Norman Burkes

Interviewer: Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Norman Burkes

2305 West Eleventh Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 78

"I didn't quite make slavery. Me and freedom came here together.

"I was born in Union County, Arkansas. My mother was born in Virginia

and my father was an Alabamian.

"I've heered 'em say how they done in slavery times. Whupped 'em and

worked 'em and didn't feed 'em much. Said they'd average about three

pounds of meat a week and a peck of meal, a half gallon of molasses.

That was allowed the hands for a week. No sugar and no coffee. And

they'd issue flour on Saturday so they could have Sunday morning


"My father was sold to Virginia and he and my mother was married there

and they moved with their white people here to Arkansas.

"They called their owner old Master. Yes'm, I can remember him. Many

times as he whipped me I ought to remember him. I never will forget that

old man. They claimed he was pretty good to 'em. He didn't whup 'em

much, I don't think.

"If my mother was livin' she could tell you everything about Virginia.

She was one hundred and two when she died. My folks is long livers.

"My oldest brother was sold in Virginia and shipped down into Texas

about ten years before I was born and I ain't never seen him.

"They sold wives from their husbands and children from their parents and

they couldn't help it. Just like this war business. Come and draft 'em

and they couldn't help it.

"I think the way things is now, they're goin to build up another war."

Extra Comment

I was interviewing this man on the front porch and at this point, he got

up and went into the house, so the interview was ended as far as he was


Nina Scott O C Hardy facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail