Liney Chambers

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Liney Chambers, Brinkley, Arkansas


[TR: Some word pronunciation was marked in this interview. Letters

surrounded by [] represent long vowels.]

"I was born in Tennessee close to Memphis. I remember seein' the

Yankees. I was most too little to be very scared of them. They had their

guns but they didn't bother us. I was born a slave. My mother cooked for

Jane and Silas Wory. My mother's name was Caroline. My father's name was

John. An old bachelor named Jim Bledsoe owned him. When the war was over

I don't remember what happened. My mother moved away. She and my father

didn't live together. I had one brother, Proctor. I expect he is dead.

He lived in California last I heard of him.

"They just expected freedom all I ever heard. I know they didn't expect

the white folks to give them no land cause the man what owned the land

bought it hisself foe he bought the hands whut he put on it. They

thought they was ruined bad enouf when the hands left them. They kept

the land and that is about all there was left. Whut the Yankees didn't

take they wasted and set fire to it. They set fire to the rail fences so

the stock would get out all they didn't kill and take off. Both sides

was mean. But it seemed like cause they was fightin' down here on the

Souths ground it was the wurst here. Now that's just the way I sees it.

They done one more thing too. They put any colored man in the front

where he would get killed first and they stayed sorter behind in the

back lines. When they come along they try to get the colored men to go

with them and that's the way they got treated. I didn't know where

anybody was made to stay on after the war. They was lucky if they had a

place to stay at. There wasn't anything to do with if they stayed. Times

was awful unsettled for a long time. People whut went to the cities

died. I don't know they caught diseases and changing the ways of eatin'

and livin' I guess whut done it. They died mighty fast for awhile. I

knowed some of them and I heard 'em talking.

"That period after the war was a hard time. It sho was harder than the

depression. It lasted a long time. Folks got a lots now besides what

they put up with then. Seemed like they thought if they be free they

never have no work to do and jess have plenty to eat and wear. They

found it different and when it was cold they had no wood like they been

used to. I don't believe in the colored race being slaves cause of the

color but the war didn't make times much better for a long time. Some of

them had a worse time. So many soon got sick and died. They died of

Consumption and fevers and nearly froze. Some near 'bout starved. The

colored folks just scattered 'bout huntin' work after the war.

"I heard of the Ku Klux but I never seen one.

"I never voted. I don't believe in it.

"I never heard of any uprisings. I don't know nobody in that rebellion

(Nat Turner).

"I used to sing to my children and in the field.

"I lived on the farm till I come to my daughters to live. I like it

better then in town. We homesteaded a place at Grunfield (Zint) and my

sister bought it. We barely made a living and never had money to lay up.

"I don't know what they'll (young generation) do. Things going so fast.

I'm glad I lived when I did. I think it's been the best time for p[o]r

folks. Some now got too much and some not got nothin'. That what I

believe make times seem so hard."

Lindsey Moore Liney Henderson facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail