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Slave Narrative of R. C. Smith

Person Interviewed: R. C. Smith Occupation: Prophet One morning in May I heard a poor rebel say; “The federal’s a home guard Dat called me from home…” I wish I was a merchant And could write a fine hand, I’d write my love a letter So she would understand. I wish I had a drink of brandy, And a drink of wine, To drink wid dat sweet gal How I wish dat she was mine. If I had a drink of brandy No longer would I roam, I’d drink it wid dat gal of mine Dat wishes me back home. I’ve heard the soldiers sing that song a heap of times. They sung it kind of lonesome like and I guess it sort of made them home sick to sing it. Us niggers learned to sing it and it is about the only one I can sing yet. I remembers the words to another one we used to sing but I’ve forgot the tune but the words go like this: Old man, old man Your hair is getting gray, I’d foller you ten thousand miles To hear your banjo play. I never was much at singing though. I guess my voice is just about wore out just like my body. I’ve always had good health and I never had a doctor in my life. In the last three or four years I’ve had some pains from rheumatism. I think all our sickness is brought on by the kidneys and I made my own kidney medicine and allus stayed well. I used to get a weed called hoarhound, it grows...

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