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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: 5

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"'Bout two years ago I got sick and broke up and not able to work and Mr. Dilley give me a pension—ten dollars a month. But de wages and hour got here now and I don't know what he's gwine do. When de next pay-day comes he might give me somethin' and he might not.

"Miss, de white folks has done so bad here dat I don't know what dey's gwine a do. Mr. Ed and his father been takin' care of me for twenty years. Dey sure has been takin' care of me. Miss, I can't find no fault of Mr. Ed Dilley at all.

"I can do a little light work but when I work half a day I get nervous and can't do nothin'.

"No ma'am, I never did vote. Dey didn't 'low us to vote. Well, if dey did I didn't know it and I didn't vote.

"Well, Miss, I think de young folks is near to de dogs and de dogs ought to have 'em and bury 'em. Miss, I don't 'cept none of 'em. I wouldn't want to go on and tell you how dey has treated me. Dey ain't no use to ask 'cause I ain't gwine tell you. The people is more wicked and more wuss and ever'thing. I don't think nothin' of 'em.

"Miss, let me tell you de only folks dat showed me any friendly is Mr. Ed Dilley. I worked out dere night and day, Sunday and Monday—any time he called.

"Miss, I ain't never seen any jail house; I ain't never been to police headquarters; I ain't never been called a witness in my life. I try to live right, all I know, and if I do wrong it's somethin' I don't know. I ain't had dat much trouble in my life.

"I went up here to Judge Brewster to see about de pension and he said, 'Got a home?' I said, 'Yes.' 'Got it paid for?' 'Yes.' 'Got a deed?' 'Yes.' 'Got a abstract?' 'Yes.' 'Well, bring it up here and sign it and go get de pension.'

"But I wouldn't do it. Miss, I would starve till I was as stiff as a peckerwood peckin' at a hole 'fore I'd sign anything on my deed. Miss, I wouldn't put a scratch on my deed. I wouldn't trust 'em, wouldn't trust 'em if dey was behind a Winchester."

Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor
Person interviewed: Lula Jackson
1808 Valentine Street, Little Rock, Arkansas
Age: 79?

"I was born in Alabama, Russell County, on a place called Sand Ridge, about seven miles out from Columbus, Georgia. Bred and born in Alabama. Come out here a young gal. Wasn't married when I come out here. Married when a boy from Alabama met me though. Got his picture. Lula Williams! That was my name before I married. How many sisters do you have? That's another question they ask all the time; I suppose you want to know, too. Two. Where are they? That's another one of them questions they always askin' me. You want to know it, too? I got one in Clarksdale, Mississippi. And the other one is in Philadelphia; no, I mean in Philipp city, Tallahatchie (county). Her name is Bertha Owens and she lives in Philipp city. What state is Philipp city in? That'll be the next question. It is in Mississippi, sir. Now is thar anything else you'd like to know?

"My mother's name was Bertha Williams and my father's name was Fred Williams. I don't know nothing 'bout mama's mother. Yes, her name was Crecie. My father's mother was named Sarah. She got killed by lightning. Crecie's husband was named John Oliver. Sarah's husband was named William Daniel. Early Hurt was mama's master. He had an awful name and he was an awful man. He whipped you till he'd bloodied you and blistered you. Then he would cut open the blisters and drop sealing-wax in them and in the open wounds made by the whips.

"When the Yankees come in, his wife run in and got in the bed between the mattresses. I don't see why it didn't kill her. I don't know how she stood it. Early died when the Yankees come in. He was already sick. The Yankees come in and said, 'Did you know you are on the Yankee line?'

"He said, 'No, by God, when did that happen?'

"They said, 'It happened tonight, G——D—— you.'

"And he turned right on over and done everything on hisself and died. He had a eatin' cancer on his shoulder.

Schooling, Etc.

"My mother had so many children that I didn't get to go to school much. She had nineteen children, and I had to stay home and work to help take care of them. I can't write at all.

"I went to school in Alabama, 'round on a colored man's place—Mr. Winters. That was near a little town called Fort Mitchell and Silver Rim where they put the men in jail. I was a child. Mrs. Smith, a white woman from the North, was the second teacher that I had. The first was Mr. Croler. My third teacher was a man named Mr. Nelson. All of these was white. They wasn't colored teachers. After the War, that was. I have the book I used when I went to school. Here is the little Arithmetic I used. Here is the Blue Back Speller. I have a McGuffy's Primer too. I didn't use that. I got that out of the trash basket at the white people's house where I work. One day they throwed it out. That is what they use now, ain't it?

"Here is a book my husband give me. He bought it for me because I told him I wanted a second reader. He said, 'Well, I'll go up to the store and git you one.' Plantation store, you know. He had that charged to his account.

"I used to study my lesson. I turned the whole class down once. It was a class in spelling. I turned the class down on 'Publication'—p-u-b-l-i-c-a-t-i-o-n. They couldn't spell that. But I'll tell the world they could spell it the next day.

"My teacher had a great big crocus sack, and when she got tired of whipping them, she would put them in the sack. She never did put me in that sack one time. I got a whipping mos' every day. I used to fight, and when I wasn't fightin' for myself, I'd be fighting for other children that would be scared to fight for theirselves, and I'd do their fighting for them.

"That whippin' in your hand is the worst thing you ever got. Brother, it hurts. I put a teacher in jail that'd whip one of my children in the hand.

Occupational History and Family

"My mama said I was six years old when the War ended and that I was born on the first day of October. During the War, I run up and down the yard and played, and run up and down the street and played; and when I would make too much noise, they'd whip me and send me back to my mother and tell her not to whip me no more, because they had already done it. I would help look after my mother's children. There were five children younger than I was. Everywhere she went, the white people would want me to nurse their children, because they said, 'That little rawboneded one is goin' to be the smartest one you got. I want her.' And my ma would say:

"'You ain't goin' to git 'er.' She had two other girls—Martha and Sarah. They was older than me, and she would hire them out to do nursing. They worked for their master during slave time, and they worked for money after slavery.

"My mama's first husband was killed in a rasslin' (wrestling) match. It used to be that one man would walk up to another and say, 'You ain't no good.' And the other one would say, 'All right, le's see.' And they would rassle.

"My mother's first husband was pretty old. His name was Myers. A young man come up to him one Sunday morning when they were gettin' commodities. They got sorghum, meat, meal, and flour; if what they got wasn't enough, then they would go out and steal a hog. Sometime they'd steal it anyhow; they got tired of eatin' the same thing all the time. Hurt would whip them for it. Wouldn't let the overseer whip them. Whip them hisself. 'Fraid the overseer wouldn't give them enough. They never could find my grandfather's meat. That was Grandfather William Down.