Lest We Forget - African American Military History by Researcher, 
					Author and Veteran Bennie McRae, Jr.

OLD WILL CANNON

OLD WILL CANNON - BORN SLAVE

By Thurman W. Adams

DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF MY OLD FRIEND WILL

�2002. Thurman W. Adams

Born slave on a family plantation so close
made old Will like family to all of us most.
To me Will was a wonderful living history book,
and if ever a question, it only took one look.

Whether cultivating the garden with the old mule "Kate"
or caring for Grandmother's flowers by the old wooden gate,
Will would always stop, removing his hat with bowed head,
whenever my grandmother's instructions were said.

Will was my friend but to him not an equal to me,
for Will was born a slave and to him, master I would be.
But to me, Will was superior to a young white kid,
for I thought I knew slavery was an evil which supposedly had been rid.

The knowledge of a century was in old Will,
never enough could he tell me, for I wanted more still.
To me he was a living link to an era long past
and on a spring day in May, he died, resting at last.

I never knew why Will lowered his eyes when I spoke,
only after his death, would I learn it was because I was white folk.
For Will had been taught to not look at his master's face,
as it was totally unacceptable because of his race.

Now, Will has been dead for twenty-nine years
and when I think back to him, my eyes still feel the tears.
And Will will always be a very dear friend to me.
And for me, that is all that really matters, you see.

 


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