Saint Johnson

Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor

Person interviewed: Saint Johnson

Izard Street, Little Rock, Arkansas

Age: --

Occupation: Drayman

"As far as slavery is concerned I know nothing about it except as the

white people told me. My mother would ask me what they told me and I

would tell her that Miss Annie said I didn't have to call her father

'Master' any more. And she would say, 'No, you don't.'

"My father's name was Wiley Johnson. He was ninety years old when he

died. He was born in Cave Spring, Georgia, in Floyd County. My mother

was born in the same place. Both of them were Johnsons. They were

married during slavery times. I don't know what her name was before

she married.

"Anyway, I've told you enough. I've told you too much. How come they

want all this stuff from the colored people anyway? Do you take any

stories from the white people? They know all about it. They know more

about it than I do. They don't need me to tell it to them.

"I don't tell my age. I just say I was born after slavery. Then I

can't be bothered about all this stuff about records. Colored people

didn't keep any records. How they goin' to know when they were born or

anything? I don't believe in all that stuff.

"You know these young people as well as I do. They ain't nothin'.

"I ain't got nothin' to say about politics. You know what the truth

is. Why don't you say it? You don't need to hide behind my words.

You're educated and I'm not; you don't need to get anything from me.

"Yes, I had some schoolin'. But you know more about these things than

I do."

Interviewer's Comment

At first, I thought I wouldn't write this interview up; but afterwards

I thought: Maybe this interview will be of interest to those who want

the work done. It represents the attitude of a very small, but

definite, minority. About five persons out of a hundred and fifty

contacted and more than eighty written up have taken this attitude.

Johnson is reputed to have been born in slavery, but he says not. He

had a high school education. He is a good man, wholesome in all his

contacts, despite the apparent intolerance of his private remarks to

the interviewer.

Sabe Rutledge Salena Taswell facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail