Anna King

Interviewer: Bernice Bowden.

Person interviewed: Anna King (c)

Home: 704 West Fifth, Pine Bluff, Ark.

Age: 80

"Yes honey, I was here in slavery times. I'se gittin' old too, honey.

I was nine years old goin' on ten when the war ceasted. I remember

when they was volunteerin'. I remember they said it wasn't goin' to be

nothin' but a breakfus' spell.

"My fust marster was Nichols Lee. You see I was born in slavery

times--and I was sold away from my mother. My mother never did tell us

nothin' 'bout our ages. My white people told me after freedom that I

was 'bout nine or ten.

"When the white chillun come of age they drawed for the colored folks.

Marse Nichols Lee had a girl named Ann and she drawed me. She didn't

keep me no time though, and the man what bought me was named Leo

Andrew Whitley. He went to war and died before the war ceasted. Then I

fell to his brother Jim Whitley. He was my last marster. I was with

him when peace was declared. Yes mam, he was good to me. All my white

folks mighty good to me. Co'se Jim Whitley's wife slap my jaws

sometimes, but she never did take a stick to me.

"Lord honey, its been so long I just can't remember much now. I'se

gittin' old and forgitful. Heap a things I remember and heap a things

slips from me and is gone.

"Well honey, in slavery times, a heap of 'em didn't have good owners.

When they wanted to have church services and keep old marster from

hearin', they'd go out in the woods and turn the wash-pot upside down.

You know that would take up all the sound.

"I remember Adam Heath--he was called the meanest white man. I

remember he bought a boy and you know his first marster was good and

he wasn't used to bein' treated bad.

One day he asked old Adam Heath for a chew of tobacco, so old Adam

whipped him, and the boy ran away. But they caught him and put a bell

on him. Yes mam, that was in slavery times. Honey, I had good owners.

They didn't believe in beatin' their niggers.

"You know my home was in North Carolina. I was bred and born in

Johnson County.

"I remember seein' the soldiers goin' to war, but I never seed no

Yankee soldiers till after freedom.

"When folks heard the Yankees was comin' they run and hide their

stuff. One time they hide the meat in the attic, but the Yankees found

it and loaded it in Everett Whitley's wife's surrey and took it away.

She died just 'fore surrender.

"And I remember 'nother time they went to the smokehouse and got

something to eat and strewed the rest over the yard. Then they went in

the house and jest ramshacked it.

"My second marster never had no wife. He was courtin' a girl, but when

the war come, he volunteered. Then he took sick and died at Manassas

Gap. Yes'm, that's what they told me.

"My furst marster had a whiskey still. Now let me see, he had three

girls and one boy and they each had two slaves apiece. Ann Lee drawed

me and my grandmother.

"No mam, I never did go to school. You better not go to school. You

better not ever be caught with a book in your hand. Some of 'em

slipped off and got a little learnin'. They'd get the old Blue Back

book out. Heap of 'em got a little learnin', but I didn't.

"When I fell to Jim Whitley's wife she kept me right in the house with

her. Yes mam, she was one good mistis to me when I was a child. She

certainly did feed me and clothe me. Yes mam!

"How long I been in Arkansas? Me? Let me see, honey, if I can give you

a guess. I been here about forty years. I remember they come to the

old country (North Carolina) and say, if you come to Arkansas you wont

even have to cook. They say the hogs walkin' round already barbecued.

But you know I knowed better than that.

"We come to John M. Gracie's plantation and some to Dr. Blunson

(Brunson). I remember when we got off the boat Dr. Blunson was sittin'

there and he said "Well, my crowd looks kinda puny and sickly, but I'm

a doctor and I'll save 'em." I stayed there eight years. We had to pay

our transportation which was fifty dollars, but they sure did give you

plenty of somethin' to eat--yes mam!

"No'm my hair ain't much white. My set o'folks don't get gray much,

but I'm old enough to be white. I done a heap a hard work in my life.

I hope clean up new ground and I tells folks I done everything 'cept

Maul rails.

"Lord honey, I don't know chile. I don't know what to think, about

this here younger generation. Now when they raised me up, I took care

of myself and the white folks done took care of me.

"Yes mam, honey, I seed the Ku Klux. I remember in North Carolina when

the Ku Klux got so bad they had to send and get the United States

soldiers. I remember one come and joined in with the Ku Klux till he

found out who the head man was and then he turned 'em up and they

carried 'em to a prison place called Gethsemane. No mam! They never

come back. When they carried you to Gethsemane, you never come back.

"I say the Lord blest me in my old age. Even though I can't see, I set

here and praise the Lord and say, Lord, you abled me to walk and hear.

Yes, honey, I'm sure glad you come. I'm proud you thought that much of


"Good bye, and if you are ever passin' here again, stop and see me."

Anna Huggins Anna King facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail