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Rachel Gaines

From: Tennessee

1025 10th Ave. N.
Nashville, Tennessee

"Lawdy! I'se dunno how ole I ez. B'leeves I'se 'round 95 ter 100
y'ars. De fust thing I members ez I wuz tuk in a waggin ter Trenton,
Kentucky en sold ter Dr. Bainbridge Dickerson jest lak dey sold cows
en hosses. Mah sistah wuz sold in de same way at Bowling Green,
Kentucky ter 'nuther Marster."

"I wuz sold only one time in mah life en dat wuz w'en Marster
Dickinson bought me. Atter freedum wuz 'clared de Marster tole all his
slaves dat dey could go wharever'y dey pleased but ef'n dey couldn't
mek dere own livin' ter kum ter 'im en he would he'ps dem."

"Missus Dickinson kep' me dere kaze I wuz nuss ter dere son Howard who
wuz sho a wild one. I member how he would tote out fried chicken, pig
meat en uthuh good stuff ter us darkies. Dey 'greed ter pay me $35.00
a yeah (en keep) en hit wuz gib me eve'y Christmus mawning. Dey
treated me good, gib me all de clothes en uthuh things I needed ez
ef'n I wuz one ob de fam'ly."

"Eve'y two weeks de Marster would sen' fer Jordan McGowan who wuz de
leader ob a string music ban'. Dey would git dere Friday nite early en
de slaves would dance in de grape house dat nite en all day Saturday
up ter midnite. You don't hab now as good dance music en as much fun
as de ole time days had. We allus had a big barbecue er watermelon
feast eve'y time we had a dance. Neber 'gin 'll dere be as good times
as we useter hab. In mah time we neber y'ard ob wukouses er pen but
now dey ez all filled."

"I kin see now in mah mind de ole ice house on de plantation. In de
wint'r de slaves would fill hit wid ice dey got off de crik en hit wuz
not used 'til warm wedder cum. 'nother thing I members ez de
"Pat-a-rollers" (she refers to the Police Patrol of that day) who
would kotch en whup runaway slaves en slaves 'way fum dere own
plantations widout a pass wid dere Marsters name signed on hit."

"I member w'en Nashville fust had street cars pulled 'long by hosses
er mules en I also member de ole dummy cars, run by steam, ter
Glendale Park also New Town (now called West Nashville)."

"We had sum bad en good luck signs but I'se fergettin' sum, but I'se
members 'bout a black cat crossin' ovuh de path in frunt ob you dat
you sho would hab bad luck. W'en dat happened ter me, I would spit on
de ground, turn 'round en back ober de place de cat crossed en de "bad
luck" wuz gon' fum me. Ef'n you found a ole hoss shoe dat had bin
drapt'd by de hoss, hit meant good luck. Sum peeples, white en black,
w'en dey fin' a hoss shoe, dey would tack hit up on de frunt door
frame wid de toe ter de groun'."

"Atter de Marster en Missus d'ed, I went ter Nashville en made mah way
fur menny y'ars by washin' en ironin' fer white peeple but atter I
went blind I kum 'yer ter live wid mah daughter."

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