Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #73

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #73

…Young lady, people, no matter what color, are not meant to be property of a fellow human being, period, and end of subject…

Abigail-001

Abbey adjusts the bodice of her dress, having allowed James access earlier. The young couple just cannot help themselves.

Back to the real world. The pair manages to maintain a several-step-stagger for their stairway decent, for appearance sake at least, that they may not have been spending quality time exploring bodily nooks & crannies.

Introductions are made, though one is not needed. Herb Love is her rescuer, warmly received kind of a stabilizing influence.

Rescue-001 Willy Campbell is another story. She is startled to see him. He immediately reverts to his subservient roots, dropping his head to avoid eye contact.

And she is bright enough to make the connection between her late father’s former slave and Herbert Love; awful recollections, previously buried beneath tons of denial. The destruction of Fort Sumter South, flood back to the present.

‘The Campbells is gone!’ are the cries she remembers hearing that fateful day, more than a year hence.

Justice2-001

“You killed my father!” is Abbey’s cry now. “You killed my father and destroyed our lives.”

“I weren’t there, Miss Abigail, I swear!” Willy scrambles to explain.

  “Yes, I believe you are correct, Willy Campbell. You were not there and because you were not, the rest of our people revolted against us and burned and pillaged and killed every white man they could lay their hands on… including my own Father. Why, why… why!!!???,” she asks futilely as she beats her small hands against the chest of the obviously dismayed black man.

Herbert Love steps to Willy’s defense, pulling the distraught girl away. She is detached from reason, to the point of not responding to even her dear James’s loving touch.

  “You are all in this together, aren’t you. It makes sense to me now!” Her alleged co-conspirators are guilty of nothing, excepting a deep-seated dislike of the “business as usual” in the south that they treasure. “You just happened to be passing by that day? I think not, sir. I remember seeing every one of you, just like it were yesterday!”

“We did not intend for any harm to come to your father. There was no way to know what effect the freeing of the Campbells would have on others,” Love appraises. He is not in the business of apologetics.

  “You had no right stealing our property!” she furthers.

  Young lady,” Martha sternly asserts, “people, no matter what color, are not meant to be property of a fellow human being, period, and end of subject.”

“You have slaves, Joseph and his helpers.” Abbey tries to make a weak connection.

“Wrong, wrong, wrong! Joseph is a paid foreman and is free to leave if he no longer likes his job or position.” Martha is fighting the girl’s preconceived notions. “Take Olla, for instance. She left out our house for different situation. She did not even bother properly explaining why she wanted to leave, but that is not the point. The point is, is that she wanted to leave, free to keep her money, in her name at the Lewis State Bank as a matter of fact

… Free is the key word. Were the Campbells or any of the others, free to leave? … I will answer for you in your mute ignorance. NO! If you would take the time, look at things long and hard you might get a clue as to why you are clinging to archaic belief system.”

   Abigail Smythwick-Ferrell shrinks in the face of Martha’s human rights passion. She falls to the floor in a heap, like her legs had suddenly turned to gelatin. The shock of recurring lost memories has sapped her strength. James rushes to her side, cradling Abbey’s head, stroking her long, light brown hair.

Martha Ferrell retrieves smelling salts from her handbag, opening the tiny jar and waving it in front of the young woman’s nose. Ammonia inhalants, along with subconscious realization cause her to stir, to the great relief of all.

Sometimes pain must precede progress.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Abigail-001

Episode #73


 


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #48

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #48

… At Hillside Estate, Martha has a payroll of three, for duties in her house, grounds thereabout and a flower garden that puts other botanical creations to shame…

Rescue-001

The elimination of slavery has proven to be a difficult task, one that mere laws of emancipation could not do and whose foothold is so strong that only the flood of generations will launder it from the stained fabric of the few.

The holder of the final and most rewarding segment of Escape from Fort Sumter South is prepared to do her part.

Martha Ferrell does little laundry these days. In pre-Civil War days, house slaves would clean the clothes of their masters, toiling in an unappreciated reward less cycle of work, work and more of the same. There are no labor laws protecting the length of work days or the minimum age of the person doing the work.

At Hillside Estate, Martha has a payroll of three, for duties in her house, grounds thereabout and a flower garden that puts other botanical creations to shame. John Ferrell needs four men to tend the stable, barns and fields. Their spread of 500 acres is one/tenth the size of Fort Sumter South, requiring less staff, but producing barely enough revenue to make Hillside a viable estate. However, unlike Sumter’s two hundred, the seven Negroes under the Ferrell watch are paid; a monthly sum that allows for autonomy, to live in houses of their own doing, in the enclave of the free.

  A horse of a different color is an entire newly freed family like there will be soon. And though the Campbell sojourn is to be temporary, no act of kindness can ever be more sincere. The former slaves will be properly clothed and rested in preparation for a future in the considerable empire that is Herbert Love. On San Luis Lake they holiday, in Quincy they will thrive.


Alpha Omega M.D.

San Luis Lake-001

Episode #48


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #46

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #46

…The Campbells is free! The Campbells is free!’ are the cries for joy…

Escape2

“Are you sure the cabin is empty?!” demands Pigface of his night watchman, whose tending of his duties has lapsed this evening into morning. “They’re on the lamb with three brats and a useless old woman. They can’t be far! Get the dogs, you damn fool, whilst the trail is still warm!”     

The baying of a trio of converted coonhounds brings sleep to a raucous halt for the rest of these renaissance cavemen of the 19th century. The lamps in the overseers’ quarters, as well as the mansion are lit room by room. Looking out the window of his bedroom, Jefferson Smythwick sees a line of torches heading northwest across his recently harvested fields. When word of the Campbell flight reaches him, he orders every available man to the search.

The news spreads like wildfire from farm to farm on the plantation. ‘The Campbells is free! The Campbells is free!’ are the cries for joy, resounding and inciting. Those workers who remain take up the torch as well; not to aid in the capture of the Campbells, rather to band together in revolt. Within the hour of 2 A.M., the light generated by scores of burning buildings illuminates the Midway landscape better than the coming clouded sunrise could hope to.

Dynamite-001

There are sporadic rifle shots amidst the chaos, but they are drowned out by the explosions coming from the dynamite shed. The explosive used in stump removal craters straight down to the bedrock.

It feels like a Florida quake after all, epicenter, just outside of Midway. Fort Sumter South shakes to the depth of its old Southern ways, the sound of freedom echoes far and wide. From the slave traders on the Gold Coast in West Africa to the slave markets in Atlanta, Georgia.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Slave Trade

Episode #46


 

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #40

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #40

…Willy looks at the hands of the school teacher and concludes, “Get yo hands dirty for the morrow, least you’ll look like you worked a day in yo life…

Escape-001
Part 1

Who is waiting for Willy at the gates of Fort Sumter South? It is the head overseer himself. Affectionately nicknamed, Pigface by his workers, this man is as ugly on the inside as he is on the outside. If his resemblance to a swine weren’t bad enough, he is a nitpicking all the day long.

His beef this day is tardiness. “Campbell Nigger! You were supposed to be back before sundown! I have a mind to throw you into the Hole!” The Hole is just that. Not a good thing.

“The horses needed water, Pig–uh, Master.” A name earned but never used near his presence.

“What about the pigs…? They ain’t got nothin’ to do with you bein’ a half hour late!” he grouses. “And I don’t see that barrel of molasses I asked you to get from the mill!”

Oops, there is an untimely oversight.

“I swear you ain’t worth the dirt you sleep on these days, heckfire, most of a month now.”

“I can go back for it, probably still on the dock, Master,” Campbell cowers. “I was thinkin’ you said meal, conemeal… got 2 sacks.” More correctly one sack meal and one sack of trembling bones.

“Put those poor horses away, before I kick your dumb ass from here to Quincy! Their day has been long enuff. Molasses, meal, how ignorant can one nigger be!” The pompous people pusher himself embodies ignorance, however unaware he is of his own condition.

It’s best if he gets to the stable and don’t spare the horses. All is nearly lost before it can get started. He has a special guest to care for.

*********

“You best stay in the hay loft ‘til the mornin’. I’ll sneak you some supper later, when things settle down—you like grits and gravy?”

Jacob is no position to turn away Campbell hospitality, even though gravy and his bowels are not close friends, but then again, how can they be any looser than they already are.

“You gonna need yo strenth to pick you a bale of cotton.” Willy looks at the hands of the school teacher and concludes, “Get yo hands dirty for the morrow, least you’ll look like you worked a day in yo life.”

No insult intended, none taken.


Alpha Omega M.D.

The Overseer

Episode #40


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #38

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #38

Chapter Three

CHANGES

…Jacob Haley must take a dismaying trip into his ancestor’s past; regressing from educated free man to undercover freedman…

Undercover-001

  In subtropical climes, there are seasons of change, though these exchanges fade in and out, making it hard to distinguish one from the other. The autumnal equinox supplants the warm slothfulness of summer; the latter reluctant in coming, the former resistant in leaving.  DawnToDusk

The harvesting of crops decides the issue of transition. It is a call to action, plant maturation and ripening that warns the grower, ‘Use me or lose me’. Land activity increases three-fold, with so many different related things going on. Only the infirm of body are spared from the dawn to dusk work load.

At Fort Sumter South, infirmity is no excuse, much as it was for the Hebrews building the monuments to the Pharos of ancient Egypt. Some die as reward for their efforts, then and now.

The rigor of reaping takes its toll on the overseer as well. In time and energy spent, supervisors sleep as deep as the workers. That is exactly what Jacob Haley and his unlikely group of liberators are counting on.

Anti-slavery-001

Rescue-001

The Gadsden County Anti-slavery Society has used the forty-some days since Willy Campbell decided to take the leap of faith, to consent to be liberated, to its best advantage. Freedom is scary for a cigar maker who has no idea of what to expect from his liberty. The freedom fighters fear anything but success.

All the pieces are in place, all except Jacob Haley, who must take a dismaying trip into his ancestor’s past; regressing from educated free man to undercover freedman, without the support of Congressional amendment. His clothing, duties and speech will not, in any way match the life he has lived up to now, save the blended color of his skin. He is about to penetrate a world (undercover) that would paralyze most people of any race, creed, or disfranchised lot.

Courage is a term that comes to mind, the very same that caused him to stay in the South, rather than migrate northward. Segregation exists in both worlds, but he will effect greater change here at its cruel source.

Freedom is Slow in Coming


Alpha Omega M.D.

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Seasons of Change

Episode #38


 

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #26

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #26

…Po’ Alfrey will be lucky if makes it to 20. Runts don’t last long in the field …

William Aiken Walker

It is here at the train station, that Herbert Love,  the Quincy businessman and newly elected mayor, meets and gets to know Willy and Alfrey, on their only common ground. He has told his wife, who has bore him no children, as well as many of his friends, that he would like to deliver Willy and his house to true freedom.

Today is step one to that end.

Slavery

“Say Willy,” he signals in the direction of a flatbed car being unloaded of its tobacco leaves, “would you please come her a second?”

Willy Campbell obliges, thankful for a break from the oppressive August heat. He has a gregarious way about him, reminiscent of someone whose ignorance is bliss; not realizing how green the grass is on the other side of the fence.

Henslow’s Sparrow

Young Alfrey has found a Henslow’s Sparrow clinging to the next husks of sugar cane to be loaded on an adjacent car, one wing hanging limp, with the other flapping in futility. He stays behind to tend to the wounded sparrow.

          “Your son sure is good with animals, Willy,” Love notes.

“Yessir, he sure does. Takes in ev’ry critter that don’t run away.” Then comes a caveat. “He ain’t worth a tinkers’ damn in the fields, fo’ sure. He’sa runt with his mamma’s heart.”

“There is nothing wrong with that, Willy. The world is expanding, population doubling every 10 years and people are doing things you would never have guessed.” This educated, late middle aged man of some worldliness, tries to transfer his optimism to a black man, aged well beyond his 30 years, who is learned at the school of hard knocks and significant if only to God.

Po’ Alfrey will be lucky if makes it to 20. Runts don’t last long in the field.” That hopeless resignation is the norm for most blacks anywhere, even some poor unskilled whites here in the South. The native Indians in the panhandle do not even show up on this grim map, shunted into socially isolating reservations; the lucky of those with less than full blood, sprinkled with a little white, a little black, a little Spanish, a little indefinable and more easily absorbed into the general population.

“Well, to be honest, that is precisely why I am here. I want to give you the opportunity to get off Sumter–get away from that Smythwick for good!”


 

Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #26


 

 

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #25

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #25

…This Campbell family are victims of a cruel anomaly. They are, for all intents and purposes, still slaves…

Campbell Home-001

The opposite is true for Northern blacks, as well as some in the South, where their freedom is more of a paper reality. True equality with the white majority may be more than a century away.

One interested outside observer of this world that seems heartlessly frozen in time, is Herbert Love, a dairy owner among other things, who has never kept slaves, even when it was legal. Anyone will tell you that he is the antithesis of Jefferson Smythwick. He is as sympathetic and benevolent, as the old slaver is callous and maniacal.

          But because of his non-confrontational nature, Love has left his philosophical rival alone…

…Until now.

Love Dairies2-001    Unbeknownst to Smythwick, the lord of Fort Sumter South, the overseer in charge of the Campbell’s has been allowing Willy to pick up some rare wrapping leaves from Cuba at nearby Midway’s rail docks. On some of those days, young Alfrey comes with his father. Seven year olds have limited functional use on a plantation, so he is not missed. These missions do not go unnoticed by others… specifically Herbert Love.

 

His milk and milk byproducts are emerging as a marketable commodity, with the aid of the ice produced in his ice plant. Milk must be kept at 38 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure freshness, a feat heretofore not seriously attempted in this arid climate. It is his habit to make sure his 20 gallon cans of white nectar are properly transferred to his very own, specially designed railroad cars. When it is a humid 90 degrees outside, his methods of refrigeration are critical.

It is here at the train station, that the Quincy businessman and newly elected mayor, meets and gets to know Willy and Alfrey (Campbell), on their only common ground. He has told his wife, who has bore him no children, as well as many of his friends, that he would like to deliver Willy and his house to true freedom.


 

Alpha Omega M.D.

Opposites

Episode #25


 

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