The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden Person interviewed: Charlie McClendon 708 E. Fourth Avenue, Pine Bluff, Arkansas Age: 77
"I don't know exactly how old I am. I was six or seven when the war ended. I member dis-my mother said I was born on Christmas day. Old master was goin' to war and he told her to take good care of that boy-he was goin' to make a fine little man.
"Did I live up to it? I reckon I was bout as smart a man as you could jump up. The work didn't get too hard for me. I farmed and I sawmilled a lot. Most of my time was farmin'.
"I been in Jefferson County all my life. I went to school three or four sessions.
"About the war, I member dis-I member they carried us to Camden and I saw the guards. I'd say, 'Give me a pistol.' They'd say, 'Come back tomorrow and we'll give you one.' They had me runnin' back there every day and I never did get one. They was Yankee soldiers.
"Our folks' master was William E. Johnson. Oh Lord, they was just as good to us as could be to be under slavery.
"After they got free my people stayed there a year or two and then our master broke up and went back to South Carolina and the folks went in different directions. Oh Lord, my parents sho was well treated. Yes ma'm. If he had a overseer, he wouldn't low him to whip the folks. He'd say, 'Just leave em till I come home.' Then he'd give em a light breshin'.
"My father run off and stay in the woods one or two months. Old master say, 'Now, Jordan, why you run off? Now I'm goin' to give you a light breshin' and don't you run off again.' But he'd run off again after awhile.
"He had one man named Miles Johnson just stayed in the woods so he put him on the block and sold him.
"I seed the Ku Klux. We colored folks had to make it here to Pine Bluff to the county band. If the Rebels kotch you, you was dead.
"Oh Lord yes, I voted. I voted the Publican ticket, they called it. You know they had this Australia ballot. You was sposed to go in the caboose and vote. They like to scared me to death one time. I had a description of the man I wanted to vote for in my pocket and I was lookin' at it so I'd be sure to vote for the right man and they caught me. They said, 'What you doin' there? We're goin' to turn you over to the sheriff after election!' They had me scared to death. I hid out for a long time till I seed they wasn't goin' to do nothin'.
"My wife's brother was one of the judges of the election. Some of the other colored folks was constables and magistrates-some of em are now-down in the country.
"I knew a lot about things but I knew I was in the United States and had to bow to the law. There was the compromise they give the colored folks-half of the offices and then they got em out afterwards. John M. Clayton was runnin' for the senate and say he goin' to see the colored people had equal rights, but they killed him as he was gwine through the country speakin'.
"The white people have treated me very well but they don't pay us enough for our work-just enough to live on and hardly that. I can say with a clear conscience that if it hadn't been for this relief, I don't know what I'd do-I'm not able to work. I'm proud that God Almighty put the spirit in the man (Roosevelt) to help us."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives