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By Patricia C. McKissack

Within the slave quarters of Virginia's cotton plantations, humans pray for freedom. Everybody's brain is on freedom. but if will it come?

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In my dream, I touched Mama’s around, brown face. Like she used to do, she rainy the end of her apron and dabbed away the sweat over my top lip and on my brow. I observed myself readin’ to her. She smiled and clapped her arms. I heared her smooth voice compliment me the way in which Mas’ Henley do William while he will get the least li’l factor correct. “I is aware much more, Mama. permit me convey you. ” The gentle in her face replaced and her eyes held a warnin’ I couldn’t comprehend. “What’s unsuitable, Mama? ” She desired to say somethin’, yet she used to be pulled away into the darkish by way of a few strong massive hand. “Mama, wait. ” She used to be long past, and that i awakened to the chilly, hurtin’ fact. Mama is lifeless. subsequent day I slipped off to go to with Missy and Wook this present day. i discovered them ’mongst the younger tobacco crops, ’longside Rufus. i used to be so comfortable to determine them. We used to have a good time jointly, playin’ video games. Then Mas’ positioned Missy and Wook to paintings within the fields, and that i received positioned to paintings within the immense residence. Wook’s face seems to be drained and drawn. All Missy desired to speak ’bout used to be how lovely she inspiration Hince used to be. adorable? Hince? Missy received eyes for Hince? She did say somethin’ that made reliable feel. She say that Rufus had requested Mas’ Henley if he may carry a carrier at Eastertime. I’m shocked. Mas’ aine within the behavior of doin’ issues great for no one less’n it serves him. Easter Sunday After breakfast, all of us amassed within the Quarters for the Easter meetin’. such a lot occasions we all be so drained, we simply fall out on Sunday. try and leisure. Be prepared for dawn bell come Monday. yet Rufus lifted everybody’s spirits this day. Mas’ Henley got here to the provider to determine what we was once doin’ – come talkin’ ’bout how he didn’t wish no shoutin’ and carryin’ on ’bout fredum. He informed us to wish for strong climate and a massive harvest. Sing ’bout pleasure and happiness. No unhappy songs. i'm wondering does he particularly think we’ll pray for his success and never our personal? He say if we do like he say, then he’ll allow us to have extra meetin’s on Sunday. in any case, Mas’ Henley sat down, and Rufus took over. Wook tol’ me as soon as that Rufus were the slave of a preachin’ guy ahead of bein’ offered to Mas’ Henley. Uncle Heb say Rufus had realized the Bible from hide to hide – and comprehend all of the tales via center. at some point, i would like to learn the Bible for myself. There’s a Bible that remains on Mas’ Henley’s readin’ desk. I’ve checked out it again and again, yet I’ve by no means touched it. i believe he’d understand if I did. Rufus started the meetin’ through askin’ Uncle Heb to talk a prayer. Then he referred to as on Aggie to sing. Then Rufus instructed us a narrative ’bout a courageous guy named Daniel who stood down lions with simply his religion. once we locate ourselves within the lion’s den, Rufus say that we should always be like Daniel and think that God will bring us from all damage. everyone shouted Amen to that, even me. yet, I’m now not so definite ’bout facin’ a lion. What a frightening factor facin’ a lion. Monday evenin’ The final meal of the day is over and the entire dishes is washed. I’m so drained! “You don’t comprehend what drained is,” Aunt Tee instructed me. “Be pleased you aine started working the fields. ” I cain’t demagine bein’ tireder than i'm now.

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