Luke D Dixon

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Luke D. Dixon

DeValls Bluff, Ark.

Age: 81

"My father's owner was Jim Dixon in Elmo County, Virginia. That is where

I was born. I am 81 years old. Jim Dixon had several boys--Baldwin and

Joe. Joe took some of the slaves, his pa give him, and went to New

Mexico to shun the war. Uncle and pa went in the war as waiters. They

went in at the ending up. We lived on the big road that run to the

Atlantic Ocean. Not far from Richmond. Ma lived three or four miles from

Pa. She lived across big creek--now they call it Farrohs Run. Ma belong

to Harper Williams. Pa's folks was very good but Ma's folks was


"Ma lived to be 103 years old. Pa died in 1905 and was 105 years old. I

used to set on Grandma's lap and she told me about how they used to

catch people in Africa. They herded them up like cattle and put them in

stalls and brought them on the ship and sold them. She said some they

captured they left bound till they come back and sometimes they never

went back to get them. They died. They had room in the stalls on the

boat to set down or lie down. They put several together. Put the men to

themselves and the women to themselves. When they sold Grandma and

Grandpa at a fishing dock called New Port, Va., they had their feet

bound down and their hands bound crossed, up on a platform. They sold

Grandma's daughter to somebody in Texas. She cried and begged to let

them be together. They didn't pay no 'tenshion to her. She couldn't talk

but she made them know she didn't want to be parted. Six years after

slavery they got together. When a boat was to come in people come and

wait to buy slaves. They had several days of selling. I never seen this

but that is the way it was told to me.

"The white folks had an iron clip that fastened the thumbs together and

they would swing the man or woman up in a tree and whoop them. I seen

that done in Virginia across from where I lived. I don't know what the

folks had done. They pulled the man up with block and tackle.

"Another thing I seen done was put three or four chinquapin switches

together green, twist them and dry them. They would cry like a leather

whip. They whooped the slaves with them.

"Grandpa was named Sam Abraham and Phillis Abraham was his mate. They

was sold twice. Once she was sold away from her husband to a speculator.

Well, it was hard on the Africans to be treated like cattle. I never

heard of the Nat Turner rebellion. I have heard of slaves buying their

own freedom. I don't know how it was done. I have heard of folks being

helped to run off. Grandma on mother's side had a brother run off from

Dalton, Mississippi to the North. After the war he come to Virginia.

"When freedom was declared we left and went to Wilmington and Wilson,

North Carolina. Dixon never told us we was free but at the end of the

year he gave my father a gray mule he had ploughed for a long time and

part of the crop. My mother jes picked us up and left her folks now. She

was cooking then I recollect. Folks jes went wild when they got turned


"My parents was first married under a twenty-five cents license law in

Virginia. After freedom they was remarried under a new law and the

license cost more but I forgot how much. They had fourteen children to

my knowing. After the war you could register under any name you give

yourself. My father went by the name of Right Dixon and mother Jilly


"The Ku Klux was bad. They was a band of land owners what took the law

in hand. I was a boy. I scared to be caught out. They took the place of

pattyrollers before freedom.

"I never went to public school but two days in my life. I went to night

school and paid Mr. J.C. Price and Mr. S.H. Vick to teach me. My father

got his leg shot off and I had to work. It kept me out of meanness. Work

and that woman has kept me right. I come to Arkansas, brought my wife

and one child, April 5, 1889. We come from Wilson, North Carolina. Her

people come from North Carolina and Moultrie, Georgia.

"I do vote. I sell eggs or a little something and keep my taxes paid up.

It look like I'm the kind of folks the government would help--them that

works and tries hard to have something--but seems like they don't get no

help. They wouldn't help me if I was bout to starve. I vote a Republican


NOTE: On the wall in the dining room, used as a sitting room, was a

framed picture of Booker T. Washington and Teddy Roosevelt sitting at a

round-shaped hotel dining table ready to be served. Underneath the

picture in large print was "Equality." I didn't appear to ever see the


This negro is well-fixed for living at home. He is large and very black,

but his wife is a light mulatto with curly, nearly-straightened hair.

Lucy Mccullough Luke Towns facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail