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Thompson, Mamie

Age 68 Brinkley, Ark.

"I come here with my parents in 1887. Nothing much here in Brinkley then but woods and three stores. My mother was a mix-breed. She was mixed with Cherokee Indian and Negro. My father come from Virginia. He was black - so black he shined. My mother was born in Cairo, Illinois. My mother and father both died here in Brinkley. This town started from a big saw mill."

"Understand, all I knows was told to me by my parents. Grandma's master was Master Redman. He kept Aunt Emma and my mother. They never was sold. My mother was put on the block but her mistress come took her down. Master Redman had her in the field working. The overseer was a white man. He tried to take her down and carry on with her. She led him to the house. He wanted her whooped cause she had whooped him sort of. He was mad cause he couldn't overpower her. Master Redman got her in the kitchen to whoop her with a cow hide; she told him she would kill him; she got a stick. He let her out and they come to buy her - a Negro trader. Old Mistress - his wife - went out and led her down from there in the house and told Master Redman if he sold Mattie she would quit him - she meant leave him. Mistress Redman kept her with her and made a house girl out of her. She tended to the children and cleaned the house. Aunt Emma milked and churned.

"Grandma was a Molly Glaspy woman. She had straight wavy hair, small eyes. She was a small woman. Grandpa was a tall big man. He was a full blood Indian.

"My mother called whiskey 'jagger' - I don't know why.

"After Mr. Redman died, Miss Mary married Mr. Badgett. Me and George and Sissy all growed up together. My mother was married twice too. She had two of us by her first husband and eight children by her last husband.

"I heard then say they lived in Crittenden County, Arkansas during the Civil War. They lived in west Tennessee not far from Memphis when I was a child. Mrs. Badgett lived in Memphis after she got old. Mary's mother visited her long as she lived. I did too. She has been dead several years. She give me a sugar bowl when I was twelve years old - I still got it. I won't sell it. I'll give it to my girl.

"I don't know about the Ku Klux. I never heard a great deal about them.

"I don't vote - not interested.

"Well, I sewed till the very day I was 65 years old. The foreman said I was too old now, but sign up for the pension. I am crippled. I did. I get commodities, but no money.

"I washed, ironed, cooked. I worked at Mrs. Jim Gunn's and I cooked nine years for Mrs. Dora Cregg. I work whenever I can get work to be done. I like to sew but they cut me off."

Interviewer Miss Irene Robertson"

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