Happy Day Green

MAY 11 1938

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: "Happy Day" Green

Near Barton and Helena, Arkansas

Age: Grown during the Civil War

"I don't know how old I is, young mistress. I was here 'fore the Civil

War, young mistress. I was born in South, Alabama, young mistress. Well,

it was nigh Montgomery, Alabama, young mistress. My mama name Emily

Green. She had three children to my knowing. I don't know no father. My

owner was Boss William Green, young mistress. His wife was Miss

Lizabuth, young mistress. They did have a big family, young mistress. To

my knowing it was: Billy, Charlie, Bunkum, Ida, Mary, Sally, Jimmy,

Buddy. I never went to school a day in my life, young mistress. When I

come on big 'nuff to work I had to help keer for mama and two girl

sisters, young mistress.

"When I come to this state, Van Vicks and Bill Bowman immigrated one

hundred head of us. They landed some of us at Helena. Our family was

landed at Phillips Bayou, young mistress.

"I was a cowboy, me and George. He was another black boy, young

mistress. We kept flies offen Boss William Green and Miss Lizabuth,

young mistress. They took naps purt nigh every day when it be the long

days (in summer), young mistress. Mama was milk woman. Boss William

Green had goats and 'bout a dozen heads of milch cows, young mistress. I

was willed to Mars Billy. He went off to war and died 'fore the War

begun, young mistress.

"Nobody run 'way from Boss William Green. He told 'em if they run off he

would whoop 'em. He didn't have no dogs, young mistress. They be a white

man near by owned nigger hounds, young mistress. He take his hounds, go

hunt a runaway, young mistress. You would pay him, I reckon, young


"I did get some whoopings, young mistress. They used a cow hide strap on

me, young mistress. They blistered me a right smart, young mistress.

"We didn't have so much to eat. They give us one peck meal, four pounds

meat a week. Mama done our cooking, young mistress. We had good clothes,

warm clothes, woolen clothes, young mistress. We had a few sheep about

the place. We had a few geese 'mong the turkeys, guineas, ducks, and

chickens. They kept the peafowls for good luck, young mistress.

"Fur a fact they had a big garden, young mistress. Boss William Green

worked the garden. He made us pull the plow--four of us boys. He said

the stock would tromp down more'n they'd make, young mistress. Two of

his boys and me and George pulled his plough. We had a big garden.

"I chopped in the field, picked up chips on the clearings. I chopped

cook wood right smart, young mistress.

"When freedom come on, grandpa come after mama. Boss William Green told

her, 'You free.' He give her ten bushels corn, good deal of meat--back

bone and spareribs. He come one Saturday evening, young mistress. She

took 'long whatever she had at our house in the way of clothing and such

lack, young mistress. Well, grandpa was share crapping, young mistress.

"The Ku Kluckses come one night. They kept us getting 'em water to run

through something under their sheets. The water was running out on the

ground. We did see it for a fact, young mistress. We was scared not to

do that. They was getting submission over the country, young

mistress. They would make you be quiet 'long the roadside, young

mistress. They would make you be quiet where you have meeting. They

would turn the pots down on the floor at the doors, young mistress. The

Ku Kluckses whooped some, tied some out to trees and left 'em. They was

rough, young mistress.

"I worked in the field all my life.

"Times is good fer me, young mistress. I live with my niece. I get

twelve dollars assistance 'cause I been sick, young mistress. I owns a

pony. All I owns, young mistress.

"I hab voted, young mistress. I'm too old to vote now, young mistress. I

reckon I voted both ways some, young mistress.

"Young folks is so strong and happy they is different from old folks,

young mistress."

Hannah Travis Hardy Miller facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail