A Body Enslaved, But A Mind Set on Freedom: A Letter From A Former Slave To His “Master”

In CornerstoneDad’s house, Black History Month is not in February, it is all year. There is never just a month that we watch “Martin Luther The King” videos (as we used to say in my elementary school), Eyes on the Prize or something on American slavery. Sorry, history is history and truth is truth, and those topics should not just be discussed by families with parents who descended from slaves but by ALL families and schools in America if they are truly teaching history.

So while I did not want to write anything on slavery (or MLK) this month, my wife sent me this article that desires attention. An enormous mind-map could be created from the words of this former slave.

I’d love to hear your thoughts as you read the letter that can be found here.

Parents of all people groups should share this tremendous letter with their children to (and the fact that it’s Black History Month is a good excuse if you’ve never tackled racial issues in your family before) give them insight into American slavery. It helps explain:

 

– Why descendants of slaves in America share the same last name as their slave owner. [Notice both are named Anderson?]

– American slavery’s hierarchy was NOT like biblical slavery and the slaves were not employees. [Notice that Jourdon Anderson speaks of the attempted murder on his life as if this was no big deal or common?]

– The importance that Jourdon Anderson placed on education as obviously, he was a very intelligent man himself. [So not all slaves couldn’t read, write or do arithmetic.]

– How Jourdon overcame the stigma placed on him and his family in the north as people knew they were former slaves.

– How descendants of slaves started on an uneven playing field as they left fleeing for their lives in some cases like Jourdon, they started from nothing in a new location WITH FAMILIES and were never, ever compensated fairly for the work they had done for most of their lives [after 30 years, shouldn’t Jourdon have been retiring by American standards?]

– The faith and knowledge Jourdon had that God was going to judge and was still in control as he wrote, “We trust the good Maker has opened your eyes to the wrongs which you and your fathers have done to me and my fathers, in making us toil for you for generations without recompense” and later said, “Surely there will be a day of reckoning for those who defraud the laborer of his hire.”

Galations 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. – 

Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

Luke 12:4-5 Do not fear those who can kill the body and afterwards have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who after He has killed has authority to cast into Hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him.

1 Timothy 1:8-11 8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

(Don’t be mad at me, I didn’t say it, the Bible did…you know, we do claim to be a Christian country and all…right? “One nation, under God…”America…God shed his grace on thee…” and all those other things we learned in school…remember?)

There are many more points that could be brought up, but I’m going to ask that you chime in with a few from what you read.

To me, Joudon Anderson is a true American hero. While he will never have a county, school and other structures built in his honor like slave owners such as the Macomb’s in Michigan, he showed tremendous respect, dignity and wisdom in dealing with his former captor and deceiver.

…and you know, I have a feeling that if ole P.A. Anderson would have offered him the world financially, Mr. Jourdon Anderson still would not have returned “to his old master”.

That’s freedom to die for.

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