PDF The Topanginu Warrior: The Remarkable Story of a Slave

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They feared to have children because there was a possibility that they might be separated and sold. In , the Crafts began to devise their escape plan.

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It would be one of the most remarkable escapes ever recorded in a historic slave narrative. Ellen and William Craft, fugitive slaves and abolitionists. Their journey began at the train station where they purchased tickets to Savannah, miles away. The Crafts quickly moved to Boston, where abolitionist friends help them settle into a home. They became instant celebrities in Boston due to their remarkable and romantic escape. They began traveling as antislavery lecturers and started a successful furniture business in Boston.

Ellen Craft dressed as a man to escape from slavery. I ain't gonna lie and say, he ain't never did no wrong surely did many wrongs and he would be the first to tell you that. But, Lawd, this was a good man what gave his life for helpin' me, a lowly black man an' I think that is worth overlookin' some of the sins he may'uv done -- thank you Lawd an' amen. Topa covered the body with a woolen blanket and slowly heaped the dirt upon it. He then sat down beside the plot in silence and gazed across the valley upon the ranch house, the trees and the land.

Topa was bitter in his heart at the terrible blow that fate, once again, had dealt him. His thoughts wandered back, back to another world, another time. A world far removed from where he was now, yet a time not that long ago when he was a bonded man. These past four years had not been easy; he had spent most of this time on the run.

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He was running from several things, bondage, murder, bigotry and hatreds but most of all from his own fears and truths. In his minds eye, he could see his dear Luci once again. It was becoming harder and harder for him to form her image in his thoughts and this scared him. He recalled the night he told her he was going to run away to freedom, yet here he was, still in bondage, not to any man but within his own heart. The two figures stood embracing in the secluded darkness.

The only disturbance being the gurgle of the small creek that ran below the bank where they now stood and the usual sounds of a mid-summers night. The loud croak of a defiant bullfrog echoed across the open fields above them, then a dozen more joined in unison. The incessant chirping of what seemed a million crickets filled the air, and the occasional barking of a dog somewhere in the distant darkness, could be heard. I love you so. It was a hoarse heavy sort of whisper that betrayed her innermost feelings.

Topa nodded his head in silence, not answering, as he pulled her closer. His worried eyes looked beyond her into the heavy misty darkness that surrounded them. Luci Jourdan was not a beautiful woman by any standards; however, her youth alone enhanced her homely features making them appear much more becoming than they actually were. She was but twenty-two years of age, in the flower of her youth, and she, a white woman, was in love with a black man a slave. Luci was the daughter of moderately wealthy plantation owner and slave master Leviticus E.

She enjoyed her station in life and never questioned her position in society. In fact she never really considered it at all. Her mother departed this life when Luci was barely three years of age; consequently, Luci was not as well mannered as an overseeing mother would have undoubtedly demanded. She was benignly aware of the position of blacks in southern society, but that knowledge did not constrain her in the least from falling deeply in love with this bonded man.

The truth being, no white suitors had shown any interest whatsoever in this awkward and very homely girl. Yes, a belle of the southern culture, being in love with a slave, a black man, was the darkest sin that could be foisted upon society. The consequences were unthinkable should their plighted-love be discovered. Topa was a slave, a man of bondage. This had not always been so.

He was born a freeman and thusly not conditioned mentally to accept slavery as those who are born in bondage are wont to do. Having known freedom, the thought of knowing it again never left his mind.

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His thoughts would wander back to the small village of Topingau toe-pin-gow where he was born. It had been many years, he had been only a boy, and time had eroded his memory somewhat. He could picture the village and the Hatu hat-too or hut, where they lived. He remembered the villagers who had been his friends and those who also were his enemies.

He remembered these and many other things. His father Muluku muh-lew-kew had been a great Topanginu Toe-pang-gen-ew warrior. He could remember vividly the ceremonies and the times his father was honored for bravery in battle. The Topanginus constantly warred with a neighboring tribe who were their adversaries and had been for many generations. Known as the Gamambas Guh-mom-buzz they were ferocious warriors and unscrupulous tribesmen; Topa would always carry hatred in his heart for them. It was this tribe that brought the white man to their village and betrayed the Topanginus to the slavers.

The Gamambas dishonored him and robbed him of ever becoming a Libuwenta Lib-ooh-wen-tuh or boy-warrior. Because of the Gamambas, he would never know or fully understand the ways, customs and freedoms of his ancestors.

He had often wondered what direction his life would have taken if the slavers had not burst into his family's hut that fateful night and brought them to the country called Charleston. He grimaced when he conjured up memories of the long hard voyage. They knew they were being taken to their death, they never dreamed that it actually was a fate considered much worse than death; slavery.

It seemed the canoe would never find land again, and the lake was without shores. Day after day, week after week, time and space lost all meaning. The Topanginu's as well as many other mixed tribes and people were herded, like cattle aboard the boats; they lived as the boar lives, in stench and filth. Sickness was rampant among them as the big canoe was tossed and rolled by the waters of the great blue lake. It was common to watch weak and dying men, women, and children mutilate themselves in savage attempts of self-destruction. This was the depth of their terror. He was barely nine years old when he first saw busy Charleston Harbor.

He could vividly recall the very day Leviticus E. Jourdan had purchased his father and mother; luckily, he was included in the sale. Topa's older sister, Lati , was sold to a buyer from another village called Macon. He had not seen or heard of her since. During the trip to west Mississippi, Topa's father, Muluku the great Topanginu warrior, attempted escape. Quickly captured he was murdered by Leviticus Jourdan's men.

The Topanginu Warrior

Topa vividly remembered watching his father kneel upon the ground as his captors taunted and spat upon him. He would never forget how his father remained proud and defiant, a Topanginu warrior to the very end. He held his head high with his eyes riveted upon his wife and son. He showed no pain as they beat and kicked him viciously, a true Topanginu could never show fear of their adversaries. Topa watched as they placed the barrel of a gun to the back of his father's head and pulled the trigger. Never had Topa forgotten the sight of him lurching forward into the dust, his life puddling bright red upon the ground.

This would forever be an open sore within the heart and mind of this young boy. He swore to himself then, he would extract zuma zoo-muh or revenge upon these men someday. These memories were etched forever in Topa's thoughts. Sometimes they would come to him in the night, tormenting him with their reality. He would awaken, trembling uncontrollably and soaked in perspiration, knowing full well, they would always haunt and perplex him.

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It took fifteen risings of the sun to reach the big white hatu of Levi Jourdan. Topa was just a boy however he was still awed by the sight of the huge plantation. There were no words in the language of the Topanginu to describe such a place. In his mind, he decided that surely one of the Mesla Mess-luh or Gods lived in a place such as this.

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The dirt, was covered with a bright green, as far as the eye could see.