“Ok. I think that’s everything,” Lear Green looked up from the cramped wooden chest with glassy eyes and a half smile. She was stuffed in an old sailor’s box with a quilt, pillow, few clothes, food, and a water bottle.
Her fiance and his mother fastened the chest with heavy rope and loaded Green on the steamer, alongside the other freight, for the nail-biting journey.
William Adams, a free Black man, had repeatedly proposed to his love, but she always said no. “How can I perform the duties of wife and mother while burdened by the shackles of slavery?” Green asked Adams.
They were madly in love, but Green refused to bring a child into the world right under the thumb of anti-Blackness.
Mama Adams boarded and sat a few feet from the freight storage. She hurried to the sailor’s chest when night fell, untying the rope and lifting the lid so her daughter-in-law-to-be could get some fresh air.
Meanwhile, Green’s enslaver had put a $150 reward on her head for her return.
When we strategize against the system together, we can win. Resisting anti-Blackness in the name of love and liberation is always worth the risk.