By: Avi Cantor
Thomas Jefferson had 187 human slaves, but an uncountable amount of enslaved quills. In the late 1700's and early 1800's, quills were hand plucked from the safety of their home on a bird's back. Their use was as a device that sucked ink into a bone-like structure to write whatever it's user wished. This bone, if you will, would be whittled down relentlessly to a sharp point in order to make the quill able to write. This process repeats until just feathers remain. These quills, after being thrown out, would be replaced as soon as possible with a similar quill. Quills similar to African slaves, were taken out of their homesick, worked relentlessly for hours on end and replaced like broken chair legs after they were deemed no longer useful or dead. The definition of a slave is "a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them." Quills clearly have earned the title as the undervalued slave. They were slaves to Thomas Jefferson’s hand and were ground to dust in order to convey what makes us Americans.