African American Unit
This excerpt will be about the risks Ginnie had to take in order to gain her freedom and become a great public speaker. She was a house and a sexual servant to Virginian, Jackson Pryor, an ambassador to Nicaragua. Freedom for herself and the other slaves is what she yearned for. She was fed up; no longer wanting to be used and abused. For a long time she fought for her freedom. To be free, to have a better life for herself and her children, she would do anything even if it meant she would have to leave one behind. Knowing the journey to free would be very dangerous, she felt it was worth the risk. She was well aware that she would encounter many challenges in order to gain her freedom.
"Ginnie's first attempt to slip out of slavery had been twelve years before" (Cary 7). For the sake of freedom, Jackson made her choose to leave her youngest son, Bennie, with him. So she is forced to leave her youngest son behind. This was a very tough and painful decision for her to make. However, her strong determination to become free, helped her make that very tough, life changing decision. Being progressive with the idea of becoming free she was convinced to change her name by Harriet. With a new name, comes a clean slate, a new life, making the old life of slavery a distant and almost forgettable memory. The name she decided to go with was Mercer Gray. Mercer was chosen from the feeling of mercy she felt from the people of the underground rail road and Gray from a dream she had of a gray cat. Another challenge Mercer faced was reading and writing. She had a natural gift for speaking, however, because of her prior state of being a slave and a woman she was never taught how to read or write. Knowing this is an important skill to have, she was motivated to learn it.
Harriet, who is an abolitionist and school teacher, and her twin brother Tyree, who is also and abolitionist, helped teach Mercer how to read and write. Inspired by Harriet, Tryee and the state of her life she learned how to read and write. Not yet realizing her gift of public speaking, Mercer would get nervouse when she gave speeches. At this point, she did not like to give speeches for the reason of the nervousness she felt and the lack of confidence she had. Throught the death of Nig-Nag, one of the the many people that has been helping Mercer through her journey to freedom, she is inspired to do a public speeking tour. Her first speech was given a Massachusetts Church and she was afraid of offending people through her speech on slavery.
Slavery, and her personal life experiences is what she gave speeches about. The very nature of what she was talking about made her nervous.