Talking Book

My Sweet Naive Annie


Oh Annie, you are surely allowing your feminine sensibilities to overpower you! But alas, I have also been weakened so I shall not be too hard on you. Just the other day I was watching Old Julius devour a hefty dinner from afar. All of a sudden, and without any noticeable disturbances, Julius began to cry; for a moment, I even wondered if he had forgotten to chew his ham! This man’s humors are as variable as those of a baby.

My curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to probe Julius – what else did I have to do? He proceeded to tell me the story of a slave named Dave, which he was evidently reminded of by the ham he was gobbling up. Poor Dave, you see, was forced by his master to wear a full ham around his neck as if it were a necklace! This was clearly too disorienting for Dave, and he slowly became divorced from reality. His mental state was so poor that he began to believe that he was a ham, this pitiful childish soul.

This was such a strange tale, and yet, it was also quite illuminating. I reflected upon Julius’ words and became rather despondent. Indeed, it seems to me that the memories of slavery will stunt the emotional growth of negroes for generations. True emancipation will only be realized when the negro learns to embrace the values that we, as Americans and Christians, hold so dear. I fear that this change will not come about until the last slaves, and perhaps even their children and grandchildren, die out. And with them, I hope, will disappear these nightmarish recollections that so haunt negroes. Until this happens, however, I am solemnly assured that the negro will continue to exist in a state of infantile emotional underdevelopment.


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