My novel for middle grade and junior high kids, Dark Enough to See the Stars, tells the story of twelve-year-old Moses as he escapes from slavery on the Underground Railroad. Meet Moses, as he gives you a glimpse of his story.
My name is Moses. My mama gave me that name. She been telling me since I can remember that I was named after Moses in the Bible. She always said that Moses’ mama didn’t want him growing up no slave. She didn’t want me growing up one neither. Mama thinks that someday I’m gonna save my people just like he did. So no matter how many times Buck, the overseer, calls me darkie or boy or nigguh, I think about my real name that Mama gave me.
The day that Master Bill told us he was selling Mama and a bunch of other folks, Mama and I made a plan. She taught me how to follow the North Star so I could run away. If they was gonna rip her away from me like seed outta cotton, then I was gonna be free.
Buck was gonna walk all of us to the train station so’s those of us who was staying could say goodbye. Besides, he feared we’d run away if we was left with nobody watching us on the plantation. Mama’d been talking with somebody who helps slaves get free. He told her about a miller downriver who took in folks who was running away. She told me, “Mose, all you got to do is find the river and follow it to the mill. That river’s gonna save you just like it saved Moses in the Good Book.”
Mama cried like earth reaching out to heaven when it was time for her to board the train. But I didn’t shed no tears. I had to be brave for Mama. I knowed that deep down inside she was happy her boy was gonna be free. Her prayers was getting answered.
Some of the slaves boarding the train threw a ruckus and said they wasn’t going. Buck and the other overseers started breaking up the fight. “Them poor souls,” Mama said. But she knew this was my best chance to run away without being seen. “You gotta go now,” she said.
I ran down the gully into the woods praying I wouldn’t cut my bare feet on any sharp rocks or drop the ash cakes Mama made for me. I hoped I could find the river. I ain’t never seen a river before. Mama said it was bigger’n the creek. She warned me not to wade in too far or it might swallow me up and have me for dinner. Well, I wasn’t gonna let no river eat me alive. No, that river was gonna save me, just like Mama said.
Will Moses find his way to freedom? What dangers will he face? What will happen to Moses when it’s Dark Enough to See the Stars?