Minnie Johnson Stewart
Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor
Person interviewed: Minnie Johnson Stewart
3210 W. Sixteenth Street, Little Rock, Arkansas
Age: Between 50 and 60?
"My mother's name was Mahala McElroy. Her master's name was Wiley
McElroy. She was living in Howard County, Arkansas near Nashville. She
worked in the field, and sewed in the house for her mistress. One time
she said she never would forget about slavery was a time when she was
thirteen years old, and the overseer beat her.
"My mother was a real bright woman with great long black hair. Her
master was her father. She told me that the overseer grabbed her by her
hair and wound it 'round his arm and then grabbed her by the roots of it
and jerked her down to the ground and beat her till the blood ran out of
her nose and mouth. She was 'fraid to holler.
"Mother married when she was fourteen. I can't remember the name of
her husband. The preacher was an old man, a faith doctor, who read the
ceremony. His name was Lewis Hill.
"I heard mother say they beat my brother-in-law (his name was Dave
Denver) till he was bloody as a hog. Then they washed him down in salt
and water. Then they beat him again because he hollered.
"She told us how the slaves used to try to pray. They were so scared
that the overseer would see them that early in the morning while they
were going to their work in the field at daybreak that they would fall
down on one knee and pray. They were so 'fraid that the overseer would
catch them that they would be watching for him with one eye and looking
for God with the other. But the Lord understood.
"My mother was seventy years old when she died. She has been dead thirty
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