Tuesday, August 7, 2012

This Man was a Slave!

When I first saw the image of the man at left I was astounded that he could have been a slave. But, such was the fate of Lewis Clarke who was born in Madison County, Kentucky around 1815. His father was a Scotsman, and his mother was a slave, the daughter of a mixed race slave mother and white owner father.

Clarke's white father died when he was about ten years old and his mother had hoped that upon his death she and her children would be made free. It was not to be. The death left them in the hands of this grandfather/owner heirs who treated him atrociously. When about sixteen or seventeen, Clark was sold to a man who also treated him badly. Then he was moved to this man's son's farm where he hired out his time. When Clarke heard that he was to be sold to Louisiana, he ran away to Lexington and then to Mayslick in northern Kentucky. He crossed the Ohio River and made his way to Cincinnati. He eventually landed in Cleveland and finally got a boat ride across Lake Erie to Canada.

In 1845 his narrative was published which is fascinating reading. It can be found online at: http://docsouth.unc.edu/neh/clarke/clarke.html

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