Lizzie Mccloud





Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Lizzie McCloud

1203 Short 13th Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 120?





"I was one of 'em bless your heart. Yes ma'm, Yes ma'm, I wouldn't tell

you a lie 'bout that. If I can't tell you the truth I'm not goin' tell

you nothin'!



"Oh yes, I was a young lady in slavery times--bred and born in

Tennessee. Miss Lizzie and Marse John Williams--I belonged to them--sho

did! I was scared to death of the white folks. Miss Lizzie--she mean as

the devil. She wouldn't step her foot on the ground, she so rich. No

ma'm wouldn't put her foot on the ground. Have her carriage drive up to

the door and have that silk carpet put down for her to walk on. Yes

Lord. Wouldn't half feed us and they went and named me after her.



"I know all about the stars fallin'. I was out in the field and just

come in to get our dinner. Got so dark and the stars begin to play

aroun'. Mistress say, 'Lizzie, it's the judgment.' She was just a

hollerin'. Yes ma'm I was a young woman. I been here a long time, yes

ma'm, I been here a long time. Worked and whipped, too. I run off many a

time. Run off to see my mammy three or four miles from where I was.



"I never was sold but they took we young women and brought us down in

the country to another plantation where they raised corn, wheat, and

hay. Overseer whipped us too. Marse John had a brother named Marse

Andrew and he was a good man. He'd say to the overseer, 'Now don't whip

these girls so much, they can't work.' Oh, he was a good man. Oh, white

folks was the devil in slavery tines. I was scared to death of 'em.

They'd have these long cow hide whips. Honey, I was treated bad. I seen

a time in this world.



"Oh Lord, yes, that was long 'fore the war. I was right down on my

master's place when it started. They said it was to free the niggers. Oh

Lord, we was right under it in Davidson County where I come from. Oh

Lord, yes, I knowed all about when the war started. I'se a young woman,

a young woman. We was treated just like dogs and hogs. We seed a hard

time--I know what I'm talkin' about.



"Oh God, I seed the Yankees. I saw it all. We was so scared we run under

the house and the Yankees called 'Come out Dinah' (didn't call none of

us anything but Dinah). They said 'Dinah, we're fightin' to free you and

get you out from under bondage.' I sure understood that but I didn't

have no better sense than to go back to mistress.



"Oh Lord, yes, I seed the Ku Klux. They didn't bother me cause I didn't

stay where they could; I was way under the house.



"Yankees burned up everything Marse John had. I looked up the pike and

seed the Yankees a coming'. They say 'We's a fightin' for you, Dinah!'

Yankees walked in, chile, just walked right in on us. I tell you I've

seed a time. You talkin' 'bout war--you better wish no more war come. I

know when the war started. The Secessors on this side and the Yankees on

that side. Yes, Miss, I seen enough. My brother went and jined the

Secessors and they killed him time he got in the war.



"No, Missy, I never went to no school. White folks never learned me

nothin'. I believes in tellin' white folks the truth.



"White folks didn't 'low us to marry so I never married till I come to

Arkansas and that was one year after surrender.



"First place I landed on was John Clayton's place. Mr. John Clayton was

a Yankee and he was good to us. We worked in the field and stayed there

two years. I been all up and down the river and oh Lord, I had a good

time after I was free. I been treated right since I was free. My color

is good to me and the white folks, too. I ain't goin' to tell only the

truth. Uncle Sam goin' send me 'cross the water if I don't tell the

truth. Better not fool with dat man!"





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