Sam Scott

Interviewer: Thomas Elmore Lucy

Person interviewed: Sam Scott, Russellville, Arkansas

Age: 79

"Hello dar, Mistah L----! Don' you dare pass by widout speakin' to dis

old niggah friend of yo' chil'hood! No suh! Yuh can't git too big to

speak to me!

"Reckon you've seen about all dar is to see in de worl' since I seen

you, ain't you? Well, mos' all de old-time niggahs and whites is both

gone now. I was born on de twentieth of July, 1879. Count up--dat makes

me 79 (born 1859), don't it? My daddy's name was Sam, same as mine, and

mammy's was Mollie. Dey was slaves on de plantation of Capt. Scott--yes

suh, Capt. John R. Homer Scott--at Dover. My name is Sam, same as my

father's, of course. Everybody in de old days knowed Sam Scott. My

father died in slavery times, but mother lived several years after.

"No, I never did dance, but I sure could play baseball and make de home

runs! My main hobby, as you calls it, was de show business. You remember

de niggah minstrels we used to put on. I was always stage manager

and could sing baritone a little. Ed Williamson and Tom Nick was de

principal dancers, and Tom would make up all de plays. What? Stole a

unifawm coat of yours? Why, I never knowed Tom to do anything like that!

Anyway, he was a good-hearted niggah--but you dunno what he might do.

Yes, I still takes out a show occasionally to de towns around Pope

and Yell and Johnson counties, and folks treat us mighty fine. Big

crowds--played to $47.00 clear money at Clarksville. Usually take about

eight and ten in our comp'ny, boys and gals--and we give em a real hot

minstrel show.

"De old show days? Never kin forgit em! I was stage manager of de old

opery house here, you remember, for ten years, and worked around de

old printin' office downstairs for seven years. No, I don't mean stage

manager--I mean property man--yes, had to rustle de props. And did we

have road shows dem days! Richards & Pringle's Georgia minstrels, de

Nashville students, Lyman Twins, Barlow Brothers Minstrels, and--oh,

ever so many more--yes, Daisy, de Missouri Girl, wid Fred Raymond. Never

kin forgit old black Billy Kersands, wid his mouf a mile wide!

"De songs we used to sing in old days when I was a kid after de War

wasn't no purtier dan what we used to sing wid our own minstrel show

when we was at our best twenty-five and thirty years ago; songs like

'Jungletown,' 'Red Wing,' and 'Mammy's Li'l Alabama Coon.' Our circuit

used to be around Holla Bend, Dover, Danville, Ola, Charleston, Nigger

Ridge, out from Pottsville, and we usually starred off at the old opery

house in Russellville, of course.

"I been married, but ain't married now. We couldn't git along somehow.

Yes suh, I been right here workin' stiddy for a long time. Been janitor

at two or three places same time; was janitor of de senior high school

here for twenty-two years, and at de Bank of Russellville twenty-nine


"Folks always been mighty nice to me--and no slave ever had a finer

master dan old Captain Scott.

"In de old show days de manager of de opery always said. 'Let de

niggers see de show,' and sometimes de house was half full of colored

folks--white folks on one side de house and niggahs on de other--and

dere never was any disturbance of any kind. Ain't no sich good times now

as we had in de old road show days. No suh!"

NOTE: Sam Scott, who has been personally known to the interviewer

for many years, is above the average of the race for integrity and

truthfulness. His statement that he was born a few years after slavery

and that his father died during slavery was not questioned the matter

being a delicate personal affair and of no special moment.

Sam Rawls Sam T Stewart facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail