As Mrs. Booth approaches, she smiles and says, "the smell of the blossoms are strong this year." George wants to be mad, to be insulting, but her smile and kind words disarm him. "Mrs. Booth, if Charley sent you to speak with me, I don't want to talk." "But George, it's urgent that we ...... ." Before she can finish, George, in an angry outburst, accuses Mrs. Booth of trying to trick him. Respectfully, without interrupting, or showing any sign of irritation, Mrs. Booth patiently listens. After venting his anger, George is physically exhausted. Mrs. Booth chooses this moment, to say: "Charley told us if you go, he refuses to go."
If she had picked up a sledge-hammer and hit him in the head, the blow and shock would have been just as stunning. In stunned disbelief, and shame for the way he had spoken to Mrs. Booth, George, in a halting stumbling speech, says, "Charley? . . . Charley said, . . . " With the slow shake of his head, George said, "I can't believe it."
Mrs. Booth assures him, "Charley was very clear about it. 'If George goes,' he said, 'Then, I'll not go. George,' he said, 'is like a brother to me, and I'll not expose him to the danger.'" Tears well up, as George tries to control his emotions. "Charley said we could talk with you, but he was firm in saying that, 'You cannot join us.' We have to honor his wishes," explained Mrs. Booth.
George apologized, saying, "I'm sorry for being so rude, please forgive me." With a warm, understanding smile, Mrs. Booth said: "No need to apologize, I understand."
Like the switch of a light, George's emotions go from unreasonable anger and shame, to a deep heartfelt concern for Charley's life.
Noting the change, Mrs. Booth said, "I wish there was a way we could honor Charley's request, and at the same time, find a way for you to join us at Fort Pillow. Are you interested?" she asked. Immediately, George's countenance turns to one of strength, that stems from a willingness to face whatever danger awaits him in order to protect Charley.
In a clear, firm voice, George said, "If Charley said we could talk, then let's do it."
George takes Mrs. Booth by the arm and they head to the house. Upon entry, Mrs. Booth tells George, "Please, wait here. It's important you hear what Mrs. Eaton, Susan Anthony, and Mrs. Reese have discovered."
Returning with the three women, Mrs. Booth said, "Let's go upstairs to my room. I have some papers I want to show you." The room has a bed, a desk, a small sofa, chairs and a small gate-leg table, with one side up. They get comfortable.
"George wants to help," Mrs. Booth said, "and we need to let him know everything we can. Agreed?" The others looked at each other, then say, "Agreed." "George," Mrs. Booth said, there are three things you MUST know. They all have their importance, but I'll start with the most shocking, and serious."
"A large number of the slaves escaping are not black, they are white and colored slaves." George's look is one of shock, and disbelief. "It's true," Mrs. Reese said. Susan produced a letter. "Here, read what my brother Major Anthony wrote." George takes the letter, looks at the date and signature, then begins reading. About half way through the letter he stops. Susan, realizing why George suddenly stopped, in an angry tone, demands: "Read it out loud and let us all hear."
At the sight of a bright little slave girl, with sharp clear features, dark blue eyes and wavy hair hanging to her shoulders, one of the men became so inflamed with anger that he said, "I'll fight till hell freezes over and then I'll cut the ice and fight on, to put a stop to this horrible practice."
Mrs. Reese interrupts, "They rape the women, then sell the children." Saying the words choke her up and she has to pause to catch her breath. "My husband and his men, along with Lieutenant-Colonel Rogers and several citizens of Jackson, Tennessee, had to raise money to help one of the worst examples they have seen."
Grayson is a white man, but raised a slave. His grandmother was the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner. When she found herself pregnant by her white boyfriend, she panicked. The shame of not being married, and pregnant, was more than she was willing to face. For months, she successfully concealed the evidence of her pregnancy. Then, one day, while in the privacy of her room, she gave birth to a little baby girl. To hide her shame, she gave the baby, and some money to a slave and asked her to raise the child. This beautiful little white baby grew up as a slave.
George interrupts, "How can a white baby grow up as a slave and not be noticed?" "The answer," Mrs. Eaton said, "is obvious, if you were in the South." "There are so many white slaves that it no longer seems strange, or unusual to them." "It's hard to believe," Mrs. Booth said, "but it's true." Mrs. Booth takes from the table, an important looking document. "This is one of the Law Codes for the State of Tennessee."
Mrs. Booth hands the document to George and he starts to read:
1859, Tennessee Code of Law, Section 3808, page 687.
Murder or rape by a white person committed against a n_____, mulatto, Indian, or person of mixed blood, descended from n_____ or Indian ancestors, to the third generation inclusive, though one ancestor of each generation may have been a white person, shall go unpunished, unless a white person shall have been present, and shall testify to the commission of the crime.
With a puzzled expression on his face, George stops and looks at the women. Mrs. Booth, in a voice filled with disgust, states: "The law was crafted to protect those guilty of incest.
"The first generation is the African, Indian or any other person he considers to be of mixed blood. It could be someone from China, India, the Islands, or anyone else whose complexion has a shade of color to it. By law, he can rape the person.
"The second generation is his daughter, who shows more signs of being white than her mother. Yet, he can rape her too.
"The third generation is his granddaughter. No matter how much she may look like a white person, she too can be raped, sold, or used in any way he desires."
Susan Anthony is burning with anger; her face has turned red, and her eyes dark and mean. Mrs. Reese and Mrs. Eaton are likewise, visibly upset. George also has been affected. Mrs. Booth, aware that George is not familiar with the history that led up to the abuses, explains:
"In 1808 when the United States started to enforce a law that prevented the importing of slaves, those making money from the practice, decided that they could circumvent the law by breeding slaves. It was a Northern, as well as a Southern problem. Within thirty years, there were so many being bred, that in the North the States of Delaware, Maryland, and Washington D.C., became slave breeding States, and in the South, the States of Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee."
Mrs. Eaton interrupts, "George, do you know why they are called Slave Breeding States?" George takes a moment to think, then states, "I know that people in other States were breeding slaves, yet, I never heard of their State being called a Slave Breeding State!" "That's why I asked the question," Mrs. Eaton said. "State Governments are supported by the taxes they receive. For example, in South Carolina, the State Government is supported by the taxes they receive from the sale of Cotton. But in the States Mrs. Booth mentioned, they are being supported by the taxes they receive on the sale of slaves. That's why they are called, 'Slave Breeding States.'"
Mrs. Booth, in a tone of anger, exclaims: "No decent person could put up with the breeding of humans. Out of moral outrage we were forced to do something to stop it. That's why we formed Anti-Slavery Societies."
Susan, not able to hold back her anger, blurts out, "There was no need for our Societies until they tried to circumvent the law. First they rape, torture, and murder the slave. Then they stoop to new depths of perversion and depravity by initiating the practice of breeding them. Now look what they are doing," Susan says, as she pulls from her purse a letter. "I received this from by brother, Major Daniel Anthony. He was in West Tennessee, not far from Fort Pillow, when he wrote this letter." Holding the letter so everyone can see it, she reads:
"In our march we free every slave, every man of all nations.
"Do you get the significance of what he is saying," she exclaims.
"Men from all Nations!"
'If you were visiting in the South and your shade of color isn’t white, because of nationality or family origin, you can be kidnapped and claimed as a slave."
"It is shocking!" said Mrs. Eaton. "My husband was appointed by General Grant to take over the contraband camps, and organize them into Educational Centers. He told me that the black troops were originally called troops of ‘African Descent.’ They had to stop using that description, he said." "Why?" George asked. Mrs. Eaton explains: "The words ‘African Descent’ no longer described those being freed from slavery. Everyone, of all colors, from the darkest to the lightest were being freed. Therefore, to more accurately describe this phenomena, they had to be described as ‘Colored Troops.’"
"My husband told me the same thing," Mrs. Reese said, then adds: "Grayson is a shameful reminder of how wicked, and how morally depraved the slave-holder has become.
"His grandmother and grandfather were both white. They knew that the little white girl was the master’s daughter, you could see it in the way she looked and acted. Instead of acknowledging the child, her grandfather sold her to his brother. He made her his mistress. Though she bore him five fair skinned, light-haired, blue-eyed children, her and her children remained slaves. When her little boy Grayson was six years old, his father sold him to William Steen.
"Before being taken away, his mother told him the truth. He was a full born white man, and not a slave. Hollering and screaming, he was taken from his mother. Shortly after arriving at the home of William Steen, Grayson made his first attempt at escape. Using bloodhounds, Steen hunted him down and as punishment, branded him. All of this was done, though knowing full well that Grayson was white, and that his great-grandfather was a prominent plantation owner."
Mrs. Booth's anger gets the best of her, "They claim to be Gentlemen of the highest order, but tell them what they really are, and they take it as an insult that must be punished by death. If they succeed in killing you, it only confirms what they are, not what you are."
"I like that thought," George said. Then, turning to Mrs. Reese, he asked, "Is there anything else you want to tell us about Grayson?"
"To prevent further escapes," Mrs. Reese said, "Grayson was treated with great harshness. The object was to break his spirit by treating him worse than the other slaves. Grayson endured the abuse for 17 years, and would have suffered longer if it were not for the Union Army. A black slave has a subdued, and yet, at times, a gay air. But Grayson is always gloomy, cold, hard and suspicious, not trusting anyone. My husband and his men raised enough money to send Grayson to our family in Cass County, Michigan. It is hoped that by witnessing firsthand life among free people, Grayson will change."
Susan, in an angry outburst, states: "If the South has their way, all of us will be like Grayson." "
Now Susan," Mrs. Eaton said, "you are being too hard." No! I disagree," Mrs. Booth said. "Surely you remember what George Fitzhugh wrote." Taking another document from off her table, Mrs. Booth starts reading:
""The Declaration of Independence is exuberantly false and arborescently fallacious. Life and liberty are not unalienable. Men are not born entitled to equal rights! it would be far nearer the truth to say that some are born with saddles on their backs, and others booted and spurred to ride them; and the riding does them good. They need the reins, the bit, and the spur.' Fitzhugh," Mrs. Booth said, "was saying this about white people, not blacks."
Looking at the three women, and George, Mrs. Booth could see that they remembered this outrageous speech, for it was publicized internationally, and reflected the view of powerful people in the North, the South, the Islands, and as far away as Europe.
Putting the document down, Mrs. Booth picks up another, "I always keep this speech with me. It's a copy of a speech Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America, gave:
"'The ideas entertained at the time of the formation of the old Constitution were that the enslavement of the African race was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. Our new government is founded on exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the (slave) is not equal to the white man; that slavery sub-ordination to the superior race is his natural and moral condition. This our Government is the first in history of the world based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. It is upon this our social fabric is firmly planted, and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of the full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world. This stone (slavery) which was rejected by the first builders (of the United States Constitution) 'is become the chiefstone of the corner' in our new (Confederate) edifice.'"
Mrs. Booth sets the document down on the table. "George," she says, "if you can reach Fort Pillow, we need pictures of the slaves who have escaped slavery; group pictures of entire families so that the world will know that the people being enslaved are not just black people, but all people, white and black. We also need you to document each slave who has been branded, whipped, or tortured. Take pictures of the wounds, find out who it was that owned them, who was responsible for beating them, and why. An amazing thing is happening at Fort Pillow," Mrs. Booth said. "Southerners are freeing the slaves, and educating them. They are bonding, and overcoming their prejudices."
Mrs. Eaton interrupts. "In West Tennessee, when the Plantation owners, politicians and preachers turned against their own sons and daughters, it forced their children into seeking the aid and support of the slave. These were not ignorant uneducated men and women. They were attorneys, merchants, farmers and doctors, who were freeing the slaves and arming them. Together, they formed Cavalry and Artillery units and as Home Guards, that protected their families and friends. When Susan's brother, and our husband's entered West Tennessee it was these Home Guards that served as our scouts. Attorney William F. Bradford, who organized one of the most effective Home Guards, is now at Fort Pillow. His father was a prominent Tennessee State Senator and a friend to people like Davy Crockett, James Bowie and Sam Houston. Though General Forrest has bounties on their heads, Major Bradford and his brother are not intimidated. In battle they have kept Forrest's men on the run, and are defeating them."
Mrs. Booth takes a letter off the table, and hands it to George. "I've prepared a letter of introduction to Major Bradford." Reaching for another letter, she hands it to George. "This is a letter of introduction to Doctor Chapman Underwood. Once you get to Fort Pillow you will find all the help you need. The only problem, is finding a way to get there." "That's no problem, he can travel with us," Mrs. Reese said. "I cannot explain why," Mrs. Booth said, "but Charley said, 'If George goes then he refuses to go.' George has to find some other way to get to Fort Pillow, unless he can talk Charley into changing his mind."
Knowing the Secret nature of Charley's mission, the women make no objection. George speaks up, saying: "I am determined to go. Is there anything more you can tell me, as to why Charley doesn't want me to go?" "I'm sorry George," Mrs. Booth said, "but out of respect for Charley, I cannot tell you, he can, but I can't."
George gets up, "You are an amazing group of women. I want to thank you. The light you've shed on what's been happening has had a profound effect on me. I only hope I can live up to your expectations."
Liberty No. 2 was built by the Wilson, Dunlevy & Wheeler Yard at Wheeling, Virginia in 1861 for Capt. Charles Booth. She was placed in the Wheeling-Parkersburg trade in early May of 1861. Liberty No. 2 was involved as a transport in U.S. service in 1862. She ferried Union troops from Wheeling to the Kanawha River Battle of Scary Creek, July 17, 1861. In early April of 1862, she was working as a troop transport on the Tennessee River and participated in the flotilla of steamboats moving five divisions of the Army of Tennessee to Pittsburg Landing, where the Battle of Shiloh took place. She ran in the Louisville-Memphis trade from 1864 into 1866. Her Captain and First Mate, though transporting U.S. troops, were a traitors working for the K.G.C.
The women have secured for Charley and those with him, military passes to Fort Pillow, Tennessee. As they approached the docks on the Ohio River, Charley sees the military office, where officers can furnish passes for those traveling south. Leaving his photographer, he enters the office. He approaches the officer in charge, and starts talking to him. With a smile, Charley leaves and rejoins the group. It was hard, but Charley knew George. If George attempts to follow, he will be disappointed, for his name is now listed as a southern sympathizer, and will be denied a pass.
The next day, George appears at the same dock. He is convinced that Charley would secure the services of another Photographer. Therefore, he decided he can not do what the women want him to do. Yet, he is going to Fort Pillow. His motive is to protect Charley. This he can do, without Charley being aware of his presence. As these thoughts surge through his brain, he enters the office of the military. To his surprise, he cannot secure a military pass. As George leaves, others observing him, are irritated by his outburst of anger, and disgust.
In the rest of the story you will learn how George secures passage. How he is able to keep secret his relationship to Charley; how he saves Charley from attempts on his life without Charley knowing it; how he survives the massacre at Fort Pillow; how he succeeds in rescuing Major Bradford and Charley; and how he ends up with the Secret behind the Mystery. THE FINAL SCENE takes you back to the Opera House in Chicago, and the climatic conclusion.
It is likely that no one has shared this information with you, yet, it is true. For this reason, it is important that you stretch. It will increase the blood flow to you brain and help you think. Another aid, is to drink a glass of water. Slowly sip your water, letting it refresh you. Take deep breaths, relax. It will help prepare your heart and mind for serious thought and reflection.
The burning of Pennsylvania Hall, the torture of Francis McIntosh, the murder of Elijah P. Lovejoy, the beating of James Power, and the enslavement of Grayson, are true. The initiation rights and oaths of the Secret Society are also true. As are the breeding practices and laws that protects slave owners that commit incest.
With pen in hand, write in your diary, or on a note pad, your emotions and feelings. Do not worry if they are good or bad, just write them down. If you lie to yourself, your heart will harden.
People fear their feelings and emotions. Do not let your fear conquer you. If what you've read brings to mind abuses you've suffered, be courageous enough to describe the feelings. Do not let your anger or guilt stop you from being honest with yourself.