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Slave Narrative of Lucy Brown

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Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks
Person Interviewed: Lucy Brown
Date of Interview: May 20, 1937
Location: Durham, North Carolina

An interview with Lucy Brown of Hecktown, Durham, Durham County, May 20, 1937. She does not know her age.

I wuz jist a little thing when de war wuz over an’ I doan ‘member much ter tell yo’. Mostly what I does know I hyard my mammy tell it.

We belonged to John Neal of Person County. I doan know who my pappy wuz, but my mammy wuz named Rosseta an’ her mammy’s name ‘fore her wuz Rosseta. I had one sister named Jenny an’ one brother named Ben.

De marster wuz good ter us, in a way, but he ain’t ‘lowin’ no kinds of frolickin’ so when we had a meetin’ we had ter do it secret. We’d turn down a wash pot outside de do’, an’ dat would ketch de fuss so marster neber knowed nothin’ ’bout hit.

On Sundays we went ter church at de same place de white folkses did. De white folkses rid an’ de niggers walked, but eben do’ we wored wooden bottomed shoes we wuz proud an’ mostly happy. We had good clothes an’ food an’ not much abuse. I doan know de number of slaves, I wuz so little.

My mammy said dat slavery wuz a whole lot wuser [HW correction: wusser] ‘fore I could ‘member. She tol’ me how some of de slaves had dere babies in de fiel’s lak de cows done, an’ she said dat ‘fore de babies wuz borned dey tied de mammy down on her face if’en dey had ter whup her ter keep from ruinin’ de baby.

She said dat dar wuz ghostes an’ some witches back den, but I doan know nothin’ ’bout dem things.

Naw. I can’t tell yo’ my age but I will tell yo’ dat eber’body what lives in dis block am either my chile or gran’chile. I can’t tell yo’ prexackly how many dar is o’ ’em, but I will tell you dat my younges’ chile’s baby am fourteen years old, an’ dat she’s got fourteen youngin’s [HW correction: youngun’s], one a year jist lak I had till I had sixteen.

I’se belonged ter de church since I wuz a baby an’ I tells dem eber’day dat dey shore will miss me when I’se gone.

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