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Slave Narrative of Claude Augusta Wilson

Interviewer: James Johnson Person Interviewed: Claude Augusta Wilson Location: Sunbeam, Florida In 1857 on the plantation of Tom Dexter in Lake City, Columbia County, Florida, was born a Negro, Claude Augusta Wilson, of slave parents. His master Tom Dexter was very kind to his slaves, and was said to have been a Yankee. His wife Mary Ann Dexter, a southerner, was the direct opposite, she was very mean. Claude was eight years old when Emancipation came. The Dexter plantation was quite a large place, covering 100 or more acres. There were about 100 slaves, including children. They had regular one room quarters built of logs which was quite insignificant in comparison with the palatial Dexter mansion. The slaves would arise early each morning, being awakened by a “driver” who was a white man, and by “sun-up” would be at their respective tasks in the fields. All day they worked, stopping at noon to get a bite to eat, which they carried on the fields from their cabins. At “sun-down” they would quit work and return to their cabins, prepare their meals and gossip from cabin to cabin. Finally retiring to await the dawn of a new day which signaled a return to their routine duties. At Sundays they would gather at a poorly constructed frame building which was known as the “Meeting House,” In this building they would give praise and thanks to their God. The rest of the day was spent in relaxation as this was the only day of the week in which they were not forced to work. Claude Augusta worked in the fields, his mother...

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