Title: Mississippi Slave Narratives from the WPA Records
Submitter: MSGenWeb Slave Narrative Project
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From the WPA Slave Narratives:
Angie Floyd, ex slave lives at Crossroads, was owned during slavery time by Everrette Floyd, and was born about 1861. She is about five feet two inches in height and weighs about one hundred and ten pounds, her general coloring is black with white hair done in twist over her head. Her face is badly scared from a burn when a small child. She is in excellent health and very active and talkative.
I was jes four years ole when de war ended an' jes natu'ally don't recollect much 'bout being a slave chile. Some things is twisted up in my mind and I can't git 'em straightened out, yo' all see I was to little to remember how dey connected up; but I do know dat Marse bought my grand ma from a fellow by de name o' Parker in South Carolina when my Ma was jes a little gal. Dey was brung down together. My pa was bought here in Mississippi. Grandma was a fiel' hand an' my ma was one ob de cooks an' nurses at Marse's house.
"Marse Everrett owned 'bout five hundred or six hundred acres o' land, wid 'bout seventy five slaves. He lived in a big house an' us lived in slave qua'ters in a shady oak grove back hind de lot. He was good to his slaves an' fed an' clo'sed 'em well. Over seers wuked de slaves. Some times dey would git a little rough if dey got onruly. Right here I'se gwine to tell some thing dat I has done forgot what it was all 'bout, it jes made a 'pression on my childest mind. One day it was in de summer time, de sun was biling down when I knowed some o' 'em was a gwine on out'n de way. I seed a heap o' slaves all gethered up an' excited lak. I tore off down de side o' de hill to see what I could see. I managed to push my way through the crowd an' there was my grandma wid her close' stripped down to her waiste, her hands was tied 'hind her to a tree. I stood deir a minute scared out o' my wits, den I run as fas' as I could. I never did know what dey done or nothing a tall mo 'bout it.
"I wants to tell yo' all 'bout how us little slaves was fed. We et at Marse's house. In de winter time we et in de kitchen 'round a big fire an' in de summer on de back piazza on little home made tables. Dat piazza would be cluttered wid little hungry niggers. Yo' nebr seed de lak ob 'em. Our food was brung out by de slave cooks in bowls made from hewed out tuberous gum. We had mussel shells for spoons. Now dat pot liker, milk an' bread, baked taters an' pok' an' lasses cake was better 'en anything yo' gwine fine at any o' dese big fluttin' places dese days.
"All day I played 'round an' 'bout wid de other little slaves. Us wont lowed to go out o' sight ob de cooks an' nurses, an' at night I slept in de cabin mos' ob de time on a pallet on de flo'. Us wore dark colored home spun dresses made strong and plain. We wore de same kinds on Sundays 'cept us alwa's had fresh ones.
"I wants to tell how come my face all scarred up. I was 'bout four years ole. We had been taken to de woods to play 'bout. We had a big time sliding down de hills and pickin' up hickory nuts an' swingin' on vine swings. When it began to get late we started home. Some o' us played 'long an' got 'way back o' de rest an decided to build a fire as we saw a pile o' corn cobs whar some body had sot down as shelled corn to take to de ole water mill close by. De fire was a goin' fine, jes a blazin' an' a poppin'. Us little uns was a runnin' an' jumpin' round it when one ob 'em run into me an' knocked me plump over in de fire. Dey got me out, Ole Marse got de Doctor an' I stayed done up fer weeks.
"When de war ended Marse tole us we was freed an' dat we could go wuk fer any body us wanted to fer wages. Dey was jes' lak cows an' hogs, dey would stray off an' didn't know whar to go an' fus' thing would go right back to deir Ole Marse. At last pa an' ma got on a little place. I can't say how dey come by it, Marse might hab give it to 'em, or home steaded it fer 'em. I can recollect 'em buildin' de cabin out in de edge o' de woods. Dey cut down trees, split 'em half open an built it wid de smooth side turned in, de floor was de same way. Dey kinda plained it off a little to shed us o' de splinters. De chimney was made o' mud an' straw. Shutters was put up at de windows. After a few years a hole wore through de back o' de chimney an' de chickens, cats, an' dogs would come through it. Pa finally fixed dat wid a little mo' mud an' straw. Us thought nothing 'bout it if a snake got in de cabin. One morning when I woke up from my pallet f... de floo' I saw some'em close to me dat looked lak long brown paper. I say "Ma, what is dis?" She come in deir an' say "pshaw dat jest whar a snake shed, don't yo' know nothin'." Another time us was gone fer two or three days an' when we got back ma was makin' up de beds. Dey was made ob hay. While she was turnin' 'em an beatin' 'em a snake crawled out. She killed it wid a stick an slept on de bed dat night.
"I didn't know much 'bout de Klu Klux K'lan. I'se alwa's scared I didn't understand 'em 'nough to tell de truth an' I sho' don't want to tell no tales. I know dey did ride 'round at night all robed out in white, civered up heads wid jes eyes a showin'. Dey was terrible lookin'. Dey went 'bout whippin' folks an' a tellin' 'em what to do an' what not to do an a havin' secret meetin's off in de woods round mid night. Yo see after de war ended de south was mos' ruint, everything was tore up an' burnt down. De money was no good, everything changed. De Klu Klux Klan was 'bout all de law dey had down here.
I married when I was a young gal. I raised three gals and two boys. Dey is married an' a livin' on farms. I'se been a mid wife an' nurse since I'se been grown. I still wuks out some yet.
"I is glad to see my race being educated an' risin', but dey is too thoughtless an' gwine' on to fas'. My idea is folks had better slow down a bit, its all to rushin'.
I'se a livin' wid my chillun an' a doin' purty good.
Transcribed by Ann Allen Geoghegan
The Federal Writer’s Project of
The Works Progress Administration
For the State of Mississippi