Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise
On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.
Comer Jefferson: So one of the things about slaves going on the Oregon Trail and going to the new territories is that the Oregon Trail was sort of the great equalizer and everyone was sort of the same. It made everyone equal. A lot of people traveled in wagon trains and the wagon trains would have a driver and would be pulled by oxen, usually, not even horses. People on horses would ride beside. Oftentimes, everyone had to walk. Every child had to walk. Not just the black children — the salves — like what our family was used to, but all the children would have to walk. 2000 miles.
Welch: So let’s start right now. Are you ready? (crowd) We can go right now? We’ll go from here. We’ll go to Missouri. We’ll be there in about, I don’t know, two years?
Comer Jefferson: So the kids would have to walk. A lot of times the women would have to walk, but everyone was treated the same.