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Other slaves recalled beds fashioned from cotton, straw, grass and leaves, while others had no mattresses. Master and servant Gardner was just a baby when the Civil War began, but she had fond memories of her master, Dr. We had a good house too, better dan some of dese houses I see folks living in now. Perkins' niggers had to work, but dey didn't mind 'cause he would let dem have little patches of dey own such as 'tatoes, corn, cotton and garden. Jest a little, you know.

He couldn't let dem have much, there was so many on Dr. Perkins' plantation.

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Them was slavery days, dog days. When work was deemed unsuitable, overseers would flog slaves with a red and blue bullwhip, said Sam Anderson during a interview at the C. After repeated whippings, one slave turned the tables and killed his overseer, Davis said. For punishment, the retaliating slave was burned alive while his wife watched in agony. We couldn't look off, we had to look right at dat poor man.

De poor fellow screamed three times and dat was all for him. Hunted by bloodhounds Slave patrollers would hunt for escapees, unmercifully whipping the fugitives upon capture, Burns said.

The WPA Oklahoma Slave Narratives - OU Press

Runaways smeared fresh cow manure on their feet to mask their scent from bloodhounds, said Sam Jordan, a quarter-Cherokee slave from Alabama. Some slaves would kill the hounds and escape, George said. Annie Young's aunt tried to elude sexual advances from her master, but hounds eventually tracked her. And he had dem two women and she had some chillun nearly white, an master and dey all worked in de fields side by side.

Marriage licenses were uncommon, Tennessee native Bert Luster said, as slaves received a permit from their master and jumped over a broomstick to tie the knot. While Bonner claimed having "the best church" during slavery, Francis Bridges from Texas said the closest congregation was too far away to attend.

Lucinda Davis

Meanwhile, Davis did not have a church in South Carolina, where slaves stood outside waiting for the segregated service to conclude. Then the preacher would read the Bible to them on the outside steps. Only white people had souls and went to heaven. He told dem dat niggers had no more souls than dogs, and dey couldn't go to heaven any more than could a dog. Free at last When news of emancipation arrived, George hid on the Mississippi River, roasting hand-caught fish for food.

Meanwhile, Hannah McFarland's mother whipped her after the South Carolina girl had shown Yankee soldiers where affluent residents had hidden their valuables. We danced all day and all night. With the end of slavery, Burns said he hoped God would treat the ex-masters as they treated their slaves when the plantation owners arrived in hell. While the Yankees made sure the ex-slaves attended school, Jordan said, the Ku Klux Klan didn't thrive until Reconstruction, Hutson said. Luster's master was driven off his plantation. After hiding in a cornfield, he finally arrived on a farm near OKC in Luster, who worked as an Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture clerk, won a blue ribbon for his cotton bales in Guthrie and was dubbed "cotton king.

George said a morning did not pass without donning a black armband to remember Abraham Lincoln after he was assassinated. Other ex-slaves had different opinions about the president, however. Harmon, a native of Lamar County, Texas. He's durn poor trash. Alexander said she walked nearly the entire trek from Louisiana to Oklahoma in search of education.

What little I learned I quit taking care of it and seeing after it and lost it all. William L. Bethel documented in his autobiographical narrative that he moved to Oklahoma Territory in , living in Kingfisher and Anadarko before arriving in OKC three years later. Rawick How accurate are the narratives? Yetman wrote about the subjectivity of personal recollection, noting those interviewed in the Federal Writers' Project's Slave Narrative collection were elderly and living in abject poverty during the Depression. Yetman also argued that the interviewer's race influenced the narratives by influencing ex-slaves to self-censor their stories.

Yetman described the quality of the typewritten narratives as "grossly uneven," noting that some of the interviewers virtually ignored a questionnaire crafted by folklorist John Lomax, while others followed it too closely. Still, the narratives provide a corrective view of slavery that had been" and in some places still is " recalled through the lenses of a dominant group: the powerful.

They are listed with birth information along with their age and place of residence in Oklahoma City at the time of the interviews. The links go to photos of the first page of their account, or a different transcription of their account. Age 88 in E. Grand in OKC. Missouri, C.

Young slave's story retold Black history in state began in Indian nations

Age 92 in S. Klein in OKC. Lewis Bonner aka L.

Durland in OKC. Second in OKC. Age 81 in Mass. Add to Wishlist. USD Ship This Item — This item is available online through Marketplace sellers. Temporarily Out of Stock Online Please check back later for updated availability. Overview These are fascinating stories of the memories of ex-slaves, fourteen of which have never been published before. Product Details About the Author. Deborah Feldman. Arek Hersh. Mortuary Confidential:. Todd Harra.

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