“10 Naked Little Boys, Tied Together … Moaned Themselves to Sleep.”"

Our country became rich and powerful, in large part, because of enslaved labor, driven by brutal treatment lashed upon men, women and children held in permanent bondage. The words below show just how evil it was:

“Ten naked little boys, between six and twelve years old, tied together, two by two, by their wrists, were all fastened to a long rope, and followed by a tall, gaunt white man, who, with his long lash, whipped up the sad and weary procession, drove it to a horse-trough to drink, and thence to a shed, where they lay down on the ground and sobbed and moaned themselves to sleep.”

The boys, black slaves, had just been “purchased from different plantations that day and were on their way to auctioned off at Richmond.”

That horrific scene was described by Frances Seward — spouse of William Seward, one member of Lincoln’s Team of Rivals — as their carriage made its way into Virginia, while on a family tour from New York.

According to historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Frances Seward was so upset by what she’d seen that she cut off the rest of the family trip, writing — again from Team of Rivals — “Sick of slavery and the South.”

Virginia had long before legitimized how these 10 little children could be treated, when it enacted this law in 1705:

All Negro, mulatto and Indian slaves within this dominion. . . shall be held to be real estate. If any slave resists his master. . . correcting such slave, and shall happen to be killed in such correction. . . the master shall be free of all punishment. . . as if such accident never happened.

- Virginia General Assembly declaration, 1705


  • Frances Seward -, page 78
  • Virginia General Assembly -
  • This was slavery, in all its inhumanity, blatantly cruel. And accepted by our Nation and the people who lived here. Until the Emancipation Proclamation was signed; nearly 30 years after those little boys moaned themselves to sleep.

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