Jn Brown

Interviewer: Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: J.N. Brown

3500 West 7th Ave.

Pine Bluff, Ark.

Age: 79

Occupation: Sells peanuts from wagon

"Yes'm, I was livin' in slavery times--musta been--I was born in 1858,

near Natchez, Mississippi--in town.

"Old Daniel Virdin was my first master. I can halfway remember him. Oh

Lord, I remember that shootin'. Used to clap my hands--called it

foolishness. We kids didn't know no better.

"I was in Camden, Arkansas when we was freed. Colored folks in them days

was sold and run. My father was in Camden when we got free--he was sold.

My mother was sold too.

"I heared em say they had a good master and mistis. Man what bought em

was named Brown. They runned us to Texas durin' the war and then come

back here to Camden.

"I never went to school. I was the oldest chile my father had out a

sixteen and I had to work. We had a kinda hard time. I stayed in Camden

till I was eighteen and then I runned off from my folks and went to

Texas. Times was so tight in Arkansas, and a cattleman come there and

said they'd give me twenty-five dollars a month in Texas. I thought that

would beat just something to eat. I been workin' for the white folks and

just gettin' a little grub and not makin' any money.

"In Texas I worked for some good white folks. John Worth Bennet was the

man who owned the ranch. I stayed there seven years and saved my money.

I was just nacherly a good nigger. That was in Hopkins County, Texas.

"I've got a good memory. That's all I got to study bout is how to take

care of the situation. I was livin' there in that country in 1882, fore

the Spanish-American War.

"I come back here to Arkansas in 1900. My father was named Nelson Brown.

He preached. My mother's name was Sally Brown.

"Long in that time we tried to vote but we didn't know 'zactly what we

was doin. I think I voted once or twice, but if a man can't read or

write and have to have somebody make out his ticket, he don't know what

he's votin', so I just quit tryin' to vote.

"Now about this younger generation, you've asked me a question it's hard

for me to answer. With all these nineteenth century niggers, the more

education they got, the bigger crooks they is.

"We colored people are livin' under the law, but we don't make no laws.

You take a one-armed man and he can't do what a two-armed man can. The

colored man in the south is a one-armed man, but of course the colored

man can't get along without the white folks. But I've lived in this

world long enough to know what the cause is--I know why the colored man

is a one-armed man."

Jm Parker Joana Owens facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail