Narrative of William W. Brown, an American Slave

By William Wells Brown | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI.

IN a few days we reached New Orleans, and arriving there in the night, remained on board until morning. While at New Orleans this time, I saw a slave killed; an account of which has been published by Theodore D. Weld, in his book entitled “Slavery as it is.” The circumstances were as follows. In the evening, between seven and eight o’clock, a slave came running down the levee, followed by several men and boys. The whites were crying out, “Stop that nigger! stop that nigger!” while the poor panting slave, in almost breathless accents, was repeating, “I did not steal the meat—I did not steal the meat.” The poor man at last took refuge in the river. The whites who were in pursuit of him, run on board of one of the boats to see if they could discover him. They finally espied him under the bow of the steamboat Trenton. They got a pike-pole, and tried to drive him from his hiding place. When they would strike at him he would dive under [Page 59]the water. The water was so cold, that it soon became evident that he must come out or be drowned.

While they were trying to drive him from under the bow of the boat or drown him, he would in broken and imploring accents say, “I did not steal the meat; I did not steal the meat. My master lives up the river. I want to see my master. I did not steal the meat. Do let me go home to master.” After punching him, and striking him over the head for some time, he at last sunk in the water, to rise no more alive.

On the end of the pike-pole with which they were striking him was a hook, which caught in his clothing, and they hauled him up on the bow of the boat. Some said he was dead; others said he was ‘‘playing possum;” while others kicked him to make him get up; but it was of no use—he was dead.

As soon as they became satisfied of this, they commenced leaving, one after another. One of the hands on the boat informed the captain that they

-42-

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Narrative of William W. Brown, an American Slave
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • About This Edition 3
  • Narrative of William W. Brown, an American Slave 6
  • Preface 8
  • Narrative 17
  • Chapter I 18
  • Chapter II 22
  • Chapter III 25
  • Chapter IV 30
  • Chapter V 33
  • Chapter VI 42
  • Chapter VII 44
  • Chapter VIII 48
  • Chapter IX 51
  • Chapter X 57
  • Chapter XI 60
  • Chapter XII 67
  • From the Liberty Bell of 1848 74
  • Flight of the Bondman 77
  • Freedom’s Star 79
  • Lament of the Fugitive Slave 80
  • Appendix 83
  • Testimonials 106
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