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384 pages, Hardcover
First published January 7, 2014
Goods and chattel... We were like the gold leaf mirror and the horse saddle. Not full-fledge people. I didn't believe this, never had believed it a day of my life, but if you listen to white folks long enough, some sad, beat-down part of you starts to wonder...Handful and her mother are skilled seamstresses, and one of the recurring themes in the book is the quilt her mother creates, telling the story of her life, the terrible experiences as well as the good ones.
When mauma saw my raw eyes, she said, "Ain't nobody can write down in a book what you worth."
“She said it again, "I'm tired."
She wanted me to tell her it was all right, to get her spirit and go on, but I couldn't say it. I told her, "Course you're tired. You worked hard your whole life. That's all you did was work."
"Don't you remember me for that. Don't you remember I'm a slave and work hard. When you think of me, you say, she never belong to those people. She never belong to nobody but herself."
She closed her eyes. "You remember that."
"I will, mauma.”
At the age of 11, I owned a slave I couldn't free.
If you must err, do so on the side of audacity