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Biography of a Slave; Being the Experiences of Rev. Charles Thompson, a Preacher of the United Brethren Church, While a Slave in the South
			
            BIOGRAPHY OF A SLAVE.            37
and studied constantly day after day, which
soon advanced me beyond some of the white
children older  than  myself  in  learning.     I
learned to spell and read; and my appetite for
knowledge increasing, my young mistress set
copies for me, and by the time the school-term
was out I could spell, read, and write.
  Slaves on large plantations in the South were
worked in gangs, under the general supervision
of the overseer or slave-owner.  The gangs were
placed under the immediate supervision of a
trusty and intelligent slave, whose duty it was
to see that each hand performed his or her al-
lotted task, to weigh cotton during the picking
season, and to direct the slaves in their labor,
and were called field superintendents or bosses.
This was my position on the plantation a short
time after school was out for the term.
  For the first few days after my term at school
as waiter for my young mistresses, I was ordered
into the field to pick cotton, but was shortly
placed over the hands as "boss" and cotton-
weigher.  Each  picker had a "stint" or daily
task to perform; that is, each of them was re-
quired to pick so many pounds of cotton, and
when in default were unmercifully whipped. I
had the cotton of each hand to weigh, three
times each day, and had to keep the weights




			
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Biography of a Slave; Being the Experiences of Rev. Charles Thompson, a Preacher of the United Brethren Church, While a Slave in the South


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