top of page


Refugee Resilience

Part one

Samson was born in Tennessee to an enslaved woman named Emma. Emma was beautiful. Her skin was smooth, brown like a maple tree. She was 17 years old when Samson was born and shortly after grew ill. She used to watch Samson-- or Sammy Boy, the nickname she liked to call him as she bathed him-- from her porch play in the dirt with their cousin Mae’s daughter, Minney.

Samson’s father, Mr. Richardson never intended to care for him as his son. The thought of Emma and her daddy’s slave-owner's son raising a child together was merely unfathomable. Mr. Richardson would sneak across town for Emma, telling his father he was handling business affairs. Samson was the product of such business. After catching word that Emma was with child, Mr. Richardson left town with no intentions of returning for Emma and their unborn child.

By the time Samson was 5 years old Emma's illness grew deadly, leading Mae to watch over Samson.

“Sammy boy, ya’ listen to ya’ Aunt Mae. Don’t cause ha no troubles now, ya’ hear. Ya’s my prideful possession, the only thang I’s treasure in dis life” said Emma as she tucked Samson’s shirt into his trousers.

Samson nodded his head, aware of what Emma’s words meant. She held Samson's face, kissed his forehead, and gave him her Bible. Over the years, Samson and Minney would flip through the pages of Emma’s Bible, staring at the words as if they were codes that they simply couldn’t crack. Mae did her very best to raise Minney and Samson as siblings.

When Samson was 17 he left Mae’s, hoping to get a job working on the railroads. He met men from Florida, Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, and Kentucky; but no one compares to the bond he and Bobby formed.... Stay tuned for part two!


bottom of page