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Slave Narrative of Mama Duck

Interviewer: Jules A. Frost Person Interviewed: Mama Duck Location: Tampa, Florida Age: 109 “Who is the oldest person, white or colored, that you know of in Tampa?” “See Mama Duck,” the grinning Negro elevator boy told me. “She bout a hunnert years old.” So down into the “scrub” I went and found the old woman hustling about from wash pot to pump. “I’m mighty busy now, cookin breakfast,” she said, “but if you come back in bout an hour I’ll tell you what I can bout old times in Tampa.” On the return visit, her skinny dog met me with elaborate demonstrations of welcome. “Guan way fum here Spot. Dat gemmen ain gwine feed you nothin. You keep your dirty paws offen his clothes.” Mama duck sat down on a rickety box, motioning me to another one on the shaky old porch. “Take keer you doan fall thoo dat old floor,” she cautioned. “It’s bout ready to fall to pieces, but I way behind in the rent, so I kaint ask em to have it fixed.” “I see you have no glass in the windows – doesn’t it get you wet when it rains?” “Not me. I gits over on de other side of de room. It didn’t have no door neither when I moved in. De young folks frum here useta use it for a courtin-house.” “A what?” “Court in-house. Dey kept a-comin after I moved in, an I had to shoo em away. Dat young rascal comin yonder – he one of em. I clare to goodness – ” and Mama Duck raised her voice for the...

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