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.
It’s based on a true story and it’s about a slave family in 1854 who, the father can read and write. So, the master needs his help. The master makes a promise. He says, “If you come with me on the Oregon Trail, if you help me with the books and help me set up my farm, when we get to Oregon, I will free you.” But after they travel on the trail, when they get there, the master frees the parents, but keeps the kids. And in 1854, the slave parents sure to custody of their kids and win. Back then you couldn’t do that. A black person couldn’t sue a white person court, so it was a major case which determined whether the state of Oregon — or the Territory of Oregon — came into the United States as a free state or a slave state. And because of that, all the other states — all the other territories of the west coast — came into the Union as free states.