The following annotations to The Life and Sufferings of Leonard Black were compiled in the fall 2013 by Ezie Ozoma and Russell Towner, first-year students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as a class project in Professor William L. Andrews's First-Year Seminar on Slavery and Freedom in African American Literature and Film. We welcome any corrections, additions, or suggested revisions of these annotations. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annarundel County — county in Maryland; county seat of which is Annapolis, the capital of Maryland.
"peculiar institution" — a euphemism for slavery.
johnny-cake — cornmeal flatcake originated by indigenous North Americans.
Methodist church — a Protestant denomination of Christianity.
pantaloons — close-fitting trousers usually having straps passing under the instep and worn especially in the 19th century.
lindsey slip — an undergarment made of coarse, sturdy fabric.
pot liquor — the leftover broth in a pot after cooking greens.
All is not gold that shines, nor silver that glitters — well-known saying derived from a line in William Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice (1600).
collier — a producer of coal or maker of charcoal.
Baltimore — a port city in Maryland.
hallooed — to cry or shout.
Hagar of Old — Abraham's concubine and the mother of his son Ishmael in the Old Testament book of Genesis.
"Thou, God, seest me." — a common verse spoken by Hagar from Genesis 16:13.
iron-toothed rake — a tool used for yard work.
Joseph and his brethren — The most favored of the sons of the Hebrew patriarch, Jacob.
cowhide — a strong heavy flexible whip, usually made of braided leather.
withal — in addition.
King Herod — Ruler of Judea in 37 BC, portrayed as ruthless and cruel.
Ahab — seventh king of the northern kingdom of Israel, portrayed as wicked in the Old Testament.
Beelzebub — A name for the Devil.
pence — plural form of penny.
St. James — a letter in the New Testament.
"Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." — James 4:7
"Give us of your oil, for our lamps have gone out." — Matthew 25:8.
Nantucket — an island 30 miles south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Judas — the betrayer of Jesus in the New Testament; anyone who betrays another under the guise of friendship.
Quaker — a member of the Society of Friends, a radical Protestant sect of Christianity.
Boston — the capital of Massachusetts and the largest city in New England.
Georgia — a state on the southern seacost of the United States.
grist mill — a mill for grinding grain.
Dutchman — a native of Holland.
overruling Providence — God
Richmond — the capital of Virginia.
we let ourselves out — to work for someone for a specified period of time in exchange for regular wages.
Brunswick — New Brunsick, a town in New Jersey.
gig — a light two-wheeled carriage pulled by one horse.
to catch a weasel asleep — people who are watchful and always on the alert; or who cannot be surprised.
New York — a state in the northeastern United States.
Newark — largest city in the state of New Jersey.
Providence — the capital of Rhode Island, United States.
bosom — part of a garment that covers the chest or breasts.
dickey — a collar for a shirt, usually worn with a tuxedo.
frock — a loose garment with wide sleeves, similar to a woman's dress.
Turk — a person of Turkish descent.
Portland — the largest city in Maine.
West Indies — the string of islands in the Caribbean Sea.
board — a person is provided with a place to live as well as meals in exchange for money or services.
Belknap-street Church — church in Boston, Massachusetts, where Rev. Mr. Black settled.
Gospel — the teaching of Christ.
sons of men — In the Old Testament a synonym for "man" or "humankind"
President Wayland — Francis Wayland, educator and president of Brown University in Providence, R.I.
Mr. Ashur — Jeremiah Ashur, African American Baptist clergyman.
Sabbath School — school meeting on Sundays for religious teaching.
Zachariah — an Old Testament prophet.
Woonsocket — a city in Rhode Island; lies directly south of the Massachusetts state line.
lock — a device for raising and lowering boats between different heights of water.
Waterford — a village one mile from Woonsocket, Rhode Island.
victual — food or provisions.
Apostle Paul — early Christian evangelist, author of a number of letters in the New Testament.
shorn lamb — a lamb that has been sheared of its wool.
David of old — David, King of Israel, author of many Old Testament psalms.
"I found trouble and sorrow, then called I upon the name of the Lord." — Psalms 116:3-4
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, the son of man must be lifted up." — John 3:14.
lamb — symbol for Christ in the Bible.
New Bedford — a city in Massachusetts known for its large fishing port; about 60 miles southeast of Boston.
Holy Writ — another term for the Holy Bible.
saith — archaic third person singular present of say.
"Do unto all men as you would have them do unto you" — Matthew 7:12.
"Love thy neighbor as thyself. This is the law and the prophets" — Matthew 22:39-40
chattels — personal possessions.
Father of mercies — God
Aye — an affirmative answer or assent.
Thomas Jefferson — (1743-1826) American founding father and principle author of the Declaration of Independence.
King Solomon — a king of Israel (970-931 BC) and the son of David, the second king of the United Kingdom of Israel.
Queen Bathsheba — mother of Solomon, who succeeded David as king.
"He that despiseth you, despiseth me." — Luke 10:16.
massa — master
lub — love
scape-goat — a sacrifice on which is laid the sins of others.
Heaven — a place of peace and rest for Christians who are saved.