Xlf.ca - Samurai and Code of Honor. Visit Xlf.caInformational Site Network Informational
  Home - Biography - I Have a Dream Speech - QuotesBlack History: Articles - Poems - Authors - Speeches - Folk Rhymes - Slavery Interviews

Jane Anne Privette Upperman

From: North Carolina

N.C. District: No. 2
Worker: T. Pat Matthews
No. Words: 631
Person Interviewed: Jane Anne Privette Upperman
Editor: G.L. Andrews

[TR: Date stamp: AUG 4 1937]

74 years old, of 330 West South Street.

"I wusn't livin in Raleigh when my mother wus freed from slavery. We
wus livin' in Nash County right near the border of Wake County. We
belonged to Shirley Brantly. Our missus wus named Penina.

"I wus born a slave, but I wus only 'bout two years old at de time of
de surrender. I am 74 now. I wus born in April. I had my age in a
Bible, but de book got tore to pieces an' my age got lost.

"We lived on Marster Brantly's plantation an' de slave quarters wus
near de great house. Mother said she wurked in de fiel's from sun to
sun. Dey did not eat breakfast in de mornin' fore dey went to wurk. It
wus cooked an' put on a shelf an' dey had breakfas' at about eleven
o'clock in de day. Mother said sometimes de flies got to de meat an'
blowed it fore dey could come in to eat it. Mother said de food wus bad
an' not fixed right.

"Dere wus a lot of de slaves divided among marsters chillun. I can't
remember how many.

"Marster wus a soldier an' when he come an' tole mother she wus free,
Missus Penina tole her, 'No, you aint free, you'se got to stay here an'
wurk right on.' Marster tole her if she had been through wid what he
been through wid she could give mother up as free as takin' a drink of

"When de war ended father come an' got ma an' took her on to his
marsters plantation. My father wus named Carroll Privette an' my mother
wus Cherry Brantly, but after she wus free she begun to call herself by
my fathers name, Privette. Father belonged to Jimmie Privette across
Tar River from whar ma lived. He lived near a little place named
Cascade. We lived there at father's marster's place till most of de
chillun wus 'bout grown, den father bought a place in Franklin County
from Mr. Jack Griffin. He stayed there long enough to pay for de place;
den he sold it an' we moved to Clayton.

"At this time all de older chillun wus married, an' dats what
dissatisfied my father. He had nobody to help him wurk. Arch, Frank,
an' Dennis wus married. Mary wus married. Two girls an' one boy wus
lef' single. Dere wus seben of de chillun. We moved from Clayton to
Raleigh. I wus married in Raleigh. I married William Upperman.

"Mother an' faather died in Raleigh. Mother died right here in dis
house. My mother an' father couldn't do no writin', but father could
read a little. He could read hymns an' de Bible.

"I aint remember nothin' 'bout slavery 'ceptin' what I've heard 'em
say. Some said dey had a good time an' liked slavery. Dat wus when dey
had good marsters. Den some says dey had a hard time an' didn't like
it. Dat wus when dey had bad marsters. Slavery wus good an' bad
accordin' to de kind of marster you had.

"My husban' died September 6, 1925. I am unable to wurk. I've had a
stroke on one side. I'se jest hangin' 'round home.

"My daughter wurks for de WPA an' supports me but now she has been laid
off. My chillun, some of 'em live in Harlem, New York, but dey has to
have so much to live on dey can't help me. Dey sends me a Christmas
present most of de time, an' dey remembers me on mother's day sometime.

"I aint signed up wid any of de places to get money yet. Don't see what
I is goin' to do. I aint got 'nough money to pay bus fare to de
registerin' place other side of town."


Next: Ophelia Whitley

Previous: Henry James Trentham

Add to Informational Site Network