Emma Blalock

N. C. District: No. 2 [320111]

Worker: T. Pat Matthews

No. Words: 1153


Story Teller: Emma Blalock

Editor: Geo. L. Andrews

[TR: Date Stamp "AUG 6 1937"]


88 years old

529 Bannon Avenue

Raleigh, N. C.

I shore do 'member de Yankees wid dere blue uniforms wid brass buttons

on 'em. I wus too small to work any but I played in de yard wid my

oldes' sister, Katie. She is dead long ago. My mother belonged to ole

man John Griffith an' I belonged to him. His plantation wus down here at

Auburn in Wake County. My father wus named Edmund Rand. He belonged to

Mr. Nat Rand. He lived in Auburn. De plantations wus not fur apart. Dere

wus about twenty-five slaves on de plantation whur mother an' me


Marse John used ter take me on his knee an' sing, 'Here is de hammer,

Shing ding. Gimme de Hammer, shing ding.' Marster loved de nigger

chilluns on his plantation. When de war ended father come an' lived with

us at Marse John's plantation. Marster John Griffith named me Emmy. My

grandfather on my fathers side wus named Harden Rand, an' grandmother

wus named Mason Rand. My grandfather on my mother's side wus named Antny

Griffiths an' grandmother wus named Nellie.

Our food wus a plenty and well cooked. Marster fed his niggers good. We

had plenty of homespun dresses and we got shoes once a year, at

Christmas Eve. I ken 'member it just as good. We got Christmas Holidays

an' a stockin' full of candy an' peanuts. Sometimes we got ginger snaps

at Christmas. My grandmother cooked' em. She wus a good cook. My

mother's missus wus Miss Jetsy Griffith and my father's missus wus Lucy

Rand. Dey wus both mighty good women. You know I am ole. I ken 'member

all dem good white folks. Dey give us Fourth July Holidays. Dey come to

town on dat day. Dey wore, let me tell you what dey wore, dey wore

dotted waist blouses an' white pants. Dat wus a big day to ever'body, de

Fourth of July. Dey begun singing at Auburn an' sung till dey reached

Raleigh. Auburn is nine miles from Raleigh. Dere wus a lot of lemonade.

Dey made light bread in big ovens an' had cheese to eat wid it. Some

said just goin' on de fofe to git lemonade an' cheese.

In the winter we had a lot of possums to eat an' a lot of rabbits too.

At Christmas time de men hunted and caught plenty game. We barbecued it

before de fire. I 'members seein' mother an' grandmother swinging

rabbits 'fore de fire to cook 'em. Dey would turn an' turn 'em till dey

wus done. Dey hung some up in de chimbly an' dry 'em out an' keep 'em a

long time an' dat is de reason I won't eat a rabbit today. No Sir! I

won't eat a rabbit. I seed 'em mess wid 'em so much turned me 'ginst

eatin' 'em.

I don't know how much lan' Marster John owned but, Honey, dat wus some

plantation. It reached from Auburn to de Neuse River. Yes Sir, it did,

'cause I been down dere in corn hillin' time an' we fished at twelve

o'clock in Neuse River. Marster John had overseers. Dere wus six of 'em.

Dey rode horses over de fields but I don't 'member dere names.

I never seen a slave whupped but dey wus whupped on de plantation an' I

heard de grown folks talkin' 'bout it. My uncles Nat an' Bert Griffiths

wus both whupped. Uncle Nat would not obey his missus rules an' she had

him whupped. Dey whupped Uncle Bert 'cause he stayed drunk so much. He

loved his licker an' he got drunk an' cut up bad, den dey whupped him.

You could git plenty whiskey den. Twon't like it is now. No sir, it

won't. Whiskey sold fur ten cents a quart. Most ever' body drank it but

you hardly ever seed a man drunk. Slaves wus not whupped for drinkin'.

Dere Marsters give 'em whiskey but dey wus whupped for gittin' drunk.

Dere wus a jail, a kind of stockade built of logs, on de farm to put

slaves in when dey wouldn't mind. I never say any slave put on de block

an' sold, but I saw Aunt Helen Rand cryin' because her Marster Nat Rand

sold her boy, Fab Rand.

No Sir, no readin' an' writin'. You had to work. Ha! ha! You let your

marster or missus ketch you wid a book. Dat wus a strict rule dat no

learnin' wus to be teached. I can't read an' write. If it wus not fur my

mother wit don't know what would become of me. We had prayer meetings

around at de slave houses. I 'member it well. We turned down pots on de

inside of de house at de door to keep marster an' missus from hearin' de

singin' an' prayin'. Marster an' his family lived in de great house an'

de slave quarters wus 'bout two hundred yards away to the back of de

great house. Dey wus arranged in rows. When de war ended we all stayed

on wid de families Griffiths an' Rands till dey died, dat is all 'cept

my father an' me. He lef' an' I lef'. I been in Raleigh forty-five

years. I married Mack Blalock in Raleigh. He been dead seven years.

My mother had two boys, Antny an' Wesley. She had four girls, Katie,

Grissie, Mary Ella an' Emma. I had three chilluns, two are livin' yet.

They both live in Raleigh.

We had big suppers an' dinners at log rollin's an' corn shuckin's in

slavery time ha! ha! plenty of corn licker for ever'body, both white an'

black. Ever'body helped himself. Dr. Tom Busbee, one good ole white man,

looked after us when we got sick, an' he could make you well purty

quick, 'cause he wus good an' 'cause he wus sorry fer you. He wus a

feelin' man. Course we took erbs. I tell you what I took. Scurrey grass,

chana balls dey wus for worms. Scurrey grass worked you out. Dey give us

winter green to clense our blood. We slaves an' a lot of de white folks

drank sassafras tea in de place of coffee. We sweetened it wid brown

sugar, honey, or molasses, just what we had in dat line. I think slavery

wus a right good thing. Plenty to eat an' wear.

When you gits a tooth pulled now it costs two dollars, don't it? Well

in slavery time I had a tooth botherin' me. My mother say, Emma, take

dis egg an' go down to Doctor Busbee an' give it to him an' git your

tooth pulled. I give him one egg. He took it an' pulled my tooth. Try

dat now, if you wants to an' see what happens. Yes, slavery wus a purty

good thing.

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