Emma Foster





Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Emma Foster

1200 N. Magnolia, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 80





"Yes'm, I was born in time of slavery--seven years before surrender.

No'm, I wasn't born in Arkansas. Born in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana.



"I remember hearin' the big guns shoot. I was small and I didn't know

what it was only by what they told me.



"My parents belonged to the Harts. My mother run off and left me, a

year-old baby.



"I remember better when I was young than I do now.



"After I got big enough--you know, a little old nasty somethin' runnin'

around in the yard--after I got big enough, they took me in the house to

rock the cradle, and I stayed there till I was twenty-three. I would a

stayed longer but they was so cruel to me.



"I didn't know nothin'. I run off and stayed with a colored preacher and

his family not far away. You know I was crazy. One day the preacher said

some of his members was objectin' to me stayin' there and he was goin'

to tell my white folks where I was. And sure enough, he did, and one

morning I was out in the field and I saw the son-in-law comin'. So I

went back and worked for him and his wife.



"Me? All I did do was farmin' when I was young.



"Oh, I been in Arkansas 'bout fifty years. My oldest boy was fourteen

when I come here and he is sixty-four now.



"No, honey, I can't cook now. I'd burn it up. I used to cook. It's a

poor dog that won't wag its own tail.



"All I know is I had a hard time, I been married three times. My last

husband was a preacher and he was so mean I left him. I told him if all

preachers was like him, hell was full of 'em.



"I went to Chicago and lived with my son a while but I didn't like it,

so I come back here and I been here right in the yard with Mrs. O'Neal

eight years washin' and ironin'--anything come to hand.



"Now if there's goin' to be a death in my family, I can see that 'fore

it happens. I was out in the potato patch one day and it started to rain

and I come in and somethin' just bore down on me and I started to cry. I

didn't know why. I thought, 'Oh, Lord, is somethin' goin' to happen to

my son?' But instead it was my grandson. He got killed that evenin'."





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