Hattie Hill

MAY 11 1938

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Hattie Hill

Route 2, Main Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 85

"Yes ma'am, I was raised a house gal. Me and another cousin and I was

borned in Georgia. My old master's name was Edward Maddox. Yes ma'am.

"I had a good master but I didn't have such a good missis. Her name was

Fannie Maddox. We belonged to the old man and he was good to his

niggers. He didn't 'low 'em to be cut and slashed about. But when he was

gone that's when old mis' would beat on us.

"I've seen a many a one of the soldiers. They used to march by our


"I can remember one of my old missis' neighbors. Her name was Miss

Phipps. Old mis' would send me there to borry meal. Yes ma'am, I'd go

and come. She'd always send me. I met the soldiers a many a time. I'd

hide behind a tree and as they'd go by I'd go 'round the tree--I was so


"But thank the Lawd, we is free now.

"I heered old master pray a many a prayer that he would live to see his

slaves sot free. And he died the same year they was sot free. He sent

for all his hands to come and see him 'fore he died. Even the little

chillun. I can remember it jus' as well as if 'twas yesterday. Old mis'

died 'fore he did.

"Our folks stayed on the place two years. Old master told 'em he wanted

'em to take care of themselves and said, 'I want you to get you a place

of your own.' He said, 'I raised you honest and I want you to stay on

the place as long as you live or as long as the boys treat you right.'

"I seed the patrollers all right. I 'member that old song 'Run Nigger

Run' and a heap of 'em run too.

"Them Ku Klux was hateful too, but they never bothered my father's

house. They beat one man--Steve McLaughlin--till he couldn't get back to

the house. They beat him from the soles of his feet to the top of his


"We had a plenty to eat in slave times. They fed us good. I never did

work in the field--I was raised up a house gal.

"After freedom my father had me in the field.

"I used to cut and split a many a hundred rails in a day and didn't mind

it neither.

"I used to like to work--would work now if I was able. And I'd rather

work in the field any day as work in the house. The people where I lived

can tell you how I worked. I didn't make my living by rascality. I

worked like my father raised me. Oh, I haven't forgot how my old father

raised me.

"Never went to school but one day in my life. I can't read.

"I didn't come to Arkansas till after I was free. I been livin' here so

long I can't tell you how many years.

"I married young and I'm the mother of six chillun.

"I think a heap of the colored folks is better off free, but a heap of

'em don't appreciate their freedom.

"Heap of the younger generation is all right and then they's a heap of

'em all wrong.

"I can't remember nothin' else 'cause I was too young then and I'm too

old now."

Harry Johnson Hattie Rogers facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail