The 1700s were a rough time to be an African. Still is. But, who would have known that children, white English children were given the dues of slavery too, or indentured servitude. That is what happened to Laetitia Beedham.
Hair cut short. Dressed in boys clothing, called Nathaniel to protect her from the wiles of men, Laetitia served the sentence handed down to her mother from 1710 to 1720, at which she escaped her prison for another. But, between the ages of seven and eight, Laetitia’s mother was before the Magistrate, tried for the crime of thievery. How dastardly.
When Laetitia is shipped along with her mother to the Island of Barbados, the harsh realities of indentured servitude crashes headlong into the harshness of slavery. Laetitia, disguised as Nathaniel meets Adam, Sarah, and the children she will grow with for the next few years. She develops a kinship with Adam, a twelve-year-old African slave who begins, at least early to treat her like a brother. Show her how to work and to avoid trouble. That kinship would shatter as Nathaniel grows into what Adam begins to call, Massa (Master) Nathaniel, showing her the difference between being indentured and enslaved.
Later, she would see the atrocities of slavery. But, also the reason her mother chose to disguise her as a boy. In all its raw context, this child witnesses rapes, brutality, and the evils of the age until another event robs her of her innocence. She is living a life that will prepare her for her own ordeal, one that will rob her of what is left of her innocence.
Laetitia Beedham is the lead of a historical fiction, Five Guns Blazing by Emma Rose Millar and Kevin Allen, set to be release in mid-September. Set in the years1710 AD to 1720 AD. With all the factual realities of the age gently blended with the minds and embodiments created by Emma Rose Millar, with help sketching the details by Kevin Allen.