Title: Mississippi Slave Narratives from the WPA Records
Submitter: MSGenWeb Slave Narrative Project
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From the WPA Slave Narratives:
Jack Aldredge age about 80
"I was born in de panhandle of Choctaw county, down on Turn Creek Ridge somewhere about 1857. Some of de white folks tells me I's over a hundred years old now but I don't think so 'cause I wuzn't big 'nuf to work in de field before de war was over."
"My pappy was Bob Ashford and he cum frum Alabama and my Mammy's name was Violet. She was born in a speculator drove."
"Before de war was over my job was to toat water."
"I sho does member us niggers eatin rabbits and possum back in dem days. Marsa didn't let us have no garden or hunt and fish much but possum and rabbits was our Sunday dish!"
"Marsa Mike Turnipseed, missus and their two sisters lived in a big frame house all fixed up and ever thing but us niggers, we lived in little log cabins nearby. Marsa, he sho' wuzn't good to my mammy and pappy and when de war was over we never took his name. No sir, us took my pappy's old name. Missus she was purty good to my mammy. She let her help spin when she didn't have to work in de field.
The overseer was some kin of Marsa Turnipseed but he was a good man and treated my ma and pa right."
"Marsa had a great big farm. I could go right to de very spot today. There was five or six families on de place. I can't member much about how Marsa treated my ma and pa but dey said he sho wuzn't good to um."
"No sir, no white folks didn't learn me to read and 'rite. Nobody didn't read the Bible to me. Us niggers didn't go to school or hear no preachin down on Marsa Turnipseed's farm. Slaves worked Saturday afternoons same as other days. On Sundays we just set round de house. Marsa didn't low us to have no parties and picnics."
"When word cum dat de Yankee sojers was on de way we hid all de hogs down in de hollow behind de house to keep dem Yankees from stealin um. I member Missus sho did cry when de war was over but us niggers sho was glad when we was free."
"I's been married five times: My fust wife was Hanner Miller and we had seven chillun; my next wife was Cherry Ann Austridge and we had two chillun' my next wife wus Mary Coleman; and I sho' don't member my next wife's name. Pshaw! I can't think of that woman's name; but my woman I'm livin with now was named Austin. I's got so many grandchillun I can't count em. Dey's scattered all round, most of em farms."
"No sir, young people dis day and time sho has a heep better time than we did back in dem slavery times."
Supplement to Autobiography of Jack Aldredge as per request of July 1, 1937 just received.
Jack Aldredge, age about 80 years, height five feet and six inches, weight 140 lbs, and his general coloring is black. Despite his advanced years he is still active.
Transcribed by: Ann Allen Geoghegan
The Federal Writer’s Project of
The Works Progress Administration
For the State of Mississippi
"If you teach them where they come from, they won't need as much help finding where they are going!"
Cordelia Carothers " Aunt Dee" Geoghegan (1894-1987)
Project Manager: Ann
Assistant State Coordinators and
Transcriptionists: Ann Allen Geoghegan, Debbie Leftwich, and
Rose Diamond and Linda Durr Rudd
Banner designed by: Melissa McCoy-Bell
Unknown worker photograph provided by L. Stephen Bell Photography, and family photo albums of Karen Schweikle, Lucy Gray and Jens Burkhart.
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