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قراءة كتاب Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves, Arkansas Narratives, Part 4

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‏اللغة: English
Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves, Arkansas Narratives, Part 4

Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves, Arkansas Narratives, Part 4

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 4

go around.

"But if they kept 'em a little closer now, the world would be a better place. I'm so glad I raised my children when they was raisin' children. If I told 'em to do a thing, they did it 'cause I would always know what was best. I got here first you know.

"People now'days is just shortening their lives. The Lord is pressin' us now tryin' to press us back. But thank God I'm saved.

"Did you ever see things like they is now?

"I looks at the young folks and it seems like they is all in a hurry—looks like they is on the last round.

"These here seabirds, (a music machine called seaburg—ed.) is ruinin' the young folks.

"I feels my age now, but I thank the Lord I got a home and got a little income.

"My children can't help me—ain't got nothin' to help with but a little washin'. My daughter been bustin' the suds for a livin' 'bout thirty-two years now.

"I never went to school. My dad put me to work after freedom and then when schools got so numerous, I got too big. Ain't but one thing I want to learn this side of the River, is to read the Bible. I wants to confirm Jesus' words.

"The fus' place we went after we left the home place durin' of the war, we went to Wolf Creek. And then they pressed 'em so close we went to Red River. And they pressed 'em so close again we went to Texas and that's where we was when freedom come.

"That was in July and they closed the crap (crop) and then six weeks 'fore Christmas they loaded the wagons and started back to Arkansas. We come back to the Johnson place and stayed there three years, then my father rented the Alexander place on the Tamo.

"I stayed right there till I married. I married quite young, but I had a good husband. I ain't sayin' this just 'cause he's sleepin' but ever'body will tell you he was good to me. Made a good livin' and I wore what I wanted to.

"He come from South Carolina way before the war. Come from Abbeville. They was emigratin' the folks.

"I tell you all I can, but I won't tell you nothin' but the truth."

Interviewer's Comment

Owns her home and lives on the income from rental property.

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed: Clarice Jackson
1738 Virginia Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Age: 84

"Was I here in slavery days? Well, I remember when the soldiers went to war. Oh, I'm old—I ain't no baby. But I been well taken care of—I been treated well.

"I was bred and born right here in Arkansas and been livin' here all the time 'cept when they said the Yankees was comin'. I know we was just closin' up a crop. They put us in wagons and carried us to Wolf Creek in Texas and then they carried us to Red River. That was because it would be longer 'fore we found out we was free and they would get more work out a us.

"Old master's name was Robert Johnson and they called him Bob.

"After freedom they brought us back to Arkansas and put the colored folks to workin' on the shares. Yes'm they said they got their share. They looked like they was well contented. They stayed three or four years. We was treated more kinder and them that was not big enough to work was let go to school. I went to school awhile and then I had a hard spell of sickness—it was this slow fever. I was sick five or six weeks and it was a long time 'fore I could get my health so I didn't try to go to school no more. Seemed like I forgot everything I knowed.

"When I was fifteen I got tired of workin' so hard so I got married, but I found out things was wusser. But my husband was good to me. Yes ma'm, he was a good man and nice to me. He was a good worker. He was deputy assessor under Mr. Triplett and he was a deputy sheriff and then he was a magistrate. Oh, he was a up-to-date man. He went to school after we was married and wanted me to go but I thought too much of my childun. When he died, 'bout two years ago, he left me this house and two rent houses. Yes ma'm, he was a good man.

"They ain't nothin' to this here younger generation. Did you ever see 'em goin' so fast? They won't take time to let you tell 'em anything. They is in a hurry. The world is too fast for me, but thank the Lord my childun is all settled. I got some nieces and nephews though that is goin' too fast.

"Yes'm, I'm gettin' along all right. I ain't got nothin' to complain of."

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed: Israel Jackson
3505 Short Second, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Age: 78

"My name's Israel Jackson. No ma'am, I wasn't born in Arkansas—born in Yaller Bush County, Mississippi August de third, 1860.

"My old master? Called him General—General Bradford. I don't know where he was but he was gone somewhere. Don't know her name—just called her missis.

"Yas'm, I was big enough to work. Dey had me to lead out my young master's horse on de grass. I had a halter on it and one time I laid down and went to sleep. I had de rope tied to my leg and when it come twelve o'clock de horse drag me clear to de house. No ma'am, I didn't wake up till I got to de house. It was my young master's saddle horse.

"Yas'm, I knowed dey was a war 'cause de men come past just as thick. No'm, I wasn't afraid. I kept out of de way. Old missis wouldn't let us get in de way. I 'member dey stopped dere and told us we was free. Lots of de folks went off but my mother kept workin' in de field, and my father didn't leave.

"Old master had us go by his name. Dat's what dey called 'em—all de hands on de place.

"I thought from boyhood he was awful cruel. Didn't 'low us chillun in de white folks' house at all. Had one woman dat cooked. Dey was fifty or a hundred chillun on de place and dey had a big long trough dug out of a log and each chile had a spoon and he'd eat out of dat trough. Yas'm, I 'member dat. Eat greens and milk. As for meat, we didn't know what dat was. My mother would go huntin' at night and get a 'possum to feed us and sometimes old master would ketch her and take it away from her and give her a piece of salt meat. But sometimes she'd bury a 'possum till she had a chance to cook it. And dey'd take sackin' like you make cotton sacks and dye it and make us clothes.

"When de conch would blow at four o'clock every mornin' everybody got up and got ready for de field. Dey'd take dere chillun up to dat big long house. When mother went to de field I'd go along and lead de horse till I got to where dey was workin', then I'd sit down and let the horse eat. I was young and it's been so long.

"No ma'am, I never went to school. No ma'am, can't read or write. Never had no schools as I remember.

"Dey stayed on de place after freedom. No ma'am, dey did not pay 'em. I'se old but I ain't forgot dat. Dey fed theirselves by stealin' and gettin' things in de woods.

"After dem Blue Jackets come in dere General Bradford never did come back and our folks stayed dere and when dey did leave dey went to Sunflower County. After dat we got along better.

"How many brothers and sisters? I b'lieve I had five.

"I stayed with my parents till I was grown. No ma'am, dey didn't 'low us to marry. When we was twenty we was neither man nor boy; we was considered a hobble-de-hoy. And when we got to be twenty-one we was considered a man and your parents turned you loose, a man. So I left home and went to Louisiana. I stayed dere a year, then I went back to Mississippi and worked. I come here to Arkansas twenty-six years ago. Is dis Jefferson? Well, I come here to de west end.

"Since I been here I been workin' at de foundry—Dilley's foundry.