Thompson and Seaman Vows, African Union Church

(ca. 1847)

Miss Charlotte Thompson, daughter of Ada
Thompson of Seneca and the late John,
and Timothy James Seaman, son
of the late Nancy Seaman, on Sunday.
Reverend Rush performed the ceremony.
The bride (twenty-four) was educated
by a literate friend, and by seeing
the African Theatre Company’s
productions of Macbeth and Richard III.
She teaches in Colored School #3.
Her father was a slave. Her mother, freed
by a clause in her late mistress’s will,
sews and sells exquisite lace lingerie.
The bridegroom (twenty-six) cannot read or write,
but ciphers and is a skilled carpenter.
His mother was slaved to an early death.
She told him he was descended from kings.

From Faster Than Light: New and Selected Poems, 1996-2011 (Louisiana State University, 2012). Copyright © 2012 by Marilyn Nelson. Used with permission of Louisiana State University Press.