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1 A Chance For a New Beginning


2 A Chance For a New Beginning

A ChAnCe for A new Beginning Sweat, pain, and tears dripping down Leroy’s face as he worked as hard as a rock. He could never impress his owner, Mr. Eli. But Leroy didn’t care. No, he wanted to be something more. A hero or a legend, whose name will roam the newly born United States. Leroy Adams was a 25-year-old African slave for the slave owner, Eli Adams of Richmond, Virginia. Eli was a cruel man who treated the Adams’ slaves harshly. It was like how the Pharaoh of Egypt treated his Jewish slaves. His brothers, Bismack and Rasheed, were both slaves for Mr. Eli as well as his wife, Mary Jane. Leroy wasn’t just a person who hated his slave owner. He was influenced by the Jew’s rebellion against the Egyptians and by the 1790 slave rebellion in Sait Domingue of Haiti. “One day, I’ll leave this plantation and actually be someone someday,” said Leroy. “That’s great and since that can’t happen, keep workin’. These crops aint going to grow themselves you know,” replied Rasheed. “Alright.” Nightfall was coming and the two men kept working. It wasn’t until Mr. Eli called everyone in for the night that they stopped working. They headed to house where Mary Jane had been waiting for them. “You boys were workin’ hard out there today,” said Mary Jane. “I’m sure you won’t be seeing me in the fields any time soon.” “Dear?” said Leroy, “where’s Bismack?” “Well I thought he was with you.” The three glanced at each other. Then there was a rumbling at the door. It was Bismack looking dirtier than normal. “What happened to you?” asked Rasheed. “Mr. Eli called me to his house and wanted me to help him,” said Bismack. “I tried to help him with bringing some lumber to the fireplace. When I forgot to bring all of the lumber, he hit me with it. I got to check if my arm’s broken.” “That must of been terrible,” said Mary Jane. “Here, sit down. Let me clean you up.” Bismack, role up your sleve. I need to see how badly he hurt you.” And again, Bismack did what she said. “How bad is?” asked Bismack.


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“It aint too bad,” said Leroy. “Mary Jane will clean you up and then you can get a good night’s rest. You sure wouldn’t want Mr. Eli to get mad. He’d sure take it out on all of us.” “Thank you Leroy. I’ll do my best. Have a good night now.” “Same to you.” Leroy and Rasheed finished cleaning up dinner and did Mary Jane’s work as she helped Bismack. “You really took a beating,” said Mary Jane. “It aint too bad,” replied Bismack. “I’ll be fine in the morning.” Mary Jane was amazing in the house and always nursed the boys after a long day’s work. “Leroy’s a lucky man.” Mary Jane just glanced back at him. “He’s always wanted to be someone.” “Yes. I know. I’m lucky too,” replied Mary Jane. “Alright. Get up on to bed. You’re all fixed.” “Thank you.” “You’re welcome.” As the two said their good nights, Leroy was around the corner listening to the conversation. *

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The hot sun boiled the three as they worked in the fields. In the distance. you could hear Mr. Eli coming close. “Why aint you boys workin’?” Yelled Mr. Eli. “We are Sir,” said Leroy. “Don’t you back talk me boy. Get on the ground.” “But Sir.” “GET ON THE GROUND!” Leroy did as he said and lied on the ground. Mr. Eli made these hacking sounds like a tortured pig. He spit. Right on the top of Leroy’s head. Bismack and Rasheed could only watch as Mr. Eli was being as cruel as always to their own brother. “All of you, get back to work,” said Mr. Eli firmly. “That is it,” said Leroy as he wiped the spit off of his head. “We shall make a stand.” “How can we do that?” Asked Rasheed. “He is so powerful and we are so powerless.” “We’ll find a way. Some how. Some way we shall make a name for ourselves.” As confident as he was, Leroy felt as if he owned all of this land. As if he were Mr. Eli.


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Later that evening, Leroy gathered all the negros within the plantation and even some outside of it. They discussed battle plans. The plan was simple. They would attack Richmond. They would kill all whites except for Quakers, Methodists, and Frenchmen. So any whites that they called “friends of liberty”. Time gave Leroy a chance to recruit members for the attack. He came up with an idea to burn Richmond and take the governor, James Bradley, hostage. Mary Jane was doing Leroy’s work so Mr. Eli wouldn’t notice. “You must really trust Leroy to come out into the fields where you dared never to work in,” stated Bismack. “I trust him with all of my heart,” said Mary Jane. “I love him and he loves me. That’s all the proof I need.” *

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As the sun set, nightfall came and gleamed the night sky. Leroy had his men gathered six miles around Richmond. It was the perfect night. A festival was in town and every one was there. Even the governor and Mr. Eli. Leroy waited for his inside men to give the signal that everyone was ready. Then darkened clouds followed them into battle. “Leroy,” said Rasheed. “It looks like it might rain.” “Rain or shine, we fight tonight,” replied Leroy. The signal had still yet to be used. The clouds grew closer and closer. The rain came hard and fast. It flooded the whole town. Even the streets were flooded. They cancelled the attack. *

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The next morning was almost worse than the night before. Mr. Eli and the governor came to Leroy’s cabin. They broke down the door with killing faces. They grabbed all four of them and killed them on the spot. Before they were killed, they saw two negros staring Leroy down. They figured the two negros told Mr. Eli the plan that Leroy drew up. They were all killed on the spot.


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Author’s Note This story, A Chance for a New Beginning, was based off of the great Gabriel Prosser Rebellion. He was unsuccessful in his actions. Nobody ever knew how many people were involved in this taking. It took place in 1800. To be exact, it happened in August. Prosser made the first major slave insurrection; and inspired many in later slave revolutions. It was during the days of slavery. The North had mostly given up the ways of slavery, but that didn’t stop the south from continuing. The states that had slavery were: Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, and Texas. Prosser lived in Virginia. All other states were either Free states or states that never used slavery. There were many causes to the Prosser Rebellion. One cause is that his owner treated him like dirt. It wasn’t just Gabriel who the owner treated poorly; every Prosser slave was treated like dirt. Another reason was they were tired doing the entire owner’s work. They thought that they had just as many rights as their owner. The big event that I used in my story was that night Prosser planned to attack. He planned to attack the town Richmond, Virginia. He had the whole place surrounded with over 1,000 slaves all around Virginia. All slave owners met in Richmond that night. They planned to kill all white people except for Quakers, Methodists, and Frenchmen, all of whom Prosser considered “friends of liberty”. The plan failed due to a terrible rainstorm that flooded the whole city. By the next day, the Prossers’ owner came to the footstep of Gabriel’s house. Gabriel, his wife, and his two brothers were all killed on the spot. Two young men told the owner Prosser’s plan because they did not want to see their owner be slaughtered. It was a very creative plan Prosser drew up. It would have been perfect if the weather held.


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Works Cited Edwards, Judith. Nat Turner's Slave Rebellion in American History. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow, 2000. 40-43. Print. In this section of this book I learned that Nat Turner was inspired by Gabriel Prosser. And Prosser was inspired by the Jews from Egypt and the 1790 slave rebellion of Sait Domingue of Haiti. Eisert, Kevin. "Prosser Rebellion." The War For State's Rights. Web. 11 Feb. 2012. <http://civilwar.bluegrass.net/secessioncrisis/prosserrebellion.html>. This online resource talks about the rainstorm that prevented Prosser from completing his rebellion. It was an extremely helpful to my project. "Gabriel Prosser." Africa Within. Web. 11 Feb. 2012. <http://www.africawithin.com/bios/gabriel_prosser.htm>. This website talks about the personal information of Prosser. It talked about his age, family, likes, dislikes, etc. Hamilton, Virginia, Leo Dillon, and Diane Dillon. Many Thousand Gone: African Americans from Slavery to Freedom. New York: Knopf, 1993. 44-48. Print. This part of the book talks about the Gabriel Prosser rebellion which was the first major slave incurrection. I learned that Gabriel Prosser was an intelligent and religious man who organized a rebellion. Isaacs, Sally Senzell. Life on a Southern Plantation. Chicago: Heinemann Library, 2001. Print. This book talks about what it was like on a southern plantation in the 1800s. I learned that a plantation could be like a little town with a church, school, and strings of houses.


A Chance for a New Begining