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Slave Narrative of Charles H. Anderson

Interviewer: Ruth Thompson Person Interviewed: Charles H. Anderson Location: Cincinnati, Ohio Place of Birth: Richmond, Virginia Date of Birth: December 23, 1845 Place of Residence: 3122 Fredonia St., Cincinnati, Ohio Occupation: Handy man “Life experience excels all reading. Every place you go, you learn something from every class of people. Books are just for a memory, to keep history and the like, but I don’t have to go huntin’ in libraries, I got one in my own head, for you can’t forget what you learn from experience.” The old man speaking is a living example of his theory, and, judging from his bearing, his experience has given him a philosophical outlook which comprehends love, gentleness and wisdom. Charles H. Anderson, 3122 Fredonia Street, was born December 23, 1845, in Richmond, Virginia, as a slave belonging to J.L. Woodson, grocer, “an exceedingly good owner not cruel to anyone”. With his mother, father, and 15 brothers and sisters, he lived at the Woodson home in the city, some of the time in a cabin in the rear, but mostly in the “big house”. Favored of all the slaves, he was trusted to go to the cash drawer for spending money, and permitted to help himself to candy and all he wanted to eat. With the help of the mistress, his mother made all his clothes, and he was “about as well dressed as anybody”. “I always associated with high-class folks, but I never went to church then, or to school a day in my life. My owner never sent me or my brothers, and then when free schools came in, education...

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