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Slave Narrative of Stephen McCray

Person Interviewed: Stephen McCray Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Place of Birth: Huntsville County, Alabama Date of Birth: 1850 Age: 88 Occupation: Fisherman I was born in Huntsville County, Alabama, right where the Scottsboro boys was in jail, in 1850. My parents was Wash and Winnie McCray. They was the mother and father of 22 chillun. Jest five lived to be grown and the rest died at baby age. My father’s mother and father was named Mandy and Peter McCray, and my mother’s mother and father was Ruthie and Charlie McCray. They all had the same Master, Mister McCray, all the way thoo’. We live in log huts and when I left home grown, I left my folks living in the same log huts. Beds was put together with ropes and called rope beds. No springs was ever heard of by white or cullud as I knows of. All the work I ever done was pick up chips for my grandma to cook with. I was kept busy doing this all dey. The big boys went out end got rabbits, possums and fish. I would sho’ lak to be in old Alabama fishing, ’cause I am a fisherman. There is sho’ some pretty water in Alabama and as swift as cars run here. Water so clear and blue you can see the fish way down, and dey wouldn’t bite to save your life. Slaves had their own gardens. All got Friday and Sedday to work in garden during garden time. I liked cornbread best and I’d give a dollar to git some of the bread we had on those good...

Slave Narrative of Amanda McCray

Interviewer: Pearl Randolph Person Interviewed: Amanda McCray Location: Madison, Florida Occupation: House servant Mrs. McCray was sitting on her porch crooning softly to herself and rocking so gently that one might easily have thought the wind was swaying her chair. Her eyes were closed, her hands incredibly old and work worn were slowly folding and unfolding in her lap. She listened quietly to the interviewer’s request for some of the “high lights” of her life and finally exclaimed: “Chile why’ny you look among the living fer the high lights?” There was nothing resentful in this expression; only the patient weariness of one who has been dragged through the boundaries of a yesterday from which he was inseparable and catapulted into a present with which he has nothing in common. After being assured that her life story was of real interest to some one she warmed up and talked quite freely of the life and times as they existed in her day. How old was she? She confessed quite frankly that she never “knowed” her age. She was a grownup during the Civil War when she was commandered by Union soldiers invading the country and employed as a cook. Her owner, one Reddin Pamell, possessed a hundred or more slaves and was, according to her statement very kind to them. It was on his plantation that she was born. Amanda McCray is one of several children born to Jacob and Mary Williams, the latter being blind since Amanda could remember. Children on the Pamell plantation led a carefree existence until they were about 12 years of age, when they were...

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