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Thursday, February 02, 2012

"Although you shot at me twice before I left, I did not want to hear of you being hurt."

Jourdon Anderson was a freed slave who for thirty years had been the property of Colonel P.H. Anderson, a Tennessee plantation owner. Four months after the end of the Civil War, Jourdon Anderson wrote a letter to his former master, who had asked Jourdon to return to work on his farm.

Jourdon's letter was subsequently published in The New York Daily Tribune later that same month, and it then found its way into Lydia Maria Child's The Freedman's Book (which is enjoying republication this very week!). And now Jourdon's letter to his previous owner has been published at the Mail Online's website.

Y'all have got to read Jourdon's letter! This freed slave - who had to dictate it to a writer - uses better English than a darn lot of modern-day college students. And then there is the wit and irony that Jourdon employs... along with a considerable amount of great humor. It's not terribly long, but there are some real gems in Jourdon's letter. And the final sentence is a real zinger.