So great was the fear in which Gay was held that when Kemp’s mother, Arnette     Young, complained to Mrs. Gay, that her husband was constantly seeking her     for a mistress and threatening her with death if she did not submit, even     Mrs. Gay had to advise the slaves to do as Gay demanded, saying- “My husband     is a dirty man and will find some reason to kill you if you don’t.” “I can’t     do a thing with him.” Since Arnette worked at the “big house” there was no     alternative, and it was believed that out of the union with her master, Henry     was born. A young slave by the name of Broxton Kemp was given to the woman     as husband at the time John Kemp was born; it is from this man that “Prophet”     took his name.

     Life on the plantation held nothing but misery for the slaves of John Gay.     A week’s allowance of groceries for the average small family consisted of     a package of about ten pounds containing crudely ground meal, a slab of bacon-     called side-meat and from a pint to a quart of syrup made from sorghum, depending     on the season.

    All slaves reported for work at 5 o’clock in the morning, except those who     cared for the overseer, who began their work an hour earlier to enable the     overseer to be present at the morning checkup. This checkup determined which     slaves were late or who had committed some offense late on the day before     or during the night. These were signed out and before the rest of the slaves     began their work they were treated to the sight of these delinquents being     stripped and beaten until blood flowed; women were no exception to the rule.



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