Thursday, August 25, 2016

My Son Isn't For Sale

James Morris
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting a beautiful woman named Lorena Morris at the home of her friend Ruby Dunn Gilmore. She flew down to spend some time in her home town of Kentwood, Louisiana. I went over the see both ladies and decided to sit and talk with them about Tangipahoa Parish Training School for the Colored. They both were students at the school and both ladies were taking me down me back in time. Her siblings are; Charlie, Frank J, Lara Jane, Georgia M, and Joe Lee Morris. Her father James was born around 1914 according to  the 1940 U.S. Census. At the time when the census was taken the family was living in St. Helena Parish.

She proudly displayed his WWII photographs. But one story that stayed in my mind is the story about a white man in Gillsburg, Mississippi  who offered to buy her father in the 30s. She stated her father James told her he was a young man when a white man asked his father to sell him. James father quickly told the white man that his son wasn't for sale. Gillsburg, Mississippi is located in Amite County, Mississippi. This wasn't the first time that I heard people in Amite County talk about their relatives been sold or held systems of involuntary servitude.

She said her mother Dora was a house servant working in the white folk kitchen. Later she got a job working in the school cafeteria in Kentwood.