Friday, December 9, 2016

Owning Freedom


Owning a freedom as big and wide as the Mexican sky was the most important thing to Rosa Grey. It was all she’d ever known. Born into a family of escaped slaves who’d claimed their freedom at the Texas Mexico Border, she dreamed of nothing more than insuring that all men owned the same freedoms she did. Many of the children born in these border colonies had no idea what it meant to be a slave. They lived free and proud on the ranches and in the villages their parents raised for them.
In 1823 slaves in the Americas learned that salvation might lie just across the border. Vicente Guerrero, half Black half Spanish himself, abolished the institution of slavery in Mexico upon becoming president. Instead of going north, a long grueling trek through hostile territory, escaped slaves could simply head south. Guerrero did not make any other promises other than any man who came across the border would be free to pursue his own livelihood. This meant that the colonists would have to learn to defend themselves and their homes.


Though the children born to the colonies had no idea the struggles their parents went through to get them their, they lived the daily struggle that was making a living on the land.  Having been forced out of their own lands and retreating into Mexico, renegade Apache, Comanches, and other tribes took pleasure in raiding the farms and Ranches. Believed to be as much an obstacle as the inclement weather, the new colonists came to despise the Natives as much as the Mexicans did. When possible, the raiding Natives would take a strong man or woman to replace lost family members in their tribe.
Rosa Grey had no reason to doubt her safety on her Ranch. Though they'd heard of Bounty Hunters raiding nearby colonies and they’d had a few sneak attacks in the night from the Natives, she’d never had a reason to doubt that she could hold her own in the light of day. It felt some days as if she were born in the saddle, and she worked as hard as any of their ranch hands. Even her brothers did not possess the prowess she demonstrated with the horses and cattle. No, her focus was set on the north and finding a way to set the captives free.
It was an afternoon when she was not paying attention that she was taken off guard. Alone, tending to her family's cattle, she fought the Apache warriors who’d come only intending to take a cow. Impressed with her strength and gumption, however, it was decided that she would be taken with them. Through a twist of fate, she is given to a brave who helps her understand that the fear her people have of the Natives, may be unwarranted. Most wanted to coexist with the Ranchers, but every year, with more Ranchers building more villages, free game and free land start to fade away.


Though Mexico found a way to abolish slavery, they felt the encroachment of the Apache and Comanche Natives was a major inconvenience to the development of Mexican lands. This conflict was never higher than the years 1831 to 1850. During this time, the government began to offer bounty hunters a price if they brought in Native Scalps. The older the warrior, the more money the bounty hunter could receive. This meant, not only could Rosa fetch a price at market as a slave, but she might also be scalped, and still the bounty hunters would receive a pay day for her.
When Rosa is finally able to return home, she has a new respect for the concept of freedom. Against all odds, she strikes a fire within the people. No longer willing to hide and wait for the bounty hunters to burn her town down, Rosa builds the printing press that will begin to spread the word. Why go north to freedom, when the south is so much closer? All men and women arriving are given arms, food, shelter, real work, and the opportunity to truly own their own freedom.

To read Rosa Grey's story, please visit my book, Destiny's Hope, at:

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