In August of 1865, aColonel P.H. Anderson of Big Spring, Tennessee, wrote to his former slave,Jourdon Anderson, and requested that he come back to work on his farm. Jourdon -- who, since being emancipated, had moved to Ohio, found paid work, and was now supporting his family -- responded spectacularly by way of the letter seen below.
A beautiful, honest letter that's equal parts tragic and joyful. (Kottke did some follow-up research into Jourdon Anderson and family.)