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Holly Smith


I belonged to Mr. Jackson. He called me Christian, but from where I originate my name is Nuru.

I lived with my family in a small village in West Africa. We had the most goats in the village, so were ranked very high. My father, brothers and I always produced the most amounts of crops each year, and even managed a few yams in the drought season. My father was the tribal chief. My ancestors had ruled our tribe for decades and I was soon to take on my role as Chief.

I had to complete manhood training before I was able to rule, and one of my tasks was to seek out new land for my village to grow. I was in charge of many men and I felt proud to be the leader of this mission. I knew my father would be content when I returned with news of the fertile plain I found. It was difficult to discover land suitable for crops. However, I was foolish not to have thought of a plan to combat tribal attacks. I heard a shout from behind, and before I had chance to understand what was happening, I was hit by harsh leather material. I fell to the ground, clutching my head. Warm drops of red liquid ran across my cheek. Before I could scream cold, heavy cuffs were linked around my ankles. I cried and bawled for my father, but I was silenced by another blow to the head. My men were linked too, and I was connected to other people. There were children and women in the procession as well, most had cuts and open wounds on their skin.

We were dragged on a trek that lasted days, through unknown jungle and trees. For many hours I was confused, but thinking of all the endless possibilities to where we were going tired me, so I stayed quiet. We emerged onto white, hot sand next to the sea. Our chain had grown and now we numbered hundreds of miserable men, women & children. The shore was stacked with wooden cages packed tight with my people.

I was thrown in a cage and separated from my men. I longed for the rescue of my father and the safety of my mother. I was lost in a sea of memories, each one making my stomach clench and twist with the thought of home.

I stayed in that cage for a few days, until I was loaded onto a ship. I do not wish to recount the journey across the seas. Over half of the people on board died, or jumped overboard. I was locked in a long, damp room, chained and crushed like an animal. I had no clue as to how long I spent in that disgusting condition, but I eventually arrived on the shores of America.

Twelve years have passed since my capture:

I now belong to God. He calls me Son, but from where I originate, my name is Nuru.


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