Mary Crosby

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Mary Crosby

1216 Oak Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 76

"Good morning. I don't know anybody 'round here that was born in slavery

times 'cept me. I don't know exactly when I was born in Georgia but I

can remember my mama said her old master, Mat Fields, sent my father and

all the other men folks to Arkansas the second year of the war. After

the war, I remember there was a colored man named Mose come from

Mississippi to Georgia and told the colored folks they could shake money

off the trees in Mississippi. Of course they was just ignorant as cattle

and they believed him. I know I thought what a good time I would have. I

can remember seeing old master crying cause his colored folks all

leaving, but Mose emigrated all of us to Mississippi.

"He kept emigrating folks over there till he like to got killed. The

white people give him a stayaway and told him not to come back, but he

sure did get some colored folks out of Georgia.

"I 'member they said the war was to free the niggers. They called it the

Civil War. I never did know why they called it that. I can't 'member

things like I used to.

"My mother's old master's granddaughter, Miss Anne, had a baby that was

six months old when I was born and mama said old master come in and tell

Miss Ann, 'I've got a new little nigger for Mary Lou.' He said he was

goin' to give her ten and that I was her first little nigger. When we

was both grown Mary Lou used to write to me once a year and say 'I claim

you yet, Mary.'

"I 'member when Garfield was shot. That was the first time I ever heard

of gangrene.

"Yes'm I have worked hard all my life. When I was in Mississippi I used

to make as much as ten dollars a week washin' and ironin'. But I'm not

able to work now. The Welfare helps me some."

Mary Crane Mary E O'malley facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail