|Julia King lived with her entire family on the same plantation. When she was very young, her father, mother and sister all ran away and escaped via the Underground railroad. Here, she describes her memory of a song her mother sang before she escaped.
I think the colored folks had a church, because Mamma was always a Baptist. Only colored people went to the church.
Mamma used to sing a song:
“Don’t you remember the promise that you made,
To my old dying mother’s request?
That I never should be sold,
Not for silver or for gold.
While the sun rose from the East to the West?
And it hadn’t been a year,
The grass had not grown over her grave.
I was advertised for sale.
And I would have been in jail,
If I had not crossed the deep, dancing waves.
I’m upon the Northern banks
And beneath the Lion’s paw,
And he’ll growl if you come near the shore.”
Formerly enslaved person
|Birth Year (Age)
|Themes & Keywords
|First person, dialect