Ta-Nehisi Coates: Slavery Is a Love Song

The human cost
History • Views: 39,316

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.

Donate with
PayPal
Square Cash Shop at amazon
as an LGF Associate!
Recent PagesClick to refresh
Definition of the Kilogram Is About to Change Au Revoir to Le Grand K. The world is about to say au revoir to Le Grand K, a cylinder of platinum and iridium that has long reigned over the world's system of weight measurement. Le Grand K was ...
Thanos
8 hours ago
Views: 79 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
“Documenting Hate: New American Nazis, ” Coming Soon… — ProPublica In the wake of the deadly anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, ProPublica and Frontline present a new investigation into white supremacist groups in America — in particular, a neo-Nazi group, Atomwaffen Division, that has ...
Thanos
1 day, 7 hours ago
Views: 114 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Democrat Kyrsten Sinema Wins Arizona Senate Race, Flipping Second GOP Seat Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has defeated Republican Martha McSally to win the Arizona Senate race, the Associated Press projected Monday evening. With Sinema's victory to flip the open seat of retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, she becomes the first Democrat ...
Thanos
1 day, 7 hours ago
Views: 128 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 2 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
I DONT KNOW HOW but THEY FOUND ME - Do It All the Time This footage was first thought to be a conceptual art piece produced by the band before making music videos had become standard music industry practice. While the exact date and circumstances under which it was produced are unclear, the ...
Thanos
3 days, 6 hours ago
Views: 167 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Sirintip - Don’t Give Up (Youtube Spaces Session) “Don’t Give Up”Music and lyrics by Sirintip Sirintip - voiceHorace Bray - guitarAndrew Freedman - keysJames Quinlan - bassNolan Byrd - drums Filmed at: Youtube Space New York Videographer: Matt MarlinskiAudio Engineer: Irving GadouryMixed by: Jonathan SmithMixed at: Galaxy ...
Thanos
3 days, 7 hours ago
Views: 168 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Muse Perform the Dark Side on Later… With Jools HollandMuse perform The Dark Side on Later... with Jools Holland on BBC Two (6th October 2018). For more performances and interviews from the show, subscribe now: bit.ly. Watch the whole episode here: bbc.co.uk
Thanos
3 days, 7 hours ago
Views: 141 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 0
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
The Pentagon Has Prepared a Cyberattack Against Russia Officials say the new Trump cyberoperations order, National Security Presidential Memorandum 13 (NSPM 13), is designed to allow Defense Secretary James Mattis and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to approve retaliatory strikes without the approval of others in ...
Unshaken Defiance
1 week, 4 days ago
Views: 339 • Comments: 1 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 3 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Trump’s Orwellian EPA Disappears Climate Change Pagemotherboard.vice.com epa.gov pages that previously provided information about climate change have been changed from claiming that they are "updating" to an error message that reads, "We want to help you find what you are looking for," as revealed by a ...
Rocky-in-Connecticut
1 week, 5 days ago
Views: 451 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Flag Observances for November The flag is currently at half-mast until sunset, October 31, by proclamation of President Donald J. Trump in remembrance of the victims of the mass-murder at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. * - Official flag observance ...
Anymouse 🌹
1 week, 6 days ago
Views: 268 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 1
Tweets: 0 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0
Two Saudi Sisters Found Dead in Hudson Had Sought Political Asylum Two women who were found dead and bound together in the Hudson River last week were sisters from Saudi Arabia who had reportedly been ordered to return home after requesting asylum in the U.S. Police in New York have ...
Unshaken Defiance
2 weeks ago
Views: 440 • Comments: 0 • Rating: 5
Tweets: 1 • Share to Facebook
Shares: 0
Comments: 0
: 0