Slave Narrative of “Prophet” John Henry Kemp

Interviewer: L. Rebecca Baker Person Interviewed: “Prophet” John Henry Kemp Location: Daytona Beach, Florida Age: 80 Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. choose a state: Any AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY INTL Start Now A long grey beard, a pair of piercing owl-like eyes and large bare feet, mark “Prophet” Kemp among the citizenry of Daytona Beach, Florida. The “Prophet”, christened John Henry–as nearly as he can remember–is an 80 year old ex-slave whose remininiscences of the past, delight all those who can prevail upon him to talk of his early life on the plantation of the section. “Prophet” Kemp does not talk only of the past, however, his conversation turns to the future; he believes himself to be equally competent to talk of the future, and talks more of the latter if permitted. Oketibbeha County, Mississippi was the birthplace of the “Prophet”. The first master he can remember was John Gay, owner of a plantation of some 2,700 acres and over 100 slaves and a heavy drinker. The “Prophet” calls Gay “father”, and becomes very vague when...

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