Dinah Perry

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Dinah Perry

1800 Ohio Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 78

"Yes ma'am, I lived in slavery times. They brought me from Alabama, a

baby, right here to this place where I am at, Mr. Sterling Cockril.

"I don't know zackly when I was born but I member bout the slave times.

Yes ma'am, I do. After I growed up some, I member the overseer--I do. I

can remember Mr. Burns. I member when he took the hands to Texas. Left

the chillun and the old folks here.

"Oh Lord, this was a big plantation. Had bout four or five hundred head

of niggers.

"My mother done the milkin' and the weavin'. After free times, I wove me

a dross. My mother fixed it for me and I wove it. They'd knit stockin's

too. But now they wear silk. Don't keep my legs warm.

"I member when they fit here in Pine Bluff. I member when 'Marmajuke'

sent word he was gain' to take breakfast with Clayton that mornin' and

they just fit. I can remember that was 'Marmajuke.' It certainly was

'Marmajuke.' The Rebels tried to carry me away but the wagon was so full

I didn't get in and I was glad they didn't. My mother was runnin' from

the Rebels and she hid under the cotehouse. After the battle was over

she come back hero to the plantation.

"I had three brothers and three sisters went to Texas and I know I

didn't know em when they come back.

"I member when they fit here a bum shell fell right in the yard. It was

big around as this stovepipe and was all full of chains and things.

"After free time my folks stayed right here and worked on the shares. I

was the baby chile and never done no work till I married when I was


"After the War I went to school to white teachers from the North. I

never went to nothin' but them. I went till I was in the fifth grade.

"My daddy learned me to spell 'lady' and 'baker' and 'shady' fore I went

to school. I learned all my ABC's too. I got out of the first reader the

second day. I could just read it right on through. I could spell and

just stand at the head of the class till the teacher sent me to the foot

all the time.

"My daddy was his old mistress' pet. He used to carry her to school all

the time and I guess that's where he got his learnin'.

"After I was married I worked in the field. Rolled logs, cut brush,

chopped and picked cotton.

"I member when they had that 'Bachelor' (Brooks-Baxter) War up here at

Little Rock.

"After my chillun died, I never went to the field no more. I just stayed

round mongst the white folks nussin'. All the chillun I nussed is

married and grown now.

"All this younger generation--white and colored--I don't know what's

gwine come of em. The poet says:

'Each gwine a different way

And all the downward road.'"

Dinah Cunningham Dinah Perry facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail