Aunt Minerva Lofton





Interviewer: Thomas Elmore Lucy

Person interviewed: "Aunt Minerva" Lofton

Russellville, Arkansas

Age: 69





"Come in! Yes, my name's Minerva Lofton--at least it was yistiddy.

Now, whatcha gonna ask me? Hope you ain't saying something that'll git

me in bad. Don't want to git in any more trouble. Hard times' bad

enough.



"I was born in the country nine miles from Clarendon, Monroe County,

December 3, 1869. Father died before I was born. My mother came from

Virginia, and her mistress' name was Bettie Clark. They lived close to

Richmond, and people used to say 'Blue Ridge,' so I think it was Blue

Ridge County, Virginia. Mother was sold to Henry

Cargile--C-a-r-g-i-l-e.



"When they were expecting peace to be declared soon a lot of the

colored people named Parks took many of the slaves to Texas to escape

from the Yankees, but when they got to Corpus Christi they found the

Yankee soldiers there just the same, so they came back to Arkansas. I

sure used to laugh at my dear old mother when she'd tell about the

long trip to Corpus Christi, and things that happened on the way. They

stopped over at Camden as they went through, and one of the colored

gals who hated her played a prank on her to take out her spite on

mother: They had stopped at a dairyman's home near Camden, and she

sent my mother in to get a gallon of buttermilk. After drinking all

she could hold she grabbed mother by the hair of the head and churned

her up and down in the buttermilk till it streamed down her face, and

on her clothes--a sight to behold. I laughed and laughed until my

sides ached when mother told me about this.



"Old mistis' name (that is, one of the old mistis') was Bettie Young,

and my mother was named Bettie for her; she was a namesake--sort of a

wedding present, I think.



"I've been a member of the Pentecostal church for nineteen years.



"No sir, I never have voted and never expect to. Why? Because I have a

religious opinion about votin'. I think a woman should not vote; her

place is in the home raising her family and attending to the household

duties. We have raised only two boys (stepchildren)--had no children

of our own--but I have decided ideas about women runnin' around among

and votin'. When I see em settin' around the ballot box at the polls,

sometimes with a cigarette in their mouths, and again slingin' out a

'damn' or two, I want to slap em good and hard.



"Yes, the old time religious songs--I sure remember some of them! Used

to be able to sing lots of em, but have forgotten the words of many.

Let's see:



'I'm a-goin' to tell my Lord, Daniel in de lion's den;

I'm a-goin' to tell my Lord, I'm a-goin' to tell my Lord,

Daniel in de lion's den.'



Here's another:



'Big bells a-ringin' in de army of de Lord;

Big bells a-ringin' in de army.

I'm so glad I'm in de army of de Lord;

My soul's a-shoutin' in de army.'



"Modern youth? Humph! I think they are just a fulfilling of what

Christ said: 'They shall grow wiser as they grow older, but weaker.'

Where is it in the Scripture? Wait a minute and I'll look it up. Now,

let's see--where was that passage? It says 'weaker' here and 'weaken'.

Never mind--wait--I'll find it. Well, anyway, I don't know jest how to

describe this generation. I heard a white woman once say that she had

to do a little cussin' to make herself understood. 'Cussin'?' Why,

'cussin'' is jist a polite word for it.



"Good-bye, mister. You oughta thank the Lawd you've got a job!"





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