It all started back in the days of the “Cotton Kingdom.”
(If there’s anything I hated, it was the Cotton Kingdom!)

My father was a farmer and a country doctor who succumbed to the allure of the Cotton Kingdom, or more precisely his belief that the wealth brought by cotton could turn him into a “Southern gentleman.” The extremely labor-intensive nature of cotton, however, not to mention the greater acreage under cultivation, led to his becoming one of the largest slaveholders in the county, and gradually a family farm with several Negro hands became a model of the Southern plantation system. “Doctor Pelham,” as we called him, initially aspired to being a benevolent master, but I’m fairly certain that his growing obsession with the farm’s profitability cost him his humanity, not an unusual occurrence in the Cotton Kingdom of the 1850s.

What can I say about my two older brothers, Charles and William?  While I found slavery grossly immoral and unfair, they eagerly accepted it as the way of things and relished the day they would become masters. They even idolized Ned, our vile cracker of an overseer, who reeked of alcohol and prided himself on “breaking” slaves.  However much I may have failed to achieve my ideals, I’d like to think I aspired to man’s loftier ambitions, especially in contrast to my brothers. At an early age, for example, I was fascinated by the solar system and especially comets. After all, it was Halley’s Comet that proved Sir Isaac Newton’s theory that for every action there was an equal and opposite reaction.  There’s reason to think that my extraordinary aptitude for cannon fire, downright genius some might say, was based on a unique appreciation of gravity and motion, principles essential to an artillerist.

Mega Citizenship Drive

ABOUT US Who we are Dominicanos USA, a non-partisan, non-profit organization, was formed in 2013 to raise the political power of the Dominican community in the United States by giving them a voice through civic, social, and economic engagement. Since its inception,...

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Empowering the Youth!

Dominicanos USA strongly believes in engaging and educating the younger demographic of future Dominican American voters and leaders. The fastest growing age group among the Dominican American community is between the ages of 14 and 21. In efforts to continue our...

DUSA’s February Citizenship Workshop and the 1.5 Generation

The 1.5 generation phenomenon was especially prevalent in Dominicanos USA latest citizenship workshop. About a third of the workshop attendees belonged to the 18-24 demographic, majority of whom were part of the 1.5 generation. Essentially, the 1.5 generation is made...

One famous proponent of slavery once argued that the “peculiar institution” helped protect white women’s virtue.        I just can’t imagine what he meant by that.

Aryanna, that beautiful girl I mentioned earlier, was my first friend when Mammy (yeah, that’s right, I had a mammy) let me play outside in the yard. Mulattoes were considered no different from Negroes back then, but when you’re little you don’t really distinguish between black and white.  I’d climb into the thickets to pick her bouquets of snow flowers, and we spent idyllic summer days sitting under the giant sycamore tree down by the pond on Cane Creek. That was our Eden of sorts, I suppose, even if it was soon to be spoiled by the coming of “King Cotton” and the unset of adulthood. When I was about twelve my mother forbade my friendship with Aryanna. “You’re getting too old to play with Negroes,” she said.  If only she knew what was coming; or maybe that’s what she was doing her best to prevent.

It wasn’t long before Charles and William were abusing Aryanna unmercifully, and worst of all, they tried to force me upon her when I was finally old enough to perform the carnal act.  That’s why Aryanna ran away and was lost to me, because of my brothers, and because she probably thought that, being one of the master’s sons, I was no different from them. I later learned she became a “fancy girl” in New Orleans, just as a lot of the beautiful light-skinned girls did in those days, when the only alternative was to be a house servant.  There was a time when I thought my brothers were a disgrace unique to the Pelham family, but I long-since learned that such behavior was rampant across the Cotton Kingdom and the entire South. In fact, I became convinced that sexual exploitation was at the core of the antebellum plantation system and maybe the whole damn “peculiar institution” as well.

I’d have to say my youthful psyche was damaged further when I learned that my father had purchased Aryanna to serve as a sexual surrogate (a term we didn’t use so much in the mid-nineteenth century) for me and my brothers when we reached adolescence.  My first childhood friend, the girl who became the love of my life, turned out to be nothing but a purchased whore! Being only a child, apparently she represented a wonderful opportunity to buy a “fancy girl” at a bargain price. Lord knows, Charles and William certainly got their money’s worth!

Mega Citizenship Drive

ABOUT US Who we are Dominicanos USA, a non-partisan, non-profit organization, was formed in 2013 to raise the political power of the Dominican community in the United States by giving them a voice through civic, social, and economic engagement. Since its inception,...

DUSA ayuda a comunidad en el proceso de ciudadania

DUSA ayuda a comunidad en el proceso de ciudadania0 Comments [et_social_follow icon_style="slide" icon_shape="circle" icons_location="top" col_number="auto" spacing="true" outer_color="dark"]    Dominicanos USA (“DUSA”), que cuenta con el programa de asistencia...

Empowering the Youth!

Dominicanos USA strongly believes in engaging and educating the younger demographic of future Dominican American voters and leaders. The fastest growing age group among the Dominican American community is between the ages of 14 and 21. In efforts to continue our...

DUSA’s February Citizenship Workshop and the 1.5 Generation

The 1.5 generation phenomenon was especially prevalent in Dominicanos USA latest citizenship workshop. About a third of the workshop attendees belonged to the 18-24 demographic, majority of whom were part of the 1.5 generation. Essentially, the 1.5 generation is made...

If I were a black dude, I’d sure as hell rather be called a “buck” than a “boy.”

My father was a farmer and a country doctor who succumbed to the allure of the Cotton Kingdom, or more precisely his belief that the wealth brought by cotton could turn him into a “Southern gentleman.” The extremely labor-intensive nature of cotton, however, not to mention the greater acreage under cultivation, led to his becoming one of the largest slaveholders in the county, and gradually a family farm with several Negro hands became a model of the Southern plantation system. “Doctor Pelham,” as we called him, initially aspired to being a benevolent master, but I’m fairly certain that his growing obsession with the farm’s profitability cost him his humanity, not an unusual occurrence in the Cotton Kingdom of the 1850s.

What can I say about my two older brothers, Charles and William?  While I found slavery grossly immoral and unfair, they eagerly accepted it as the way of things and relished the day they would become masters. They even idolized Ned, our vile cracker of an overseer, who reeked of alcohol and prided himself on “breaking” slaves.  However much I may have failed to achieve my ideals, I’d like to think I aspired to man’s loftier ambitions, especially in contrast to my brothers. At an early age, for example, I was fascinated by the solar system and especially comets. After all, it was Halley’s Comet that proved Sir Isaac Newton’s theory that for every action there was an equal and opposite reaction.  There’s reason to think that my extraordinary aptitude for cannon fire, downright genius some might say, was based on a unique appreciation of gravity and motion, principles essential to an artillerist.

Mega Citizenship Drive

ABOUT US Who we are Dominicanos USA, a non-partisan, non-profit organization, was formed in 2013 to raise the political power of the Dominican community in the United States by giving them a voice through civic, social, and economic engagement. Since its inception,...

DUSA ayuda a comunidad en el proceso de ciudadania

DUSA ayuda a comunidad en el proceso de ciudadania0 Comments [et_social_follow icon_style="slide" icon_shape="circle" icons_location="top" col_number="auto" spacing="true" outer_color="dark"]    Dominicanos USA (“DUSA”), que cuenta con el programa de asistencia...

Empowering the Youth!

Dominicanos USA strongly believes in engaging and educating the younger demographic of future Dominican American voters and leaders. The fastest growing age group among the Dominican American community is between the ages of 14 and 21. In efforts to continue our...

DUSA’s February Citizenship Workshop and the 1.5 Generation

The 1.5 generation phenomenon was especially prevalent in Dominicanos USA latest citizenship workshop. About a third of the workshop attendees belonged to the 18-24 demographic, majority of whom were part of the 1.5 generation. Essentially, the 1.5 generation is made...

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