Kittie Stanford

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Kittie Stanford

309 Missouri Street; Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 104

"Yes'm, I used to be a slave. My mother belonged to Mrs. Lindsey. One

day when I was ten years old, my old mistress take me over to her

daughter and say 'I brought you a little nigger gal to rock de cradle.'

I'se one hundred and four years old now. Miss Etta done writ it down in

the book for me.

"One time a lady from up North ask me did I ever get whipped. Honey, I

ain't goin' tell you no lie. The overseer whipped us. Old mistress used

to send me to her mother to keep the Judge from whippin' me. Old Judge

say 'Nigger need whippin' whether he do anything or not.'

"Some of the hands run away. Old Henry run away and hide in the swamp

and say he goin' stay till he bones turn white. But he come back when he

get hongry and then he run away again.

"When the war come some of the slaves steal the Judge's hosses and run

away to Pine Bluff and he didn't never find 'em. The Judge think the

Yankees goin' get everything he got so we all left Arkansas and went to

Texas. We in Texas when freedom come. We come back to Arkansas and I

stay with my white folks awhile but I didn't get no pay so I got a job

cookin' for a colored woman.

"I been married fo' times. I left my las' husband. I didn't leave him

cause he beat me. I lef' him cause he want too many.

"No'm I never seen no Ku Klux. I heard 'bout 'em but I never seen none

that I knows of. When I used to get a pass to go to 'nother plantation I

always come back fo' dark.

"This younger generation is beyond my onderstanding. They is gettin'

weaker and wiser.

"I been ready to die for the last thirty years. 'Mary (her granddaughter

with whom she lives), show the lady my shroud.' I keeps it wropped up

in blue cloth. They tells me at the store to do that to keep it from

turning yellow. 'Show her that las' quilt I made.' Yes'm I made this all

by myself. I threads my own needle, too, and cuts out the pieces. I has

worked hard all my life.

"Now the Welfare gives me my check. My granddaughter good to me. I goes

to church on the first and third Sundays.

"Lady, I glad you come to see me and God bless you. Goo' bye!"

Kisey Mckimm Kitty Hill facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail