Freed But Not
A Story About Martin Davis
Mr. Davis: "Awe your welcome, please ask away."
Me: "First question, how old were you when you were enslaved and what did you do?"
Mr. Davis: "I was born into the business you may say. I was born ten years before me and my dad were emancipated. Both of my parents worked in the big house so naturally that's where I worked to. My dad worked the odds and ends of the house, you could say he was a handyman. My mother worked in the kitchen and as a server if our Master had guest over. Since I was so young at the time I just followed my dad everywhere helping him out."
Me: "You said only you and your dad were emancipated, when did that happen and what happened to your mother?"
Mr. Davis: "My dad and I were emancipated in December of 1892, It wasn't to long after the Emancipation Proclamation was put into place. My mom had died just a few months before then. She died of something unknown, she just didn't wake up one morning."
Me: "I'm sorry to hear that, my condolences. I have another question, what was life like after you and your dad were emancipated?"
Mr. Davis: "For the first few years it was hard since some white people didn't agree with the fact that blacks were free. Many have attacked or tried to attack me and my dad but my dad was a large man standing 6'3" so that intimidated them. One of the hardest things to deal with was the constant threat that your life is in danger almost anywhere you go. My worst fear was being anywhere were a lot of the black community was gathering."
Me: "Why? I thought being in a large group would make you feel safer since you can all be there for eachother."
Mr. Davis: "Yes well in some circumstances you can feel safer but I felt that the more of us there were in one area, an easier target that made us. I think the place I felt most at risk was at school. I remember hearing about schools being burnt down and it scared me so much that I didn't want to go but my dad wanted me to have an education. My church had a group for kids my age were some of the people who worked there would teach us how to read and write. That's how I got my education and I don't regret being afraid of going to a public school."
Me: "Well thank you Mr. Davis, I am so glad we got to talk. One last question, who was your inspiration to keep fighting and not give up hope?"
Mr. Davis: "My role model that got me through this was President Abraham Lincoln. One thing that I remember hearing him say was "The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it shall not deter me."
Me: "Well thank you for your time Mr. Davis, I hope we get together soon!"