"And along the way, he absorbed stories.
One of his ancestors, Charles Stewart, was profiled in an 1884 edition of Harper’s Monthly magazine under the headline, “My Life as a Slave.” Richard Stewart tells how Charles, who had money because he was a champion horse trainer, went to Richmond to buy a wife for $350.
After four years, Betsey Dandridge had borne him three children and done untold amounts of laundry and cooking. But Charles grew frustrated that she wouldn’t give up voodoo, Richard Stewart said. So he took her back to Richmond, sold her — and the children — for $350 and used the money to buy a horse. Betsey and the children wound up somewhere in Chesterfield County, but Richard Stewart doesn’t know their fates.
Slaves and free blacks lived side by side on Pocahontas Island, which was a port on the Appomattox before joining the city of Petersburg. It became an island after a canal was built in the late 1700s. Today, it’s more of a peninsula, as the main channel of the river clogged after a flood in the early 1970s.
Petersburg was one of the busiest slave markets in the old South, but it also had one of the highest concentrations of free blacks, attracted by jobs and by the presence of a community of their own. For a time, in the spirit of liberty after the Revolutionary War, a few planters freed their slaves." Washpost
I wonder if any of this is mentioned anywhere in the Smithsonian Museum of African-American History and Culture recently opened on the National Mall in Washington DC? pl