Green Gray

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Green Gray

R.F.D. #1 Biscoe, Arkansas

Age: 70--73?

"I was born after de war in Alabama. Then we went to Atlanta, Georgia.

Bout the first I recollect much bout was in Atlanta. I was seventeen

years old. They was building the town back up where it had been burnt.

If you was a carpenter you could get rough work to do. My father was a

farmer and had a family; soon as he could he come with a man he met up

wid to Sardis, Mississippi. He had twelve children. Some of em born down

in Mississippi. The reason we all went to Atlanta was dis--we was workin

fer a man, white man, named Armstrom. White woman told me go do

somethin, bring in a load er wood I think it was, and my mother told me

not to do it. He and my father had a fuss an he tied my father to some

rails and whooped him. Soon as they done that we all left. They hunted

us all night long. Crowd white folks said they goiner kill us. Some

fellow come on to Atlanta and told us bout em huntin us. Thater way

folks done. It muster been bout the very closin of the war cause I heard

em say I was give to my young mistress, Sallie Gray. I don't remember

who they say she married. I never did live wid em long fore my papa took


"The first free school was in Pinola County, Mississippi. I went to it.

The teacher was a white man named George Holliday.

"I votes a Republican ticket. Miss, I don't know nothin much bout votin,

cassionly I vote to help my side out a little. We used to elect our town

officers here in Biscoe but the white folks run it now. Professor Hardy

and Professor Walker was the postmasters (both Negroes) for a long

while. John Clay was constable and Oscar Clark magistrate (both

Negroes). One of the school board was Dr. Odom (Negro). They made pretty

fair officers.

"I was a cow herder, and a fire boy, and a farmer. When I come to Biscoe

I was a farmer. I married and had two children. My wife lef me and went

wid another fellar then she jumped in the river right down yonder and

drowned. I started workin at the sawmill and workin in the lumber. I

owns a little home and a spot of ground it on 25' x 90'. I made it

workin fer Mr. Betzner (white farmer). I'm farmin now.

"Times is hard. You can't get no credit. Between times that you work in

the crop it is hard to live. Used to by workin hard and long hours could

make a good livin. Wages better now, $1 to $1.75 a day. Long time ago

60c a day was the price. Then you could buy meat five and six cents a

pound. Now it 20c. Flour used to be 40c a sack. Now it way outer sight.

The young folks don't work hard as I used to work but they has a heap

better chance at edgercation. Some few saves a little but everything jes

so high they can't get ahead very much. It when you get old you needs a

little laid by."

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