It discusses the life of Wilson Walker, an ex-slave who now resides in Bethel, Alaska. Walker is roughly 90 years old. He has worked as a gardener since his release from slavery when he was 25 years. He lives a lonely life…
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His father died in the First World War while his mother died after her release due to starvation. Walker did not participate in the war because of his small physical frame.
Walker says that his name as a slave was Scott Walker. He says, “My Masters’ name was Noel Walker, and we were named after him. However, we were told to take up freed names after our freedom.” Walker knew his mother better than he knew his dad. His father worked in the fields for long hours from early morning and when he returned home late in the night he was already asleep. When asked if he knew his parents, Walker replied, “I knew my mother well. My father went to fight and never came back. Before the war, he used to work in the fields. He was a huge man, not like me. I was too small for the fields and therefore rarely saw him. He was home when the moon was up and left when the sun was just about to rise. They surely made a donkey out of him” Walker thanks her mum for his good upbringing. “My mother was a gift from God. She raised me good. She worked as a cook and sometimes as a gardener. The Noel family believed she could do anything. I once saw her work in the plantations with men. She was a hardworking woman and always encouraged me to love my life, a life that was not loveable.”
Walker had a brother who was big like their dad. Unfortunately, another slave killed him over a woman. Walker says that he was never beaten but his daddy was a recipient of whips all the time. He says that the beatings were intense that he could sometimes hear his dad cry after being whipped. Walker attributes his father’s beatings to ruddiness. He says, “Mom said dad would not be beaten if he kept quiet. She told me to always hush and do whatever am told. I did that and was never beaten.”
Walker contrasts his masters’ housing to slaves’ quarters. “They lived in a house with floors filled with beautiful furniture. Our quarters were a different story. One room
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