Mittie Blakeley





Federal Writers' Project

of the W.P.A.

District #6

Marion County

Anna Pritchett

1200 Kentucky Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana



FOLKLORE

MRS. MITTIE BLAKELEY--EX-SLAVE

2055 Columbia Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana





Mrs. Blakeley was born, in Oxford, Missouri, in 1858.



Her mother died when Mittie was a baby, and she was taken into the "big

house" and brought up with the white children. She was always treated

very kindly.



Her duties were the light chores, which had to be well done, or she was

chided, the same as the white children would have been.



Every evening the children had to collect the eggs. The child, who

brought in the most eggs, would get a ginger cake. Mittie most always

got the cake.



Her older brothers and sisters were treated very rough, whipped often

and hard. She said she hated to think, much less talk about their awful

treatment.



When she was old enough, she would have to spin the wool for her

mistress, who wove the cloth to make the family clothes.



She also learned to knit, and after supper would knit until bedtime.



She remembers once an old woman slave had displeased her master about

something. He had a pit dug, and boards placed over the hole. The woman

was made to lie on the boards, face down, and she was beaten until the

blood gushed from her body; she was left there and bled to death.



She also remembers how the slaves would go to some cabin at night for

their dances; if one went without a pass, which often they did, they

would be beaten severely.



The slaves could hear the overseers, riding toward the cabin. Those, who

had come without a pass, would take the boards up from the floor, get

under the cabin floor, and stay there until the overseers had gone.





Interviewer's Comment



Mrs. Blakeley is very serious and said she felt so sorry for those, who

were treated so such worse than any human would treat a beast.



She lives in a very comfortable clean house, and said she was doing

"very well."



Submitted January 24, 1938

Indianapolis, Indiana





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