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602 E. 21st Avenue, Pine Bluff, Arkansas Age: 90 “Yes ma'm, I was livin' in slavery days. I was borned in Arkansas I reckon. I was borned within three, miles of Camden but I wasn't raised there. We moved to Saline County directly after peace was declared. “I don't know what year I was born because you see I'm not educated but I was ninety the 27th of this last past May. Yes ma'm, I'm a old bondage woman. I can say what a heap of em can't say—I can tell the truth bout it. I believe in the truth. I was brought up to tell the truth. I'm no young girl. “My old master was Adkison Billingsly. My old mistress treated us just like her own children. She said we had feelin's and tastes. I visited her long after the war. Went there and stayed all night. “I member when they had the fight at Jenkins Ferry. Old Steele had 30,000 and he come down to take Little Rock, Pine Bluff and others. Captain Webb with 1,500 Rebels was followin' him and when they got to Saline River they had a battle. “The next Sunday my father carried all us
children and some of the white folks to see the battle field. I member the dead was lyin' in graves, just one row after another and hadn't even been covered up. “Oh yes, I can tell all bout that. Nother time there was four hundred fifty colored and five white Yankee soldiers come and ask my father if old mistress treated us right. We told em we had good owners. I never was so scared in my life. Them colored soldiers was so tall and so black and had red eyes. Oh yes ma'm, they had on the blue uniforms. Oh, we sure was fraid of em—you know them eyes. “They said, 'Now uncle, we want you to tell the truth, does she feed you well?' My ma did all the cookin' and we had good livin'. I tole my daughter we fared ten thousand times better than now. “I come up in the way of obedience. Any time I wanted to go, had to go to old mistress and she say, 'Don't let the sun go down on you.' And when we come home the sun was in the trees. If you seed the sun was goin' down on you, you run. “I ain't goin' tell nothin' but the truth. Truth better to live with and better to die with. “Some of the folks said they never seed a
biscuit from Christmas to Christmas but we had em every day. Never seed no sodie till peace was declared—used saleratus. “In my comin' up it was Whigs and Democrats. Never heard of no Republicans till after the war. I've seed a man get upon that platform and wipe the sweat from his brow. I've seed em get to fight in' too. That was done at our white folks house—arguin' politics. “I never did go to school. I married right after the war you know. What you talkin' bout —bein' married and goin' to school? I was housekeepin': Standin' right in my own light and didn't know it.” Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden