The tobacco fields

Chapter 5




Also in the tobacco fields I saw that it is the white man who owns everything and therefore directs everything, while the blacks nicely have to hang on behind ....



 .....both in the spring, when the tobacco is being planted with an open view up to the nice white house of the owner, while the women are unemployed and must sit in their rotten unpainted shacks looking on - and in August, when the tobacco is being picked.



It has been established by law that they must earn the minimum wage, which is only 5$ dollars an hour - less than one third the minimum in a welfare state such as my country, Denmark.



But since tobacco picking is seasonal work and there is not much work to find the rest of the year, it is indeed a meager yearly income they scrape together.



"It's real nigger-work," I heard the whites say. "They're already black so the tar doesn't stick as much on them as on whites."



Later in the summer the tobacco is dried and sold at auction.



There are not many places where the master/slave relationship is being carved so forcibly into the black mind as at the tobacco auctions.



Wherever I went I saw the white buyers from the tobacco companies walking in front giving quick, discreet signals with pointed fingers and wagging heads, while the blacks rushed behind them as fast as they could packing the tobacco bundles.



The whites drive right into the auction hall in big flashy cars, and at noon they eat huge plate-size steaks inside, while the blacks have to eat their bag lunches outside.



These people, who could gain human equality and freedom if they received just a couple of cents per packet of cigarettes sold, I saw working with expressions on their faces that only a slave could possess.



Slave driver
the tables are turned now,



catch a fire
you're going to get burned now.



Every time I hear the crack of the whip
my blood run cold



I do remember on a slave ship



how they brutalized my very soul.



Today the say that we are free



only to be chained in this poverty!