Julia Grace


Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Julia Grace

819 N. Spruce Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 75

"I was seventy-four this last past fourth of July. I was born in Texas.

My mother was sent to Texas to keep from bein' freed.

"Ad March and Spruce McCrary is the onliest white folks I remember bein'

with. I don't know whether they was our owners or not.

"My father was sent to North Carolina and I never did see him no more.

"After freedom they brought us back here from Texas and we worked on the

McCrary plantation.

"In slavery days mama said she and my father stayed in the woods most of

the time. That's when they was whippin' 'em.

"My mother come from Richmond, Virginia. Petersburg was her town. She

belonged to the Wellses over there.

"After her master got his leg broke, the rest was so mean to her she run

off a couple times, so they sold her. Put her up on the tradin'

block--like goin' to make a speech. Stripped 'em naked. The man bid 'em

off like you'd bid off oxen.

"Mama told me her missis, after her husband died, got so mean to her she

run off till her old missis sold her. They weighed 'em and stripped 'em

naked to see if they was anything wrong with 'em and how they was built

and then bid 'em off.

"Mama said she never would a been in Arkansas if they hadn't been so

mean to her. They were too compulsive on 'em--you know, hard


"After freedom Ad March went back to North Carolina and Spruce McCrary

come here to Pine Bluff.

"Fust time I moved here in town was in 1888. I stayed ten months, then I

went back to the country. I aimed to go to Fort Smith but I got to

talkin' with my playmates and I didn't have too much money, and I stayed

till I didn't have enough money left to keep me till I could get a job.

So I stayed here and worked for Mrs. Freemayer till I got so I couldn't

work. She's the one got me on this relief.

"I went to school one session in 1886. Sam Caeser, he was a well-known

teacher. He got killed here in Pine Bluff.

"I can't sweep and I can't iron. I got a misery in my back. I washes my

clothes and spreads 'em out till they dry. Then I puts 'em on and

switches into church and ever'body thinks they has been ironed.

"They ain't but one sign I believes in and that's peckerwoods. Just as

sure as he pecks three times, somebody goin' to move or somebody goin'

to die. Just as sure as you live somebody goin' out.

"One time one of my grandchildren and a friend of mine was walkin'

through the woods and we missed the main road we aimed to ketch, and we

got into a den of wild hogs. I said, 'Lord, make 'em stand still till we

get out of here.' One of 'em was that tall and big long ears hung down

over his eyes. That was the male, you know. I reckon they couldn't see

us and we walked as easy as we could and we got away and struck the main

road. I reckon if they could a seen us we would a been 'tacked but we

got away. I had heard how they made people take to trees, and I was


"Have you ever seen a three-legged cow? Well, I have. I looked at her

good. She was grown and had a calf."

Julia Crenshaw Julia King facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail