Becky Hawkins

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Becky Hawkins

717 Louisiana Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 75

"Yes'm, I was born in slave times but my mammy was sucklin' me. Don't

know much bout slavery but just come up free.

"My mammy's old master was Calvin Goodloe in Alabama, Pulaski County,

near Tuscumbia. I heered my uncle say old master favored his niggers.

"Mammy told me bout em gettin' whippin's, but she never let the overseer

whip her--she'd go to old master.

"My grandmama's hair was straight but she was black. She was mixed

Indian. My mammy's father was Indian and she say he fought in the

Revolution. She had his pistol and rocks. When he died he was the oldest

man around there.

"I tell you what I remember. I 'member my mammy had a son named Enoch

and he nussed me in slave days when mammy was workin' in the field. They

didn't low em to go to the house but three times a day--that was the

women what had babies. But I was so sickly mammy had Enoch bring me to

the fence so she could suckle me.

"I went to school down here in Arkansas in Lincoln County. I got so I

could read in McGuffy's Fourth Reader. I member that story bout the

white man chunkin' the boy down out of the apple tree.

"That was a government school on the railroad--notch house. Just had one

door and one window. They took the nigger cabins and made a


"After freedom my mammy stayed on old master's place--he didn't drive em

away. My mammy spinned the raw cotton and took it to Tuscumbia and got

it wove. Some of it she dyed. I know when I was a gal I wore a checked

dress with a white apron. And my first Sunday dress was striped cotton.

After she worked enough she bought me a red worsted dress and trimmed it

and a sailor hat. We went to church and they led me by the hand. After

church I had to take off my dress and hang it up till next Sunday. Had a

apron made of cross barred muslin. Don't see any of that now. It was

made with a bodice and had ruffles round the neck. Wore brass toed shoes

and balmoral stockin's in my gal time. When my husband was courtin' me,

my dress was down to my shoe top. He never saw my leg!

"My fust work was nussin'. I went to Hot Springs with the white folks. I

nussed babies till I got against nussin' babies. I stayed right in the

house and slep on a sofa with a baby in my arms. In my time they lowed

you off half a day on Sunday.

"Chile, I washed and ironed and washed and ironed and washed and ironed

till I married. I married when I was seventeen. My mother was dead and

I'd rather been married than runnin' loose--I might a stepped on a


"My daddy was a ex-soldier. I don't know what side he fought on but my

mammy got bounty when he died. That's what she bought that land with

down here in Lincoln County from her old master Goodloe.

"I tell you--I'm a old christian and I think this younger generation is

growin' up like Christ said--they is gettin' weaker and wiser.

"My mother's sister, Patience Goodloe, lived in Pulaski County, Alabama

and I went back there after I was married and stayed two months. I went

up and down the fields where my daddy and mommy worked. I went out to

the graveyard where my little brother was buried but they had cotton and

corn planted on the old slavetime graveyard.

"I like that country lots better than this here Arkansas. Don't have no

springs or nothin' here."

Beauregard Tenneyson Bell Robinson facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail