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My Alabama Shaw Family on My Father’s Side From 1861-2014

Mama returned to working the land and left me at home clean and full to keep me from getting hungry, and Daddy pulled a prank

Posted Dec 5, 2016

Annie Shaw-Barnes, Ph.D.
Author and Speaker
Cultural Anthropologist
Family Specialist
Family Education Specialist
Spousal Abuse Specialist
Christian Church Specialist
Racism Specialist

Hi everyone,

When I was a month old and it was time to head back outside and into the real world, Mama faced a dilemma.

Though she had carried me in her womb, while working Mr. Bob Calhoun’s land, after I was born, she didn’t want to carry me to the cotton, corn, and peanut fields and believed I would be more comfortable at home and would not grow up with a sharecropping mentality.

So, when she started hoeing in June, she decided that she’d take care of my needs and leave me at home, but daddy pulled a prank on Mama, Uncle Sam, and Mama (Aunt) Sarah Daddy went to where they were hoeing and told them I had been taken.

They dropped their hoes and rushed to the house, Daddy following. Frantic at not finding me in the house, they were terrified and bewildered. The three just stood there, grim-faced. They’d never heard of anybody taking a baby. They did not know they were in good company. Charles Lindbergh who flew the first solo transatlantic airplane flight in 1927 was the victim of his son being kidnapped in 1932, the same year Daddy kidnapped me. In our story, soon Mama’s instinct caused her to look in Daddy’s eyes and arms, where he was gently holding little me. She gave Daddy a sharp look and then broke out in a smile.

Years later, Daddy told me, “I did that to keep your Mama from ever leaving you alone. Your Mama had to take you to the fields.”

As in my case, in 1932, working white man's land was more important than a Negro woman staying home to raise her child, and Daddy could not do enough field work, alone, for us to survive.

The conversation will be continued next time.

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