The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden Person interviewed: Jake Walker 3002 Short W. Ninth Avenue, Pine Bluff, Arkansas Age: 95
"Well, I was here"I was born in 1842, August the 4th. That makes me ninety-five in the clear. If I live till next August I'll be ninety-six.
"No ma'am, I wasn't born in Arkansas, I was born in Alabama. I been here in Arkansas bout forty or fifty years. I used to live in Mississippi when I first left the old country.
"Oh yes'm, I was bout big enough to go durin' the War, but I wouldn't run off. Couldn't a had no better master. That's the reason I'm livin' like I do. Always took good care of myself. Never had no exposure.
"I did work fore the War, I'll say! Done anything they said.
"John Carmichael was my old master and Miss Nancy was old missis.
"Oh yes ma'am, I seed the Yankees. They stopped there. I wasn't askeered of nobody. I have went to the well and drawed water for em.
"I member when the War was gwine on. I didn't know why they was fightin'. If I did I done forgot"I'll be honest with you. I didn't know nothin' only they was fightin'. Most of my work was around the house. I never paid no tention to that war. I was livin' too fine them days. I was livin' a hundred days to the week. Yes ma'am, I did get along fine.
"Oh yes ma'am, I had good white folks. I never was sold. No ma'am, I born right on the old home place.
"Patrollers? Had to get a pass from your master to go over there. Oh yes, I know all about them. I have seed the Ku Klux too. Yes ma'am, I know all about them things.
"I never been to school but half a day. I went to work when I was eight years old and been workin' ever since.
"My father died in slave times and my mother died the fourth year after surrender.
"After freedom, I worked there bout the course of three or four years. Then I emigrated and come on to Mississippi. The most I done them times was farmin'. Reckon I stayed in Mississippi five or six years.
"The most work I done here in Arkansas is carpenter work. I'm the first colored man ever contracted in Pine Bluff.
"If I wasn't able to work, I don't think I'd stay here long.
"Used to drive the mule in the gin in slave times.
"We didn't have a bit of expense on us. Our doctor bills was paid and had clothes give to us and had plenty of something to eat.
"Yes'm, I used to vote but it's been for years since I voted. Voted Republican. I don't know why the colored people is Republican. You askin' me something now I don't know nothin' about, but I believe in votin' for the man goin' to do good"do the country good.
"Oh, don't talk about the younger generation"I jist can't accomplish em, I sure can't. They ain't got the 'regenious' and get-up about em they had in my time. They is more wiser, that's about all. The young race these days"I don't know what's gwine come of em. If twasn't for we old fogies, don't know what they'd do.
"We ain't never had that World War yet told about in the Bible. Called this last war the World War but twasn't.
"I've always tried to keep my place and I ain't never been in any kind of trouble."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives