Virginia Pate

Book pages 34-35

As a result, it was almost impossible to get to stay with the sugar workers around there as they were afraid of reprisals from the whites. When I finally managed to find a place and had gone to bed, I discovered that the rumor about me had already swept like lightning through town, for suddenly the door was torn open and a madman stuck the barrel of a gun in my stomach and chased me out into the cold winter night.

Later that night a poor widow, Virginia Pate, took pity on me and I was allowed to share a bed with five of her children in a shack far out in the swamps. It always gets cold in the morning when the stove goes out and since the children pulled the covers over themselves, I had to freeze the first night. So the next morning the mother set to work repairing old quilts.

Never will I forget her, (and many times later I came back to visit her). She was willing to defy the whites although, admittedly, she dared not sleep under the same roof as I, but slept in her sister's shack. Together with her oldest son I went hunting in the swamps for armadillos and other edible things. Drinking water we got from the roof gutter.



Copyright 2005 AMERICAN PICTURES; All rights reserved.


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