Son of a King
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 by Frank Shortt
2014 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved

            Most of the following story is essentially true. Some names have been changed to save embarrassment.  It is not meant to stir men to anger, but instead, to show that there could possibly be another way to act in any given situation.

The auctioneer, Bob Morgan, moved slowly across the grounds of the Whitney Plantation. The Georgia air could have stifled a horse not used to this humid climate. Bob’s quest was for strong, able-bodied men to go upon the auction block in nearby Macon. Bob was a man in his middle thirties. He wore the rough garb of a hunter, and looked as though he could work alongside the best or enter a rough and tumble affray at any moment.

           Old Man Whitney strutted forth in all his successful grandeur. One would have thought he was king of the world. Not a hair was out of place nor was there a wrinkle in his chosen outfit.  His father, as well as, his father’s father had owned the holdings which he now possessed. He must have been about fifty years of age, give or take a few years.

           “Good evenin’ Bob,” I suppose you must be heahabouts for one purpose?”

           “Yore right, Mistah Whitney,” evah time yuh see me it’s for the same reason.”

           “So, what kinda help you got heah?” Bob inquired lazily.

            “The usual, you know I don’t keep no lazy good-for-nuthins!” replied Whitney.

           “Well, that last batch pert-nigh broke me. You said they was all hard-workin’ and it turns out I had to sell most of ‘em at a bargin!”

           The two men bantered good-naturedly, passing the time of day as though they were discussing the price of cattle.

           “Say, I’ve got a rich guy from up Atlanta way just itchin’ for some new blood. He don’t buy nuthin’ but top grain. How many can you supply me?”

            “I’m suah I can load you up. I just had a shipment from Puerto Rico. All primed and ready for market,” was Whitney’s rejoinder.

           Bringing slaves from Africa to America had been outlawed in the early 1800’s.  This didn’t stop the black-market trade.

           “Where can I see some of this prime beef?” asked Morgan.

            “Right now they’re out pickin’ th’ cotton, we’ll just meander around and you can take yore pick.”

           The two men mounted two thoroughbreds, brought around by Whitney’s groom. As they moved off the groom muttered,

           “Someday ah’ll own this plantation and all there is on it. Old man Whitney don’t know that a’ve been a’studyin’ books and larnin’ how to cypher.”

            This groom, Franklin, had been hearing rumors of an Underground Railroad running all the way into Canada. If one was lucky enough to get picked, it was rumored that there was freedom there. One bad deterrent was the local constabulary who was elected by the plantation owners. Anyone caught out after sundown was immediately wrapped in chains and left to rot in a stinking jail until claimed by the owner. Sheriff Bailey, the local law enforcement, had no mercy on runaways. His supremacist views were manifest by how he treated runaways. He beat them with whips, kicked them, and tortured them as a cat would do to a mouse before being eaten.

            Morgan and Whitney rode out into a large cotton patch. Morgan’s eye was trained to see the best workers right off.

           Whitney would say, “What about this nice number?”

            “Nope, I told you I’m lookin’ for prime beef this time!”

            Near the end of a row, a well-proportioned man of Mandingo roots suddenly stood up. He stretched his muscular frame, showing huge biceps. He also held his head up at all times. He had a pride not possessed by any of the other men around him. He was all of six feet tall and must have been in his late twenties.

            “I wanna buy that man! Morgan averred. I haven’t seen another man that I would buy ceptin’ this one.”

            “He ain’t for sale,” Whitney replied.

            “Not for sale! Whattayuh mean, not for sale? Everything has a price.”

            “This one don’t,” Whitney affirmed.

            “I don’t see no stripes on his back.”

           “I don’t have to beat him to get him to work.” Whitney said with pride.

           “Is he the boss of all the others?” Morgan questioned further.

            “Nope, he’s just a reg’lar worker like the rest.”

            “Well, do you feed him better food than the others?”

            “Nope, he eats in the galley like all the rest, hoecakes and sowbelly.”

            “Well, what makes him different?”

           “I asked myself that many times before I found out the true answer. You see, In Mandingo territory where he was taken from, his father was the king of the tribe. When he was being dragged away in chains his father told him, “Always conduct yourself as my son!” He can only act this way because, even though he is in slavery, he is still the son of a king!”

           The two men, who were haggling about prices just moments before, began to think of their own mortality. They both claimed to believe in God. They both attended local churches. They suddenly remembered Another One, who was the Son of a King, who left all that was good. Who left all that was safe, to face an uncertain future. Who gave his life so that others could go free. What a great Son He was!

            Whitney was converted to the cause of freedom and set all his men free.  The son of the king, Moses, later went to his people and told them how they should conduct themselves, even in slavery. Franklin was also set free and went immediately to the leaders of the Underground Railroad along with Bob Morgan. Franklin became the catalyst of freedom for many men and women. His life became so engrossed in the freedom movement that he forgot all about owning the Whitney holdings. He was martyred helping some of his brothers and sisters to escape Georgia. Bob Morgan was killed by white supremacists while proclaiming how unjust the proposition of slavery really was. Bob had become a genuine believer of freedom’s cause.

           When the northern armies entered Georgia, Whitney’s plantation was taken over by officers who treated the slaves worse than Whitney ever had.  Moses was made to serve the Union officers in menial tasks. Through his testimony, by remaining who he was born to be, a son of a king, many hardened Union soldiers were led to a better life. Men need to see something genuine. Moses was truly genuine.

           Many years later, after the Great War, after all men were set free, Moses went back to Africa. Whitney was able to scrape up enough money from all his holdings to be able to afford passage for Moses and himself. They both died in Africa proclaiming freedom to men through the True Son of a King!