Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States
Work Projects Administration

Part 6 out of 6

of black folks in South Carolina and brought em into the state of
Alabama. My papa was mighty near full-blood African, I'll tell you. Now
ma was mixed.

"I'm most too young to recollect the war. Right after the war we had
small pox. My uncle died and there was seven children had em at one
time. The bushwhackers come in and kicked us around--kicked my uncle
around. We lived at Union Town, Alabama then.

"Aunt Connie used to whip us. Mama had no time; she was a chambermaid
(housewoman). The only thing I recollect bout slavery time to tell is
Old Mistress pour out a bushell of penders (peanuts) on the grass to see
us pick em up and set out eating em. When they went to town they would
bring back things like cheese good to eat. We got some of what they had
most generally. She wasn't so good; she whoop me with a cow whip. She'd
make pull candy for us too. I got a right smart of raisin' in a way but
I growed up to be a wild young man. I been converted since then.

"Well, one day pa come to our house and told mama, 'We free, don't have
to go to the house no more, git ready, we all goin' to Mississippi.
Moster Piggy goiner go. He goner rent us twenty acres and we goner take
two cows and a mule.' We was all happy to be free and goin' off
somewhere. Moster Piggy bought land in Mississippi and put families
renters on it. Moster Piggy was rough on the grown folks but good to the
children. The work didn't let up. We railly had more clearin' and fences
to make. His place in Alabama was pore and that was new ground.

"There was all toll nine children in my family. Ma was named Matty
Piggy. Papa was named Ezra Piggy. Moster Alexander Piggy's wife named
Harriett. I knowed Ed, Charley, Bowls, Ells, and Liza. That's all I ever

"I have done so many things. I run on a steamboat from Cairo to New
Orleans--Kate Adams and May F. Carter. They called me a Rouster--that
means a working man. I run on a boat from Newport to Memphis. Then I
farmed, done track work on the railroad, and farmed some more.

"The young generation ain't got respect for old people and they tryin'
to live without work. I ain't got no fault to find with the times if I
was bout forty years younger than I is now I could work right ahead."

Interviewer: Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed: Ella Pittman
2409 West Eleventh Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Age: 84

"Yes ma'm, I was born in slavery days. I tell you I never had no name.
My old master named me--Just called me 'Puss? and said I could name
myself when I got big enough.

"My old master was named Mac Williams. But where I got free at was at
Stricklands. Mac Williams' daughter married a Strickland and she drawed
me. She was tollable good to me but her husband wa'nt.

"In slavery times I cleaned up the house and worked in the house. I
worked in the field a little but she kept me busy in the house. I was
busy night and day.

"No ma'm, I never did go to school--never did go to school.

"After I got grown I worked in the farm. When I wasn't farmin' I was
doin' other kinds of work. I used to cut and sew and knit and crochet. I
stayed around the white folks so much they learned me to do all kinds of
work. I never did buy my children any stockins--I knit 'em myself.

"After old Master died old Miss hired us out to Ben Deans, but he was so
cruel mama run away and went back to old Miss. I know we stayed at Ben
Deans till they was layin the crop by and I think he whipped mama that
morning so she run away.

"Yes ma'm, I sho do member bout the Klu Klux--sho do. They looked
dreadful--nearly scare you to death. The Klu Klux was bad, and the
paddyrollers too.

"I can't think of nothin' much to tell you now but I know all about
slavery. They used to build 'little hell', made something like a
barbecue pit and when the niggers didn't do like they wanted they'd lay
him over that 'little hell'.

"I've done ever kind of work--maulin rails, clearin up new ground. They
was just one kind of work I didn't do and that was workin' with a
grubbin' hoe. I tell you I just worked myself to death till now I ain't
able to do nothin'."

Interviewer's Comment

Ella Pittman's son, Almira Pittman was present when I interviewed his
mother. He was born in 1884. He added this information to what Ella told

"She is the mother of nine children--three living. I use to hear mama
tell about how they did in slavery times. If she could hear good now she
could map it out to you."

I asked him why he didn't teach his mother to read and write and he
said, "Well, I tell you, mama is high strung. She didn't have no real
name till she went to Louisiana."

These people live in a well-furnished home. The living room had a rug,
overstuffed furniture and an organ. Ella was clean.

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed: Ella Pittman
2417 W. Eleventh Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Age: 84
[TR: Appears to be same as last informant despite different address.]

"Here's one that lived then. I can remember fore the Civil War started.
That was in the State of North Carolina where I was bred and born in
March 1853. Mac Williams, he was my first owner and John Strickland was
my last owner. That was durin' of the war. My white folks told me I was
thirteen when peace was declared. They told me in April if I make no
mistake. That was in North Carolina. I grewed up there and found my
childun there. That is--seven of them. And then I found two since I been
down in here. I been in Arkansas about forty years.

"When the war come I heard em say they was after freein' the people.

"My mother worked in the field and old mistress kep' me in the house.
She married a widow-man and he had four childun and then she had one so
there was plenty for me to do. Yes ma'm!

"I ain't never been to school a day in my life. They didn't try to send
me after freedom. I had a very, very bad, cruel stepfather and he sent
all his childun to school but wouldn't send me. I stayed there till I
was grown. I sho did. Then I married. Been married just once. Never had
but that one man in my life. He was a very good man, too. Cose he was a
poor man but he was good to me.

"Yes ma'm, I sho did see the Ku Klux and the paddyrollers, too. They
done em bad I tell you.

"I know they was a white man they called Old Man Ford. He dug a pit just
like a barbecue pit, and he would burn coals just like you was goin' to
barbecue. Then he put sticks across the top and when any of his niggers
didn't do right, he laid em across that pit. I member they called it Old
Ford's Hell.

"I had a bad time fore freedom and a bad time after freedom till after I
married. I'm doin' tollably well now. I lives with my son and his wife
and she treats me very well. I can't live alone cause I'se subject to
inagestin' and I takes sick right sudden.

"I'm just as thankful as I can be that I'm gettin' along as well as I

"I stayed in the North in Detroit one year. I liked it very well. I
liked the white people very well. They was so sociable. My son lives
there and works for Henry Ford. My oldest son stays in Indiana.

"It was so cold I come back down here. I'se gettin' old and I needs to
be warm. Good-bye."

Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor
Person interviewed: Sarah Pittman
1320 W. Twentieth Street, Little Rock, Arkansas
Age: About 82

"I never saw nothing between white folks and colored folks. My white
folks were good to us. My daddy's white folks were named Jordan--Jim
Jordan--and my mama's folks were Jim Underwood. And they were good. My
mama's and father's folks both were good to the colored folks. As the
song goes, 'I can tell it everywhere I go.' And thank the Lord,
I'm here to tell it too. I raised children, grandchildren, and
great-grandchildren you see there. That is my great-grandson playing
there. He is having the time of his life. I raised him right too. You
see how good he minds me. He better not do nothin' different. He's about
two years old.

"I was born in Union Parish, Louisiana way up yonder in them hills, me
and my folks, and they come down here.

"Jim Jordan married one of the Taylor girls--Jim Taylor's daughter. The
old folks gave mama to them to do their housework. My father and mama
didn't belong to the same masters. He died the first year of the
surrender. He was a wonderful man. He was a Jackson. On Saturday night
he would stay with us till Sunday. On Sunday night he would go home. He
would play with us. Now he and mama both are dead. They are gone home
and I am waiting to go. They're waiting for me in the kingdom there. As
the song says, 'I am waiting on the promises of God.'

"My mama did housework in slave time. I don't know what my father did.
In them days you done some working from plantation to plantation. Them
folks is all gone in now near about. Guess mine will be the next time.

Early Childhood

"First thing I remember is staying at the house. We et at the white
folks' house. We would go there in the evening before sundown and git
our supper. One time Jim Underwood made me mad. Mama said something he
didn't like. And he tied her thumbs together and tied them to a limb.
Her feet could touch the ground--they weren't off the ground. He said
she could stay there till she thought better of it.

"Before the surrender I didn't do nothing in the line of work 'cept
'tend to my mother's children. I didn't do no work at all 'cept that. My
white folks were good to me. All my folks 'cept me are gone. My grandmas
and uncles and things all settin' up yonder. All my children what is
dead, they're up yonder. I ain't got but three living, and they're on
their way. Minnie and Mamie and Annie, that is all I got. Mamie's the
youngest and she's got grandchildren.

How Freedom Came

"The way we learned that freedom had come, my uncle come to the fence
and told my mama we were free and I went with her. Sure he'd been to the
War. He come back with his budget. Don't you know what a budget is? You
ain't never been to war, have you? Well, you oughter know what a budget
is. That's a knapsack. It had a pocket on each side and a water can on
each shoulder. He come home with his budget on his back, and he come to
the fence and told mama we was free and I heered him.

Right After Freedom

"Right after freedom my mama and them stayed with the same people they
had been with. The rest of the people scattered wherever they wanted to
But my uncle come there and got mama. They moved back to the Taylors
then where my grandma was. Wouldn't care if I had some of that good old
spring water now where my grandma lived!

"None of my people were ever bothered by the pateroles or the Ku Klux.

"We come to Arkansas because we had kinfolks down here. Just picked up
and come on. I been here a long time. I don't know how long, I don't
keep up with nothing like that. When my husband was living I just
followed him. He said that this was a good place and we could make a
good living. So I just come on. When he died, those gravediggers dug his
grave deep enough to put another man on top of him. But that don't hurt
him none. He's settin' in the kingdom. He was a deacon in the church and
his word went. The whole plantation would listen to him and do what he
said. Everybody respected him because he was right. I was just married
once and no man can take his place. He was the first one and the best
one and the last one. He was heaven bound and he went on there. I don't
know just how long I was married. It is in the Bible. It is in there in
big letters. I can't get that right now. It's so big and heavy. But it's
in there. I think we left it in Detroit when I was there, and it ain't
come back here yet. But I know we lived together a long time.

"I remember the old slave-time songs but I can't think of them just now.
'Come to Jesus' is one of them. 'Where shall I be when the first trumpet
sounds?', that's another one. Another one is: 'If I could, I surely
would; Set on the rock where Moses stood--first verse or stanza. All of
my sins been taken away, taken away--chorus. Mary wept and Martha
moaned, Mary's gone to a world unknown--second verse or stanza. All of
my sins are taken away, taken away--chorus."

"I don't think nothing 'bout these young folks. When they was turned
loose a lot of them went wild and the young folks followed their
leaders. But mine followed me and my daddy.

"My grandmother had a big old bay horse and she was midwife for the
white and the colored folks. She would put her side saddle on the old
horse and get up and go, bless her heart; and me and my cousin had to
stay there and take care of things. She's gone now. The Lord left me
here for some reason. And I'm enjoyin' it too. I have got my first
cussin' to do. I don't like to hear nobody cuss. I belong to the church.
I belong to the Baptist church and I go to the Arch Street Church."

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person interviewed: Mary Poe, Forrest City, Arkansas
Age: 60

"My papa used to tell about two men he knowd stealing a hog. He was
Wyatt Alexander. He was feeding one evening and the master was out there
too that evening. They overheard two colored men inside the crib lot
house. They was looking at the hogs. They planned to come back after
dark and get a hog. The way it turned out master dressed up ragged and
got inside that night. The first man come. They got a shoat and killed
it, knocked it in the head. The master took it on his back to the log
cabin. When he knocked, his wife opened the door. She seen who it was.
She nearly fell out and when he seen who it was he run off. The master
throwed the hog down. They all got the hot water and went to work. He
left a third there and took part to the other man. He done gone to bed
and he took a third on home. He said he wanted to see if they needed
meat or wanted to keep in stealing practice. He didn't want them to
waste his big hog meat neither. Said that man never come home for two
weeks, 'fraid he'd get a whooping. No, they said he never got a whooping
but the meat was near by gone.

"Seem lack hog stealing was common in North Carolina in them days from
the way he talked.

"Papa said he went down in the pasture one night to get a shoat. He said
they had a fine big drove. He got one knocked over an' was carrying it
out across the fence to the field. He seen another man. He couldn't see.
It was dark. He throwed the hog over on him. The man took the shoat on
to his house and papa was afraid to say much about it. He said way 'long
towards day this man come bringing about half of that hog cleaned and
ready to salt away. They got up and packed it away out of sight.

"My mother was named Lucy Alexander, too."

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person interviewed: W.L. Pollacks
Brinkley, Arkansas
Age: 68

"I was born in Shelby County Tennessee. My folks all come from Richmond,
Virginia. They come to Kentucky and then on to Tennessee. I am 68 years
old. My father's master was Joe Rollacks and Mrs. Chicky they called his
wife. My mother's master was Joe Ricks and they all called his wife Miss
Fee. I guess it was Pheobe or Josephine but they never called her by
them names. Seemed like they was all kin folks. I heard my mother say
she dress up in some of the white folks dresses and hitch up the buggy,
take dinner and carry two girls nearly grown out to church and to big
picnics. She liked that. The servants would set the table and help the
white folks plates at the table. Said they had a heap good eating. She
had a plenty work to do but she got to take the girls places where the
parents didn't want to go. She said they didn't know what to do wid
freedom. She said it was like weening a child what never learned to eat
yet. I forgot what they did do. She said work was hard to find and money
scarce. They find some white folks feed em to do a little work. She said
a nickle looked big as a dollar now. They couldn't buy a little bit.
They like never get nough money to buy a barrel of flour. It was so
high. Seem like she say I was walking when they got a barrel of flour.
So many colored folks died right after freedom. They caught consumption.
My mother said they was exposed mo than they been used to and mixing up
in living quarters too much what caused it. My father voted a Republican
ticket. I ain't voted much since I come to Arkansas. I been here 32
years. My farm failed over in Tennessee. I was out lookin' round for
farmin' land, lookin' round for good work. I farmed then I worked seven
or eight years on the section, then I helped do brick work till now I
can't do but a mighty little. I had three children but they all dead. I
got sugar dibeates.

"The present times are tough on sick people. It is hard for me to get a
living. I find the young folks all for their own selves. If I was well I
could get by easy. If a man is strong he can get a little work along.

"The times and young generation both bout to run away wid themselves,
and the rest of the folks can't stop em 'pears to me like."

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person interviewed: "Doc" John Pope, Biscoe, Arkansas
Age: 87

I am 87 years old for a fact. I was born in De Soto County, Mississippi,
eight miles south of Memphis, Tennessee. No I didn't serve in de War but
my father Gus Pope did. He served in de War three years and never came
home. He served in 63rd Regiment Infantry of de Yankee army. He died
right at the surrender. I stayed on de farm till the surrender. We
scattered around den. My father was promised $300.00 bounty and 160
acres of land. Dey was promised dat by the Constitution of the United
States. Every soldier was promised dat. No he never got nary penny nor
nary acre of land. We ain't got nuthin. De masters down in Mississippi
did help 'em where they stayed on. I never stayed on. I left soon as de
fightin was gone. I was roamin round in Memphis and man asked me if I
wanted to go to college. He sent a train load to Fitz (Fisk) University.
I stayed there till I graduated. I studied medicine generally. Sandy
Odom, the preacher at Brinkley, was there same time as I was. He show is
old. He's up in ninety now. He had a brother here till he died. He was a
fine doctor. He got more practice around here than any white doctor in
this portion of de county. Fitz University was a fine college. It was
run by rich folks up north. I don't know how long I stayed there. It was
a good while. I went to Isaac Pope, my uncle. He was farming. Briscoe
owned the Pope niggers at my first recollection. He brought my uncle and
a lot more over here where he owned a heap of dis land. It was all
woods. Dats how I come here.

After de Civil War? Dey had to "Root hog or die". From 1860-1870 the
times was mighty hard. People rode through the county and killed both
white and black. De carpet bagger was bout as bad as de Ku Kluck.

I came here I said wid John Briscoe. They all called him Jack Briscoe,
in 1881. I been here ever since cept W.T. Edmonds and P.H. Conn sent me
back home to get hands. I wrote 'em how many I had. They wired tickets
to Memphis. I fetched 52 families back. I been farmin and practicin all
my life put near.

I show do vote. I voted the last time for President Hoover. The first
time I voted was at the General Grant election. I am a Republican,
because it is handed down to me. That's the party of my race. I ain't
going to change. That's my party till I dies. We has our leader what
instructs us how to vote.

Dey say dey goiner pay 60 cents a hundred but I ain't able to pick no
cotton. No I don't get no help from de relief. I think the pore class of
folks in a mighty bad fix. Is what I think. The nigger is hard hit and
the pore trash dey call 'em is too. I don't know what de cause is. It's
been jess this way ever since I can recollect. No times show ain't one
bit better. I owns dis house and dats all. I got one daughter.

I went to Fitz (Fisk) University in 1872. The folks I told you about was
there then too. Their names was Dr. E.B. Odom of Biscoe and his brother
Sandy Odom. He preaches at Brinkley now. Doc Odom is dead. He served on
the Biscoe School Board a long time wid two white men.

I don't know much about the young generation. They done got too smart
for me to advise. The young ones is gettin fine educations but it ain't
doin 'em no good. Some go north and cook. It don't do the balance of 'em
no good. If they got education they don't lack de farm. De sun too hot.
No times ain't no better an de nigger ain't no better off en he used to
be. A little salary dun run 'em wild.

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed: William Porter
1818 Louisiana Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Age: 81
Occupation: Janitor of church

"Yes'm I lived in slavery times. I was born in 1856. I was borned in
Tennessee but the most of my life has been in Arkansas.

"I remember when Hood's raid was. That was the last fight of the war. I
recollect seein' the soldiers marchin' night and day for two days. I saw
the cavalry men and the infant men walking. I heard em say the North was
fightin' the South. They called the North Yankees and the South Rebels.

"Some of the Tennessee niggers was called free niggers. There was a
colored man in Pulaski, Tennessee who owned slaves.

"My father was workin' to buy his freedom and had just one more year to
work when peace come. His master gave him a chance to buy his freedom.
He worked for old master in the daytime and at night he worked for
himself. He split rails and raised watermelons.

"My father's master was named Tom Gray at that time. Considering the
times he was a very fair man.

"When the war broke up I was workin' around a barber shop in Nashville,

"The Queen of England offered to buy the slaves and raise them till they
were grown, then give them a horse, a plow and so many acres of ground
but the South wouldn't accept this offer.

"It was the rule of the South to keep the people as ignorant as
possible, but my mother had a little advantage over some. The white
children learned her to read and write, and when freedom came she could
write her name and even scribble out a letter. She gave me my first
lesson, and I started to school in '67. The North sent teachers down
here after the war. They were government schools.

"I was pretty apt in figgers--studied Bay's Arithmetic through the third
book. I was getting along in school, but I slipped away from my people
and was goin' to get a pocket full of money and then go back. First man
I worked for was a colored man and I kept his books for him and was to
get one-fourth of the crop. The first year he settled with me I had $165
clear after I paid all my debts. I done very well. I farmed one more
year, then I come to Pine Bluff and did government work along the
Arkansas River.

"I've done carpenter work and concrete work. I learned it by doing it. I
followed concrete work for a long time. I've hoped to build several
houses here in Pine Bluff and a lot of these streets.

"I have a brother and sister who graduated from Fisk University.

"I think one thing about the younger generation is they need to be more
educated in the way of manners and to have race pride and to be subject
to the laws."

Interviewer: Thomas Elmore Lacy
Person interviewed: Bob Potter, Russellville, Arkansas
Age: 65

"Sure, you oughter remember me--Bob Potter. Used to know you when you
was a boy passin' de house every day go in' down to de old Democrat
printin' office. Knowed yo' brother and all yo' folks. Knowed yo' pappy
mighty well. Is yo' ma and pa livin' now? No suh, I reckin not.

"I was born de seventeenth of September, 1873 right here in
Russellville. Daddy's name was Dick, and mudder's was Ann Potter. Daddy
died before I was born, and I never seed him. Mudder's been dead about
eighteen years. Dey master was named Hale, and he lived up around Dover
somewheres on his farm, but I dunno how dey come by de name Potter.
Well, now, lemme see--oh, yes, dey was freed at Dover after dey come
dere from North Ca'liny. I think my ma was born in West Virginia, and
den dey went to North Ca'liny and den to South Ca'liny, and den come to

"I raised seven boys and lost five chillen. Dere was three girls and
nine boys. All dat's livin' is here except one in Fresno, California. My
old woman here, she tells fortunes for de white folks and belongs to de
Holiness church but I don't belong to none; I let her look after de
religion for de fambly." (Interjection from Mrs. Potter: "Yes suh, you
bet I belongs to de Holiness chu'ch. You got to walk in de light to be
saved, and if you do walk in de light you can't sin. I been saved for a
good many yeahs and am goin' on in de faith. Praise de Lawd!")

"My mudder was sold once for a hundud dollahs and once ag'in for
thirty-eight hundud dollahs. Perhaps dis was jist before dey left West
Virginia and was shipped to North Ca'liny. De master put her upon a box,
she said, made her jump up and pop her heels together three times and
den turn around and pop her heels again to show how strong she was. She
sure was strong and a hard worker. She could cut wood, tote logs, plow,
hoe cotton, and do ever'thing on de place, and lived to be about
ninety-five yeahs old. Yas suh, she was as old or older dan Aunt Joan is
when she died.

"No suh, I used to vote but I quit votin', for votin' never did git me
nothin'; I quit two yeahs ago. You see, my politics didn't suit em.
Maybe I shouldn't be tellin' you but I was a Socialist, and I was
runnin' a mine and wo'kin' fifteen men, and dey was all Socialists, and
de Republicans and Democrats sure put me out of business--dey put me to
de bad.

"Dat was about twelve yeahs ago when I run de mine. I been tryin' to git
me a pension but maybe dat's one reason I can't git it. Oh yes, I owns
my home--dat is, I did own it, but----

"Oh Lawd, yes, I knows a lot of dem old songs like 'Let Our Light
Shine,' and 'De Good Old Gospel Way,' and 'Hark From de Tomb.' Listen,
you oughter hear Elder Beam sing dat one. He's de pastor of de Baptis'
Chu'ch at Fort Smith. He can sure make it ring!

"De young folks of today compa'ed to dem when we was boys? Huh! You jist
can't compaih em--can't be done. Why, a fo'-yeah-old young'un knows mo'
today dan our grandmammies knowed. And in dem days de boys and gals
could go out and play and swing togedder and behave deyselves. We went
in our shu'ttails and hit was all right; we had two shu'ts to weah--one
for every day and one for Sunday--and went in our shu'ttails both every
day and Sunday and was respected. And if you didn't behave you sure got
whupped. Dey didn't put dey arms around you and hug you and den put you
off to sleep. Dey whupped you, and it was real whuppin'.

"Used to hear my mudder talk about de Ku Klux Klan puttin' cotton
between her toes and whuppin' her, and dat's de way dey done us
young'uns when we didn't behave. And we used to have manners den, both
whites and blacks. I wish times was like dem days, but dey's gone.

"Yes, we used to have our tasks to do befo' goin' to bed. We'd have a
little basket of cotton and had to pick de seeds all out of dat cotton
befo' we went to bed. And we could all ca'd and spin--yes suh--make dat
old spinnin' wheel go Z-z-z-z as you walked back and fo'f a-drawin' out
de spool of ya'n. And you could weave cloth and make all yo' own
britches, too. (Here his wife interpolated a homely illustration of the
movement of "de shettle" in the loom weaving--ed.)

"Yes, I mind my mudder tellin' many a time about dem Klan-men, and how
dey whupped white women to make em give up de money dey had hid, and how
dey used to burn dey feet. Yes suh, ain't no times like dem old days,
and I wish we had times like em now. Yes suh, I'll sure come to see you
in town one of dese days. Good mornin'."

NOTE: Bob Potter is a most interesting Negro character--one of the most
genial personalities of the Old South that the interviewer has met
anywhere. His humor is infectious, his voice boisterous, but delightful,
and his uproarious laugh just such as one delights to listen to. And his
narrations seem to ring with veracity.

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed: Louise Prayer
3401 Short West Third, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Age: 80

"I can member seein' the Yankees. My mother died when I was a baby and
my grandmother raised me. I'se goin' on eighty.

"When the Yankees come we piled boxes and trunks in front of the doors
and windows. She'd say, 'You chillun get in the house; the Yankees are
comin'.' I didn't know what 'twas about--I sure didn't.

"I'm honest in mind. You know the Yankees used to come in and whip the
folks. I know they come in and whipped my grandma and when they come in
we chillun went under the bed. Didn't know no better. Why did they whip
her? Oh my God, I don't know bout dat. You know when we chillun saw em
ridin' in a hurry we went in the house and under the bed. I specks
they'd a killed me if they come up to me cause they'd a scared me to

"We lived on the Williams' place. All belonged to the same people. They
give us plenty to eat such as 'twas. But in them days they fed the
chillun mostly on bread and syrup. Sometimes we had greens and
dumplin's. Jus' scald some meal and roll up in a ball and drop in with
the greens. Just a very few chickens we had. I don't love chicken
though. If I can jus' get the liver I'm through with the chicken.

"When I got big enough my grandmother had me in the field. I went to
school a little bit but I didn't learn nothin'. Didn't go long enough.
That I didn't cause the old man had us in the field.

"If we chillun in them days had had the sense these got now, I could
remember more bout things.

"I was a young missy when I married.

"I told you the best I could--that's all I know. I been treated pretty


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