March 14, 1782
Sometimes I wonder what I thought of Earth the first day I saw it with my own two eyes. It must have been beautiful. I’m sure I never would’ve imagined that the world could be so cruel.
My first breath of air filled my lungs in 1759. Nobody knew my exact birth date. Not many people knew much about me at all. I never got a chance to tell anyone, besides, nobody cares about the life of an African-Canadian slave anyway.
They call me a “domestic servant”, but no matter what kind of fancy name they want to call it, in their eyes I have one title: slave. Benjamin Hardison— a farmer, a miller and a member of the Legislative Assembly of Bertie Township— was my first owner. He is selling me to a white that has come to Canada after the American Revolution. Well, it can’t get worse, right?
March 14, 1783
I never liked Vrooman; he loved himself, his money, and nothing more. I openly show my displeasure towards him regularly by leaving the property and my work when I feel like it, and returning after the short while it takes me to remember that I have nowhere else to go. Just because he is my owner does not mean I have to kiss his feet. I make it a point for me to show him and the rest of the world that I strive for the abolishment of slavery.
The only thing that I look forward to is my talks with Tom. I feel like he is the only person in this cruel world that cares for me. We both dream of a brighter future when slavery will be illegal. Who knows, maybe someday we’ll be free together.
August 14, 1792
My time with Tom has been short, for he was sold seven months ago to someone by the name of Adam Krysler. I guess our hopes for a life of freedom together is dreaming a bit too much.
Times are beginning to change. I’ve heard word that a savior by the name of Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe is worked to try and slowly abolish slavery. There was even a rumour making its way around that he would pass a law stating that nobody can come into Canada to enslave anyone, and that we, the people current fly in slavery, will be freed when we reach 25 years of age. Maybe things will change for the better.
March 15, 2015
It is so painfully unfair how your hope for a future of freedom can be stripped from you within an evening. I should’ve known that with every good there must be a bad. With the threat of the new law looming over Vrooman, he decided to sell me to a different country so that I wouldn’t be set free. It was yesterday, on March 14, 1793, when he decided to sell me to America. I remember so clearly…
I screamed and struggled, trying to escape the grasp of Vrooman, but that only brought 2 more men— Isaac, his brother, and 1 of Mr.Every’s sons—upon me. With every squirm I made, I was beaten, and soon I could resist no more. As I frantically scanned my surroundings as they tied me up, I saw a man watch with a look of horror on his face. However, he did not attempt to stop these men. Of course he didn’t, I was just a slave in the eyes of all these people. Well, it didn’t matter if someone was watching or if I was the only one to be aware of my abuse; I would fight with every ounce of my strength I had praying that my screams would be heard.
April 14, 1793
It has been a month since the incident, and I felt it necessary to reflect on my past life and hopes. The only place I will ever have a sliver of opportunity will be in my memories.
I am curious as to what would be going on if I hadn’t been shipped down the Niagara River to here in America. Was there actually a chance that I’ could possibly be free in Queenston? Was there actually a chance that I could have escaped my fate of being a slave for the rest of my life? All I can do is wonder.
April 18, 1793
I heard word that Vrooman had files charged against him in the Court of Quarter Sessions. My screams were heard after all, and by the right person too. Peter Martin, bless his soul, witnessed my terrible incident and informed John Graves Simcoe about my treatment. He and the Executive Council attempted to prosecute Vrooman, along with John White. Unfortunately, his petition stated that he did not break the law, and no charges were pressed. However, I believe I ignited a spark in the hearts of these people, and I truly hope that they will continue to try to resolve the issue of slavery, and fulfill my dream.
July 9, 1793
Today, the dream I have had for 34 years of my life has finally become reality. A legislature to “prevent the further introduction of slaves, and to limit the term of contract for servitude” has been passed in the province of Upper Canada. It is titled,
The 1793 Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada. I’ve heard that by bringing up my incident as support, the House of Assembly approved the legislature. I believe that this is Canada’s first big step to the ending of slavery, and there are many amazing things to come. Who knows, maybe people will begin sneaking slaves to Canada by Underground Railroads or something. I can’t be sure.