From the WPA Slave   Narratives:
  Calline Brown
  Born 1832

  My mind ain’t sprightly like it used to be, and heaps of things what went on   when I was young, I forgets, and heaps of them what I want to forget I can’t.   Them was terrible days. My master and Miss was the meanest folks what ever   lived. They warn’t nothing but poor white trash what had never had nothing in   their lives. Misses Sister was poor white trash too, but her and her husband   had got a little prosperous raising cotton and bought a few slaves. Their   names was Howard. You know how some folks is when they gets up a little in the   world. They wants to see their family pull out of the mire. So Mrs. Howard   gave her sister, Mrs. Mullens, a little place back in the woods, and my mammy   and daddy and us children. We had to clear it up, and work it. There wasn’t   nothing on that place. Not a cow, not a hog, nothing — not even so much as a   feather from a chicken. They ain’t got no money to buy us no clothes, or   shoes, so we goes in rags, and barefooted, even in the winter. Many is the   time I have helped pull pine logs out of water ankle deep and coated with ice,   me in my bare feet. It sure was pitiful the way things went them days. We   didn’t know much about what was going on in the outside world. The little town   nearest us was called Rock Port. It is in Copiah County. It was seldom we left   the place. We worked from daylight to dark but there warn’t no such thing as   satisfying either Master or Missis and we never knew when we were going to be   whipped. Even after Master got so crippled he couldn’t walk, he would call us   to him and strike us with his crutch. I don’t know nothing ’bout no dates,   figures goes right out of my head, but I knows we stayed there a long, long   time. I remember well when the stars fell. They didn’t come straight down like   most folks thinks they did. They went right slanting like towards the North,   and they looked like balls of fire. We was all so scared we screamed and cried   and prayed all at the same time. It sure looked like the end of the world had   come, and I speck we would have been all burned to death if the Good Lord   hadn’t let them stars go slanting like to the North. We didn’t even know when   the War was over. The white folks tried to keep it out of the ears about   freedom. Some of the Yankees must have told my daddy about it. He ain’t made   no mention to nobody ’bout what he heared, and that very night he disappears.   He was gone a long time. It must have been nigh on to a week. We was all sleep   in the middle of night when he came slipping in. My mammy was in bed with a   young baby. He called us all and said to get our things together; he was going   to take us away across the river. We didn’t have no things to get ‘septing a   few rags, and they were mostly used to put around the baby.



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