STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu
Document C: Henry Adams Statement (Modified)
In September 1865 I asked the boss to let me go to the city of Shreveport.
He said, "All right, when will you come back?" I told him "next week." He
said, "You had better carry a pass." I said, "I will see whether I am free by
going without a pass."
I met four white men about six miles south of town. One of them asked me
who I belonged to. I told him no one. So him and two others struck me with
a stick and told me they were going to kill me and every other Negro who
told them that they did not belong to anyone. They left me and I then went
on to Shreveport. I saw over twelve colored men and women, beat, shot and
hung between there and Shreveport.
Sunday I went back home. The boss was not at home. I asked the madam
[the boss’s wife], "where was the boss?" She said, "You should say 'master'.
You all are not free . . . and you shall call every white lady 'missus' and
every white man 'master.'"
During the same week the madam took a stick and beat one of the young
colored girls, who was about fifteen years of age. The boss came the next
day and whipped the same girl nearly to death. . . . After the whipping a
large number of young colored people decided to leave that place for
Shreveport. [On our way], out came about forty armed white men and shot
at us and took my horse. They said they were going to kill every colored
person they found leaving their masters.
Source: Former slave Henry Adams made this statement before the U.S.
Senate in 1880 about the early days of his freedom after the Civil War.