Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed: William Jackson
Route 6, Box 81, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
"Me? Well, I was born July 12, 1853. Now you can figure that up.
"I was sold four times in slavery times. I was sold through the nigger
traders and you know they didn't keep you long.
"I was born in Tennessee, raised in Mississippi, and been here in
Arkansas up and down the Arkansas River ever since I was fifteen.
"A fellow bought me in Tennessee and sold me to a fellow named Abe
Collins in Mississippi. He sold me to Dr. Maloney and then Winn and
Trimble in Hempstead County bought me. They run a tanyard.
"I went to school one day in my life. My third master's children
learned me my ABC's in slavery times. I'm not educated but I can read.
Read the Bible and something like that.
"The Ku Klux run me one night. They come to the door and I went out
the window. They went to my master's tanyard in broad open day and
took leather. Oh, I been all through the roughness. But the Lord has
blessed me ever since I been in this world. I can see good and hear
good and get about.
"I come here to Arkansas with some refugees, and I been up and down
the river ever since.
"In slavery times I had plenty to eat, such as 'twas. Had biscuits on
Sunday made out of shorts.
"I lived with one man, Dr. Maloney, who was pretty cruel. I run away
from him once, but he caught me fore night. Put me in a little house
on bread and water for three or four days and then he sold me. Said he
wouldn't have a nigger that would run away. Otherwise I been treated
"I come to Pine Bluff in '82. Last place I farmed was at what they
call the Nichol place.
"I used to vote Republican--wouldn't let us vote nothin' else. In this
country they won't let niggers vote in the primary 'cause they can
vote in the presidential election. I held one office--justice of the
"If the younger generation don't change, the Lord goin' to put curses
on em. That's just what's goin' to come of em. More you do for em the
worse they is. Don't think about the future--just today."
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