The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Thomas Elmore Lucy Person interviewed: Sam Scott, Russellville, Arkansas Age: 79
"Hello dar, Mistah L----! Don' you dare pass by widout speakin' to dis old niggah friend of yo' chil'hood! No suh! Yuh can't git too big to speak to me!
"Reckon you've seen about all dar is to see in de worl' since I seen you, ain't you? Well, mos' all de old-time niggahs and whites is both gone now. I was born on de twentieth of July, 1879. Count up-dat makes me 79 (born 1859), don't it? My daddy's name was Sam, same as mine, and mammy's was Mollie. Dey was slaves on de plantation of Capt. Scott-yes suh, Capt. John R. Homer Scott-at Dover. My name is Sam, same as my father's, of course. Everybody in de old days knowed Sam Scott. My father died in slavery times, but mother lived several years after.
"No, I never did dance, but I sure could play baseball and make de home runs! My main hobby, as you calls it, was de show business. You remember de niggah minstrels we used to put on. I was always stage manager and could sing baritone a little. Ed Williamson and Tom Nick was de principal dancers, and Tom would make up all de plays. What? Stole a unifawm coat of yours? Why, I never knowed Tom to do anything like that! Anyway, he was a good-hearted niggah-but you dunno what he might do. Yes, I still takes out a show occasionally to de towns around Pope and Yell and Johnson counties, and folks treat us mighty fine. Big crowds-played to $47.00 clear money at Clarksville. Usually take about eight and ten in our comp'ny, boys and gals-and we give em a real hot minstrel show.
"De old show days? Never kin forgit em! I was stage manager of de old opery house here, you remember, for ten years, and worked around de old printin' office downstairs for seven years. No, I don't mean stage manager-I mean property man-yes, had to rustle de props. And did we have road shows dem days! Richards & Pringle's Georgia minstrels, de Nashville students, Lyman Twins, Barlow Brothers Minstrels, and-oh, ever so many more-yes, Daisy, de Missouri Girl, wid Fred Raymond. Never kin forgit old black Billy Kersands, wid his mouf a mile wide!
"De songs we used to sing in old days when I was a kid after de War wasn't no purtier dan what we used to sing wid our own minstrel show when we was at our best twenty-five and thirty years ago; songs like 'Jungletown,' 'Red Wing,' and 'Mammy's Li'l Alabama Coon.' Our circuit used to be around Holla Bend, Dover, Danville, Ola, Charleston, Nigger Ridge, out from Pottsville, and we usually starred off at the old opery house in Russellville, of course.
"I been married, but ain't married now. We couldn't git along somehow. Yes suh, I been right here workin' stiddy for a long time. Been janitor at two or three places same time; was janitor of de senior high school here for twenty-two years, and at de Bank of Russellville twenty-nine years.
"Folks always been mighty nice to me-and no slave ever had a finer master dan old Captain Scott.
"In de old show days de manager of de opery always said. 'Let de niggers see de show,' and sometimes de house was half full of colored folks-white folks on one side de house and niggahs on de other-and dere never was any disturbance of any kind. Ain't no sich good times now as we had in de old road show days. No suh!"
NOTE: Sam Scott, who has been personally known to the interviewer for many years, is above the average of the race for integrity and truthfulness. His statement that he was born a few years after slavery and that his father died during slavery was not questioned the matter being a delicate personal affair and of no special moment.
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives