Skip to product information
1 of 1

The Pull Of Freedom

The Pull Of Freedom

Regular price $3.99
Regular price Sale price $3.99
Sale Sold out
Even in bondage, the newly arrived African slaves considered themselves free. Led by Nanny and Cudjoe, the siblings escaped the Simmonds’ plantation and went in different directions to forge their destiny in the new country called Jamaica. But before Cudjoe escaped the plantation his assignation with the housemaid, Martha, produced a daughter called Asha. Intertwined in the stories of Nanny and Cudjoe, former slaves, who would do anything for freedom, are the stories of the Simmonds’ plantation owners who had their own sets of problems. And bridging the divide of slave and free, rich and poor, black and white is Asha the house slave and Mark Simmonds whose attachment was inappropriate for the times they lived in and whose lives brought it all together.
View full details

Collapsible content



April 1719

Jelani could barely see through the darkness before him. The pinprick of light that pierced the interior of the cave-like place hardly made any impact. He had cried earlier, big fat tears had rolled down his face as he was shackled to another man, his arms and legs linked by thick iron to another one and then the length of the iron linked to still another. He was herded into the ship as if he was little more than an animal.
He had tried to fight the white men—tried to grab hold of the leering face in front of him to smash it to smithereens as the hate in his gut was telling him to. But the crash of the whip on his back had rendered him motionless; the scent of his tearing flesh had brought tears to his eyes. The big white man had pulled him back roughly, and his last glimpse of the shores of his homeland was while they were hoarding him, and countless others, to a dark hole in the big ship.
There were so many people packed in the bottom of the vessel, their bodies pressed together, flesh brushing flesh and intermingled with the heavy burden of iron.
The ship was swaying rhythmically for hours now. He wondered what the men above board were seeing.
How long had he been sitting in the dark?
The numbness in his legs where they were folded to his body was fast becoming a dull ache.
Where were they going to take them and what would happen to him and his siblings?
The moans and whimpering about him had risen to a deafening crescendo as people wailed in their own language, some louder than others. He could barely make out where his brothers and sister were.
His head ached, and his eyes stung.
“Be strong,” his sister’s voice was determined in the darkness.
The stench of stale bodies and urine was threatening to overpower him. The girl shackled alongside him had spoken a different language, probably from the tribe of Swahili; their women were not as strong as the Ashanti’s.
The girl whimpered as if she could hear his thoughts and he could feel her tears in his back. He was a little better than the girl, he realized, and probably smelt just as bad.
His body started shaking, and he had to struggle with the chains on his hand and his limited wiggle room to stop the involuntary movement.
“Be strong,” his sister’s voice rose above the whimpering and cries from the crowd of men and women at the bottom of the ship, he could imagine that he saw her eyes in the dark flashing fire. There would be no weakness on her part, no obsequiousness.
“We are Ashanti, Ashanti strong,” she crooned, her voice sounded close to his ears.
How did she know that he was on the verge of screaming and wailing like the other people? How did she know that he needed her right now?
The wound on his back was making him weak and he could hardly think straight.
“We will survive wherever they are taking us.” Her voice was laden with serenity. “We will not be subject to any man’s will. The great God above will see to that.” Her voice tightened in steely resolve. “Every one of them on this ship will pay for trifling with us.”
He moaned in response, his head was fuzzy; the warmth of unconsciousness was beckoning him enticingly.
“Try to fight it.” The words in the dark were as clear to him as if she was talking right beside him, all the ship sounds faded into the background.
“Focus, Jelani. Do you see the pain?” He tried to put his mind at the exact spot of the white-hot pain that was working its way up his back. The blood-soaked tatters of his clothes were digging into the crevices of his open flesh.
“Now move the pain, Jelani.”
“I am too tired.”
“Do it now,” she demanded, “if you don’t do it now, you’ll be dead in the morning.”
“I want to die.”
"No, you don't want to die. When you die you will die how you were born, free, not holed up in the bowels of a stinking ship. Do you hear me?"
He mentally nodded.
“Now find the pain.”
He concentrated again, the pain was below his shoulder. The lash had cut its way almost to the tip of his buttocks. He mentally willed the pain to move slowly inch by inch from his buttocks to his shoulder, and then down his shackled arms. The pain crawled slowly past his fingers and out of his body. His back was no longer aching.
“Now concentrate on the flesh.” Her voice sounded satisfied. “Stop it from bleeding.”
He squeezed his eyes shut once more and concentrated on his flesh. He felt the blood slowly stopping.
She sighed into the dark. “Go to sleep little brother.”
Jelani felt the tears again; they were threatening to fall.
“We are fighters, we don’t cry.” Her voice was husky. “Everyone else is sleeping, Cudjoe, Quao, Accompong, and Cuffy. I would have taken the lash for you when that pig of a man raised his hand, but Cudjoe pushed me out of the way."
Jelani sniffled.
“That’s the last time a white man will beat you,” she whispered, “that’s the last time, you have my word. Now sleep.”
He heard a shuffling in the far corner of the dark hole, in the darkness somebody was trying to be comfortable but failing. A baby cried, the girl behind him sobbed, her tears washed his wound stinging it with the salt.
“Nanny,” he said softly in the darkness.
His sister grunted.
“How are you so sure that we will be free when we get where we are going?”
“Jelani,” her voice was tired, “I am free. No one can take my freedom unless I let them.”
He closed his eyes smiling, despite his back and the putrid stench; he slept like a free man.