Interviewer: Anna Pritchett
Person Interviewed: Rosaline Rogers
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Place of Birth: South Carolina
Date of Birth: 1827
Place of Residence: 910 North Capitol Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana
Federal Writers’ Project of the W.P.A. District #6 Marion County Anna Pritchett 1200 Kentucky Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana
FOLKLORE MRS. ROSALINE ROGERS-EX-SLAVE-110 YEARS OLD 910 North Capitol Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana
Mrs. Rogers was born in South Carolina, in 1827, a slave of Dr. Rice Rogers, “Mas. Rogers,” we called him, was the youngest son of a family of eleven children. He was so very mean.
Mrs. Rogers was sold and taken to Tennessee at the age of eleven for $900.00 to a man by the name of Carter. Soon after her arrival at the Carter plantation, she was resold to a man by the name of Belby Moore with whom she lived until the beginning of the Civil war.
Men and women were herded into a single cabin, no matter how many there were. She remembers a time when there were twenty slaves in a small cabin. There were holes between the logs of the cabin, large enough for dogs and cats to crawl through. The only means of heat, being a wood fireplace, which, of course, was used for cooking their food.
The slaves’ food was corn cakes, side pork, and beans; seldom any sweets except molasses.
The slaves were given a pair of shoes at Christmas time and if they were worn out before summer, they were forced to go barefoot.
Her second master would not buy shoes for his slaves. When they had to plow, their feet would crack and bleed from walking on the hard clods, and if one complained, they would be whipped; therefore, very few complaints were made.
The slaves were allowed to go to their master’s church, and allowed to sit in the seven back benches; should those benches be filled, they were not allowed to sit in any other benches.
The wealthy slave owner never allowed his slaves to pay any attention to the poor “white folks,” as he knew they had been free all their lives and should be slave owners themselves. The poor whites were hired by those who didnot believe in slavery, or could not afford slaves.
At the beginning of the Civil war, I had a family of fourteen children. At the close of the war, I was given my choice of staying on the same plantation, working on shares, or taking my family away, letting them out for their food and clothes. I decided to stay on that way; I could have my children with me. They were not allowed to go to school, they were taught only to work.
Slave mothers were allowed to stay in bed only two or three days after childbirth; then were forced to go into the fields to work, as if nothing had happened.
The saddest moment of my life was when I was sold away from my family. I often wonder what happened to them, I haven’t seen or heard from them since. I only hope God was as good to them as He has been to me.
“I am 110 years old; my birth is recorded in the slave book. I have good health, fairly good eyesight, and a good memory, all of which I say is because of my love for God.”
Mrs. Rogers is certainly a very old woman, very pleasant, and seems very fond of her granddaughters, with whom she lives.
Submitted December 29, 1937 Indianapolis, Indiana