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Tempe Pitts

From: North Carolina

N.C. District: No. 2
Worker: Mary A. Hicks
No. Words: 389
Person Interviewed: Tempe Pitts
Editor: Daisy Bailey Waitt

Ex-Slave Story

An interview with Tempe Pitts, 91 of 307 Tarboro St., Raleigh, N.C.

"I wuz borned in Halifax County ninety-one years ago. See dis paper,
hit wuz writ our fer me by ole marster's granddaughter dis year. Hit
says not only dat I is ninety-one but dat I wuz her mammy, an' dat I
wuz a good an' trus'worthy servant.

"My mammy wuz Phillis Pitts, an' my daddy wuz Isaac Williams. We
'longed fust ter Mr. Mason L. Wiggins dar in Halifax, den through de
marriages we 'longed ter Captain Hardy Pitts. Both o' dem famblies wuz
good ter me an' dey ain't neber done me dirty yit.

"De Pitts' owned ober two hundert slaves, case dey also had a
plantation in Firginia. We had all we could eat an' good, do' tough
clothes. Hit's de Lawd's truff dat I ain't lakin' fer nothin' den. When
we wuz sick we had de bes' doctor an' all de medicine dat he said dat
we ought ter habe; an' we ain't wuck when we wuz sick nother.

"I 'members jist one whuppin' dat I got, an' I needed hit too. Missus
Pitts sont me out in de yard ter scrub de wilverware [TR: silverware]
wid some san'. I knowed dat I wuz supposed to scrub hit good an' den
wash it all off, but 'stid of dat I leaves hit layin' dar in de yard
wid de dirt on it. She whups me fur it, but she jist stings my laigs
wid a little switch.

"I seed de oberseer whup a slave man but de best I 'members hit de
nigger warn't whupped much.

"I ain't neber seed no slave sales, do' I did see a whole slew o'
slaves a-marchin' ter be sold at Richmond. Dey neber wuz chained do',
an' sometimes I 'specks dat dese niggers what claims dat dey seed sich
things am a-tellin' a lie.

"De maddest dat I eber git, an' de only time dat eber I cuss bad wuz
when de Yankees come. Dey stold de meat an' things from de smoke house,
an' eber thing else dat dey can git. Dey ain't done nothin' ter me, but
de way dey done my white folkses made me mad, an' I jumps straight up
an' down an' I yells, 'Damn dem Yankees an' damm ole Abraham Lincoln

"At de surrender did I leave? Naw sir, I stay right on dar. Missus die
fust, den Marster, an' atter dat I leaves, an' I gits married.

"My mammy an' pappy, dey tells me, wuz married in de marster's dinin'
room by jumpin' de broom. I ain't sayin' nothin' 'bout de ceremony case
I ain't sayin' nothin' 'bout my white folkses, but sometimes I does
wonder why I'se red-headed when my pappy an' mammy wuz black as tar.
Maybe I is part white, but I ain't sayin' nothin' 'bout my white
folkses as I done tol' yo'."


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