Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Reprise: Bennie Benjamin was a Man!

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Here is my grandfather’s biography, written by his son (my dad), Bobby Benjamin.

My name is Bennie Benjamin. I cannot remember a time when I did not want to be a man. If you want to compare me with anybody in this world, compare me with John Henry, the “Steel Driving Man.”

I was born in Sardis, South Carolina. My father, Peter and my mother, Isabella owned a big house that set on several acres of land. Some said the property looked like a plantation. My parents taught me and my brother and sisters to work hard “having something” like them.

The third grade was as far as I got in school. It was through the help of my dear mother that I learned to read, write, and “figure.” I owe it to my dear mother (God bless her soul), that no one could ever cheat me. Mr. Carriway, the man I was sharecropping with tried to do just that. I worked hard, year after year, and was further and further in debt with Mr. Carriway. One year I had to tell my wife Lizzie that we had cleared just $300. That is the reason I left South Carolina and moved north. I was not worried about making it because God had blessed me with a strong, powerful body like John Henry. First, I went to Quantico, Virginia then Washington, D.C., got work in both places and was soon laid off. I decided to write my wife’s brother, Fulton McElveen, who lived in Norwood, North Carolina. I asked Mac to look out for me a place to move my family. Mac answered right away and said Andy Horne was willing to sell me five acres of land with a house on it for $500. Mac loaned me $50 for a down payment.

Believing as I always did in “having something,” I applied for a job right away. I was hired in the “Pot Room,” at an Aluminum Plant in Badin, North Carolina. I also did a little farming on the side. I added a room to my house and bought a nice 1939 green Pontiac. I think people in the community was a little jealous of me because someone was overheard to say, “How can Bennie get so much and have a house full of children?” They did not know the power of hard work!

When I die, let my epitaph read these simple words:

BB Benjamin was a MAN!
May he rest in peace.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey Lisa,
This is very good, your dad did a good job in writing about his father, what a wonderful story.

Auntie T

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

Auntie T,
He did do a very good job! That's why I decided to share it with others.
:-)
Lisa

Anonymous said...

I remember the first time I read this and I am just as impress as I was then. I admire your father (Bobby)for doing this. Thank you and him for the His-Story.

LOVE YOU MUCH
MaDear

Alicia Michele Benjamin said...

MaDear,
I'll tell him how much you like it. It's a great piece and leaves a legacy about the family.
Love you so much too,
Alicia