the term used when slave owners decided to sell either disobedient or nonessential slaves further south as punishment or to make money
a public sale where goods or services go to the highest bidder
Activity: In the years following the Civil War, former slaves celebrated the end of slavery with a holiday called “Juneteenth.” Juneteenth, held annually on June 19, commemorated the day on which slaves in Texas learned of slavery’s abolition.
This activity imagines Lucy is telling a reporter about her life and adventures at a Juneteenth picnic in 1868, twenty years after the beginning of “Flight to Freedom.”
After reading and talking about the words and terms on the flash cards, read this excerpt from Lucy’s interview with the reporter, describing what her life was like in Kentucky. Use the cards and your memory to help you fill in the missing words and terms. Some words may be used more than once.
“I was born on the King _________________, not far from the city of _________________, in northern Kentucky. The King family grew _____________, which was used to make rope. They needed lots of rope in those days, to bundle up the cotton being grown further south.
_______________ King and his family owned me and about fifteen other ________________. We worked hard, day in and day out. I had to do all sorts of work for the Kings: I had to do the laundry, give the hogs their_______________, and gather eggs from the_________________. Sometimes, I also got called up to the _________________ to answer to Miss Sarah, Master King’s daughter. I had to do any little thing she wanted, no questions asked. Miss Sarah and I were friendly when we were children, but as I grew older she ordered me around and made me work hard for her, too. I worked from the moment I got up in the morning until the moment I went to bed at night. It was a hard life.
I lived in the __________________ with my mother and my brother Jonah. My daddy lived on another _________________, a few miles away. Sometimes, we could get a __________________ from Mr. Otis to go and visit my daddy. Mr. Otis was the Kings’_________________. He was not a kind man. He would yell at me, and frighten me, and sometimes he whipped or beat the other slaves. It was his job to make sure we did our work.
One year, not long after my fourteenth birthday, there was some big trouble. Henry, one of the slaves, had run off and been brought back. Mr. Otis thought Henry purposefully broke the __________________, to slow down the hemp harvest and cost Master King money. Henry was afraid he would be _________________, to one of the big cotton plantations, where they worked slaves to death. He would never see any of us ever again.
I had to do Henry’s work for him, because Mr. Otis had beaten him so badly. One night, the __________________ burned to the ground, and Mr. Otis thought I’d done it. I’d never been so scared in all my life. I was sure I’d be sold at an _________________. I would never see my mother or Jonah again. I had no choice. I had to run away.”