Alice Davis

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Alice Davis

1700 Vaugine Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 81

"I was born in Mississippi. My mistress was Jane Davis. She raised me.

She owned my mother too.

"When Miss Jane's husband died, he willed the niggers to his childun and

Mandy Paine owned me then. When I was one month old they said I was so

white Mandy Paine thought her brother was my father, so she got me and

carried me to the meat block and was goin' to cut my head off. When the

childun heard, they run and cried, 'Mama's goin' to kill Harriet's

baby.' Old mistress, Jane Davis, heard about it and she come and paid

Miss Jane forty dollars for me and carried me to her home, and I slep

right in the bed with her till the war ceasted."

"Her childun was grown and they used to come by and say, 'Ma, why don't

you take that nigger out of your bed?' and she'd reach over and pat me

and say, 'This the only nigger I got.'

"I stayed there two or three years after freedom. I didn't know what

free meant. Big childun all laugh and say, 'All niggers free, all

niggers free.' And I'd say, 'What is free?' I was lookin' for a man to


"I worked in the house and in the field. I had plenty chances to go to

school but I didn't have no sense.

"My mother was sold to nigger traders and I never did see her again. I

always say I never had no mother, and I never did know who my father


"I've worked hard since I got to be a women. I never been the mother of

but three childun. Me and my boy stay together.

"I had a happy time when I lived with Miss Jane, but I been workin' ever


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