Regarding ‘Platt defends his freedom’

Monroe /
| 14 Feb 2024 | 10:37

    It was good to see the story of Platt, a free Black man in 1797 New York/New Jersey who was pursued by his former enslaver, in a local paper. There were so many like Platt throughout the country whose stories have gone untold — this is just one piece of American history that took place closer to home than many of us in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania (and anywhere else this story ran) want to believe or accept.

    Still, in my opinion, it could have gone without the undertone of enduring misconceptions surrounding the intellectual capacities of Black Americans, as demonstrated by the historian’s closing comments. That is “one of the major frustrations” for those of us who encourage the sharing of our stories. Although “Roger Clark” placed a runaway ad with a misspelling (“blew” instead of “blue”) and improper grammar (describing Platt as one who “talks good English”), it is indeed plausible that Platt not only spoke English well, he could spell and write a grammatically correct, intelligible story without the help of an advocate.

    Kenya Salaudeen