George Washington Quote

November 30, 2016

I am currently finishing up the research phase for my 4th book and I came across this quote from George Washington:

“For my own part, I shall not undertake to say where the Line between Great Britain and the Colonies should be drawn, but I am clearly of opinion that one ought to be drawn; & our Rights clearly ascertaind. I could wish, I own, that the dispute had been left to Posterity to determine, but the Crisis is arrivd when we must assert our Rights, or Submit to every Imposition that can be heap’d upon us; till custom and use, will make us as tame, & abject Slaves, as the Blacks we Rule over with such arbitrary Sway.” Source

The part that “triggers” the creativity for this soon-t0-be book is not the derogatory way he describes the enslaved people who made him wealthy but the phrase “we rule over with such arbitrary sway”. Arbitrary means what it means and when coupled with enslavement, it says a whole lot about the white privilege of the colonial era and what that white privilege gave birth to…Manifest Destiny.

What does this quote mean to you?

Hercules

November 25, 2016

The crisis is arrived when we must assert our rights, or submit to every imposition, that can be heaped upon us, till custom and use shall make us as tame and abject slaves, as the blacks we rule over with such arbitrary sway. (George Washington)

 

Slave prettily pretending
on the promenade.
A plethora of coins
pushing the false narrative
But then

But then
I was sent from the city
of brotherly love
to break rocks
and dig in the mud
for material
to shore up his house.

Hands that used to craft meals
that had him crowing
are now stiff, swollen
and seditious.

They take me far from
wife, daughters and son
far from the illusion of immunity
to the immortality
of being one
of the not inconsiderable few
who successfully escaped
the first president.

 

 

For more information about Hercules, check out the following links:

http://www.npr.org/2008/02/19/18950467/hercules-and-hemings-presidents-slave-chefs

Recollections and Private Memoirs of George Washington

http://www.mountvernon.org/digital-encyclopedia/article/hercules/#note4

 

 

1.

William Byrd married
a 21-year-old widow
whose dead husband
was the son
of a former governor
of Virginia.
She agreed
that William’s first son
would be named
after him;
a heritage the son wore so proudly
he went on to become
the future founder of Richmond.

2.

William Byrd, the son, married Lucy,
one of two daughters
of Daniel Parke
who holds the honor
of being the only British
colonial governor to be lynched
out of existence.

Lucy’s sister married John Custis
and they had one son
Daniel Parke Custis
the first husband of Martha Washington.
3

Daniel died and left Martha
17,500 acres, 300 slaves
and control of the inheritance
of two of their children still alive
and two years after he died
Martha married George.

When George was eleven
his father died
and he inherited ten slaves.
In the Virginian scheme
of things
ten was middling, minor;
certainly not enough to recast(e) him
into the upper echelons
of plantation society

Martha brought George great wealth
and George bought land and more slaves
before sailing across the Delaware
to a future first presidency.

 

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