Not again! She awoke, soaked,
The same damned, damning vision:
Dusky men writhing around her,
She, oblivious, lustful even, smiling.
Wailing wafted upward to deaf ears...
From beneath, unseen women,
African women...wives, mothers
Sisters, daughters cried to no avail...
Whatever the white men wanted,
They took...and took...and took.
The glamorous Fanny Kemble,
Floating adrift on an African sea...
The stuff of deeply troubling dreams.
She well knew what lay beneath
The little shell-topped mounds
In plots on Butler and St. Simons:
Slavery eats children like candy.
Sickened but still stout of heart,
She would flee "Negroland" for good,
Determined to stop the screaming...
Fanny Kemble, a famous English actress, left the stage in the 1830s to become Mrs. Pierce Butler. A few years later, Butler, an American, inherited two plantation islands on the Georgia coast, Butler and St. Simons, along with the hundreds of slaves who lived and worked there. The plantations were managed by white overseers, including a father-son combo that reputedly fathered many "mulatto" children. Pierce made regular visits to the islands, and, reluctantly, he took Fanny down to see the source of the family's wealth, a place she came to call "Negroland." She soon left the Sea Islands and, eventually, left Butler. Fanny, a talented and avid writer, kept a journal in which she described in detail the horrific reality of slave life on a plantation. For more about Fanny Kemble and Pierce Butler, see this PBS resource:
This is a Magpie Tale. To read more or to participate, click here!