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Leonard Black, b. 1820 d. 1883]
The Life and Sufferings of Leonard Black, A Fugitive from Slavery
New Bedford: Press of Benjamin Lindsey, 1847


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

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Annarundel Countycounty in Maryland; county seat of which is Annapolis, the capital of Maryland.

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"peculiar institution"a euphemism for slavery.

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johnny-cakecornmeal flatcake originated by indigenous North Americans.

Methodist churcha Protestant denomination of Christianity.

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pantaloonsclose-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 liquorthe leftover broth in a pot after cooking greens.

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All is not gold that shines, nor silver that glitterswell-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.

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hallooedto cry or shout.

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Hagar of OldAbraham'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.

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iron-toothed rake a tool used for yard work.

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Joseph and his brethrenThe most favored of the sons of the Hebrew patriarch, Jacob.

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cowhidea 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.

Ahabseventh king of the northern kingdom of Israel, portrayed as wicked in the Old Testament.

BeelzebubA name for the Devil.

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penceplural form of penny.

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St. Jamesa 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.

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Nantucketan island 30 miles south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

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Judasthe betrayer of Jesus in the New Testament; anyone who betrays another under the guise of friendship.

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Quakera member of the Society of Friends, a radical Protestant sect of Christianity.

Bostonthe capital of Massachusetts and the largest city in New England.

Georgiaa state on the southern seacost of the United States.

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grist milla mill for grinding grain.

Dutchman a native of Holland.

overruling ProvidenceGod

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Richmondthe capital of Virginia.

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we let ourselves outto work for someone for a specified period of time in exchange for regular wages.

Brunswick New Brunsick, a town in New Jersey.

giga light two-wheeled carriage pulled by one horse.

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to catch a weasel asleeppeople who are watchful and always on the alert; or who cannot be surprised.

New Yorka state in the northeastern United States.

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Newarklargest city in the state of New Jersey.

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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.

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frock a loose garment with wide sleeves, similar to a woman's dress.

Turk a person of Turkish descent.

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Portland the largest city in Maine.

West Indiesthe string of islands in the Caribbean Sea.

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board a person is provided with a place to live as well as meals in exchange for money or services.

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Belknap-street Church church in Boston, Massachusetts, where Rev. Mr. Black settled.

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Gospel the teaching of Christ.

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sons of men In the Old Testament a synonym for "man" or "humankind"

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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.

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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.

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Waterford a village one mile from Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

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victual food or provisions.

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Apostle Paul early Christian evangelist, author of a number of letters in the New Testament.

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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

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"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.

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New Bedford a city in Massachusetts known for its large fishing port; about 60 miles southeast of Boston.

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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

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chattels personal possessions.

Father of mercies God

Aye an affirmative answer or assent.

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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.

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"He that despiseth you, despiseth me." Luke 10:16.

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massa master

lub — love

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scape-goat a sacrifice on which is laid the sins of others.

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Heaven a place of peace and rest for Christians who are saved.