The Desperation of a Mother Who Beheaded Her Children

According to Lydia Maria Child in her book Authentic Anecdotes of Slavery an enslaved mother beheaded her children in 1834 rather than have them sold away from her. This was before Margaret Garner committed a similar act in 1856, and was immortalized in a fictionalized account of her experiences recounted by Dr. Toni Morrison in her book Beloved.

The following case occurred towards the close of the year 1834, near Palmyra, Marion County, Missouri.

A slave-trader, who was making up a drone for the Red River country, bought three little boys of a planter. They were to be taken away the next day. The mother of the children was, in the mean time, chained in an outhouse , to prevent any troublesome interference on her part. During the night, she contrived to break her fetters and escape. She went directly to the place where her boys were sleeping–took an axe–chopped off the heads of all three–and then ended her own life by the same instrument.

The planter and the slave-trader, whose unrighteous bargain drove the wretched mother to this act of desperation, disrupted, and went to law about the price of the poor slaves!

text of Lydia Maria Child's anecdote Mother Beheaded Her Children children rather than allow them to be sold into slavery.
text of Lydia Maria Child’s anecdote regrading a mother who beheaded her three children rather than allow them to be sold into slavery.
Mother Beheaded Her Children rather than allow them to be sold into slavery away from her.
Mother severing the heads from the bodies of her two boys rather than allow them to be sold into slavery away from her.

By Nnamdi Azikiwe

The Mhotep Corporation uses its Keyamsha The Awakening brand to heighten perceptions and expand awareness. By producing content that engages, entertains and educates we create value for value relationships with our audience for mutual benefit. Mhotep is derived from the name of the architect and builder of the first pyramid in Kemet, so-called ancient Egypt. I formed the Mhotep Corporation in 2003 to produce and distribute 3D animation videos based on traditional African stories. Since then it has evolved to being a media production company including books. In a previous life I worked as a systems analyst developing solutions for government and multinational organizations. Born and educated in Washington, D.C. I have traveled to several places including Haiti, the Bahamas, Mexico, Canada, Nigeria (several times), Ethiopia (several times), Benin, Togo, and South Africa. I am married with three children.

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