Gillie Hill


Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor

Person interviewed: Gillie Hill

813 Arch Street, Little Rock, Arkansas

Age: About 45

"My grandmother told me that they had to chink up the cracks so that the

light wouldn't get out and do their washing and ironing at night. When

they would hear the overseers or the paterolers coming 'round (I don't

know which it was), they would put the light out and keep still till

they had passed on. Then they would go right on with the washing and


"They would have to wash and iron at night because they were working all


"She told me how they used to turn pots down at night so that they could

pray. They had big pots then--big enough for you to get into yourself.

I've seen some of them big old pots and got under 'em myself. You could

get under one and pray if you wanted to. You wouldn't have to prop them

up to send your voice in 'em from the outside. The thing that the handle

hooks into makes them tilt up on one side so that you could get down on

your hands and knees and pray with your mouth close to the opening if

you wanted to. Anyway, my grandma said they would turn the pots upside

down and stick their heads under them to pray.

"My father could make you cry talking about the way they treated folks

in slavery times. He said his old master was so mean that he made him

eat off the ground with the dogs. He never felt satisfied unless'n he

saw a nigger sufferin'."

Interviewer's Comment

Gillie Hill is the daughter of Evelyn Jones already interviewed and

reported. The few statements which she hands in make an interesting

supplement to her mother's story. The mother, Evelyn Jones, remembered

very few things in her interview and had to be constantly prompted and

helped by her daughter and son who were present at each sitting. There

was considerable difference of opinion among them over a number of

things, especially the age of the mother, the daughter showing letters

to prove the age of seventy, the mother saying she had been told she was

sixty-eight, and the son arguing that the scattering of the ages of her

nineteen children showed that she must be well over eighty.

Gillie Hill claims to be somewhat clairvoyant. She gave a brief analysis

of my character, stating accurately my regular calling and a few of my

personal traits even indicating roughly my bringing-up and where. She is

not a professional fortune-teller, and merely ventured a few statements.

My impression was that she was an unusually close and alert observer.

Like her mother she is somewhat taciturn. I should have said that her

mother was reserved as well as forgetful. The mother never ventured a

word except in answer to a question, and used monosyllabic answers

whenever possible.

Georgina Giwbs Ex-slave Gip Minton facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail