Ta-Nehisi Coates: Slavery Is a Love Song

The human cost
History • Views: 36,614

Ta-Nehisi Coates responds to a stunningly immoral post on Thomas Jefferson at right wing blog The Volokh Conspiracy, with a moving letter written after emancipation by a former slave: Slavery Is a Love Song.

This is a letter that I often turn to. It was written to Laura Spicer by her husband, who was sold away, much as Jefferson sold people away. After emancipation she repeatedly tried to rekindle their love, despite the fact that the husband had now remarried and formed another family. In this letter the husband tells us what it means to be among the refuse of history:

I would much rather you would get married to some good man, for every time I gits a letter from you it tears me all to pieces. The reason why I have not written you before, in a long time, is because your letters disturbed me so very much.

You know I love my children. I treats them good as a Father can treat his children; and I do a good deal of it for you. I am sorry to hear that Lewellyn, my poor little son, have had such bad health. I would come and see you but I know you could not bear it. I want to see and I don’t want to see you. I love you just as well as I did the last day I saw you, and it will not do for you and I to meet.

I am married, and my wife have two children, and if you and I meets it would make a very dissatisfied family. Send me some of the children’s hair in a separate paper with their names on the paper. Will you please git married, as long as I am married. My dear, you know the Lord knows both of our hearts. You know it never was our wishes to be separated from each other, and it never was our fault.

Oh, I can see you so plain, at any-time, I had rather anything to had happened to me most than ever to have been parted from you and the children. As I am, I do not know which I love best, you or Anna. If I was to die, today or tomorrow, I do not think I would die satisfied till you tell me you will try and marry some good, smart man that will take care of you and the children; and do it because you love me; and not because I think more of the wife I have got then I do of you. The woman is not born that feels as near to me as you do.

You feel this day like myself. Tell them they must remember they have a good father and one that cares for them and one that thinks about them every day-My very heart did ache when reading your very kind and interesting letter.

Laura I do not think I have change any at all since I saw you last.-I think of you and my children every day of my life. Laura I do love you the same. My love to you never have failed. Laura, truly, I have got another wife, and I am very sorry, that I am. You feels and seems to me as much like my dear loving wife, as you ever did Laura. You know my treatment to a wife and you know how I am about my children. You know I am one man that do love my children….

Jump to top

Create a PageThis is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.
Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.
Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
LGF User's Guide RSS Feeds Tweet

Help support Little Green Footballs!

Subscribe now for ad-free access!Register and sign in to a free LGF account before subscribing, and your ad-free access will be automatically enabled.

Recent PagesClick to refresh
Timothy Caughman’s Murder Was a Lynching in Trump’s America. Just another day in Trumpmerica. The first thread that binds this killing to past lynchings is Jackson’s motivation. The self-proclaimed white supremacist told police that he hated black men in particular for their relationships with white women, a harkening ...
Tarkloon
4 hours, 10 minutes ago
Views: 90 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
OneRepublic - A.I. (Audio) Ft. Peter GabrielGet OneRepublic’s new album ‘Oh My My,’ featuring ‘Kids,' 'Wherever I Go' and 'Let’s Hurt Tonight:’ smarturl.itListen to the Best of OneRepublic on Spotify: smarturl.it Music video by OneRepublic performing A.I.. (C) 2016 Mosley Music/Interscope Records vevo.ly
Tarkloon
4 hours, 28 minutes ago
Views: 73 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
While Gorsuch Was Testifying, the Supreme Court Unanimously Said He Was Wrong About 40 minutes after Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch began his second day of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, all eight of the justices he hopes to join said a major disability decision Gorsuch wrote in 2008 was ...
Birth Control Works
1 day, 16 hours ago
Views: 202 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Black & Missing in America - a Short Film Published on May 7, 2015 From OSCAR® and 16-time EMMY award-winning producer Arnold Shapiro and Director/Producer Marlene McCurtis - a short film that highlights the work of the Black and Missing Foundation, and their quest to provide a voice ...
Birth Control Works
1 day, 16 hours ago
Views: 178 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
500 Missing — Why You Should Pay Attention to DC’s Missing Girls if You Attended the Women’s March Though months have passed since the Women's March united women around the nation in January, its mission to stand up for the rights of those who are most vulnerable cannot afford to slip into the background. And this applies ...
Birth Control Works
1 day, 16 hours ago
Views: 220 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Rewire -‘Issues in Law & Medicine’: A One-Stop Journal for Anti-Vaccine, Anti-Abortion PseudoscienceUnsurprisingly creationists aren't the only ones who produce fake academic journals. It turns out that anti abortion, and anti vaccination ideologues do the same thing, only in the case of "Issues in Law & Medicine," the people behind it, arguably ...
CriticalDragon1177
1 day, 16 hours ago
Views: 268 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Trump Did to Merkel What Men Do to Women All the Time Tuesday 21 March 2017 06.00 EDT Last modified on Wednesday 22 March 2017 11.22 EDT A few years ago, my husband and I ran into a mutual acquaintance at a restaurant. This young man – a person who would ...
Birth Control Works
1 day, 17 hours ago
Views: 321 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 1
Comments: 0
: 1
RNC Paid Intel Firm for Clinton Dirt As the general election was taking shape last summer, the Republican National Committee initiated a series of payments to a low-profile firm started by retired CIA officers that worked closely with an ex-Russian spy. The payments attracted attention in ...
Birth Control Works
2 days ago
Views: 491 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Whatever You Do, Don’t Say Yes When This Chatbot Asks, ‘Can You Hear Me?’ Another in my irregular series on privacy in our era, and how to defend yourself in digital venues. For your cell phone-Get TruCaller or some other good robo call screener/blocker. If you have an Ooma phone, set your virtual ...
Unshaken Defiance
2 days, 1 hour ago
Views: 753 • Comments: 2 • Rating: 2
Tweets: 117 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 3
Comments: 0
: 3
NOT ONE WOMAN: What’s Missing From This Photo of Politicians Deciding the Future of Women’s Health? President Donald Trump met with the arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus at the White House Thursday to try to hammer out a deal on Obamacare repeal. A major question in the final negotiations? Whether or not maternity care and mammograms ...
Birth Control Works
2 days, 6 hours ago
Views: 387 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0