A Letter to My Old Master…


SlaveryIntroduction (From Letters of Note): In August of 1865, a Colonel P.H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee, wrote to his former slave, Jourdon Anderson, and requested that he come back to work on his farm. Jourdon — who, since being emancipated, had moved to Ohio, found paid work, and was now supporting his family — responded spectacularly by way of the letter seen below (a letter which, according to newspapers at the time, he dictated).

I found this wonderful letter from a former slave, dripping in gentle revenge, on one of my favorite websites, LETTERS OF NOTE, a website that seeks to make written correspondence more accessible to modern readers. It’s a great site; you should give it a visit.

I was going to give this one a creative commons musical background, but it took away from the stark simplicity of the words, and what they mean. Be sure to listen right to the end.

PS: You’ll be happy to know (via Ancestry.com, no less!) that Jourdon and Mandy lived to a ripe old age, and had 11 children! I suspect they never visited Tennessee again.

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