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Slave Narrative of Martha Colquitt

Interviewer: Sarah H. Hall Person Interviewed: Martha Colquitt Location: Athens, Georgia The aged Negress leaned heavily on her cane as she shuffled about her tiny porch in the waning sunlight of a cold January day. An airplane writing an advertising slogan in letters of smoke high in the sky was receiving but indifferent attention from Aunt Martha. Sha shivered and occasionally leaned against a post until a paroxysm of coughing subsided. “What would you have thought of that if it had suddenly appeared in the sky when you were a child?” she was asked. “It would have scared me plum to death,” was the response. “I didn’t come out here just to see dat,” she continued, “I didn’t have nothin’ to make no fire wid, and I had to git out in de sunshine ’cause it wuz too cold to stay in de house. It sho’ is mighty bad to have to go to bed wid cold feet and cough all night long.” Her visitor could not resist the impulse to say, “Let’s make a trade, Aunt Martha! If I give you a little money will you buy wood; then while you enjoy the fire will you think back over your life and tell me about your experiences when I come back tomorrow?” “Bless de Lord! I sho’ will be glad to tell you de truf ’bout anything I can ‘member,” was her quick reply as she reached for the money. [TR: Return Visit] The next day Aunt Martha was in bed, slowly eating a bowl of potlicker and turnip greens into which cornbread had been crumbled. “My ches’...

Slave Narrative of James Bolton

Interviewer: Sarah H. Hall Person Interviewed: James Bolton Location: Athens, Georgia Age: 85 “It never was the same on our plantation atter we done laid Mistess away,” said James Bolton, 85 year old mulatto ex-slave. “I ain’t never forget when Mistess died—she had been so good to every nigger on our plantation. When we got sick, Mistess allus had us tended to. The niggers on our plantation all walked to church to hear her funeral sermon and then walked to the graveyard to the buryin’.” James, shrivelled and wrinkled, with his bright eyes taking in everything on one of his rare visits to town, seemed glad of the chance to talk about slavery days. He spoke of his owner as “my employer” and hastily corrected himself by saying, “I means, my marster.” “My employer, I means my marster, and my mistess, they was sho’ all right white folkses,” he continued. “They lived in the big ‘ouse. Hit was all painted brown. I heard tell they was more’n 900 acres in our plantation and lots of folkses lived on it. The biggest portion was woods. My paw, he was name Whitfield Bolton and Liza Bolton was my maw. Charlie, Edmund, Thomas and John Bolton was my brothers and I had one sister, she was Rosa. We belonged to Marse Whitfield Bolton and we lived on his plantation in Oglethorpe County near Lexington, not far from the Wilkes County line. “We stayed in a one room log cabin with a dirt floor. A frame made outen pine poles was fastened to the wall to hold up the mattresses. Our mattresses was...

Slave Narrative of Kizzie Colquitt

Interviewer: Grace McCune Person Interviewed: Kizzie Colquitt Location: Athens, Georgia Age: about 75 Old Aunt Kizzie Colquitt, about 75 years old, was busily washing in her neat kitchen. She opened the door and window frequently to let out the smoke, saying: “Dis old wore out stove don’t draw so good.” Her hands and feet were badly swollen and she seemed to be suffering. “I’ll be glad to tell all I kin ‘member ’bout dem old times,” she said. “I wuz borned durin’ de war, but I don’t ‘member what year. My pa wuz Mitchell Long. He b’longed to Marster Sam Long of Elbert County. Us lived on Broad River. My ma wuz Sallie Long, and she b’longed to Marster Billie Lattimore. Dey stayed on de other side of Broad River and my pa and ma had to cross de river to see one another. Atter de war wuz over, and dey wuz free, my pa went to Jefferson, Georgia, and dar he died. “My ma married some nigger from way out in Indiana. He promised her he would send money back for her chillun, but us never heered nothin’ from ‘im no mo’. I wuz wid’ my w’ite folks, de Lattimores, when my ma died, way out in Indiana. “Atter Marse Bob died, I stayed wid my old Missus, and slep’ by her bed at night. She wuz good to me, and de hardes’ wuk I done wuz pickin’ up acorns to fatten de hogs. I stayed dar wid her ’til she died. Us had plenty t’eat, a smokehouse filled wid hams, and all de other things us needed. Dey...

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