(Verbatim interview with Arnold Gragston, 97-year old ex-slave whose early life was spent helping slaves to freedom across the Ohio River, while he, himself, remained in bondage. As he put it, he guessed he could be called a ‘conductor’ on the underground railway, only we didn’t call it that then. I don’t know as we called it anything—we just knew there was a lot of slaves always a-wantin’ to get free, and I had to help ’em.”)
“Most of the slaves didn’t know when they was born, but I did. You see, I was born on a Christmas mornin’—it was in 1840; I was a full grown man when I finally got my freedom.”
“Before I got it, though, I helped a lot of others get theirs. Lawd only knows how many; might have been as much as two-three hundred. It was ‘way more than a hundred, I know.
“But that all came after I was a young man—’grown’ enough to know a pretty girl when I saw one, and to go chasing after her, too. I was born on a plantation that b’long to Mr. Jack Tabb in Mason County, just across the river in Kentucky.”