Location: Biscoe Arkansas

Slave Narrative of Lizzie Johnson

Interviewer: Irene Robertson Person Interviewed: Lizzie Johnson Location: Biscoe, Arkansas Place of Birth: Holly Springs, Mississippi Age: 65 Federal Writers’ Project of the W.P.A. District #6 Marion County Anna Pritchett 1200 Kentucky Avenue FOLKLORE MRS. LIZZIE JOHNSON 706 North Senate Avenue, Apt. 1 Mrs. Johnson’s father, Arthur Locklear, was born in Wilmington, N.C. in 1822. He lived in the South and endured many hardships until 1852. He was very fortunate in having a white man befriend him in many ways. This man taught him to read and write. Many nights after a hard days work, he would lie on the floor in front of the fireplace, trying to study by the light from the blazing wood, so he might improve his reading and writing. He married very young, and as his family increased, he became ambitious for them. Knowing their future would be very dark if they remained South. He then started a movement to come north. There were about twenty-six or twenty-eight men and women, who had the same thoughts about their children, banded together, and in 1852 they started for somewhere, North. The people selected, had to be loyal to the cause of their children’s future lives, morally clean, truthful, and hard-working. Some had oxen, some had carts. They pooled all of their scant belongings, and started on their long hard journey. The women and children rode...

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Slave Narrative of Lucindy Allison

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person Interviewed: Lucindy Allison Location: Marked Tree, Arkansas (with children at Biscoe, Arkansas) Age: 61 “Ma was a slave in Arkansas. She said she helped grade a hill and help pile up a road between Wicksburg and Wynne. They couldn’t put the road over the hill, so they put all the slaves about to grade it down. They don’t use the road but it’s still there to show for itself. “She was a tall rawbony woman. Ma was a Hillis and pa’s name was Adam Hillis. He learned to trap in slavery and after freedom he followed that for a living. Ma was a sure ‘nough field hand. Mama had three sets of children. I don’t know how many she did have in all. I had eleven my own self. Grandma was named Tempy and I heard them tell about when she was sold. She and mama went together. They used to whoop the slaves when they didn’t work up peart. “When the ‘Old War’ come on and the Yankees come they took everything and the black men folks too. They come by right often. They would drive up at mealtime and come in and rake up every blessed thing was cooked. Have to go work scrape about and find something else to eat. What they keer ’bout you being white or black? Thing they...

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Slave Narrative of Henry Anthony

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person Interviewed: Henry Anthony Location: Biscoe, Arkansas Age: 84 “I was born at Jackson, North Carolina. My master and mistress named Betsy and Jason Williams but my pa’s name was Anthony. My young master was a orderly seargent. He took me wid him to return some mules and wagons. He showed me what he want done an I followed him round wid wagons. The wagons hauled ammunition and provisions. Pa worked for the master and ma cooked. They got sold to Lausen Capert. When freedom come they went back and stayed a month or two at Williams then we all went back to John Odom. We stayed round close and farmed and worked till they died. I married and when I had four or five children I heard ob dis country. I come on immigration ticket to Mr. Aydelott here at Biscoe. Train full of us got together and come. One white man got us all up and brought us here to Biscoe. I farmed for Mr. Aydelott four or five years, then for Mr. Bland, Mr. Scroggin. “I never went to school a day in my life. I used to vote here in Biseoe right smart. I let the young folks do my votin. They can tell more about it. I sho do not think it is the woman’s place to vote an hold...

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Slave Narrative of Emmett Beal

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson Person Interviewed: Emmett Beal Age: 78 Location: Biscoe, Arkansas “I was born in Holloman County, Bolivar, Tennessee. Master Dr. Jim May owned my set er folks. He had two girls and two boys. I reckon he had a wife but I don’t recollect seeing her. Ma suckled me; William May with me. Ely and Seley and Susie was his children. “I churned for mama in slavery. She tied a cloth around the top so no flies get in. I better hadn’t let no fly get in the churn. She take me out to a peach tree and learn me how to keep the flies outen the churn next time. “Mama was Dr. May’s cook. We et out the dishes but I don’t know how all of ’em done their eating. They eat at their houses. Dr. May had a good size bunch of hands, not a big crowd. We had straw beds. Made new ones every summer. In that country they didn’t ‘low you to beat yo’ hands up. I heard my folks say that more’n one time. “Dr. May come tole ’em it was freedom. They could get land and stay—all ‘at wanted to. All his old ones kept on wid him. They sharecropped and some of them got a third. I recollect him and worked for him. “The Ku Klux didn’t bother none...

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Slave Narrative of Beatrice Black

Interviewer: Irene Robertson Person Interviewed: Beatrice Black Age: 48 Location: Biscoe, Arkansas Occupation: Store and “eating joint” “I was born below the city pump here in Biscoe. My husband is a twin and the youngest of thirteen children. His twin brother is living. They are fifty years old today (August 6, 1938). His mother lived back and forth with the twins. She died year before last. She was so good. She was sure good to me. She helped me raise my three children. I misses her till this very day. Her name was Dedonia Black when she died. “She said master brought her, her father and mother and two sisters, Martha and Ida, from Brownsville, Tennessee at the commencement of the old war to Memphis in a covered ox wagon, and from there on a ship to Cavalry Depot at De Valla Bluff. They was all sold. Her father was sold and had to go to Texas. Her mother was sold and had to go back to Tennessee, and the girls all sold in Arkansas. Master Mann bought my mother-in-law (Dedonia). She was eighteen years old. They sold them off on Cavalry Depot where the ship landed. They put her up to stand on a barrel and auctioned them off at public auction. “Her father got with the soldiers in Texas and went to war. He enlisted and when...

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