The Slave Narrative Collection
An OKGenWeb Special Project
I was born during the war but too late for to know anything about it or the slave days before freedom. Only thing I know is that pappy told me I was born near the close of the war about 15 miles from Mendin, Louisiana, on the line between Claybourne and Banville parishes. And my mammy died when I was a baby so I know nothing about her; don't even know my pappy name, but mammy was named Millie and some of my brothers and sisters was: Jordan, John, Andrew, Henry, Jake, Nelson, Ann, Hulda, Amy, George that's all I can remember but there was sixteen children all together.
My pappy never told me about where he is born or about is master. Guess he didn't like his master, because when he is free somehow he just pick on the name of Simon and all us children keep that name from him.
My Uncle Henry run a little store on the Red river close by Shreveport right after the war. Pappy took me there and Uncle Henry helped raise me. He do a good Job of it too. for I've always been honest and don't even tell lies, because lies is like weeds; where on is when you get it up, a lot more comes where it was!
The young negroes didn't have no fun the way I remember it. Soons as I could hang onto the hoe I was put to work, and I work early and I quit late; the days was long then, and never no money did I get either. One of my brothers would get the money from us working, then on Sunday before we foot it off to the church meeting he gave me a half dollar to rattle against my knife, but come evening and he makes me give it back. That's all the money I see for a long time.
It ain't like the young ones do now. They go to shows all the time, spend what little they earn for that and other things worse, or if they can't earn money they steal their mammy's bread money from the hiding place.
I figures the Negro was better off during slavery than now. Then someone always look after them, plenty to eat, enough clothes and a sleeping place, with a doctor around when he needed one. Have to rustle everything now, and when they's no work and no money the Negro just got to tighten his belt a little more and trust a little more to the Lord to make everything come out alright. As for the doctor, the Negro who ain't got the money to pay just has to forget about him.
Folks talk about ghosts but I never see one. Only time maybe I was near one was when I riding a mule through a skit of woods. The mule got scared, mighty scared, he acted, but I never see what make him take on so.
Twenty-four years ago I come to Osage Junction; two years later I moved to Tulsa and live here all the time since, and in all that time two shows is all I ever see.
Contributed by M. Dawson, 05/06/03