The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden Person interviewed: Landy Rucker 2315 W. Fourth Avenue, Pine Bluff, Arkansas Age: 83
"I was born in 1854 in the State of Georgia, Elbert County.
"I member some about the war. I went to the field when I was twelve. Pulled fodder, picked peas and tended to the cow pen. I had to go then. We had a good master. Our mistress wasn't good though. She wouldn't give us enough to eat. Old master used to ask if we had enough to eat and he'd pull out great big hams and cut em all to pieces and give em to us. Old mistress would cry and say, 'You're givin' away all my good dinner.' But she repented since the war. She said she didn't do right.
"We got here to Pine Bluff in '61.
"Oh yes, I remember comin' here on the train and on the boat.
"Old mistress whipped us when she thought we needed it. I been pretty good all my life.
"My father was a blacksmith and one day when I was six or seven I was takin' his dinner when some dogs smelled the dinner and smelled me too and they got after me. I had to climb a tree and they stayed around till they heard some other dogs barkin' and ran off. I come down then and took my bucket and left. Nother time some hogs chased me. They rooted all around the tree till they heard somethin' crackle in the woods and run off and then I'd come down.
"After the war I went to school three days and the teacher whipped me. I went home and I didn't go back. I went home and went to the field. I had a mother and a sister and I tried to make a living for them.
"I went to school a little while after that and then went to the field. Most I know I learned by myself.
"Yes'm, I seen the Yankees bout a year fore the war ceasted. They come to get somethin' to eat and anything else they could get. Got the mules and things and took my two brothers and put em in the war. One come back after surrender and the other one died in the war. They said they was fightin' to free the niggers from being under bondage.
"I seen the Ku Klux. Looked like their horses could fly. Made em jump a big high fence. They come and took my father and all the other men on the place and was goin' to put em in the Confederate army. But papa was old and he cried and old mistress thought a lot of him so they let him stay. I just lay down and hollered cause they was takin' my brothers, but they didn't keep em long. One of my brothers, six years older than me, come up here to Pine Bluff to jine the Yankees.
"We could hear the guns at Marks Mill.
"I been married twice. There was about eleven years betwixt the two marriages.
"I worked on the farm till about '85. Then I worked in the planing mill. I got hit by a car and it broke my hip so I have to walk on crutches now. Then I got me a little shoe shop and I got along fine till I got so I couldn't set down long enough to fix a pair of shoes. I bought this house and I gets help from the Relief so I'm gettin' along all right now."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives