Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed: Kittie Stanford
309 Missouri Street; Pine Bluff, Arkansas
"Yes'm, I used to be a slave. My mother belonged to Mrs. Lindsey. One
day when I was ten years old, my old mistress take me over to her
daughter and say 'I brought you a little nigger gal to rock de cradle.'
I'se one hundred and four years old now. Miss Etta done writ it down in
the book for me.
"One time a lady from up North ask me did I ever get whipped. Honey, I
ain't goin' tell you no lie. The overseer whipped us. Old mistress used
to send me to her mother to keep the Judge from whippin' me. Old Judge
say 'Nigger need whippin' whether he do anything or not.'
"Some of the hands run away. Old Henry run away and hide in the swamp
and say he goin' stay till he bones turn white. But he come back when he
get hongry and then he run away again.
"When the war come some of the slaves steal the Judge's hosses and run
away to Pine Bluff and he didn't never find 'em. The Judge think the
Yankees goin' get everything he got so we all left Arkansas and went to
Texas. We in Texas when freedom come. We come back to Arkansas and I
stay with my white folks awhile but I didn't get no pay so I got a job
cookin' for a colored woman.
"I been married fo' times. I left my las' husband. I didn't leave him
cause he beat me. I lef' him cause he want too many.
"No'm I never seen no Ku Klux. I heard 'bout 'em but I never seen none
that I knows of. When I used to get a pass to go to 'nother plantation I
always come back fo' dark.
"This younger generation is beyond my onderstanding. They is gettin'
weaker and wiser.
"I been ready to die for the last thirty years. 'Mary (her granddaughter
with whom she lives), show the lady my shroud.' I keeps it wropped up
in blue cloth. They tells me at the store to do that to keep it from
turning yellow. 'Show her that las' quilt I made.' Yes'm I made this all
by myself. I threads my own needle, too, and cuts out the pieces. I has
worked hard all my life.
"Now the Welfare gives me my check. My granddaughter good to me. I goes
to church on the first and third Sundays.
"Lady, I glad you come to see me and God bless you. Goo' bye!"
Next: Tom Stanhouse
Previous: James Spikes