Missy Vernon

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Marble Springs 2.0 screenshot of Missy Vernon

What we know

Her mother held her in her arms as a child to escape the patrollers and go north to Canada on the Underground Railroad. Married Robert Vernon, who came to work in the livery in Marble Springs. Eight children, four survived infancy (Moses, Jordan, Freedom, and Liberty), and four did not (Zion, Canaan, Gilead, Daniel )

Out of Egypt

Out under dark stars
Missy's voice kept her warm,
humming under layers
of the thick scarves
her mother had woven.

Coming in, she unwrapped them,
her neck copper in the dimness
of the kerosene light.

Robert would nod, and she would sing1

murmuring tales of Scheherazade, of Moses, of God
under the breath of the Crystal River.
And they slept neck on neck,
granting to God the taming power of her song.





Harvey, James Rose. Negroes in Colorado. University of Colorado master's thesis. Available at the Western History Department, Denver Public Library.

Portal caption and links

A drawing of a bare-foot black woman.
Charity Paine on her belly as they shared the memories of warmth.
Hezekiah Lincoln on her head as they shared memories of slavery.
Ingrid Jenson on her chest as they shared memories of being held.
The Washerwoman on her feet as they were both bare.

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