Title: Mississippi Slave Narratives from the WPA Records
Submitter: MSGenWeb Slave Narrative Project
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From the WPA Slave Narratives:
Silas Knox - age 78
"I was born at Pope Station or about 8 miles out frum there in Panola county. My folks belonged to Mr. John Knox, my mothers and fathers names was Caroline Rand and John Knox. I never knew but whut my folks had allus belonged to the Knoxes. Master and Mistess had two chillun and I was about their age and I played with 'em whenever dey'd let me.
I was too little to remember much about slavery but I does remember living with my grand father in a little house on de place and de niggers all waitin' and tawkin' bout freedom and 'mansipation. Some of de hands wanted freedom most powerfully but de others hated it like pizen. Everything went along jest as it had and I went on staying on de place with my family.
I never saw no fighting and nosoldiers and we went on raising sumpin' to eat and picking cotton and such.
We allus got water frum de well at de big house and one morning me and grandpa went up after de water and dey had gone, jest up and moved in de night. I didn't pay strictly no attention to happenings and all I ever knew is dat de white folks had moved and I aint never seen em since. After dey left
Dr. Scott come and took over de place and run de hands whut had stayed on.
Mr. Knox had a big colonial house with two stories and maybe two sections of land, I mean dey had fine things.
I didn't zackley see or hear no uprisings but I guess lots of de niggers left.
De Ku Klux Klan come through our pasture one night about leben o'clock and de moon was jest a shining so bright that we could see so plain as daylight, it like to of scared us to death. Dey didn't bother nothing jest rode slowly past and dey had a man all wropped up in a sheet and he was a moaning and screaming. De trouble come when de Klan went out in de county a piece to whoop a colored man and he cut up sompen awful and shot and wound several men and after dey took him off don't nobody know whut become of him.
I had a fair size weddin' and paid jest about twenty five dollars for my costume. Dem sho was good lookin' clothes. Parson Strickland married us at de girl's house and we had all de good things we could eat.
Sometimes we has a overseer but we didn't need none cause everybody knew how to farm and when I grew up everybody was free and I didn't never see nobody git a whoopin' and I never got one. I heard franpa tell about charms, dreams, hants and such like but I never put up no store by dem.
We stayed way back in de woods and people hardly ever got sick, dey went out in de woods and got Sassafras and snake vine and made medicine and it would coure you quicker den any doctor. Nobody had consumption and pneumonia dey jest wore good clothers and took herbs. We ate taters, possums, greens, corn pone and chittlins mostly.
We had funerals and baptizins and church socials jest like we have now, folks had to go to church to serve God. I'm a Baptist. We had parties on Sataday nights and dem whut could would try to dance, and de niggers played on harps and jugs and combs. On Christmas we had a big dinner and drank whiskey and egg nog. We had a school and wus taught by a one legged northern man.
I got five chillun and am living with my daughter, Mamie Jones and I've spent my life farming. I heard talk of Abe Lincoln but I aint got no political opinion cause dey won't let me vote, I voted on de republican ticket in Panola County in de early days. Some portion of de younger generation am smart but a very small portion. I am content with de present condition.
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 Allen Geoghegan
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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