The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Texarkana District FOLKLORE SUBJECTS Name of Interviewer: Mrs. W.M. Ball Subject: Anecdotes Story:
Information given by: Albert Cummins Place of Residence: Laurel St., Texarkana, Ark. Occupation: None (Ex-Slave) Age: 86 [TR: Personal information moved from bottom of second page.]
An humble cottage, sheltered by four magnificent oak trees, houses an interesting old negro, Albert Cummins.
Texarkana people, old and young, reverence this character, and obtain from him much valuable information concerning the early life of this country. This ex-slave was freed when he was fifteen years old, but continued to live in the same family until he was a man. He says: "All de training an' advice I evah had come frum mah mistress. She wuz a beautiful Christian; if I am anybody, I owe it to her. I nevah went to school a day in mah life; whut I know I absorbed frum de white folks! Mah religion is De Golden Rule. It will take any man to heaben who follows its teachings.
"Mah mahster wuz kilt in de battle fought at Poison Springs, near Camden. We got separated in de skirmish an' I nevah did see him again. Libin' at that time wuz hard because dere wuz no way to communicate, only to sen' messages by horseback riders. It wuz months befo' I really knew dat mah mahster had been kilt, and where.
"Mr. Autrey bought mah mother when I wuz an infant, and gave us de protection an' care dat all good slave owners bestowed on their slaves. I worshipped dis man, dere has nevah been anudder like him. I sees him often in mah dreams now, an' he allus appears without food an' raiment, jus' as de South wuz left after de war."
"I came heah when Texarkana wuz only three years old, jus' a little kindly village, where we all knew each udder. Due to de location an' de comin' ob railroads, de town advanced rapidly. Not until it wuz too late did de citizens realize whut a drawback it is to be on de line between two states. Dis being Texarkana's fate, she has had a hard struggle overcoming dis handicap for sixty-three years. Still dat State Line divides de two cities like de "Mason and Dixon Line" divides the North an' South.
"Living on the Arkansas side of this city, Albert Cummins is naturally very partial to his side. "The Arkansas side is more civilized", according to his version. "Too easy fo' de Texas folks to commit a crime an' step across to Arkansas to escape arrest an' nevah be heard ob again."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives