Bobby was a 21 year old from South Carolina. The third born of fifteen children. His father was a tobacco farmer and his mother a homemaker. Bobby looked over Samson like kin, as if they were brothers. They both had skin the color of light mahogany; their smiles displayed genuine, child-like joy; their hair coiled and textured. Their words were their most prized possession, the only thing they had besides each other. Where Samson lacked confidence, Bobby concealed with charm. They were young Black men living in The Black Belt South. Above all odds, they somehow would conjure-up ideas for adventure. Although they never referred to their schemes as dreams, they had enough gusto to know much more life was beyond the South.
“Ah’s can’t do it man, Ah’s jus’ can’t do it!” Bobby shouted
“What’s you reckonin’ on ‘bout now?” replied Samson, once again confused by Bobby’s random outburst.
“Ah’s can’t be no sharecropper like my daddy. Ah mean, Lawd knows ah’s grateful dat he’s don’ all dat work. But dats only ‘cause that’s all he ever known. My daddy don’t know hows to read nor write, momma reads a lil and dats how ah’s learn. Ya’ ever question what’s men we’s be if we go?” Bobby questioned.
“Ah never really thought like dat. Ah’s know how to read ‘cause my mama made me read her Bible, it’s the only thang ah has left from her. My proudest possession.” Samson replied.
“But life beyond here has to be betta’. Jimmy tell that he’s sista’ and brotha’ livin’ up in Chicago. He got a job at a factory, I guess getting stuff together for da’ war” said Bobby.
“Man, wat if we jus’ walk da railroad? Like hopped on da’ train and went. You ain’t got no lady, neither do ah” Samson wondered.
“Aye, we ain’t got no money man!” Bobby replied, throwing his hat on the floor.
“Okay, okay!” Samson picks up Bobby’s hat picking up his speed to catch up with him.
“We don’t have to pay. We can jus’ hop on, hide in da hay barrel and go where the train take us.” Samson had conjured on this idea for months now. He knew nothing was really out there in Tennessee. More than not, Black men like him were hanging from trees. He thought that once he got settled, he could send for Aunt Mae and Minney. Samson felt this strong, undeniable feeling that if he didn’t leave the South now he would never make it out alive. So the two Black young men wrote their families, walked, hopped on the next cargo train that passed their way, and dreamed of better days.