My Great- Grand Father Was a Runaway Slave…!

Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III signing a marriage license after a wedding

My great-grandfather was a runaway slave, that is what my uncle Earnest told me. When Uncle Earnest was 100, I asked him what was my great-grandfather like. He told me that Nicholas Hood, I, was a child in slavery on a plantation near Louisville, Kentucky, on the plantation of Olivia Hood, the sister of one of the youngest generals in the Confederate Army, John Bell Hood. The father of Nicholas Hood, I, my great, great grandfather, was sold to a plantation in Louisiana. According to family legend and lore, my great-father and his brother were just little boys conscripted into slavery. Their job was to pick corn. I asked Uncle Earnest how did the two brothers gain their freedom? He told me that my great-grand father and his brother simply became tired of being beaten when the crops did not turn out right. One of the problems they faced was local bears who ate the corn. The two brothers made friends with the bears and found out that they liked sweet potatoes. As they prepared for their run to freedom, the two bothers stocked up on sweet potatoes, fed them to the bears and the bears provided safe passage for the two little boys as they made their escape from slavery. I told Uncle Earnest, “Uncle, that is the most fantastic story I have ever heard!” Maybe, this is why I like sweet potato pies! It must be in my DNA! Smile.

In the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump as president elect of the United States, I keep reminding myself that my great-granddaddy was a runaway slave! He did not allow slavery to define his life. Like the slave song, “Before I’ll be a slave I’ll be buried in my grave and go home to my Lord and be free,” Nicholas Hood I and his brother took matters into their own hands and made a run for freedom.

I share my family story about my runaway slave great-grandfather, because so many people are torn up about the election of Donald Trump. Don’t get me wrong. I am disappointed with his election, but I keep reminding myself that I come from a history of slavery, and a runaway slave as a great-grandfather. What this reminds me is that as a people we have not only a history of resilience and survival, but we have produced a president, gained the right to vote and access to public accommodations. We are American. Yes, I am disappointed with the election, but in the end, I do believe that we will survive.

Job 3: 25       Truly the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What has your faith taught you about fear and dread?
  2. In faith, what would you say to those who feared and dreaded a Donald Trump presidency?
  3. How can the story of Job in the Bible help those who are overcome with fear and dread?


Prayer: Lord, help me to face my fears and distance myself from dread. Grant me courage in the struggle for justice and peace. Help me to think with a rational mind, a sober spirit and a faith that believes that all things are possible and somehow, some way, all things will ultimately work together for good for those who love you. Lord, I can taste your freedom. Lord, I see and hear showers of blessing that you scatter so full and free. Lord, grant me strength to face those things that make me afraid and help me to live with freedom, power and inner peace. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

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[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Job 3:25). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.