John Graves

Project 1885-(1)


Spartanburg, S.C.

District No. 4.

May 26, 1937.

Edited by:

R.V. Williams


"Mos' everybody know my name. You gotta help me. Oh, yeah, dat's what I

goes by. It's Brack; dey calls me ole uncle Brack".

"Look out, over dar!" said a negro who was standing nearby. "Uncle

Brack, you know you is got mo' names dan dat. Why, everwhar you goes,

dey calls you a different name."

"Shet up, you sassy-mouth nigger!" Uncle Brack waved his stick as the

younger negro moved out of its reach. Uncle Brack walks with two sticks

nearly all the time. He is bent almost double.

"He de greatest nigger rascal a-gwine," Uncle Brack said. "He jest dream

all de time, and dreams don't nebber amount to nothin'. Dem dreams what

he carries on wid in de daytime, dey is what makes him tell so many

lies. De idea, talking like I has a different name everwhar I goes, when

I don't go nowhar. Why, I can't hardly hobble to de sto'.

"Dey mus' help me. I took down sick in November. Mr. Rice sent me

things. You gov'ment folks ain't sont me much as Mr. Rice and de good

white folks what likes me. I'se bawn ten years when Freedom come out.

Benn seventy-odd years since Freedom, ain't it, Cap?

"Dr. Jim Gibbs was mighty good to me. You sees dat I'se a-gwine about

now. Dr. Gibbs come from Aiken to Union and set up a drug sto' whar

Cohen's is now. Dr. Gibbs was a Charleston man, but I is a Kentucky

darky. Dr. Gibbs brung me from Kentucky to Charleston when I was five

years old. My ma was de one dat dey bought. Dr. Gibbs' wife was a Bohen

up in Kentucky. When Dr. Gibbs fetch his wife to Charleston, he bought

my ma from his wife's pa, and she fetch me along too.

"It ten o'clock befo' I can creep. Dat de reason dat I has to beg.

Wasn't fer my age, I wouldn't ax nobody fer nothing. De Lawd done spared

me fer somethin' and I carries on de best dat I can. Doctor say he

couldn't do no good. Dat been five years ago de fust time I tuck down.

Doctors steadies about money too much. I trustes de Lawd, He spare me to

dis day. I can't hardly walk, and I jus' can't bear fer nothing to touch

dis foot. I has to use two sticks to walk. (Uncle Brack punched his foot

with a stick; then looked up and saw two negro girls approaching.)

"As the girls got opposite Uncle Brack, he threw his stick in front of

them and they exclaimed, "Is dat you, Uncle Brack? How did you get up

here?" Uncle Brack replied, "I never meant fer you to git by me. Jes

kaize I'se ole, ain't no reason fer you not speaking to me." As the

girls walked on, Uncle Brack said, "I flirts wid all de colored gals,

and I also has a passing word for de white ladies as dey goes by."

"I used to work at the baker shop over dar when Mr. James' chilluns was

little saplings. I'se gwine on eighty-six and dem big boys raise dey

hats to me. White people has respec' for me kaize I ain't never been in

jail. I knows how to carry myself, and I specs to die dat way if I can.

Lil chile what jus' could talk good gived me a penny dis mawning.

"I used to could read. I learnt to read in Aiken, when school fust broke

out to de colored people. Northern people teached me to read long time

ago. Now my eyes is dim."

=Source:= JOHN GRAVES, (Col. 86) N. Church St., Union, S.C.

Interviewer: Caldwell Sims, Union, S.C. (2/27/37)

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