Scott, Mollie Hardy
The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person interviewed: Mollie Hardy Scott, R.F.D., DeValls Bluff, Arkansas Age: 90
"I was born at Granville, Georgia in Franklin County. I don't know my age cept I was big enough to plow when young master lef and went to war. My mother died bout time the war started. We belonged to Miss Eliza and Master Jim Hardy. He had two boys bout grown, Jim and John. My father belong to the Linzys. I don't know nuthin much bout them nor him neither. When the war was done he come and got me and we went to Barton County, Georgia. When I lef they give me my feather bed, two good coverlets and my clothes. White folks hated fo me to leave. We all cried but I never seen em no more. They said he take me off and let me suffer or die or something. I was all the child my father had but my mother had ten children I knowed of. We all lived on the place. They lived in a little log house and I stayed wid em some an up at white folks house mostly. No I never seed my folks no more. We had plenty to eat. Had meat and garden stuff. We had pot full of lye hominy. It last several days. It was good. I seed em open up a pot full of boiled corn-on-the-cob. Plenty milk and butter. We had wash pot full of collards or turnip salad. Maybe a few turnips on top and a big piece of fresh meat. We had plenty to eat and wear long as I lived wid the white folks. We had goobers, molasses candy to pull and pop corn every now and then. They fill all the pockets, set around the fire an eat at night. Sometimes we bake eggs and sweet potatoes, cracklin hoe cake covered up in the ashes. Bake apples in front of the fire on de hearth. Everybody did work an we sho had plenty to eat an wear.
"I had plenty when I stayed at my father's an we worked together all the time. When he died I married. I've had a hard time not able to work. There ain't no hard time if yous able to get bout. I pieces quilts an sells em now. Sells em if I can. For $150 piece (has no idea of money value). Some women promissed to come git 'em but they ain't come yet. I wanter buy me some shoes. I could do a heap if they send fo me. I can nurse. I kept a woman's children when she teached last year (Negro woman's children).
"I brought four or five when I come to Arkansas of my own. They all dead but my one girl I lives wid.
"Seemed lack so many colored folks coming out West to do better. We thought we come too. We come on immigrate ticket on the train. All the people I worked for was Captain Williams, Dr. Givens. Mr. Richardson right where Mesa is now but they called it 88 then (88 miles from Memphis). Mr. Gates. I farmed, washed and ironed. I nursed some since I'm not able to get about in the field. I never owned nothing. They run us from one year till the next and at the end of the year they say we owe it bout all. If we did have a good crop we never could get ahead. We couldn't get ahead nuff not to have to be furnished the next year. We did work but we never could get ahead. If a darky sass a white land owner he would be whooped bout his account or bout anything else. Yes siree right here in dis here county. Darky have to take what the white folks leave fo em and be glad he's livin.
"I say I ain't never voted. Whut in de world I would want er vote for? Let em vote if they think it do em good.
"I seen a whole gang of Ku Kluxes heap of times when I was little back in Georgia. I seed paddyrollers and then they quit and at night the Ku Kluxes rode by. They would whoop or shoot you either if you didn't tend to yo own business and stay at home at night. They kept black and white doing right I tell you. I sho was afraid of them but they didn't bother us. If you be good whose ever place you lives on would keep 'em from harmin you. They soon got all the bad Yankies ran back North from Georgia. They whip the black men and women too but it was mostly the men they watched and heap of it was for stealing. Folks was hungry. Couldn't help stealin if they seed anything. I seed heap of folks having a mighty hard time after the war in them restruction (Reconstruction) days. I was lucky.
"My daughter would do mo than she do fo me but she is a large woman and had both her legs broke. They hurt her so bad it is hard fo her to do much. She good as she can be to everybody. The Welfare give three of us $10.00 a month (daughter, husband, and Mollie). We mighty glad to get that. We sho is. I am willin to work if I could get work I could do. That's my worst trouble. Like I tell you, I can nurse and wash dishes if I could get the jobs.
"I don't see much of the real young folks. I don't know what they are doing much. If a fellow is able he ought to be able to do good now if he can get out and go hunt up work fo himself. That the way it look like. I don't know."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives