Friday, November 11, 2016

Love is Not for Sale

Love is not for sale! Taken away from all he’s ever known, all that he has ever loved, Destiny Gray has a decision to make. Fight or die in the heat of the South Texas sun. Born into a family filled with love, tolerance, and cooperation, the institute of slavery is a strange one to him. When an opportunity is presented for Destiny to not only escape, but to have his own land, build his own home, all he can think of is the family he has left behind.
During slavery times in the United States, there were many misunderstandings that still exist today. There were times when those with power tried to make it seem that those without were mistaken about their place in the world. Often, those in power made it seem that having the basic necessities like food, shelter, were more than enough compensation for their freedom. Sometimes, they even claimed to be one happy family working together for the good of all.
In some cases, this was true. Once the truth came out about the institution of slavery, the depravity of it all, the separation of families, the inhumane treatment, some began to believe that all slave owners treated their slaves like chattel, animals to be herded, fed, and warehoused. The sentiment turned so quickly, that those on the outside came to believe that there was no way anyone who owned another man could be moral.
As in all areas of life, even today, it is rarely black and white. In truth, there were some plantations and farms that were able to form respectful family units. In this story, you are introduced to one such family. Destiny’s father, Clements, a partial landowner in his brother’s plantation, falls for their mother, Kileen, a slave woman brought to the plantation with her small son. Though their love is forbidden, they are able to carve themselves a home and build a family with a mixed race son and daughter born of love, as well as the son Kileen brought into the union.
The Destiny Series follows the storyline of this awesome family. Though they are separated by circumstances, they always seem to find a way back to each other. After the close of the transatlantic slave trade, people became desperate to have fresh slaves for the market, labor that was no longer available from overseas. With the increase in profits, struggling farms and plantations began to look within their own houses for just such talent. Any infraction could be the difference between staying with your family, and being sold.
Destiny’s father, having done the best he could to keep all the slaves on his piece of land together, felt the pressure of new restrictions imposed by his brother. A man of his stature showing too much kindness to the help often came under question. When a few of the children born to Killeen begin to resemble Clements, it’s only a matter of time before he is questioned and rebuked. Unfairly sold into slavery by his uncle, Destiny fears he will never see his family again.  
A perfect storm of circumstances find Destiny at the edge of the Texas Mexico border, where he has been sold to dig his life away in a canal. During this time, Mexico is feeling a lot of pressure from her people to protect their borders. Plagued by renegade Natives as well as the encroaching ranchers from the Americas, looking to carve out more of their countryside for Texas, Mexican citizens have no desire to occupy the border lands.
Cornered, the government extends an unofficial offer to the blacks working the plantation lands in Texas. There is no slavery in Mexico. Therefore, if they are willing to slip across the border, develope the government owned land grants they are lent, and stave off renegade attacks, they will be considered Mexican citizens. Though they offer the protection of the military patrols monitoring the borders, they are warned that patrols can only cover so much territory at a time. If attacked, the colonies would have to hold their own.
Destiny, offered this deal by one of the Mexican workers at the canal camp, decides it is time to take his chance to gain his freedom. Choosing a group of men who stand by him in the trenches, they come up with a plan to escape. They are soon to discover that escaping is the easy part. The land is rough, untamed, but working together, they are able to build homes, invite those brave enough to join them to construct their colony. Returning home via back roads and often under cover of darkness, Destiny is only able to rescue a small part of his family.
As the colonies grow, word begins to spread about the success there. Word reaches more than just the ears of the slaves looking to find their way to freedom. Bounty Hunters, desperate for new blacks to sell at market, hear about the colonies, the unattached freed slaves living in towns just across the border. Arriving in groups, the bounty hunters are able to press their advantage in the beginning. Burning any homes they come across after capturing slaves, the bounty hunters attempt to ensure that their prey have no ground to return to.




What the bounty hunters do not count on is the buoyancy of the human spirit. After years of being told how they should live, who they should love, who their families should be, what their priorities ought to be, the escapees decide not to go quietly into the night. Acquiring the tools to make weapons, textiles, printing presses, the colonies go to work, advertising to the slaves, why go north to freedom when the south’s so much closer. Arming themselves and any new comers who join them, advocates boldly proclaim that they are finished being sold away from their homes, away from their families. They declare in one voice their love is no longer for sale. This is a volatile hidden history, finally brought to light in my three book series, The Destiny Series.

Cite:

An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas 1821-1865, Campbell, Randolph B.Copyright by Louisiana State University Press, 1989.

The Destiny Series by Letisha Stanton is available on Amazon or at http://www.desertbreezepublishing.com/destiny-by-letisha-stanton/

2 comments:

Robyn Echols said...

Interesting history, Letisha. It looks like a must-read book. History of colonies of Americans in Mexico are seldom explored. Best of success with your series.

Letisha Stanton said...

Thank you so much Robyn. From the first moment I caught a whiff of this history I have been obsessed.