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Give this man a statue

25 June 2020

With statues of slave holders being pulled down throughout the United States, and replacements being sought, maybe Nathaniel Jackson might be a good replacement.  Who?

Jackson had grown up the son of an Alabama plantation owner.  Common at the time, the children of the massa were allowed to play with the slave children, up until the slaves were big enough to send off to the fields.  Nathaniel’s favorite playmate was Matilda Hicks, and… playing together when they were about five years old … promised to marry her when he grew up.  Which, surprisingly enough, he did at some point in the 1850s.  Or at least, openly lived with her, buying her (and her three children from unknown fathers) emancipation.

Upon inheriting the plantation in 1857, he liberated his slaves, sold the land, and… with Matilda, her kid, their kids, a few other “mixed families” and whatever former slaves wanted to come,  headed west, intending to establish a free colony in northern Mexico.  That none of the party spoke Spanish, and Nathaniel was a committed Protestant… as much as cheap land… was probably responsible for them settling on the banks of the Rio Grande /Bravo del Norte.  The isolated Jackson Ranch was both a destination where escaped slaves could either take their chances and “pass” as freemen with some assurance that their neighbors could fend off slave hunters, or … with the assistance of Jackson’s Tejano neighbors… get some lessons in Spanish and Mexican customs before crossing the river.

It’s estimated that about 4000 people self-liberated themselves by way of the Jackson Ranch, although how many stayed in Mexico, how many assimilated into the Mexican population and how many returned after the American Civil War is unknown.



One Comment leave one →
  1. norm permalink
    27 June 2020 5:23 am

    I’ll second the motion . Nice story.

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