Rf Parker

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: R.F. Parker

619 N. Hickory, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 76

"I was born in '62. I reckon I was born in slavery times. Born in Ripley

County, Missouri. Old man Billy Parker was my master, and my young

master was Jim Parker.

"They bought my mother in Tennessee when she was a child. I wasn't big

enough to remember much about slavery but I was big enough to know when

they turned my mother loose, and we come to Lawrence County, Arkansas.

"I remember my mother sayin' she had to plow while her young master, Jim

Parker, was off to war, but I don't know what side he was on.

"I remember seein' some soldiers ridin' down the road, about

seventy-five of 'em. I know I run under a corn pen and hid. I thought

they was after me. They stopped right there and turned their horses

loose 'round that pen. I can remember that all right. They went in the

white folks' house and took a shotgun. I know I remember hearin' mama

talk about it. I think they had on blue clothes.

"I was goin' on seven when we come to Arkansas. I know I'd walk a while

and she'd tote me a while. But we was lucky enough to get in with some

white people that was movin' to Arkansas. We was comin' to a place

called 'The Promised Land.' We stayed there till '92.

"I have farmed and done public work. I worked nine years at that heading

factory in the east end (of Pine Bluff).

"I used to vote. When I was in north Arkansas, I voted in all kinds of

elections. But after I come down here to Jefferson County, I couldn't

vote in nothin' but the presidential elections.

"I don't think the young people are goin' to amount to much. They are a

heap wilder than when I was young. They got a chance to graduate

now--something I didn't get to do.

"I never went to school a day in my life, but the white people where I

worked learned me to read and write."

Interviewer's Comment

This man could easily pass for a white person.

Rezin Williams Rhodus Walton facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail