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Interviewer: Anna Pritchett
Person Interviewed: Mittie Blakeley
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Place of Birth: Oxford, Missouri
Date of Birth: 1858
Place of Residence: 2055 Columbia Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana
Federal Writers’ Project of the W.P.A. District #6 Marion County Anna Pritchett 1200 Kentucky Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana
FOLKLORE MRS. MITTIE BLAKELEY-EX-SLAVE 2055 Columbia Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana
Mrs. Blakeley was born, in Oxford, Missouri, in 1858.
Her mother died when Mittie was a baby, and she was taken into the “big house” and brought up with the white children. She was always treated very kindly.
Her duties were the light chores, which had to be well done, or she was chided, the same as the white children would have been.
Every evening the children had to collect the eggs. The child, who brought in the most eggs, would get a ginger cake. Mittie most always got the cake.
Her older brothers and sisters were treated very rough, whipped often and hard. She said she hated to think, much less talk about their awful treatment.
When she was old enough, she would have to spin the wool for her mistress, who wove the cloth to make the family clothes.
She also learned to knit, and after supper would knit until bedtime.
She remembers once an old woman slave had displeased her master about something. He had a pit dug, and boards placed over the hole. The woman was made to lie on the boards, face down, and she was beaten until the blood gushed from her body; she was left there and bled to death.
She also remembers how the slaves would go to some cabin at night for their dances; if one went without a pass, which often they did, they would be beaten severely.
The slaves could hear the overseers, riding toward the cabin. Those, who had come without a pass, would take the boards up from the floor, get under the cabin floor, and stay there until the overseers had gone.
Mrs. Blakeley is very serious and said she felt so sorry for those, who were treated so such worse than any human would treat a beast.
She lives in a very comfortable clean house, and said she was doing “very well.”
Submitted January 24, 1938 Indianapolis, Indiana