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Slave Narrative of Jane Birch

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Interviewer: Irene Robertson
Person Interviewed: Jane Birch
Age: 74
Location: Brinkley, Arkansas

“I was three years old when the Yankees come through. I can’t recollect a thing about them. Ma told us children if we don’t be quiet the Ku Kluck come take us clean off but I never seed none. When we be working she say if we don’t work the grass out pretty soon the Ku Kluck be taking us out whooping us. So many of us she have to scare us up to get us to do right. There was fifteen children, nearly all girls. Ma said she had good white folks. She was Floy Sellers. She belong to Mistress Mary Sellers. She was a widow. Had four boys and a girl. I think we lived in Chester County, South Carolina. I am darky to the bone. Pa was black. All our family is black. My folks come to Arkansas when I was so young I jes’ can’t tell nothing about it. We farmed. I lived with my husband forty years and never had a child.

“Black folks used to vote more than I believe they do now. The men used to feel big to vote. They voted but I don’t know how. No ma’am, reckon I don’t vote!

“The times been changing since I was born and they going to keep changing. Times is improving. That is all right.

“I think the young generation is coming down to destruction. You can’t believe a word they speak. I think they do get married some. They have a colored preacher and have jes’ a witness or so at home. Most of them marry at night. They fuss mongst theirselves and quit sometimes. I don’t know much about young folks. You can’t believe what they tell you. Some work and some don’t work. Some of them will steal.”

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