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Ford, Sarah

SARAH FORD, whose age is problematical, but who says, "I's been here for a long time," lives in a small cottage at 3151 Clay St., Houston, Texas. Born on the Kit Patton plantation near West Columbia, Texas, Aunt Sarah was probably about fifteen years old when emancipated. She had eleven children, the first born during the storm of 1875, at East Columbia, in which Sarah's mother and father both perished.

"Law me, you wants me to talk 'bout slave times, and you is cotched me 'fore I's had my coffee dis mornin', but when you gits old as I is, talk is 'bout all you can do, so 'scuse me whilst I puts de coffee pot on de fire and tell you what I can.

"Now, what I tell you is de truth, 'cause I only told one little lie in my whole life and I got cotched in it and got whipped both ways. Oh, Lawd, I sho' never won't forget dat, mama sho' was mad. Mama sends me over to Sally Ann, the cow woman, to get some milk and onions. I never did like to borrow, so I comes back with the milk and tell mama Sally Ann say she ain't got no onions for no Africans. Dat make mama mad and she goes tell dat Sally Ann Somethin'. She brung back de onions and say, 'You, Sarah, I'll larn you not to tell no lie.' She sho' give no a hidin'.

"Now, I tells you 'bout de plantation what I's born on. You all knows where West Columbia is at? Well, dat's right where I's born, on Massa Kit Patton's Plantation, dey calls it de Hogg place now." (Owned by children of Gov. Will Hogg.)

"Mamma and papa belongs to Massa Kit and mama born there, too. Folks called her 'Little Jane,' 'cause she no bigger'n nothing.

"Papa's name was Mike and he's a tanner and he come from Tennessee and sold to Massa Kit by a nigger trader. He wasn't all black, he was part Indian. I heared him say what tribe, but I can't 'lect now. When I's growed mama tells me lots of things. She say de white folks don't let de slaves what works in de field marry none, dey jus' puts a man and breedin' woman together like mules. Iffen the woman don't like the man it don't make no diff'rence, she better go or dey gives her a hidin'.

"Massa Kit has two brothers, Massa Charles and Massa Matt, what lives at West Columbia. Massa Kit on one side Varney's Creek and Massa Charles on de other side. Massa Kit have a African woman from Kentucky for he wife, and dat's de truth. I ain't sayin' iffen she a real wife or not, but all de slaves has to call her 'Miss Rachel.' But iffen a bird fly up in de sky it mus' come down sometime, and Rachel jus' like dat bird, 'cause Massa Kit go crazy and die and Massa Charles take over de plantation and he takes Rachel and puts her to work in de field. But she don't stay in de field long, 'cause Massa Charles puts her in a house by herself and she don't work no more.

"If us gits sick us call Mammy Judy. She de cook and iffen you puts a sugar barrel 'long side her and puts a face on dat barrel, you sho' can't tell it from her, she so round and fat. Iffen us git real sick dey calls de doctor, but iffen it a misery in de stomach or jus' de flux, Mammy Judy fix up some burr vine tea or horsemint tea. Dey de male burr vine and de female burr vine and does a woman or gal git de misery, dey gives 'em de female tea, and does a man, or boy chile git it, dey gives him de male vine tea.

"Scuse me while I pours me some coffer. It sho' do fortify me. You know what us drink for coffee in slave times? Parched meal, and it purty good iffen you know's how.

"Us don't have much singin' on our place, 'cepting at church on Sunday. Law me, de folks what works in de fields feels more like cryin' at night. Us chillen used to sing dis:

"'Where you goin', buzzard,

Where you gwine to go?

I's goin' down to new ground,

For to hunt Jim Crow.

"I guess Massa Charles, what taken us when Massa Kit die, was 'bout de same as all white folks what owned slaves, some good and some bad. We has plenty to eat --- more'n I has now --- and plenty clothes and shoes. But de overseer was Uncle Big Jake, what's black like de rest of us, but he so mean I 'spect de devil done make him overseer down below long time ago. Dat de bad part of Massa Charles, 'cause he lets Uncle Jake whip de slaves so much dat some like my papa what had spirit was all de time runnin' 'way. And even does your stomach be full, and does you have plenty clothes, dat bullwhip on your bare hide make you forgit de good part, and dat's de truth.

"Uncle Big Jake sho' work de slaves from early mornin' till night. When you is in de field you better not lag none. When its fallin' weather de hands is put to work fixin' dis and dat. De women what has li'l chillen don't have to work so hard. Dey works 'round de sugar house and come 11 o'clock dey quits and cares for de babies till 1 o'clock, and den works till 3 o'clock and quits.

"Massa Charles have a arbor and dat's where we has preachin'. One day old Uncle Lew preachin' and he say, 'De Lawd make everyone to come in unity and on de level, both white and black.' When Massa Charles hears 'bout it, he don't like it none, and de next mornin' old Uncle Jake git Uncle Lew and put him out in de field with de rest.

"Massa Charles run dat plantation jus' like a factory. Uncle Cip was sugar man, my papa tanner and Uncle John Austin, what have a wooden leg, am shoemaker and make de shoes with de brass toes. Law me, dey heaps of things go on in slave time what won't go on no more, 'cause de bright light come and it ain't dark no more for us black folks. Iffen a nigger run away and dey cotch him, or does he come back 'cause he hongry, I seed Uncle Jake stretch him out on de ground and tie he hands and feet to posts so he can't move none. Den he git de piece of iron what he call de 'slut' and what is like a block of wood with little holes in it, and fill de holes up with tallow and put dat iron in de fire till de grease sizzlin' hot and hold it over de pore nigger's back and let dat hot grease drap on he hide. Den he take de bullwhip and whip up and down, and after all dat throw de pore nigger in de stockhouse and chain him up a couple days with nothin' to eat. My papa carry de grease scars on he back till he die.

"Massa Charles and Uncle Jake don't like papa, 'cause he ain't so black, and he had spirit, 'cause he part Indian. Do somethin' go wrong and Uncle Big Jaks say he gwine to give papa de whippin', he runs off. One time he gone a whole year and he sho' look like a monkey when he gits back, with de hair standin' straight on he head and he face. Papa was mighty good to mamma and me and dat de only reason he ever come back from runnin' 'way, to see us. He knowed he'd git a whippin' but he come anyway. Dey never could cotch papa when he run 'way, 'cause he part Indian. Massa Charles even gits old Nigger Kelly what lives over to Sandy Point to track papa with he dogs, but papa wade in water and dey can't track him.

"Dey knows papa is de best tanner 'round dat part de country, so dey doesn't sell him off de place. I 'lect papa sayin' dere one place special where he hide, some German folks, de name Ebbling, I thinks. While he hides dere, he tans hides on de sly like and dey feeds him, and lots of mornin's when us open de cabin door on a shelf jus' 'bove is food for mama and me, and sometime store clothes. No one ain't see papa, but dere it is. One time he brung us dresses, and Uncle Big Jake heered 'bout it and he sho' mad 'cause he can't cotch papa, and he say to mama he gwine to whip her 'less she tell him where papa is. Mama say, 'Fore God, Uncle Jake, I don't know, 'cause I ain't seed him since he run 'way.' and jus' den papa come 'round de corner of de house. He save mama from de whippin' but papa got de hot grease drapped on him like I told you Uncle Big Jake did, and got put in de stockhouse with shackles on him, and kep' dere three days, and while he in dere mama has de goin' down pains and my sister, Rachel, is born.

"When freedom come, I didn't know what dat was. I 'lect Uncle Charley Burns what drive de buggy for Mass Charles, come runnin' out in de yard and hollers, 'Everybody free, everybody free,' and purty soon sojers comes and de captain reads a 'mation. And, Law me, dat one time Mass Charley can't open he mouth 'cause de captain tell him to shut up, dat he'd do de talkin'. Den de captain say, 'I come to tell you de slaves is free and you don't have to call nobody master no more.' Well, us jus' mill 'round like cattle do. Massa Charley say iffen us wants to stay he'll pay us, all 'cepting my papa. He say, 'You can't stay here, 'cause you is a bad 'fluence.'

"Papa left but come back with a wagon and mules what he borrows and loads mama and my sister and me in and us go to East Columbia on de Brazos river and settles down. Dey hires me out and us have our own patch, too, and dat de fust time I ever seed any money. Papa builds a cabin and a corn crib and us sho' happy, 'cause de bright light done come and dey no more whippin's.

"One night us jus' finish eatin supper and someone holler 'Hello.' You know who it was holler? Old Uncle Big Jake. De black folks all hated him so dey wouldn't have no truck with him and he ask my papa could he stay. Papa didn't like him none, 'cause he done treat papa so bad, but de old devil jus' beg so hard papa takes him out to de corn crib and fix a place for him and he stay most a month till he taken sick and died.

"I stays with papa and mama till I marries Wes Ford and I shows you how de Lawd done give and take away. Wes and I has a cabin by ourselves near papa's and I is jus' 'bout to have my first baby. De wind start blowin' and it git harder and harder and right when its de worst de baby comes. Dat in '75 and whilst I havin' my baby, de wind tear de cabin where mama and papa is to pieces and kilt 'em. My sister Rachel was with me so she wasn't kilt.

"Well, I can't complain, 'cause de Lawd sho' been good to me. Wes and all 'cept four my chillen is dead now. I has six boys and five gals. But de ones what is alive is pore like dey mammy. But I praises de Lawd 'cause de bright light am turned on.

Ford, Sarah -- Additional Interview

Sarah Ford, whose age is problematical, but who says "I knows I'se been here for a long time", lives in a small cottage at 3151 Clay Ave., Houston. Born on the Kit Patton Plantation near West Columbia, Aunt Sarah, according to her story of plantation life, was probably 14 or 16 years old when freed with her mother and father at the close of the Civil War, which would make her present age well up in the 80's. She has a very good memory, recalling various characters around the plantation, and terminates many sentences with the expression "an' dat's de truth". Aunt Sarah has had eleven children, six boys and five girls, her first child being born at East Columbia during the storm of 1875, in which her mother and father both perished.

"Law me, you wants me to talk 'bout slave times, an' you is cotched me 'fore I'se had my coffee dis mawnin', but when you gits as old as I is, talk is 'bout all you can do, so 'scuse me whilst I puts de coffee pot on de fire an' tell you what I can.

"Now what I tells you is de truth, 'cause I only told one little lie in my whole life an' I got cotched in it an' got whipped both ways. Oh Law, he, he, he, I sure never won't forget dat,---mamma sure was mad. It happen like dis. Mamma sends me over to Sally Ann, de cow woman what tends to de milk on de plantation, to get some milk an' to borrow some onions. Cose back in slave times we all has our own gardens an' raise our own truck, but we had eat up all our onions an' mamma jes' wanted to borrow some. I never did like to borrow nothin' so I comes back with de milk, an' mamma say 'whar de onions? I tells her Sally Ann say she ain't got no onions for no Africans, an' dat makes mamma mad an' she say she go over an' tell dat no 'count Sally Ann somethin'. Pretty quick she come back an' brung 'long a mess of onions, an' say 'you Sarah, I teach you now not to tell no lie', an' Law me, she sure give me a hidein'. Den she takes me over to Sally Ann, an' Sally Ann gives me 'nother hidein', 'cause she didn' say none what I had told mamma,---I jes' makes it up. Now dat's de truth, an' I ain't never tell no lie since neither.

"Now I tells you 'bout de plantation what I was born on. You all knows whar West Columbia is at? Well dats right whar I was born, right on Marster Kit Patton's Plantation,---dey calls it de Hogg place now. (Owned by children of Gov. Will Hogg.)

"Mamma an' my papa belong to Marster Kit an' she was born right on de same place. Folks all called her 'Little Jane', 'cause she wasn't no bigger 'n nothin', an' 'cause dey was a 'nother Jane on de place, too. Papa's name was Mike an' he was de tanner in de tan yard. He come from Tennessee an' had been sold to Marster Kit by a 'nigger trader'. But he wasn't all black, he was part Indian. I hear him say what tribe, but I can't rec'lec de name now, but I do hear him say it was a 'half bright' (half breed) tribe. I only has one sister, her name was Rachel an' she was littler'n me 'cause she was born jes' 'fore freedom.

"When I was growed up after freedom, mamma tells me things what go on in slave times what I didn't know nothin' bout 'cause I was too young. She say de white folks don't let de slaves what work in de field marry none, dey jes' put a man an' breedin' woman together like dey does mules an' cattle. Iffen a woman is de breedin' kind, dey tell her to go an' stay with a man dey picks out for her. Don't make no dif'frence iffen she don't like him none, she better go or dey gives her a hidein'. But mamma say de ones what work in de big house, de white folks let 'em marry outen de book in de dining room.

"Marster Kit has two brothers what has plantations at West Columbia, too, Marster Charles an' Marster Matt Patton, but Marster Kit an' Marster Charles was de only ones what owned slaves. Marster Kit was on one side of Varney's Creek an' Marster Charles jes' 'cross on de other side, an' Marster Kit has a African woman from Kentucky for his wife, an' dat's de truth. I ain't sayin' none iffen she was a real wife or not, 'cause I don't know, but I know all de slaves has to call her 'Miss Rachel'. She sure was uppity over de slaves, but she do try an' teach us chillen manners.

"But iffen a bird fly way up in de sky it mus' come down sometime, an' Rachel was jes' like de bird, 'cause Marster Kit go crazy an' die, an' Marster Charles takes over de plantation an' slaves what belonged to Marster Kit, an' takes Rachel, too, an' puts her out in de field to work like de rest, an' dat's de truth.

Cose she didn't stay out in de field long, an' I don't know how it was 'xactly, but Marster Charles puts her in a house by herself an' she don't work no more, an' was still in it when freedom come.

"De white folks didn't put me out to do no field work, 'cause I was too young, but I was older'n most of de chillen so I looks after 'em round de place. Cose do anything go wrong or dey gets sick, I calls Mammy Judy. She de cook an' iffen you put a sugar barrel 'long side her an' puts a face on de barrel, you sure can't tell which from what, she so round an' fat. Iffen anyone get real sick dey calls de doctor, but iffen it jes' a misery in de stomach or de flux, Mammy Judy fix up some burr vine tea or some horse mint tea, 'pendin' on what was ailin'. Brrr, dat horse mint tea sure was nasty tastin' stuff. Dat burr vine tea was funny but it sure fix a misery in de stomach quick. Dey was de male burr vine an' de female burr vine, an' does a woman or girl get de misery, dey gives 'em de female tea, an' does a man or boy chile get it, dey gives 'em de male burr vine tea.

"Marster Charles he don't pay us chillen no mind an' lets us go all over de plantation. We don't play no reg'lar games like chillen do now 'cause we didn't know none, but we climb trees an' get on de limb of a pecan sapplin' an' swing back an' forth. We has a little game whar we made a ring an' all jine hands an' start goin' round it slow like at fust an' den faster an' faster, an' when we gits goin' real fast we say 'shoe tack a shoe', 'shoe tack a shoe', 'shoe tack a shoe', an' de fust one what don't keep in step gits a lick on de foot. Twan't much of no game, jes' somethin' we makes up.

"'Scuse me while I pours me some coffee 'fore it all biles away. I jes' ain't no 'count all day long iffen I don't git my coffee in de mawnin', it sure do fortify me. Slup,---slup,---um, um, dat sure good. You know what we drink for coffee in slave times? Patched (parched) meal; it pretty good, too, iffen you knows how to patch it. Now I's all fixed for more talk.

"Like I tells you, no one bothers none 'bout us chillen. De only place dey makes us keep 'way from is de lot whar dey keeps de mules an' hosses. Dat was down by de graveyard, an' dey tells us do we go foolin' round down dere, old Uncle Dubblin what was a ghost would cotch us, an' Law me, dat scared us off plenty. Sometimes we go down to de sugar house, an' when old Uncle Cip what was de sugar man ain't lookin' we sticks our fingers in de juice box what has de juice from de cane, an' takes a taste. Um, um, dat sure was sweet tastin'.

"We don't have no singin' on our place like I hear tell some do, 'ceptin' when we has church on Sunday. Law me, de folks what work in de field an' round de place work so hard dey feels more like cryin' come night. Cose we chillen used to sing some, jes' foolish things. I rec'lecs one 'bout de buzzard-----

'Whar you goin' buzzard, Whar you goin' to go? I'se goin' down to new ground To hunt Jim Crow'.

"Now dat sure is funny. Why Law me, I ain't think of dat since I was a girl, but it jes' pop out.

"I guess Marster Charles what took us when Marster Kit die, was 'bout de same as all white folks what owned slaves, he was some good an' some bad. I knows we has plenty to eat,---more 'n I has now, an' plenty clothes an' shoes. Dat was de good part. But de overseer was Uncle Big Jake what was black like de rest of us, but he so mean I 'spec old Devil make him overseer down below long time ago. An' dat was de bad part of Marster Charles, 'cause he lets Uncle Big Jake whip de slaves so much dat some like my papa what had spirit, was all de time runnin' away. An' even does your stomach be full, an' does you have plenty clothes, too, dat bull whip on your bare hide make you forgit de good part, an' dat's de truth.

"Cose our clothes was homespun, jes' cotton lowers an' linsey,---dat's half wool an' cotton, but dey was good. We has shoes too, with brass toes, all 'cept Uncle Tom what wouldn't wear no shoes no time. He say 'de Lawd didn't put shoes on me an' I ain't gwineter wear none'.

"Old Uncle Big Jake sure work de slaves from early mawnin' 'til night. When he holler 'all out' in de mawnin', you better git out iffen you don't want a hidein', an' iffen you is in de field you better not lag none. Cose when its fallin' weather, de hands is put to work in de corn crib or fixin' dis an' dat up. Marster Charles does pretty good for de women what have little chillen, dey don't have to work so hard. De ones what have young babies works 'round de sugar house 'til de babies get some older. Come 11 o'clock in de mawnin', de women what has babies quits work an' cares for 'em 'til 1 o'clock. Den dey works 'til 3 o'clock an' quits an' don't work no more. Saturday is wash day for de women. De men quit at noon, too, an' most every Sunday we has preachin' by old Uncle Lew Hill what was black, too, but sure was a good old man.

Marster Charles has a arbor with a top on it what keeps out de sun or rain, an' dat's where we has preachin'. One day Uncle Lew was preachin', and he say 'de Lawd make every one to come in unity an' on a level, both white an' black. When Marster Charles hear 'bout it he don't like it none, an' de nex' mawnin' old Uncle Big Jake get Uncle Lew an' put him out in de field with de rest.

"I reckon I was a nosey gal round de place, 'cause I see so much an' rec'lec's lots what happen. But Marster Charles run de plantation jes' like a fact'ry,---Uncle Cip was de sugar man, my papa was de tanner, Mammy Judy was de cook, Sally Ann was de cow woman what done de milkin', Uncle Lew was de preacher, Uncle John Austin what had a wooden leg was de shoemaker what make de shoes with de brass toes, Uncle Charley Burns drive de buggy for Marster Charles, an' old Uncle Big Jake was de overseer. I don't rec'lec's how many slaves Marster Charles had, but dey was lots more.

"Law me, dey was heaps of things go on in slave time what won't go on no more, 'cause de bright light has come. Yes, suh, praise de Lawd, de bright light shine an' it ain't dark no more for us black folks. Dat's why I don't like to talk 'bout some of de things I has seen with my own eyes, 'cause I believe de bad things what has gone past ought to be buried way down deep an' let rot, an' I like to think of good things, but I tells you de truth now jes' for once what I has seen old Uncle Big Jake do to some of de slaves, an' he was black jes' like dey was.

"Iffen a po' nigger run away an' dey cotch him an' bring him back,---an' even does he come back by hisself 'cause he got hungry, I has see Old Uncle Big Jake stretch de po' nigger out on de ground an' tie his hands an' feet to posts so he can't move none. Den he goes an' gets a piece of iron what he calls de 'slut' an' what is like a block of wood but what has little holes in it, an' fill de holes up with tallow an' put de iron in de fire 'til de grease is sizzlin' hot, den hold it over de po' niggers bare back an' let de hot grease drap on de hide, den take de bull whip an' whip up an' down, an' after all dat throw de po' nigger in de stock house an' chain him up for a couple days an' don't give him nothin' to eat. What I has told you is de truth, 'cause papa carry de grease scars on his back 'til he die.

"De reason Marster Charles an' old Uncle Big Jake don't like papa is 'cause papa ain't all black like de rest of de slaves, an' he had spirit 'cause he was part Indian, an' dey say he has bad manners an' is too free. But Marster Charles knew papa was de bes' tanner 'round de country, an' dat's why he didn't sell him away like he did some.

"But do somethin' go wrong 'round de tan yard or 'round de place whar papa is at, an' Uncle Big Jake say he gwineter give him a whippin', papa runs off,---sometime he gone for jes' a few days or mebbe couple weeks, an' sometime for long time, an' one time papa run away an' is gone for a whole year. Dat's de time he runs off to Mexico. He sure look like a monkey when he gits back,---his hair all standin' straight up on his head, an' his face all covered up with long hair. He sure was mighty good to mamma an' me though, an' de only reason he would come back was to see us. He knew he was gwineter get a whippin', but he'd come back jes' to see us anyhow. Dey never could cotch him when he runs 'way, 'cause papa too smart for 'em. Marster Charles even gits old 'Nigger' Kelly what lives over to Sandy Point,---he's a white man what has dogs what tracks de slaves dat runs 'way, but dey don't cotch papa 'cause he wade in water an' de dogs can't track him.

"But most de times he don't go far,---jes' hides out with some white folks in Columbia what don't believe in havin' slaves. I rec'lec's papa sayin' dey was one place 'special whar he hide, belongin' to some German folks. I think he say de name was Ebbling. Whilst he stays with 'em, he tans hides on de sly like, an' day feeds him an' lots of mawnin's when we opens de door of our cabin, on a shelf jes' above de door is food for mamma an' me an' sometime store clothes. No one knows whar it come from an' no one see papa, but dere de stuff was.

"One time durin' night time he brung mamma an' me a dress, an' some of de slaves folks say 'whar Jane an' Sarah git de store dresses?' Uncle Big Jake hear 'bout it an' sure is mad 'cause he can't cotch papa, an' he takes de dresses an' gives 'em 'way, an' tell mamma he gwineter whip her iffen she don't tell him whar papa is at, an' she say ' 'Fore God, Uncle Jake, I don't know 'cause I ain't see him since he run 'way', an' jes' den papa come 'round de corner of de house. He save mamma from a whippin', but papa had de hot grease drapped on him like I told you Uncle Big Jake did, an' got whipped an' put in de stock house with shackles on him, an' dey keep him in de stock house for three days. While he is in dere, mamma has de goin' down pains an' my sister Rachel is born.

"Dat is sure a long time ago,---long time ago, an' thinkin' way back 'fore freedom dey is lots I has forgit 'bout 'cause it's been so long. It jes' like lookin' 'way off yonder,---up close you see things good, but way yonder it kinda blur like an' you can't see so good.

"When freedom come, I didn't know what dat was at fust. I rec'lec's Uncle Charley Burns what drive de buggy for Marster Charles, come runnin' out in de yard an' holler 'everybody free, everybody free', an' pretty soon some sojers come an' de Capt' in reads a proclamation to all de folks,---white folks an' us black folks, too. An' law me, dat's one time Marster Charles can't open his mouth, 'cause de Capt'in tell him to shut up, dat he would do de talkin'. Den de Capt'in say to slaves 'we come to let you know you is free an' you don't have to call nobody "Marster" no more'. Well, we jes' mill 'round like you sometime see cattle do, an' after de sojers leave Marster Charles say we is free as he is, but iffen anybody want to stay an' work, dey gits paid for it, all 'ceptin' my papa. He say 'Mike, you can't stay here 'cause you is a bad influence, but iffen Jane an' Sarah an' de baby want to stay, dey can.'

Papa lef' de yard, but fore long comes back with a wagon an' mules what he has borrowed, an' loads us in an' we goes to East Columbia on de Brazos an' settle on down dere. Mamma an' papa an' me hire out 'cause I was a big girl an' strong, an' we has a patch our own, too, what we makes a crop on, an' dat was de fust time I ever see money.

"We has a cabin what papa built an' a corn crib out in de back, 'cause we raise our feed, too, an' we sure was happy 'cause de bright light had come an' day wasn't no more whippin's.

"One night we has jes' finished eatin' our supper, an' someone on de outside holler 'hello'. Papa go out, an' you know who it was what holler? It was old Uncle Big Jake. De black folks all hated him so dey wouldn't have no truck with him, an' he ask my papa could he stay. Papa didn't like him none 'cause he had treated papa so bad, but de old devil jes' beg so hard dat papa takes him out to de corn crib an fixes a place for him, an' he stay for most a month 'til he took sick an' die.

"I stay with papa an' mamma 'til I gits married to Wes Ford, an' I shows you how de Lawd give an' He take away too. Wes an' I has a cabin by ourselves right near de folks an' I is jes' about have my fust baby. De wind start blowin' an' it get harder an' harder an' right when its de worst, de baby comes. Dat was in '75, an' whilst I was havin' my baby, de wind tear de cabin whar mamma an' papa is at to pieces an' killed 'em. Rachel was with me an' dey would been, too, but dey couldn't git to me 'count of de storm, an' dat's why I say it's de truth dat de Lawd give an' He take 'way, too.

"But I can't complain, 'cause de Lawd has sure been good to me. Wes an' all 'cept four of my chillen is dead,---I'se had six boys an' five girls, but de ones what is alive is po' like dere mammy is. But I praise de Lawd 'cause de bright light is turned on now, an' dey won't be no more bad times for black folks like slave times."

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