Solomon Morgan, also known as Uncle Solomon, is an older man and fictive kin to Addy Walker and her family.
Personality and Traits
Solomon Morgan is, like the Walkers, enslaved on the Stevens Plantation. His sister, Matty, is enslaved on the Carter plantation. It is implied that they were able to interact even being separated on different plantations, as his niece has several items from his wife and himself.
Solomon is said to know the "ways of the road," including many people and information about the world and moving through it. While he and Lula are not related by blood to the Walkers, they consider each other family, a term called fictive kin (as plantation families were often separated forcibly and had to make new connections). They relate to the Walkers much like children and grandchildren.
He knew Miss Caroline as a child, as they grew up on nearby farms. He is skilled in healing arts, same as his wife Lula.
He often told Addy that freedom's got its cost before she ran, a statement that stays with her and her family. He is full of wise sayings, such as not to bargain with God, as a person has nothing to offer God. He made up songs and marked things he made and gifted with a personal mark (as he was illiterate, being enslaved) such as leather bags and protection stones--this mark is a major plot point in Shadows on Society Hill. He also was moral and refused to make such spiritual things for his enslavers, and Addy recalls that Solomon was the kind of man who would no more have made a healing sack or protection stone for a enslaver than he would have sold his soul to the devil.
He does not appear alive outside of Meet Addy, dying of illness at a freedman's camp outside Philadelphia before he is able to reunite with the family and buried just outside of Philadelphia. He has significant influence on Addy and her family even after his passing.
In The Books
Meet Addy: An American Girl
Solomon has told Ruth and Ben the route to escape to freedom with the family. He is too old to escape with them and so remains on the plantation.
Uncle Solomon and Auntie Lula keep Esther with them on the Stevens plantation, since she can't be brought safely on the run to freedom. Uncle Solomon tries to make Addy perk up by saying there's magic in her felt hat, pulling a half-dime from behind her ear and claiming she forgot to wash. He tells Addy to hold on to that half dime, as "freedom's got its cost." He advises Addy and Momma before they leave for tips to stay hidden: to move quickly at night and hide during the day; walk through any water they see, even as small as a puddle, to leave little scent for dogs to track; and to watch out for Confederate soldiers who will be in grey uniforms and will capture them and bring them back if they're caught.
Changes for Addy: A Winter Story
A letter from Bertha Gilbert replies to the letter Addy sent in Addy Saves the Day. lets the Walkers know that Solomon, Lula, and Esther are on the way to Philadelphia; she last saw them at a freedman's camp she was working at in Raleigh, North Carolina. Uncle Solomon appeared frail and thin, and they had left the camp about a week before Addy's inquiry had arrived and were determined to get to Philadelphia.
When Lula returns with Esther, Sam asks after Uncle Solomon. Auntie Lula tells the Walkers that Uncle Solomon died in one of the freedman camps just outside Philadelphia and was buried there. He had been sick as the war had come to an end--and the plantation was abandoned--but he hadn't wanted to die on the plantation where he'd been enslaved; furthermore, he and Lula wanted to get Esther back to her family. He made it to a camp just outside Philadelphia before dying--Lula says that he had been sick a long time and just wore out. Lula then comforts Addy by saying that he died a free man, something he hoped for his whole life, and got as close to Philadelphia as he could and did what he set out to do.
When Addy is excitedly telling Sarah about finding Lula and Esther--and Sarah says the dream of having her whole family back is now true--Addy says it has except Solomon. Lula also later explains that Solomon wasn't worried like her about Ruth and Addy making it to freedom and that he knew they would make it. When Addy says that he didn't have a true chance to fully enjoy freedom, she tells Addy a story: Solomon celebrated his freedom long before he ever left the plantation. When he heard about the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863--even though the Confederate states ignored it--Solomon strutted into their cabin proudly and happily before kneeling and thanking the Lord.
Addy remembers Lula and Solomon when she is about to read the Emancipation Proclamation at church on the New Year's Celebration--especially Solomon's celebration and how much it meant to him--and this helps give her the strength to speak.
While Solomon is dead, he has a major effect on the events occurring. Sam gifts Addy a protection stone that Solomon gave him for saving a boy from drowning, saying that if Uncle Solomon were here, he'd want Addy to have it.
His niece, Elizabeth Cope, has one of his protection stones, a healing arts sack, and one of the only three quilts Lula ever made. It is these clues--and the recognition of Solomon's mark on the healing sack--that help Addy realize why Elizabeth turned so suddenly on the Walkers upon realizing who they were: she is passing as white.
Uncle Solomon is not cast in the play. Reasons for this may have been to cut down on then number of actors (as it would have required another black male actor to play his role) or, since Solomon dies before getting to Philadelphia, it would have put a damper on what is adjusted to be a happy ending when Auntie Lula with baby Esther returns.
- Addy's letter, Addy Saves the Day: Solomon and Lula Morgan. They caring for our dear baby Esther Walker.