this sweet milk tea
contains all my joy.
As the blue moon climbs over the Potomac River,
I lay my tired body down next to the planted field.
Momma tells me that I’ll turn 13 tomorrow; my birthday wish….to be free
Like brail, the scars on my back speak to the humility in my life.
My dog Jip lays beside me and with a warm tongue conveys everything will be fine.
It’s the early fall here at Georgetown University
My name is Cornelius, Cornelius Hawkins and I write these words so you know my plight.
Here with me are my father, mother and 2 yr old sister.
We toil the field from dawn to dusk…the salt herring and cornmeal give us strength.
And my hands are forever clinging to this rosary and I pray God will hear my prayers.
I can’t begin to tell how afraid I am each and every day.
I try not to dwell on our strife and struggles, but day dream of downright happiness.
My family and our ancestors before us have been confined to slavery for 200 years.
Momma always says “There is no slavery, just ignorance”.
I hold her words near and dear to my heart and I never give up hope for a better life.
Unfortunately, Cornelius Hawkins never got the life he prayed for. Cornelius was one of the 272 slaves at Georgetown University and all were sold off to keep the school running. I read a recent article in the NY Times about GU272 and felt compelled to try and convey some of Cornelius Hawkins thoughts. I labored over this for days. Spent a fair amount time researching as much information about GU272 that I could find. Although I know I'll never come close to knowing the entire story, what I do know is that Cornelius is in a better place today and I can't wait to meet him in the by and by. RIP Mr. Hawkins!
— The End —