Liney Henderson





Code No.

Project, 1885-(1)

Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis

Place, Marion, S.C.

Date, November 11, 1937



Reduced from ---- words

Rewritten by ----



LINEY HENDERSON

EX-SLAVE, 70 YEARS





"Accordin to de way dey figures up my age, dey say I 70 now en I

believes dat right, too, en de government ought to give me somethin.

When we was born, de white folks put us chillun age down in de Bible en

I know from dat I been 19 years old de year of de shake. Cose I gets

clothes give to me, but no help no more den dat en all dis here wood en

coal bill put on me. No, mam, ain' got no support to help me out no

time. But justice will plum de line some day. I just gwine leave it in

de hands of de Lord. Ain' gwine cry over it."



"I tell you, I been wid white folks all my days en I was properly cared

for long as I been in dey protection. I suffers now more den I is ever

think bout would come to me. Yes, mam, I done raise over 20 head of

white chillun. Dat de God truth. I been in de white folks kitchen all my

days en if I feel right, I think dey ought to take of me in my old age.

I don' brag on myself, but if I could work like I used to, I wouldn' ax

nothin from nobody. I had a family of white people to send for me de

other week to come en live wid dem en dey would take care of me, but I

never had nobody to trust aun' Sallie wid. You see, child, she such a

helpless, poor creature just settin dere in dat bed all de time en can'

see to do one thing widout I give her my hand. Cose de government helps

aun' Sallie, but dat ain' me. En, honey, I ain' even able to stand up en

iron, I has dis rheumatism so bad. It hurts me so terrible at night, I

has to keep my foots out from under de cover. It a sort of burnin

rheumatism like. Yes, mam, it does worry me right smart."



"Oh, my Lord, I was raise down dere to old Dr. Durant plantation. Yes,

mam, dem Durants had everything right to dey hand. Never had to want for

a glass of water or nothin en didn' none of Dr. Durant's colored people

never had no trouble wid de law from de time de law take care to dis. I

remember old Massa would always kill his plantation people a cow on de

fourth of July en couldn' never count de number of hogs dey would have,

dere be so many. Honey, dey would take dem hogs up dis time of de year

from out de swamp en put dem in dey fattenin pen. Lord, Lord, de many a

time dat I been see dem take bucket on a bucket of milk to dat pen. When

my mother was dere helpin dem, dey used to been a week to a time tryin

up lard en makin blood puddin en sausage en joinin up ears en things

like dat. Yes, mam, all dey plantation niggers what been helpin dat day

set for hog killin would eat to de white folks yard. Dey would just put

two or three of dese big wash pot out in de yard en full dem up wid

backbone en haslets en rice to satisfy dem hungry niggers wid en would

bake de corn bread to de Missus kitchen. I mean dey would have hog

killin days den, too. Would have dese long old benches settin out dere

under de trees to work on--long benches, child. Some days, dey would

kill 15 hogs en some days, dey would kill 20 hogs en I mean dey was

hogs, not pigs. De number dey would kill would be accordin to how many

hands was helpin de day dey pick to kill. You see, dey would kill dem

one day en hang dem up en den dey would set de next day to cut dem up.

Oh, dey would hang dem up right out to de eyes of everybody en didn'

nobody never have no mind to bother nothin. My Lord, couldn' trust to do

nothin like dat dese days. En dey had de nicest homemade butter en whip

cream dere all de time. Seems like things was just more plentiful en dey

was better in dat day en time."



"It just like I tellin you, it de way of de past, everything had to be

carried out right on Dr. Durant's plantation. When freedom come here,

dere couldn' no head never get dem colored people to leave from dere.

Yes, mam, dey great grand-chillun dere carryin on to dis very day. Dem

Durant chillun ain' never had to hunt for no hand to do somethin for

dem. Yes, mam, my white folks had dey own colored people graveyard what

was corn crated in en it still dere right now. When one of de colored

people on de plantation would die, dey white folks would be right dere

to de funeral. En it de blessed truth, old Dr. Durant had his own

carpenters right dere on de plantation to make de corpse boxes en line

dem en all dat en dig de graves. Dat was a day, honey, en dat a day gone

from here, I say."



"I ain' never been one of dese peck abouts when I was comin on cause I

didn' done nothin, but nurse de white folks chillun dat was comin up.

Yes, mam, I would go all bout wid de white people. Dey never didn' leave

me home. Lord, de chillun what I nurse, dey got seven en eight head of

chillun of dey own now. Like I been tellin you, some of dem beg me to

come en live wid dem, but my God, I can' struggle wid dem chillun no

more after I done wash baby breeches all my best days, so to speak. Yes,

my Lord, dem chillun would get dey 10:30 lunch in de mornin en I been

get mine, too. Ain' never had to work in de field in all my life.

Anybody can tell you dat what know me."



"I has a little boy stayin here wid me en aun' Sallie what was give to

me. I don' never think hard of de people for not fussin bout him stayin

here cause he helps me so much. No, mam, I know his mother fore she die

en he been stayin wid his aun' en she chillun en dey treat him mean. He

been raise to himself en he can' stand no other chillun en he come home

from school one day en ax me to let him stay here wid me. No, child, he

ain' no trouble cause de Lord give me dat child. He can stay out dere in

dat yard right by himself en play all day fore he would ever get dirty

up."



"Well, I tell you, I don' know hardly what to say bout how de world

gwine dese days. I just afraid to say bout it. I know one thing, I used

to live better, but President Roosevelt, seem like he tryin to do de

right thing. But if I could be de whole judge of de world, I think de

best thing would be for de people to be on dey knees en prayin. De

people talkin bout fightin all de time en dis here talk bout fightin in

de air, dat what got my goat. Might lay down at night sound en wake up

in de mornin en find us all in destructiveness. I say, de Lord all what

can save dis country."



=Source:= Liney Henderson, age 70, colored, Marion, S.C.

Personal interview by Annie Ruth Davis, Nov., 1937.





Liney Chambers Linley Hadley facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Feedback