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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 159 pages of information about Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave, Written by Himself.
counsellor among the old superstitious influential slaves; one who professed to be a great friend of mine, told me to get a lock of hair from the head of any girl, and wear it in my shoes:  this would cause her to love me above all other persons.  As there was another girl whose affections I was anxious to gain, but could not succeed, I thought, without trying the experiment of this hair.  I slipped off one night to see the girl, and asked her for a lock of her hair; but she refused to give it.  Believing that my success depended greatly upon this bunch of hair, I was bent on having a lock before I left that night let it cost what it might.  As it was time for me to start home in order to get any sleep that night, I grasped hold of a lock of her hair, which caused her to screech, but I never let go until I had pulled it out.  This of course made the girl mad with me, and I accomplished nothing but gained her displeasure.

Such are the superstitious notions of the great masses of southern slaves.  It is given to them by tradition, and can never be erased, while the doors of education are bolted and barred against them.  But there is a prohibition by law, of mental and religious instruction.  The state of Georgia, by an act of 1770, declared “that it shall not be lawful for any number of free negroes, molattoes or mestinos, or even slaves in company with white persons, to meet together for the purpose of mental instruction, either before the rising of the sun or after the going down of the same.” 2d Brevard’s Digest, 254-5.  Similar laws exist in most of the slave States, and patrols are sent out after night and on the Sabbath day to enforce them.  They go through their respective towns to prevent slaves from meeting for religious worship or mental instruction.

This is the regulation and law of American Slavery, as sanctioned by the Government of the United States, and without which it could not exist.  And almost the whole moral, political, and religious power of the nation are in favor of slavery and aggression, and against liberty and justice.  I only judge by their actions, which speak louder than words.  Slaveholders are put into the highest offices in the gift of the people in both Church and State, thereby making slaveholding popular and reputable.

FOOTNOTES: 

[1] Police peculiar to the South.

CHAPTER III.

My Courtship and Marriage.—­Change of owner.—­My first born.—­Its sufferings.—­My wife abused.—­My own anguish.

The circumstances of my courtship and marriage, I consider to be among the most remarkable events of my life while a slave.  To think that after I had determined to carry out the great idea which is so universally and practically acknowledged among all the civilized nations of the earth, that I would be free or die, I suffered myself to be turned aside by the fascinating charms of a female, who gradually won my attention from an object so high as that of liberty; and an object which I held paramount to all others.

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