Amos Fortune, Free Man

by Elizabeth Yates

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In "Amos Fortune: Free Man," how did the constable and Parson Ainsworth welcome Amos?

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When Amos arrives with his family in Jaffrey, New Hampshire with the intent of settling there and working as a tanner, the constable first greets him with a warning to be on his way.  It is his duty to warn them off, in order to "(free) the town of any liability for their support should they ever become impoverished".  Although his "welcome" is not a welcome at all, he personally "(doesn't really) care what the family of blacks did, whether they stayed or went", he is just doing his job.  Amos understands the reason for the constable's behavior, and responds respectfully but with dignity and determination.  Reassured that Amos has a means of supporting himself and his family, the constable softens a little, telling Amos there are eleven other free Negroes in the town, and sends him to see Parson Ainsworth.  The Parson's welcome is, unlike the constable's, unrestrained.  He quickly enters into discussion with Amose about where he might find land for his business, and hospitably sends one of the neighboring children to greet the family with fresh milk and gingerbread (Chapter 6).

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