Antebellum SC. 1850-1860
I've only been on my masters plantation for a year. My mother is on a different farm with a nice 'slave' owner. I work with 31 other people, most I don't know that well. My uncle is here with me, strangely. He and I speak with hand signals when the master isn't looking because he doesn't like us communicating. He beats us if he thinks we are talking when we aren't in our quarters. He wouldn't like it if he found out I am writing this because unlike the the slaves, I can write, there's a story behind that, which I can't tell you.
Election of Abraham Lincoln. 1860
There was a white man elected president. I think his name was Abehram Lincon. He says he can free me and the other slaves.. My master was very angry. So angry, that he whipped all of us.... but I really hope this new guy can help us. The master hasn't been home in a couple hours.
My master says our state is going to break away from the union. I don't know much else about it. Im hoping, however, that the northern states can convince the politicians in South Carolina to take back their words. There was a battle close to me, which started all the way down in Fort Sumter.
Today is one of the best days of my life.. Abraham Lincoln announced all slaves are free from now on.. My former master is angrier than I've ever seen him. I'm a free man now, and I've never been happier. I'm hoping to find my mamma when I leave this plantation, and reunite with her and my sister, who is still with mamma at the old farm. Maybe I'll find work, or a wife. My old master, William, says that he and the rest of the southern states are furious. I think he's overreacting, and not everyone is angry.
The civil war demolished the south. I should have moved north after I was free, but my master wouldn't let us leave, because he didn't agree with Lincoln ideas. The north wrecked my hometown, and now we're working to get back on our feet. They've sent military soldiers down here, in attempt to reunite the nation. There is word floating around that there is a law going to free us for sure. I tried to ask master about it but he didn't acknowledge me, at all. Its called the 13th amendment .
Today, our president was killed.. I'm a freedman, thanks to the amendment. I haven't found my mamma or my sister. I have nowhere to go, other than back to my plantation. I can't get work. All I have is my journal. The white men issued these codes, called Black Codes. They are limiting me from my own Civil Rights.
The 15th armendment was passed today. I have all the Civil Rights as a white man AND i can vote. I hope I can write in my journal more often, seeing as I have time now.
The freedmans bureau is a group, that are aiming to protect the rights of us former slaves. I am a freedman. People that come down from the north to help us reconstruct, and work as teachers and etc., are called Carpetbaggers. The opposite, southerners who are republicans and known as Scalawags. The freedmans bureau built schools and other buildings for us.
Wade Hampton and Southern Redeemers
The terrorist groups, The KKK, Red Shirts, and The Riflemen are bringing terror amongst the south. Many of my friends were ruthlessly lynched, just for being African American. I hope I'm not next. I witnessed them hang my own sister, and laugh at her in the face.
Ben Tillman, our governor and "populist" who is racist, issued the new State Constitution. We now have to be able to read and we have a poll tax. Its ridiculous, I'm a citizen! I shouldn't have to face this discrimination all my life. I'm not voting this year, and I don't know if I ever will again. He is a terrible governor. He is disenfranchising me and all the rest of African Americans in SC. There are colleges, called Clemson, and SC state, which I plan to attend once I get my education, which are Land Grant Colleges.
A populist is a person who wants to represent everyday people. I have got a little farm just so I can get food for me and my mamma, who I found recently.. I've heard white men talking about a club, or group, called Grange, they go to help other poor farmers who are having troubles growing crops.. The populist party wanted better working conditions for workers and higher pay.
SegrEgation and Jim Crow laws
Another attempt to restrict us African Americans has arisen. Their called Jim Crow Laws. They are "separate but equal" laws. We have to use seprate bathrooms, water fountains, restaurants, bus seats, schools, everything! There is nothing we can do with the white man. We have to sit at the back of the bus, and have a whole different school building. Our supplies are basically pulled out of the trash.
My journal is the only thing I managed to salvage. I pretty much lost everything. After the earthquake in 1886, I almost died. Once I finally got the help I needed, and then got back on my feet, and even worse hurricane hit in 1893. I lost everything, and now my family are all dead and I'm the only person I know. Everyone I ask for help, they turn me away. I'm sure they have their own problems, though.