Monday, July 30, 2012

Slave Quarters

July 30, 2012

Today the campers got to go to the slave quarters located in Medford, Massachusetts which was built in the early 1700s. Although, we had no idea the details of how to get there, but with even the smallest of directions, we could figure it out moment by moment. Not one child, ever knew I had not been there either.

From the moment we arrived the campers were very intrigued by the things our tour guide was saying. They had a whole lot of questions and many of their questions got answered. First we went into the house on the owners of the slaves in which they were wealthy for their trading of sugar in which at the time, was a lavish business to get into. Issac Royall inherited millions by the time he was at the age of 18 and the ownership of slaves made living in luxury much easier. They were one of the richest families at the time. We learned that one could show how rich they were not only by how many slaves they owned, but the house they kept as well. There were a few additions to the house made to increase the size.
They had already had a pretty big house which consisted of more than one rooms in the house. Usually, there was a kitchen, living/dining area, and one bedroom, however the Royall had two bedrooms and they were grand, a changing room, a kitchen, and a living/dining area as well. For the time period they were living in, they were living far beyond comfortably. We got to see the old stoves they had, made now in comparison to fireplaces with distinct features that set apart. We saw the stairwell that the slaves went up, narrow and hidden, while the stairs the owners went up was widened and free. We saw the changing room, in which our guide hinted at the intimacy of the slaves and the family in changing them and grooming them for however long they cared for them, until either one of them died.

Our guide talked about the jobs of the slaves, working endlessly throughout the day. Their tasks included cooking, cleaning, grooming, changing, outdoor work, gardening and planting, and much more, but their work was never done. He showed us the beds the slaves would sleep on in the kitchen; which was a makeshift sac, about the size of rice with some cushion to lie on during the night as the sun that came through the window began their day every morning. While the guide never talked about the treatment of the slaves, i could never make an assumption that it was good or bad, from what I saw I cannot even hint to imagine what went on at that time. Even as we walked many of the campers were in a stand-still stuck in between what we felt was our present and warped back into our past. It was all of our pasts that allow us even room to have a future. This nation was built on the backs of those who unfortunately were not free in order to allow the freedom we have today. While they had not known the impact they made, we can look back and be grateful that they did. All in all a very great trip to Medford and by far something I wish everyone knew.


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