The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
[HW: U.S. Dictatorship Predicted]
"I was born in Arkansas in Cross County at the foot of Crowley's Ridge on the east side of the Ridge and just about twelve miles from Old Wittsburg, on May 3, 1861. I got the date from my mother. She kept dates by the old family Bible. I don't know where she got her learning. She had a knowledge of reading. I am about her sixth child. She was the mother of thirteen.
"My mother's master was named Bill Neely. Her mistress was named Mag Neely.
"My mother was one of the leading plow hands on Bill Neely's farm. She had a old mule named Jane. When the Yankees would come down, Bill Neely and all his friends would leave home. They would leave when they would hear the cannon, because they said that meant the Yankees were coming. When Neely went away, he would carry my mother to do his cooking.
"She would leave the children there and carry just the baby when she went. Old Aunt Malinda—she wasn't our aunt; she was just an old lady we called Aunt Malinda who cooked for the kitchen—would cook for us while she was gone. When the Yankees had passed through, my mother and the master would all come back.
"My original name was not Brown. It was Pope. I became Brown after the War was over. I moved on the old Barnes' farm. When the soldiers were mustered out in the end of the War, a lot of soldiers worked on that place. Peter Brown, an old colored soldier mustered out from Memphis, met my mother, courted her, and married her. All the other children that were born to her were called Brown, and the people called her Brown, and just called all the other children Brown too, including me. And I just let it go that way. But my father was named Harrison Pope. He died in the Confederate army out there somewheres around Little Rock. He had violated some of the military laws, and they put him in that thing they had to punish them by, and when they taken him out, he contracted pneumonia and died. I don't know where he is buried. I would to God I did! You know when these Southern armies went along they carried colored stevedores to do the work for them.
"I was a little fellow in the time of the pateroles. If the slaves wanted to go out anywhere, they had to get a pass and they had to be back at a certain time. If they didn't get back, it would be some kind of punishment. The pateroles was a mighty bad thing. If they caught you when you were out without a pass, they would whip you unmercifully, and if you were out too late they would whip you. Wherever colored people had a gathering, them pateroles would be there looking on to see if they could find anybody without a pass. If they did find anybody that couldn't show a pass, they would take him right out and whip him then and there.
"I know the Ku Klux must have been in use before the War because I remember the business when I was a little bit of a fellow. They had a place out there on Crowley's Ridge they used to meet at. They tried to make the impression that they would be old Confederate soldiers that had been killed in the battle of Shiloh, and they used to ride down from the Ridge hollering, 'Oh! Lordy, Lordy, Lordy!' They would have on those old uniforms and would call for water. And they would have some way of pouring the water down in a bag or something underneath their uniforms so that it would look like they could drink four or five gallons.
"One night when they come galloping down on their horses hollering 'Oh! Lordy, Lordy' like they used to, some Yankee soldiers stationed nearby tied ropes across the road and killed about twenty-five of the horses and broke legs and arms of about ten or fifteen. They never used the ridge any more after that.
"My father's master was Shep Pope and his wife was named Julia Pope. I can't remember where my father was born but my mother was born in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. I don't know the names of my grandfather and grandmother on either side.
"The old slave house was a log house built out of hewed logs. The logs were scalped on each side to give it the appearance of a box house. And they said the logs would fit together better, too. They would chink up the cracks with grass and dirt—what they called 'dob'. That is what they called chinking to keep the wind and rain out.
"I was born in a one-room hut with a clapboard room on one side for the kitchen and storeroom. They would go out in the woods and split out the clapboards. My mother had eight of we children in that room at one time.
"As to furniture, well, we had benches for chairs. They were made out of punching four holes in a board and putting sticks in there for legs. That is what we sat on. Tables generally were nailed up with two legs out and with the wall to support the other side. The beds were made in a corner with one leg out and the two walls supporting the other sides. They called that bed the 'Georgia Horse'. We had an old cupboard made up in a corner.
"Food was generally kept in the old cupboard my mother had. When she had too much for the cupboard, she put it in an old chist.
Right After the War
"My mother had eight children to feed. After the emancipation she had to hustle for all of them. She would go up to work—pick cotton, pull corn, or what not, and when she came home at night she had on old dog she called 'Coldy'. She would go out and say, 'Coldy, Coldy, put him up.' And a little later, we would hear Coldy bark and she would go out and Coldy would have something treed. And she would take whatever he had-'possum, coon, or what not-and she would cook it, and we would have it for breakfast the next morning.
"Mother used to go out on neighboring farms and they would give her the scraps when they killed hogs and so on. One night she was coming home with some meat when she was attacked by wolves. Old Coldy was along and a little yellow dog. The dogs fought the wolves and while they were fighting, she slipped home. Next morning old Coldy showed up cut almost in two where the wolves had bitten him. We bandaged him up and took care of him. And he lived for two or more years. The little yellow dog never did show up no more. Mother said that the wolves must have killed and eaten him.
"I put in about one month schooling when I was a boy about six or seven years old. Then I moved into St. Francis County and went two weeks to a subscription school a few miles below Forrest City. Later I went back and took the examination in Cross County and passed it, and taught for a year. I got the bulk of my education by lamp light reading. I have done some studying in other places—three years in Shorter College where I got the degreee of B.D. and D.D. at the age of fifty-five. I have preached for fifty-seven years and actually pastored for forty-four years. I followed farming in my early days. When I first married my wife, we farmed there for ten or twelve years before I entered the ministry. I have been married fifty-seven years.
"I was married January 15, 1882. I am now in the fifty-seventh year of marriage. My wife was named Mary Ellen Stubbs. She was from Baldwyn, Mississippi. They moved from Mississippi about the winter of 1880 and they made one crop in Arkansas before we married. They stopped in our county and attended our church. I met her in that way. The most remarkable thing was that during the time I was acquainted with her our pastor became incapacitated and I took charge of the church. I ran a revival and she was converted during the revival. But she joined the C.M.E. Church. I belong to the A.M.E.
"I remember my mother carrying the children from the Bill Neely place to the Pope place. That Saturday evening after we got there, there came along some slave traders. They had with them as I remember some ten or twelve boys and girls and some old folks that were able to work. They had them chained. I asked my mother what they were going to do with them and she said they were carrying them to Louisiana to work on a cane farm. One boy cried a lot. The next morning they put those slaves in the road and drove them down to Wittsbarg the same as you would drive a drove of cattle, Wittsburg was where they caught the boat to go down to Louisiana. That was the best mode of travel in those days.
"In a few words, my opinion of the present is that our existence as Democrats and Republicans is about played out.
"If Mr. Roosevelt is elected for a third term, I think we will go into a dictatorship just as Russia, Germany, and Italy have already done. I think we are nearer to that now than we heve ever been before. I do not think that Mr. Roosevelt will become a dictator, but I do believe that his being elected a third time will cause some one else to become dictator. My opinion is that he is neither Democrat nor Republican.
"Our young people are advancing from a literary point of view, but I claim that they are losing out along moral lines. I don't believe that we value morals as well as the people did years ago who didn't know so much. I believe that the whole nation, white and black, is losing moral stamina. They do not think it is bad to kill a man, take another man's wife or rob a bank, or anything else. They desecrate the churches by carrying anything into the church. There is no sacred place now. Carnivals and everything else are carried to the church.
"If Mr. Roosevelt is not reelected again, the country is going to have one of the bloodiest wars it has ever had because we have so many European doctrines coming into the United States. I have been living seventy-eight years, and I never thought that I would live to see the day when the government would reach out and take hold of things like it has done—the WPA, the FERA, and the RFC, and other work going on today. We are headed for communism and we are going to get in a bloody war. There are hundreds of men going 'round who believe in communism but who don't want it to be known now."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives