As long as I can remember, I worked round the house in company with about 20 little boys and girls. We worked in the potatoe patch and cotton patch, and sometimes at the cotton gin; grubbed ground, pulled up roots, raked up chips and threw them on the log heap to burn; and rainy days we worked in the garden and cleared up the trash in the yard. As soon as children get old enough to walk about, they always set them to do something or other. Mistress was very strict, and if we did not do every thing exactly to please her we were sure to get a whipping. An old man whipped us on our bare flesh with hickory switches. A school-master named Cleeton, boarded with her, and used to bring home a great many of them and put them in the chimney to dry. He called them "nice switches to whip the little niggers with." A good many of us were entirely naked and the rest had nothing on but shirts. I never wore any clothes till I was big enough to plough. When they whipped us they often cut through our skin. They did not call it skin, but "hide." They say "a nigger hasn't got any skin."
One day one of the women was planting turnips. She had to sow in rows very regular; but the ground was rough, and when Mallard came by he saw she was scattering the seed. He told her the Devil was in her because she wasted the seed, and if she did not do better, when he came back from the house he would make her. When he came back she had not done any better, and he snatched up a root and knocked her down and kicked her, and then sent a man called Tennant to the house for a whip. Mallard whipped her till he was tired, and then Tennant whipped her. He was so mad he did not stop to tie her up, but beat her about on the ground, and every once in a while hit her with the but end of the whip. They whipped her till she could not scream.
Mallard had a Guinea man who could not understand a word of English, nor understand anything that was said. When the driver whipped him he did not beg like the rest. We always have to say, "Please massa," "Do massa." Master said he would teach "the -- nigger to beg." Then they told him what to say, but he did not understand. He was tied up by his wrists, and they kept beating him till they were tired. They then went into the house to drink and left him hanging there. While they were gone, a woman named Sarah went to him and tried to make him understand how to beg. She said, "Only say 'do massa[']"--and they'll stop whipping."--When they came out they tried a new plan. They took him down and lashed him to a log, and master stood on one side and the driver on the other. They whipped him with cowskins till they cut a great gash in his side that they had to sew up. All the sound they could get out of him was a kind of grunt,--"ugh," "ugh." The next day he went into the woods and staid five weeks before he was caught.
When master missed his wood, he took ten of the slaves and carried them to the camp, and after he had whipped three or four of them, Peter's boy got frightened and informed against his father. They carried Peter to his hut, and tied him up so that his feet could not touch the ground, then tied his feet together and put a great log between them, to keep him stretched tight. Then they whipped him till he fainted twice in the rope. They did not leave off whipping him till midnight. One of the men that kept the door said he "guessed Peter would have to be buried the next day, master whipped him so much." They always say "a nigger is not whipped to do him good, unless he faints." They say "cut into him; a nigger has'nt got any feeling;--there's no feeling in a nigger's hide;--you must cut through his hide to make him feel!"
After they had done whipping Peter, they gave him a dose of salts and put him in the stocks, down in the cellar, where it was so dark, you could not see your hand before you. When any one is put in the stocks a chain is put around his neck with a padlock on it, and the end of it is fastened to a beam of the house. His feet are put into holes between two pieces of wood, which are then bolted down close to his ancles,--his hands are tied, and he has to lie down on his back, without being able to move any part of his body except his head. Sometimes slaves are kept in the stocks two or three weeks, and whipped twice a week, and fed on gruel, because they run away or steal.
Now watch this.
It's 2013, approximately 148 after slavery's official end and 48 years after basic civil rights were guaranteed for black Americans. In the absence of overseers, bosses and owners, some black Americans insist on whipping one another or barring that, themselves. In the midst of Black History Month, it looks like some folks forgot some of history's most important lessons.