Placido, the slave poet.
I have been greatly interested in the fate of Juan Placido, the black revolutionist of Cuba
, who was executed in Havana
, as the alleged instigator and leader of an attempted revolt on the part of the slaves in that city and its neighborhood.
Juan Placido was born a slave on the estate of Don Terribio de Castro
His father was an African, his mother a mulatto.
His mistress treated him with great kindness, and taught him to read.
When he was twelve years of age she died, and he fell into other and less compassionate hands.
At the age of eighteen, on seeing his mother struck with a heavy whip, he for the first time turned upon his tormentors.
To use his own words, ‘I felt the blow in my heart.
To utter a loud cry, and from a downcast boy, with the timidity of one weak as a lamb, to become all at once like a raging lion, was a thing of a moment.’
He was, however, subdued, and the next morning, together with his mother, a tenderly nurtured and delicate woman, severely scourged.
On seeing his mother rudely stripped and thrown down upon the ground, he at first with tears implored the overseer to spare her; but at the sound of the first blow, as it cut into her naked flesh, he sprang once more upon the ruffian,