County: Webster and Choctaw
Title: Mississippi Slave Narratives from the WPA Records
Submitter: MSGenWeb Slave Narrative Project
Notice: This file may be downloaded for Personal Use Only, and may not otherwise be printed or copied without prior written consent of the submitter.
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From the WPA Slave Narratives:
Charlie Holman age 83
"All our white folks that owned me or knowed anythin' 'bout me---they all dead now. De records got destroyed somehow. I says I's 83 but 'course I don't know that's correct. I was born in Carroll county."
"My papa was Albert Holman from South Carolina an' Ma was Beckie Holman. Don't 'member where she come from. Joe Holman, my only brother, is someplace in Louisiana. Ain't heard from him in seven or eight years."
"My Marsa was Sammie Holman an' I jus' don't 'member old Missus' name. Crick an' Dock was their chillen. Marsa didn't have no overseer on his plantation either. He done his own bossin."
"Durin' slavery days we lived in little one room log houses an slept on homemade beds wid straw mattresses. My job was piddlin' round de house, bringin' in stove woo an' toatin' water."
"Our white folks was allus mighty good to us. They give us plenty to eat. Marsa give my daddy an' his other hands little patches we could work on Saturday evenings. He never did make his niggers work on Saturday evenings' or hollidays."
"They was plenty o' patrollers 'round us in slavery days but they never did bother us 'cause my boss' small colord chillen an' large ones too all stayed at home an' didn't bother nobody."
"I members seein' de yankees when they come throu'. They was dressed in blue caps an' coats. They didn't stop at our place but our white folks had had us hide their best stock out in de woods."
"Young folks now don't know nothin' 'bout work. I's card a many a roll o' cotton fo' my Mama to spin. These younger folks now has a mighty good time but in slavery days we didn't have no responsibility. Didn't have to worry bout feedin' ourselves or nithin'. People in my day didn't do as much devilment as they do now. In them days they wasn't near as much friction between de blacks an' whites as now. I's never had no trouble in my life."
"I went to de white folks church all de time durin' slavery days. My papa joined their church. De white an' colord all belonged to de same church befo' de surrender.
"When news come dat we was free we left. Dey said they was gona give us so much land an' a mule but we never did get that. We went to some more o' de Holman folks. Never did get far from de family of em."
"I married Rose Drain when I was 21. We had eighteen chillen an' they's all dead now but Albert, John an' Anna Bell Dooley. They all lives here 'round Eupora. Albert farms an' de other two does day labor."
"I never has voted but t'was my own fault 'cause I didn't. I jus' didn't insist."
"De first job I ever held fo' myself was farmin'. I allus followed that 'till a few years back. When my boys left me I played out too. I's been supported by relief an' relief jobs since 1933."
"Mr. Embry, a white fellow, built me a home here near Eupora. Dat was befo' de town was built an' promised me I could have a home long as he lived but when he died I was pushed back. 'Course I wasn't able to hold my place 'mong de workers."
"I never did get to go to school much. What little I learned, I learned it at home."
"I tells you, when de wasps builds their nests close to de ground an' you see thick shucks on de corn you can know they's a cold hard winter comin'. We jus' well get ready fo' some bad weather now. I's been here long 'nuff to know."
Interviewer's Note: Age 83, height 6 feet, weight 160 lbs., color black, physical condition fair. Supported by his own monthly earnings at W. P. A. labor.
Transcribed by Ann Allen Geoghegan
The Federal Writer’s Project of
The Works Progress Administration
For the State of Mississippi