01 - 03

کتاب: واشینگتون سیاه / فصل 3

01 - 03

توضیح مختصر

  • زمان مطالعه 2 دقیقه
  • سطح سخت

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متن انگلیسی فصل

3

BUT THAT IS no beginning. Allow me to begin again, for the record.

I have walked this earth for eighteen years. I am a Freeman now in possession of my own person.

I was born in the year 1818 on that sun-scorched estate in Barbados. So I was told. I had also heard it said I was born in a shackled cargo hold during a frenzied crossing of the Atlantic, aboard an illicit Dutch vessel. That would have been the autumn of 1817. In the latter account my mother died in the difficult birth. For years I did not privilege one origin over the other, but in my first years free I came to suffer strange dreams, flashes of images: Tall, staked wooden palisades, walls of black jungle beyond. Naked men yoked together and stumbling up rotted planks into a dark brig. Was it Gold Coast I dreamed of, the slave fort at Annamaboe? How could that be so, you ask? Ask yourself what you know of your own beginnings, and if your life is so very different. We must all take on faith the stories of our birth, for though we are in them, we are not yet present.

I was a field nigger. I cleared the cane, only my sweat was of value. I was wielding a hoe at the age of two, and weeding, and collecting fodder for the cows, and scooping manure into cane holes with my hands. In my ninth year I was gifted a straw hat and a shovel that I could scarcely lift, and I had felt proud to be counted a man.

My father?

I did not know my father.

My first master named me, as he named us all. I was christened George Washington Black—Wash, as I came to be known. With great ridicule, he’d said he glimpsed in me the birth of a nation and a warrior-president and a land of sweetness and freedom. All this was before my face was burnt, of course. Before I sailed a vessel into the night skies, fleeing Barbados, before I knew what it meant to be stalked for the bounty on one’s scalp.

Before the white man died at my feet.

Before I met Titch.

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