Talking Book

The horrors of cheap labour


Dear John,

I know we haven’t met, but I admire your drive to attain profits. You say your wife does not know much about the subject of capital, but I’m afraid you don’t know much as well. You quickly recognized the fact that the plantation had once been owned by a rich man: “It was a plantation of considerable extent, that had formerly belonged to a wealthy man by the name of McAdoo” (Chesnutt). I believe that you aspire to be like McAdoo, but you don’t seem to care, nor understand, that the weight of  your profit crushes the backs of negroes who provide your cheap labor. With cheap land and cheap labor, it’s  a win-win situation for you. Hereafter and always, it would be a lose lose situation for the black bodies who reamin unamed and uncared for on these plantations. These “foolish tales” you mock, paint the heavy reality that will fall on you and your wife’s shoulders. This reality, is the ignorance that you southern white folk incubate. You couldn’t even call Julius, Julius, because you didn’t care to know his name. Now I know your name John, and we aren’t even in the same story. Perhaps you should learn the skill of sympathy from your wife, although us colored men do not need it.

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