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Slave Narrative of Tom W. Woods

Person Interviewed: Tom W. Woods Location: Alderson, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Florence, Alabama Age: 83 Lady, if de nigger hadn’t been set free dis country wouldn’t ever been what it is now! Poor white folks wouldn’t never had a chance. De slave holders had most of de money and de land and dey wouldn’t let de poor white folks have a chance to own any land or anything else to speak of. Dese white folks wasn’t much better off dan we was. Dey had to work hard and dey had to worry ’bout food, clothes and shelter and we didn’t. Lots of slave owners wouldn’t allow den on deir farms among deir slaves without orders from de overseer. I don’t know why, unless he was afraid dey would stir up discontent among de niggers. Dere was lots of “underground railroading” and I rekon dat was what Old Master and others was afraid of. Us darkies was taught dat poor white folks didn’t amount to much, Course we knowed dey was white and we was black and dey was to be respected for dat, but dat was about all. White folks as well as niggers profited by Emancipation. Lincoln was a friend to all poor white folks as well as black ones and if he could a’ lived things would a’been different for ever’body. Dis has been a good old world to live in. I always been able to make a purty good living and de only trouble I ever had has been sickness and death. I’ve had a sight of dat kind of trouble. I’ve outlived two wives and...

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