Dr. Edna Medford
Slave Family

                                        Images Used By Dr. Medford to Illustrate Her Talk
Five generation picture
Selling of family members
"Oh my child, my child"

Mother being whipped for wanting to go back to the tree and protect her child from the snake in the grass.


Scolding of mother in front of child

    Dr. Edna Medford of Howard University  discussed the family structure of African American families and the importance of family.

    She demonstrated how  the images of slave families and the letters from Spotswood Rice can be used as resources  in classrooms to discuss this importance and the difficulties African Americans faced in maintaining these relationships.

[Benton Barracks Hospital, St. Louis, Mo.  September 3, 1864]

My Children   I take my pen in hand to rite you A few lines to let you know that I have not forgot you and that I want to see
you as bad as ever   now my Dear Children I want you to be contented with whatever may be your lots   be assured that I will
have you if it cost me my life   on the 28th of the mounth. 8 hundred White and 8 hundred blacke solders expects to start up the
rivore to Glasgow and above there thats to be jeneraled by a jeneral that will give me both of you   when they Come I expect
to be with, them and expect to get you both in return. Dont be uneasy my children   I expect to have you. If Diggs dont give
you up this Government will and I feel confident that I will get you   Your Miss Kaitty said that I tried to steal you   But I'll let
her know that god never intended for man to steal his own flesh and blood. If I had no cofidence in God I could have
confidence in her   But as it is If I ever had any Confidence in her I have none now and never expect to have   And I want her
to remember if she meets me with ten thousand soldiers she [will?] meet her enemy   I once [thought] that I had some respect
for them but now my respects is worn out and have no sympathy for Slaveholders. And as for her cristianantty I expect the
Devil has Such in hell   You tell her from me that She is the frist Christian that I ever hard say that aman could Steal his own
child especially out of human bondage

You can tell her that She can hold to you as long as she can   I never would expect to ask her again to let you come to me
because I know that the devil has got her hot set againsts that that is write   now my Dear children I am a going to close my
letter to you   Give my love to all enquiring friends   tell them all that we are well and want to see them very much and Corra
and Mary receive the greater part of it you sefves and dont think hard of us not sending you any thing   I you father have a
plenty for you when I see you   Spott & Noah sends their love to both of you   Oh! My Dear children how I do want to see

                                                                                  [Spotswood Rice]

[Spotswood Rice] to My Children, [3 Sept. 1864], enclosed in F. W. Diggs to Genl. Rosecrans, 10 Sept. 1864, D-296 1864, Letters Received, ser.
2593, Dept. of the MO, U.S. Army Continental Commands, Record Group 393 Pt. 1, National Archives. The first fourteen lines of the letter
appear to be in Private Rice's handwriting, but the remainder is in another hand. Rice, a tobacco roller and the slave of Benjamin Lewis, had
enlisted in early February 1864 at Glasgow, Missouri. On the date of this letter, he was hospitalized with chronic rheumatism. (Service record of
Spottswood Rice, 67th USCI, Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations: Civil War, ser. 519, Adjutant General's Office, Record Group 94,
National Archives.)

                                             [Benton Barracks Hospital, St. Louis, Mo.  September 3, 1864]

I received a leteter from Cariline telling me that you say I tried to steal to plunder my child away from you   now I want you to
understand that mary is my Child and she is a God given rite of my own and you may hold on to hear as long as you can but I
want you to remembor this one thing that the longor you keep my Child from me the longor you will have to burn in hell and the
qwicer youll get their   for we are now makeing up a bout one thoughsand blacke troops to Come up tharough and wont to
come through Glasgow and when we come wo be to Copperhood rabbels and to the Slaveholding rebbels for we dont expect
to leave them there root neor branch   but we thinke how ever that we that have Children in the hands of you devels we will trie
your [vertues?] the day that we enter Glasgow   I want you to understand kittey diggs that where ever you and I meets we are
enmays to each orthere   I offered once to pay you forty dollers for my own Child but I am glad now that you did not accept
it   Just hold on now as long as you can and the worse it will be for you   you never in you life befor I came down hear did you
give Children any thing not eny thing whatever not even a dollers worth of expencs   now you call my children your
pro[per]ty   not so with me   my Children is my own and I expect to get them and when I get ready to come after mary I will
have bout a powrer and autherity to bring hear away and to exacute vengencens on them that holds my Child   you will then
know how to talke to me   I will assure that and you will know how to talk rite too   I want you now to just hold on to hear if
you want to   iff your conchosence tells thats the road go that road and what it will brig you to kittey diggs   I have no fears
about geting mary out of your hands   this whole Government gives chear to me and you cannot help your self

                                                                                   Spotswood Rice

Spotswood Rice to Kittey diggs, [3 Sept. 1864], enclosed in F. W. Diggs to Genl. Rosecrans, 10 Sept. 1864, D-296 1864, Letters Received, ser.
2593, Dept. of the MO, U.S. Army Continental Commands, Record Group 393 Pt. 1, National Archives.

Published in The Black Military Experience, pp. 689-90, in Free at Last, pp. 480-82, in Families and Freedom, pp. 195-97, and in Freedom's
Soldiers, pp. 131-33.