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“After freedom, we worked on shares a while* Then we rented* then we worked on shares9 we couldnvt make nothing—just overalls and something to eat* Half went to the other man and you would destroy your half if you weren’t careful* A man that didn’t know how to count would always lose* He might lose anyhow* They didn’t give no itemized statement* No, you just had to take their woz^* They never give you no details* They just say you owe so much* No matter how good account you kept, you had to go by their account and now, Brother, I’m tellin’ you the truth about this* It’s been that way for a long tins* You had to take the white man’s work on notes and every- thing* Anything you wanted, you could git if you were a good hand* You could git anything you wanted as long as you worked* If you didn’t mate no money, that’s all right; they would advance you more* But you better not leave him—you better not try to leave and get caught* They’d keep you in debt* They were sharp* Christmas come, you could take up twenty dollars in somethin’ to eat and much as you wanted in whiskey* You could buy a gallon of whiskey* Anything that kept you a slave because he was always right and you were always wrong if there wae difference* If there was an argument, he would get mad and there would be a shooting take place* *And you know how some Negroes is* Long as they could git somethin’, they didn’t care* You see, if the white man came out behind, he would feed you, let you have what you wanted* He’d juat keep you on, help you get on your feet~~that is, if you were a good hand* But if you weren’t a good hand, he’d just let you have enough to keep you alive* A good hand could take care of forty or fifty acres of land and would have a large fam- ily* A good hand could git clothes, food, whiskey, whenever he wanted it*

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

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