Jacqueline Malcolm born in Northampton, England, has enjoyed a long lasting professional career in administration and event management to an executive level. A classically trained actress from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts (New York) and the London Center of Theatre Studies (London), Jacquie has had a passion for writing since a very early age. A published author of the children’s book, The Adventures of Lucy the Lamb (AuthorHouse Publishers, 2005), her other writing credits to date include: The Red Dress (short play, The Kings Head Theatre, London, 2004); Cornflakes (short play, The Kings Head Theatre, London, 2004), Twisted Magnolias (short play, Camden Theatre, London, 2006); Lost In the Moment (short play, 2009); A Child’s Wish (commissioned script for theatre in education project in NY, 2009). Jacqueline presently lives on the Island of Syros, Greece, with her family.
SLAVE: Escaping the Chains of Freedom
I wrote SLAVE: Escaping the Chains of Freedom as, being born a black person living and growing up in England I’ve always been truly fascinated by the stories I have been told about my own ancestors filtered down through the years; about my own great great grandmother who was, apparently, the head slave and mistress of a Scottish slave owner and how that union still shows with my uncle who has black skin but green eyes, cousins born with bright red hair and even I myself, who was born so fair that when my mother tried to take me out of the hospital in 1968 Northampton, she was accused of trying to steal a white baby!!
In 2010 African American’s made up just over 12% of the US population. In 2001, the UK Census showed approximately 2% Black British (over 1 million living in London alone). All of us can share a similar story and for the most part are intrigued to know more. I believe ‘ROOTS’ did much to shine a light on the slave trade of the southern states of the US but SLAVE: Escaping the Chains of Freedom opens the door to the debate of those blacks who made great wealth themselves from the slave trade; those that were not victims but part of the very controversial, yet booming, trade industry of that period.
With the global downfall of the world market and so many, of all races, desperate to redefine themselves, the US and UK audience are ready for another ‘ROOTS’, for another ‘AMISTAD’ especially as SLAVE: Escaping the Chains of Freedom motivates from an alternative view point of the wealthy blacks which neither of these great stories really addressed.
It’s 18th Century New York and the slave trade continues amidst an historical political upheaval. Hezekiah Thomas, born the son of a white General and his black enslaved mother, discovers both the joys and tragedies that comes with his longed for freedom. Then, through a situation of chance and opportunity, Hezekiah is faced with the decision to go against all of his inner beliefs and convictions and for himself to become an owner of slaves.
This fictional story not only seeks to open the ageless discussion of whether the reported black-slave owners were such purely out of benevolent reasons, wishing to free and offer relief to their enslaved families; or whether they too were motivated by money and would purchase only for commercial reasons with the goal being the ever important ‘profit’; but it also seeks to answer a modern day question; ‘what is freedom without money?”. We’re living in a time of unbelievable financial challenges; forced to watch as the entire monetary system upon which we have built our lives collapses from under us - how do we survive? If we never had money, where do we go now to get it? If we had it, where do we go to keep it safe?
Having gained his longed for freedom at the death of his father, Hezekiah Thomas is faced with making it on his own for the first time in his life, though his wife and child remain the property of his vengeful half-brother, James Thomas IV. But graced with a sharp mind and high intelligence, he soon begins his own business in shoemaking and in time a fateful meeting with black slave trader, Albert Shelton, leads to Hezekiah being contracted by The Crown to supply the boots for the invading English armies. However, in order for him to afford the materials and labor to meet the quantities, he enters into an alliance with Shelton which forces Hezekiah himself to go against all of his principals to become an owner of slaves, convincing himself that it will give them all the life they have always wanted - a life of wealth and freedom.
To secure the deal, Shelton requests Ruth, Hezekiah’s only daughter, as security against the loan, through marriage to his son, Adam. But Ruth has plans of her own and begins a love affair with Ezekiel, head slave belonging to Hezekiah, and soon becomes pregnant with his child. When Hezekiah discovers the deception he must find a way to appease Shelton before everything is lost.
An interesting fact for readers: Previous guest author, Marva Gregorio De Souza, and Jacqueline Malcolm, are sisters.