UPDATE: The winner is…Diane Sallens!
In 1827 Baumfree ran away with her baby daughter, unfortunately having to leave her other three children behind. She found refuge with a nearby abolitionist family, the Van Wageners. They were able to buy her freedom from her enslaver by buying her services for $20. In 1828 New York State outlawed slavery but that didn’t mean the practice stopped. Her former master, John Dumont, had sold Peter to Southern slaveholder, Eleazar Gedney who then sold Peter to his brother Solomon.
As the children of slaves were born slaves, they were their owners’ property just as their parents were. However, in 1818 a state law had been passed that freed anyone born after July 4, 1799. Some sources cite Peter’s birth year as 1818, others as 1821. So having been born well after 1799, Peter was covered by this statute. Sources I found stated that he would have had to work as an indentured servant until he reached his twenties. Thus, Dumont had the right to sell his services but not sell him into slavery. That happened when Eleazar Gedney sold Peter to Solomon who made him his slave. With the help of the Van Wageners, Baumfree’s case went to the Albany Supreme Court. She won, and her son was set free. She was also awarded $500 in damages.
You can learn more about this historic case and see a copy of the writ of habeas corpus filed on her behalf in the Times Union archives here: https://www.timesunion.com/news/article/State-Archives-find-documents-Sojourner-Truth-s-16816351.php.
What I appreciate about commemoration months like Women’s History Month is the awareness and inspiration I receive from learning how people prevailed despite the odds and the circumstances of their times being against them.
For a chance at winning a $10 gift card, share in the comments about someone or some event that you can cite where the odds and the circumstances were against them, but justice was done in the end.
One Breath Away
Sentenced to hand for a crime she didn’t commit, former slave Mary Hamilton was exonerated at literally the last gasp. She returns to Safe Haven, broken and resigned to live alone. Never having been courted, cuddled or spooned, Mary now fears any kind of physical intimacy when arousal forces her to relive the asphyxiation of her hanging. But then the handsome stranger who saved her shows up, stealing her breath from across the room and promising so much more.
Wealthy freeborn-Black Eban Thurman followed Mary to Safe Haven, believing a relationship with Mary was foretold by the stars. He must marry her to reclaim his family farm. But first he must help her heal, and to do that means revealing his own predilection for edgier sex.
Then just as Eban begins to win Mary’s trust, an enemy from the past threatens to keep them one breath away from love…
Excerpt from One Breath Away…
Home at last, she’d see if meeting Eban meant this night would be good.
Since her ordeal, her sex rivaled the Chihuahuan Desert in dryness. Yet Eban’s gaze had summoned the fragrant flow that even now moistened her core. Could it be her body had finally healed? She swayed, dizzy with expectation.
The squeak of the indoor pump provided no distraction from the lingering tingle where Eban’s fingers had rested against her spine, where his lips had kissed her hand. She focused on her task to temper her excitement.
Fill the bucket. Lift the bucket. Carry the bucket. Empty the bucket. Fill the bucket. Lift the bucket. Carry the bucket. Empty the bucket.
The pans she filled slowly simmered then steamed on her small, pot-bellied stove.
Her heart seized as she fingered the simple gingham curtains covering Harvest Home’s windows. Harvest Home’s humble kitchen contrasted sharply with the trappings that had graced Mary’s Manor, her Weston restaurant expansion.
She’d looked up the word manor and decided her place would imitate that kind of luxury as much as possible. Brocaded drapes and white, linen tablecloths had dressed up the Manor’s supper room. Slipcovers made from the same linen covered the cushioned chairs. White, bone china and delicate silverware completed the picture of elegant dining she hoped to draw.
A Franklin stove, indoor pump, double sink, polished counter tops and spacious storage cupboards made the Manor’s kitchen a dream made true. Nothing lacked for the grand opening. Picturing couples enjoying themselves in her simple but elegant setting had become her favorite pastime.
Then Judah Little and his lies thwarted her plans. Thwarted. A good word. A true word.
“But not for long,” she whispered. “That dream will come true just as this dream might come true tonight.”