Evelyn Jones

Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor

Person interviewed: Evelyn Jones

815 Arch Street, Little Rock, Arkansas

Age: Between 68 and 78?

"I was born in Lonoke County right here in Arkansas. My father's

name--I don't know it. I don't know nothin' 'bout my father. My

mother's name was Mary Davis.

"My daddy died when I was five weeks old. I don't know nothin' 'bout

'im. Just did manage to git here before he left. I don't know the date

of my birth. I don't know nothin' 'bout it and I ain't goin' to tell

no lie.

"I have nineteen children. My youngest living child is twenty-eight

years old. My oldest living is fifty-three. I have four dead. I don't

know how old the oldest one is. That one's dead.

"I have a cousin named Harry Jordan. He lives 'round here somewheres.

You'll find him. I don't know where he lives. He says he knows just

how old I am, and he says that I'm sixty-eight. My daughter here says

I'm seventy. And my son thinks I'm older. Don't nobody know. My daddy

never told me. My mama was near dead when I was born; what could she

tell me? So how am I to know?

"My mother was born in slavery. She was a slave. I don't know nothin'

'bout it. My mother came from Tennessee. That's what she told me. I

was born in a log cabin right here in Arkansas. I was born in a log

cabin right in front of the white folks' big house. It was not far

from the white folks' graveyard. You know they had a graveyard of

their own. Old Bill Pemberton, that was the name of the man owned the

place I was born on. But he wasn't my mother's owner.

"I don't know where my father come from. My mother said she had a good

time in slavery. She spoke of lots of things but I don't remember


"My grandma told me about when she went to church she used to carry

her good clothes in a bundle. When she got near there, she would put

them on, and hide her old clothes under a rock. When she come out from

the meeting, she would have to put on her old clothes again to go home

in. She didn't dare let the white folks see her in good clothes.

"I think my mother's white people were named Jordans. My mother and

them all belonged to the young mistress. I think her name was Jordan.

Yes, that's what it was--Jordan.

"Grandmammy had so many children. She had nineteen children--just like

me. My grandmammy was a great big old red woman. She had red hair too.

I never heard her say nothin' 'bout nobody whippin' her and my

granddaddy. They whipped all them children though. My mama just had

six children.

"Mama said her master tried to keep her in slavery after freedom. My

mama worked at the spinning-wheel. When she heard the folks say they

was through with the War, she was at the spinning-wheel. The white

folks ought a tol' them they was free but they didn't. Old Jordan

carried them down in De Valla Bluff. He carried them down

there--called hisself gittin' away from the Yankees. But the Yankees

told mama to quit workin'. They tol' her that she was free. My mama

said she was in there at the wheel spinning and the house was full of

white men settin' there lookin' at her. You don't see that sort of

thing now.

"They had a man--I don't know what his name was. He stalled them

steers, stalled 'em twice a day. They used to pick cotton. I dreamed

about cotton the other night.

"My father farmed after slavery. I never heard them say they were

cheated out of nothin'. I don't know whether they was or not. I'll

tell you the truth. I didn't pay them no 'tention. Mighty little I can


Evelina Morgan Evelyn Mclemore facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail