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Narcissus Young




From: Tennessee

INTERVIEW
NARCISSUS YOUNG
Rear 532 1st Street No.
Nashville, Tennessee


"I'se 96 y'ars ole. Bawn in slavery en mah marster wuz Isham Lamb en
mah missis wuz Martha Lamb. Mah mammy d'ed w'en I wuz three y'ars ole
en I wuz raised in de house 'til I wuz big 'nuff ter wuk out in de
fiels wid de uthers. Mah missis l'arn me ter sew, weav en spin. I also
he'lped ter cook en wuk in de house. Atter I got big'er I went ter
chuch wid mah white folks en had ter set wid urther slaves in dat part
ob de chuch whar nobody but slaves would be 'lowed. In slavery I'se
git no money fer wuk'n but I don' steal as mah white folks sho gib me
en de uther slaves plenty good things ter eat. Clothes good 'nuff fer
anybody, candy, en we went ter parties en urther places, en w'at else
could I'se wan'?"

"Mah missis l'arned me ter pray, "Now I lay me down ter sleep. I pray
de Lawd mah soul ter keep, but if I should die 'fore I wake, I pray de
Lawd mah soul ter tek." I jined de Primitive Baptist Chuch w'ile young
en b'en dere ebe'y since."

"I member de ole song back dere, "Rock a Bye Baby, Yo Daddy's gon' a
Huntin' ter git a Rabbit Skin ter put de Baby in."

"I wuz whup'd by mah missis fer things dat I ought'n dun, but dat wuz
rite. De hahdest whup'in she eber gib me wuz 'bout two hen aigs. I had
gathured de aigs in a bucket en tuk dem ter de house en I se'd de big
fier in de fier-place so I tuk out two ob de aigs en put dem in de hot
ashes ter bake. Mah missis se'd de aigs en axed who put dem dere. I
tole her I didunt do hit, but she knowed I did. So she tole me she
don' keer 'bout de two aigs, but dat she wuz gwine ter whup me fer
tellin' a lie. Dey don't raise chilluns lak dat now."

"I don't b'leeve in Niggers en whites ma'rin' en I wuz raised by de
"quality" en I'se b'leeves eber one should ma'rie in dere culor."

"I think de young peeples ob ter day ez dogs en sluts, en yer kin
guess de rest."

"One day 'bout 12 o'clock we se'd de Yankee soldiers pas' our house.
De missus hid her fine things, but dey don' kum on de place. All us
Niggers run ter de cellar en hid. We found de sugah barrels en we
scracht 'round fer sum sugah ter eat."

"One time de Ku Klux Klan kum ter our house but dey harm nobody. Guess
day wuz lookin' fer sum slave er sum one fum 'nother plantation widout
dere marster's pass."

"I se'd a lot ob sta'rs fall one time but dey neber teched de groun'.
En I members seein' a comet wid a long bright shinin' tail."

"Atter freedom all de slaves lef' de plantation but I stayed dere a
long time. I kum ter Nashville ovah thurty y'ars ago en I'se wuk'd as
cook en house wuk'r twenty y'ars fer one party; eleben y'ars fer
'nother, en menny y'ars fer 'nother. I knows you won't b'leeve me but
at one time I weigh ovuh 400 pounds, but now I'm nothin' but skin en
bon'. (She weighs at least 200 pounds now). I bekum feeble en couldn't
wuk out, en eber since den I'se bin kum' up a mountain, but now I git
he'ps by de Social Security."


* * * * *

Transcriber's Notes

Corrected the typos per handwritten instructions. The inconsistencies
in spelling and punctuation have been left as in the original text,
except for adding the missing opening and closing quotation marks for
consistency in certain interviews.

One word at the bottom of page 25 was illegible, but upon careful
examination at high magnification, and considering that the other
interviewers asked whether families were divided, my best guess is
the word may be men: Nebber knowed ob any plantashuns men be divided.





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