Title: Mississippi Slave Narratives from the WPA Records
Submitter: MSGenWeb Slave Narrative Project
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From the WPA Slave Narratives:
Foreword: Jane Strickland, ex-slave, lives near Georgetown, Mississippi on a farm. She was born about 1860, was owned during slavery time by the Williams in Simpson County. She is a small woman, weighing about one hundred and fourteen pounds and not more than four feet and six inches in height. Her coloring is a dark brown. She is in fairly good health.
"My pa was brung here from Virginnie a long time ago, and when him and ma got ready to get married dey was on different plantations an' didn't know what ter do. Sometimes when a pair married dey alwa's had to be seperated. Dey keep on warrin' 'round 'till finally Marse Williams made 'rangement an' bought ma, an' she got to live wid pa on de Williams place. I can't say jes how big dis plantation was or how many slaves, all I knows is it musta been a few hundred acres wid several families ob slaves livin' 'round in de log cabins.
"My ma was a fiel hand. Dat caused her to he gone from day light 'till mos' night. I was kept in Marse's back yard 'long wid a heap o' udder little slave chilluns. Us jest played 'bout like mos' any children. Dey had swings hangin from big oak trees we laked to swing in 'em an' would play 'round in 'em fer hours.
"I was too young to recollect very much 'bout de war, but I'se heard papy an' mamy talk a plenty 'bout it an' 'bout how dey was led to believe dey would git lan' an' horses free an' cattle too after de war got over wid. All through de war an' fer a long time after de war de whole country was up sot. Nobody didn't know what to do. Deir was a feelin' all 'long ob on-easiness. De Klans formed 'round to stop trouble or stir up trouble one. I neber did know jest what it all meant.
When us was tole us was freed, dat we wuk fer ourselves, Ole Marse said we could stay on deir an' wuk fer him. Us staid on a year after us was freed den de family scattered an wuked fer wages on Leaf River.
"I married when I was sixteen years ole. Me an' dat niger courted a whole year fo' us married. He lived fifteen years an' died. I'se married twice since den. My chillun is all on farms 'round an' doin' very well. Since I'se grown I'se usually worked 'round white folks a cookin' an' a washin' an' things lak dat.
"I jest don't know whut to think ob de new generation ob colored folks. Dey is a learnin' book an' ridin' 'round in automobiles an a livin' too fas' fer me to keep up wid 'em.
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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