From Abel, Thomas C. The Gospel of Slavery, A Primer. flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages
Interwoven with Adeline’s distressed letter is a story adapted from one I heard about Jefferson’s Monticello. In this account, an enslaved child or youth, in bed with what may have been the flu, was repeatedly beaten within his mother’s hearing for malingering. I have no knowledge of what went on at Littles’ Mills. Growing up in the South, surrounded by elders whose grandparents or great grandparents owned people, I was taught that enslaved people were well-treated, because the farmers and planters needed them to be healthy. There is much evidence that the realities were crueler than the myths, although there were exceptions. I would like to believe that Littles’ Mills was one of the exceptions, but I don’t know that. What I do know is that when historians have looked more closely at reputedly kinder planters (such as Jefferson and R.E. Lee) they have uncovered reports of horrific abuses. I could not find a recording of "Trouble in The Mind" as transcribed in SSUS, but there is an almost unlimited roster of recordings of songs by the same title. Performers include Lightin Hopkins, Nina Simone, Hank Williams, Janis Joplin, and Doc Watson to name only a few. I'll leave it to musicologists to untangle this, but I would guess both of the songs below could be linked to the spiritual collected in SSUS.