The next morning I awoke not expecting to get any presents since we were slaves at the time. But Ma and Pa gave me a little box. I had quickly opened it and there was a little silver heart in it. I thanked my Ma and Pa and put it around my neck. I still have the necklace they gave me that Christmas morning.

As the years went on I learned more and more and worked harder and harder. Finally when I was in my thirties the Massa had let me come work in the house. One day I was in the dining room dusting the furniture when I over heard my Massa talking to Miss Kate. I remember the exact words he said, I would never forget them. He said that the Yankees were coming to free the slaves. As soon as I heard him say that a rush of happiness filled my body and I wanted to run outside and tell all the other slaves that we are to become free soon. Miss Kate got mad and stormed into the room I was in. Quickly I went back to dusting so she wouldn't figure I was eavesdropping on their conversation. When the day was done and I stopped working and I ran to my Ma and Pa and told them what I heard the Massa talking about. Now that I was thirty, my parents were old and weren't doing very well. My Ma was very ill and my Pa had a bad back. I ran to tell Alice what I heard and she went and told all the other slaves.

Two weeks after I heard the great news, my Ma died. All of the slaves were sad but Pa and I were devastated. The Massa and Missus let us burry Ma. We had a small ceremony for her and then we had to get back to work. I cried for days. Alice tried to make me feel better, but she didn't help. I knew I would just have to go on with life. I was sad that my Ma would never get the chance to be free again. But happy she didn't have to go through anymore pain and hard work.

I was about forty when the Yankees came. Pa was old but he was healthy. I was working in the house when suddenly the doors burst open and Men with uniforms walked in. As soon as I saw their hats I knew it was the Yankees. They were there to free us. He walked up to the Massa and Miss Kate and talked to them. The Massa was furious and Miss Kate was mad. They were yelling at the Yankee general that we were not free and that they couldn't take us away. I ran outside along with other slaves. I could hear the Massa yelling at us to get back inside and continue to work. But I didn't listen and no one else did either. I ran to the shack where all the other slaves were. We all started to gather the few valuable items we had. Pa and I walked over to Ma's grave and said a final goodbye. I was startled when I heard the Yankees yelling at us to come follow them. As soon as my foot stepped out of the gate, I was free.

Being free was not what I planned it to be. The Yankees left us and told us we were on our own now. It was hard for us slaves, I mean, people to find jobs and homes. Pa and I moved into a small house with my friend Alice. Alice's parents had both died on the plantation. I noticed that some of the slaves went back to their Master's for a job. I got a job as a blacksmith. Owner said the name fit me perfectly then laughed. I didn't laugh since I knew he was making fun of my color. I continued to work there for most of my life. I was fifty eight when my Pa died. Alice and I buried him in the backyard of our little house.

As I went on sixty I retired from my job as a blacksmith. All I do these days is sit back with Alice and talk. Sometimes I go for walks and remember the days of when I was a slave. I try to forget those days, but I can't. If I do, then I would be taking away part of my life.