Amanda Oliver





Oklahoma Writers' Project

Ex-Slaves

[Date stamp: AUG 13 1937]



AMANDA OLIVER

Age 80 yrs.

Oklahoma City, Okla.





I 'membuh what my mother say--I was born November 9, 1857, in

Missouri. I was 'bout eight years old, when she was sold to a master

named Harrison Davis. They said he had two farms in Missouri, but when

he moved to northern Texas he brought me, my mother, Uncle George,

Uncle Dick and a cullud girl they said was 15 with 'im. He owned 'bout

6 acres on de edge of town near Sherman, Texas, and my mother and 'em

was all de slaves he had. They said he sold off some of de folks.



We didn't have no overseers in northern Texas, but in southern Texas

dey did. Dey didn't raise cotton either; but dey raised a whole lots

of corn. Sometime de men would shuck corn all night long. Whenever dey

was going to shuck all night de women would piece quilts while de men

shuck de corn and you could hear 'em singing and shucking corn. After

de cornshucking, de cullud folks would have big dances.



Master Davis lived in a big white frame house. My mother lived in the

yard in a big one-room log hut with a brick chimney. De logs was

"pinted" (what dey call plastered now with lime). I don't know whether

young folks know much 'bout dat sort of thing now.



I slept on de floor up at de "Big House" in de white woman's room on a

quilt. I'd git up in de mornings, make fires, put on de coffee, and

tend to my little brother. Jest do little odd jobs sech as that.



We ate vegetables from de garden, sech as that. My favorite dish is

vegetables now.



I don't remember seeing any slaves sold. My mother said dey sold 'em

on de block in Kentucky where she was raised.



I don't remembuh when de War broke out, but I remembuh seeing the

soldiers with de blue uniforms on. I was afraid of 'em.



Old mistress didn't tell us when he was free, but another white woman

told my mother and I remembuh. One day old mistress told my mother to

git to that wheel and git to work, and my mother said, "I ain't

gwineter, I'm jest as free as you air." So dat very day my mother

packed up all our belongings and moved us to town, Sherman, Texas. She

worked awful hard, doing day work for 50c a day, and sometimes she'd

work for food, clothes or whatever she could git.



I don't believe in conjuring though I heard lotta talk 'bout it.

Sometimes I have pains and aches in my hands, feel like sometime dat

somebody puts dey hands on me, but I think jest de way my nerves is.



I can't say much 'bout Abe Lincoln. He was a republican in favor of de

cullud folk being free. Jeff Davis? Yeah, the boys usta sing a song

'bout 'im:



Lincoln rides a fine hoss,

Jeff Davis rides a mule,

Lincoln is de President,

Jeff Davis is de fool.



Booker T. Washington--I guess he is a right good man. He's for the

cullud people I guess.



I been a Christian thirty some odd years. I've been here some thirty

odd years. Had to come when my husband did. He died in 1902. We

married in 18--I've forgot, but we went to de preacher and got

married. We did more than jump over de broom stick.



In those days we went to church with de white folks. Dey had church at

eleven and the cullud folks at three, but all of us had white

preachers. Our church is standing right there now, at least it was de

last time I was there.



I don't have a favorite song, theys so many good ones, but I like,

"Bound for the Promised Land." I'm a Baptist, my mother was a Baptist,

and her white folks was Baptist.



I have two daughters, Julia Goodwin and Bertha Frazier, and four

grandchildren, both of 'ems been separated. Dey do housework.





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