It was a beautiful spring day in 1743 when young Tom’s father called him to the back of the house. This was unusual because his father was a very quiet and secretive man. Tom Jefferson felt that his father’s beckoning had a strange quality about it.
“Here boy. Come in here.” Tom’s father invited him into the inner sanctum.
Tom entered into his father’s private place, a small room that sat off from the main house. The room was darkened. Heavy curtains kept the sun and prying eyes out.
“Shut the door son.”
It took a moment for Tom’s eyes to adjust to the dim light. In the room were the bookkeeping ledgers and his father’s legal documents on a small table. There was a wooden chair, a bookshelf on the wall, a tiny fireplace in the corner of the room, some well-used candles on the mantle and there was a cot.
Tom’s father sat in the chair. His health was failing. He knew that his time was near. He had some unfinished business to take care of.
“How old are you boy?”
“Fourteen, sir.” Tom replied.
“Fourteen is a good age. I hear that you are smitten with the Wayles’ girl. She comes from a good family. She’s pretty and her father is rich.”
“Yes, sir.” Young Tom blushed.
“Well, son there comes a time when a young man must learn about the bees and birds. Do you catch my meaning?”
“I know about breeding, sir. I saw the white mare mate with the Johnson’s studder and…
“No, no. I mean…” Tom’s father was interrupted.
There was a knock at the door. It was Old Jim, the Johnson’s slave and he had a young picka-ninny with him. They entered the dark room; Tom could see that the child was frightened.
“How old this girl Jim?”
The slave, with hat in hand, kept his eyes on the wooden floorboards. “Don’t rightly knows, Mr. Jefferson. Maybe she leben or twelve.” Old Jim says.
“Hmmm. She’s a bit young, but she’ll do.”
The girl had started menstruating and that was why Mr. Johnson picked her. Her breasts were small but firm. The elder Jefferson had made arrangements with his neighbor, Mr. Johnson, to find a suitable slave girl for the purpose of Tom’s initiation. It was a custom that most Virginia landowners subscribed to.
The elder Jefferson started unbuttoning his britches. He told Tom to do the same.
“Boy, a man got to feel his oats from time to time. That’s why we must partake in the bounty that God has given us. This here gal is a virgin that is ripe for pluckin’. A gentleman must know things about the world that ain’t book learning.” The older Jefferson explained.
The young girl tried to escape but Old Jim grabbed her tightly and hit her across the face.
He warned her, “Missy, you do as dese masters say, iffen you know what wuts good for you!”
And so on that lovely spring day young Tom became a man. Old Jim held the child down while looking away. Tears welled up in Old Jim's eyes. The child screamed and cried out, but no one outside that room heard her pleas. And even if they did hear the girls’ agony, there was nothing to be done. For this was the world of supreme white male dominance. Tom’s mother knew of her husband’s penchant for unnatural sex acts but was relieved that he sought his relief with Negresses in the dark room.
After the rape was over, Master Jefferson told Old Jim to bring the girl back the following week. Master Tom’s education had begun.
©2006 Richard C. James