The following data is extracted from Arkansas Slave Narratives.
Interviewer: Pernella M. Anderson Person interviewed: Henrietta Williams B. Avenue, El Dorado, Arkansas Age: About 82
"I am about 82 years old. I was born in Georgia down in the cotton patch. I did not know much about slavery, for I was raised in the white folks' house, and my old mistress called me her little nigger, and she didn't allow me to be whipped and drove around. I remember my old master whipped me one time and old mistress fussed with him so much he never did whip me any more.
"I never had to get out and do any real hard work until I was nearly grown. My mother did not have but one child. My father was sold from my mother when I was about two years old and he was carried to Texas and I did not see him any more until I was 35 years old. So my mother married again when she was set free. I didn't stay with my mother very much. She stayed off in a little log house with a dirt floor, and she cooked on the fireplace with a skillet and lid, and the house had one window with a shutter. She had to cut logs and roll them like a man and split rails and plow. I would sometimes ask old mistress to let me go out where my mother was working to see her plow and when I got to be a big girl about nine years she began learning me how to plow.
"I often told the niggers the white folks raised me. The niggers tell me, 'Yes, the white folks raise you but the niggers is going to kill you.'
"After freedom my mistress and master moved to Louisiana. They farmed. They owned a big plantation. I did the housework.
"The biggest snow I remember was the big centennial snow. Oh, that's been years ago. The snow was so deep you couldn't get out of the house. The boys had to take the shovel and the hoe and keep the snow raked away from around the door.
"There was a big old oak tree that stood in the corner of the yard. People say that tree was a hundred years old. We could not get no wood, so master had the boys to cut the big old oak tree for wood.
"Rabbits had a scant time. The boys would go out and track six or eight rabbits at a time. We had rabbits of all descriptions. We had rabbits for breakfast, rabbits for dinner, rabbits for supper time. We had fried rabbits, baked rabbits, stewed rabbits, boiled rabbits. Had rabbits, rabbits, rabbits the whole six or eight weeks the snow stayed on the ground.
"I remember when I was about twelve years old a woman had two small children. She went away from home and for fear that the children would get hurt on the outside she put them in the house and locked the door. In some way they got a match and struck it and the house caught fire. All the neighbors were a long ways off and by the time they reched the house it had fallen in. Finally the mother came and looked for her children and asked the neighbors did they save them. They said no, they did not know they were in the house. In fact they were too late anyway. So the fire was still hot and they had to wait for the ashes to cool and when the ashes got cool they went looking for the children and found the burned buttons that were on their little clothes, so they began raking around in the ashes and at last found each of their little hearts that had not burned, but the little hearts were still jumping and the man who found the hearts picked them up in his hand and stood speechless. He became so nervous he could not move. Their little hearts just quivered. They let their hearts lay out for a couple of days and when they buried their hearts they was still jumpin'. That was a sad time. From that day to this day I never lock no one up in the house."
Source: Arkansas Slave Narratives