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If He Can, We Can

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“If He Can; We Can”

- Kim Bettie

https://www.accessgenealogy.com/black-genealogy/slave-narrative-of-john-w-fields.htm

A few years ago when I learned I had, as a legacy, one of the slave narratives from the survivors born into slavery, I admit I had mixed emotions of excitement and fear. I prepared myself for heart break, and expected the worse. What I read in my great-great grandfather's interview about his life formerly enslaved and as a free man, has impacted me more profoundly than I ever imagined. 

My name is John W. Fields and I’m eighty-nine (89) years old. I was born March 27, 1848 in Owensburg, Ky. That’s 115 miles below Louisville, Ky. There was 11 other children besides myself in my family. When I was six years old, all of us children were taken from my parents, because my master died and his estate had to be settled.
— Black Genealogy, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia

I can’t imagine my daughter being torn from my hands.

I can’t describe the heartbreak and horror of that separation. I was only six years old and it was the last time I ever saw my mother for longer than one night. Twelve children taken from my mother in one day. Five sisters and two brothers went to Charleston, Virginia, one brother and one sister went to Lexington Ky., one sister went to Hartford, Ky., and one brother and myself stayed in Owensburg, Ky. 
— Black Genealogy, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia

The resolve it took for him to show restraint and survive being torn from his mother and siblings is mind altering.

When my master’s estate had been settled, I was to go with widow’s relative to her place, she swung me up on her horse behind her and promised me all manner of sweet things if I would come peacefully. I didn’t fully realize what was happening, and before I knew it, I was on my way to my new home. Upon arrival her manner changed, and she took me down to where there was a bunch of men burning brush. At the age of six I started my life as an independent slave.
— Black Genealogy, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia
Kim Bettie