Yes ‘um, I’se had a bad time.

An interview with Blount Baker, 106 Spruce Street, Wilson, North Carolina, interviewer Mary A. Hicks:

“Yes’um, I ‘longed ter Marse Henry Allen of Wilson County an’ we always raise terbacker. Marse Henry wus good ter us so we had a heap of prayer meetin’s an’ corn shuckin’s an’ such. “I ‘members de big meetin’s dat we’d have in de summer time an’ dat good singin’ we’d have when we’d be singin’ de sinners through. We’d stay pretty nigh all night to make a sinner come through, an’ maybe de week after de meetin’ he’d steal one of this marster’s hogs. Yes’um, I’se had a bad time.

“You know, missy, dar ain’t no use puttin’ faith in nobody, they’d fool you ever time anyhow. I know once a patteroller tol’ me dat iffen I’d give him a belt I found dat he’d let me go by ter see my gal dat night, but when he kotch me dat night he whupped me. I tol’ Marse Henry on him too so Marse Henry takes de belt away from him an’ gives me a possum fer hit. Dat possum shore wus good too, baked in de ashes like I done it.

“I ain’t never hear Marse Henry cuss but once an’ dat wus de time dat some gentlemens come ter de house an’ sez dat dar am a war ‘twixt de north an’ de south. He sez den, ‘Let de damn yaller bellied Yankees come on an’ we’ll give ’em hell an’ sen’ dem a-hoppin’ back ter de north in a hurry.’

“We ain’t seed no Yankees ‘cept a few huntin’ Rebs. Dey talk mean ter us an’ one of dem says dat we niggers am de cause of de war. ‘Sir,’ I sez, ‘folks what am a wantin’ a war can always find a cause’. He kicks me in de seat of de pants fer dat, so I hushes.

“I stayed wid Marse Henry till he died den I moved ter Wilson. I has worked everwhere, terbacker warehouses an’ ever’thing. I’se gittin’ of my old age pension right away an’ den de county won’t have ter support me no mo’, dat is if dey have been supportin’ me on three dollars a month.”

Slave Narratives (1936-1939), Works Project Administration [database on-line], http://www.ancestry.com.   

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