Emma Turner

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Emma Turner

330 W. Sixth Avenue, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 83

"Yes ma'am, I was born in slavery days. They never did tell me when I

was born but I was ten the seventh day of August the same year we was


"No ma'am, I wasn't born in Arkansas. I was born in Georgia. I sent

there and got my license to show my age. I was twenty years old when I


"George Jones was my old master. But, Lawd, them folks is all dead now.

Old master and old missis, yes ma'am, all of 'em dead.

"Fight 'round us? No, they didn't fight there but they come through

there. Yes ma'am, they come through there. Oh, chile, they got horses

and mules.

"Used to give us the Confederate money. Wasn't no good though. They got

the silver and gold. Confederate money was white on one side and green

on the other. Yes'm, they was Yankees.

"Oh, yes'am, old master was good to us. He didn't never marry. My

grandmother was the cook.

"My mother was born in Virginia. I heerd her talk of the Nat Turner

Rebellion but I never did see him.

"Our folks stayed right on after freedom and hired by the month. And

hired us children for our victuals and clothes.

"I stayed there till I was married. Then I come to Vicksburg,

Mississippi. Had nine children and all dead but two.

"Me? Oh, I done washin' and ironin' mostly, cooked and most anything I

could get to do. I'm all worked down now though.

"We emigrated from Georgia to Mississippi. All my children born there.

"I 'member the soldiers had guns and we was scared of 'em. We looked for

'em to come up the road but they come out of the woods and was around

us right now. They didn't mind creeks or nothin', ridin' horseback or

walkin'. I know they said, 'We ain't gwine hurt you.'

"Old master's mother and father was named Sally and Billy. 'Member 'em?

'Co'se I do--many times as I waited on that table. But they all dead

'fore I even thought about bein' grown.

"Oh, yes ma'am, we had a plenty to eat. That's the reason I misses it


"I went to school one year but I had to work so hard I done forgot

nearly everything I learned. I can read a little but my eyes ain't no


"Dem Ku Klux--you dassent be out after dark. You better not be out on

the street after dark. But Sunday night they didn't bother you when you

went to church.

"I was raised up with two white girls and their mother didn't 'low us to

get out of the yard.

"I used to pick peas and cotton. Yes ma'am, that was when we was with

the same old man, George Jones. I used to huddle (herd) cows for miles

and miles. My mother was the milk woman. I don't know how many she

milked but she milked a heap of 'em.

"Used to climb up in trees and tear our clothes. Then they'd whip us.

Old master say, 'Don't you tell me no lie.' Then old Miss Sally would

get a stick and make out she gwine kill us, but she wouldn't touch us a


"Younger generation? Now you done asked me too soon. I set here and look

at 'em. Sometimes I don't know what gwine come of 'em. When we was young

we didn't do nothin' like they doin' now. Why we dassent raise our

dresses. If we see a man comin' we pull down our skirts. Yes, Lawd."

Emma Stone Emma Virgel facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail