Dora Jerman

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Dora Jerman,

Forrest City, Arkansas

Age: 60?

"I was born at Bow-and-arrow, Arkansas. Sid McDaniel owned my father.

Mother was Mary Miller and she married Pete Williams from Tennessee.

Grandma lived with us till she died. She used to have us sit around

handy to thread her needles. She was a great hand to piece quilts. Her

and Aunt Polly both. Aunt Polly was a friend that was sold with her

every time. They was like sisters and the most pleasure to each other

in old age.

"My great-great-grandma said to grandma, 'Hurry back wid that pitcher

of water, honey, so you will have time to run by and see your mama and

the children and tell them good-bye. Old master says you going to be

sold early in the morning.' The water was for supper. That was the

last time she ever seen or heard of any of her own kin folks. Grandma

said a gang of them was sold next morning. Aunt Polly was no kin but

they was sold together. Whitfield bought one and Strum bought the


"They come on a boat from Virginia to Aberdeen, Mississippi. They

wouldn't sell her mother because she brought fine children. I think

she said they had a regular stock man. She and Aunt Polly was sold

several times and together till freedom. When they got off the boat

they had to walk a right smart ways and grandma's feet cracked open

and bled. 'Black Mammy' wrapped her feet up in rags and greased them

with hot tallow or mutton suet and told her not to cry no more, be a

good girl and mind master and mistress.

"Grandma said she had a hard time all her life. She was my mother's

mother and she lived to be way over a hundred years old. Aunt Polly

lived with her daughter when she got old. Grandma died first. Then

Aunt Polly grieved so. She was old, old when she died. They still

lived close together, mostly together. Aunt Polly was real black; mama

was lighter. I called grandma 'mama' a right smart too. They called

each other 'sis'. Grandma said, 'I love sis so good.' Aunt Polly

lessened her days grieving for sis. They was both field hands. They

would tell us girls about how they lived when they was girls. We'd


"We lived in the country and we listened to what they said to us. If

it had been times then like now I wouldn't know to tell you. Folks is

in such a hurry somehow. Gone or going somewhere all the time.

"All my folks is most all full-blood African. I don't believe in races

mixing up. It is a sin. Grandma was the brightest one of any of us.

She was ginger-cake color.

"No, I don't vote. I don't believe in that neither.

"Times is too fast. Fast folks makes fast times. They all fast. Coming

to destruction."

Dora Holmes Dora Richard facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail