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Interviewer                               Mrs* Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed______________Mandy Billings
3101 W. 14th Highland Jldd. f Pine Bluff, Ark«
Age  84
“Now I was born in 1854* That was in slavery times* That wasn’t
yistiday was it? Born in Louisiana, in Sparta—that was the county seat*
•Bill Otts was my last owner* You see, how come me sold my mother
was my grandfather’s baby chile and his owner promised not to separate
him nary time again* It was in the time of the Old War# Charles Mc~
Laughlin-~that was my old master—he was my father and Bill Otts, he
bought my mother, and she was sold on that account* Old Master Charles1
wife wouldn’t flow her to stay. Ifm tellin’ it just like they told it to
me*
“We stayed with Bill Otts till we was free, and after too. My grand-
father had to steal me away. My stepfather had me made over to Bill Otts*
You know they didn’t have no sheriff in them days—had a provost marshal*
“As near as I can come at it, Miss, I was thirteen or fourteen* I
know I was eighteen years and four days old when I married* That was in
f74, wasn’t it? ’78? Well, I knowed I was strikin’ it kinda close*
“My white folks lived in town* When they bought my mother, Miss
Katie took me in the house* My mother died durin’ of the War—yes ma’am*
“I member when the bloodhounds used to run em and tree em up*
“Yes’m, niggers used to run away in slavery times* Some of em was
treated so mean they couldn’t help it*
2-       ±63
“Yes ma’am, I’ve seen the KU KLux* Seen em takin* the niggers out
and whip em and kick em around* I’m talk in’ bout Kn Klux. I know bout
the patrollers too* Ku Klux cane since freedom but the patrollers was in
slavery times* Had to get a pass* I used to hear the niggers talkin1
bout when the patrollers got after em and they was close to old master’s
field they’d jump over the fence and say, ‘I’m at home now, don’t you come
in here*9

http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mesn/021/021.1.txt

 

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