Sara Brown

Code No. ----

Project. 1885-(1)

Prepared by Annie Ruth Davis

Place, Marion, S. C.

Date, July 8, 1937

No. Words ----

Reduced From ---- words

Rewritten by ----


Ex-Slave, 85 years

"Oh, my God, de doctors have me in slavery time. Been here de startin of

de first war. I belong to de Cusaac dat live 15 miles low Florence on de

road what take you on to Georgetown. I recollects de Yankees come dere

in de month of June en free de colored peoples."

"My white folks give me to de doctors in dem days to try en learn me for

a nurse. Don' know exactly how old I was in dat day en time, but I can

tell you what I done. My Lord, child, can' tell dat. Couldn' never tell

how many baby I bring in dis world, dey come so fast. I betcha I got

more den dat big square down dere to de courthouse full of em. I nurse

13 head of chillun in one family right here in dis town. You see dat all

I ever did have to do. Was learnt to do dat. De doctor tell me, say,

when you call to a 'oman, don' you never hesitate to go en help her en

you save dat baby en dat mother both. Dat what I is always try to do.

Heap of de time just go en let em pay me by de chance. Oh, my Lord, a

'oman birth one of dem babies here bout two weeks ago wid one of dem

veil over it face. De Lord know what make dat, I don', but dem kind of

baby sho wiser den de other kind of baby. Dat thing look just like a

thin skin dat stretch over da baby face en come down low it's chin. Have

to take en pull it back over it's forehead en den de baby can see en

holler all it ever want to. My blessed, honey, wish I had many a dollar

as I see veil over baby face. Sho know all bout dem kind of things."

"Oh, honey, I tell you de people bless dis day en time. Don' know nothin

bout how to be thankful enough for what dey have dese days. I tell de

truth de peoples sho had to scratch bout en make what dey had in slavery

time. Baby, dey plant patches of okra en parch dat en make what coffee

dey have. Den dey couldn' get no shoes like dey hab dese days neither.

Just make em out of de hide of dey own cows dat dey butcher right dere

on de plantation. Coase de peoples had plenty sometin to eat like meat

en turkey en chicken en thing like dat. Oh, my God, couldn' see de top

of de smoke house for all de heap of meat dey have in dem times. En milk

en butter, honey, dey didn' never be widout plenty of dat. De peoples

bout here dese days axes ten cents a quart for sweet milk en five cents

a quart for old sour clabber. What you think bout dat? Dat how-come

people have to hunt jobs so mucha dese days. Have to do some sorta work

cause you know dey got to put sometin in dey mouth somewhe' or another.

Oh, my child, slavery days was troublesome times. Sugar en salt never

run free wid de peoples den neither. I know de day been here when salt

was so scarce dat dey had to go to de seashore en get what salt dey had.

I gwine to tell you all bout dat. Dey hitch up two horses to a wagon en

den dey make another horse go in front of de wagon to rest de other

horses long de way. Dey mostly go bout on a Monday en stay three days.

Boil dat salty water down dere en fetch two en three of dem barrel of

salt back wid em dey get dat way. It was just like dis, it take heap of

salt when dey had dem big hog-killin days. En de sugar, dey make dat

too. Made de sugar in lil blocks dat dey freeze just like dey freeze ice

dis day en time. I know dey do dat--know it. Dey make molasses en some

of it would be lighter den de other en dey freeze dat en make de

prettiest lil squares just like de ice you see dese days. Dey have

sometin to freeze it in. Dis here old black mammy know heap of things

you ain' never hear bout. Oh, baby, de peoples sho bless dese days."

"Oh, my god, de colored peoples worship to de white folks church in

slavery time. You know dat Hopewell Church over de river dere, dat a

slavery church. Dat whe' I go to church den wid my white folks. I had a

lil chair wid a cowhide bottom dat I always take everywhe' I go wid me.

If I went to church, dat chair go in de carriage wid me en den I take it

in de church en set right by de side of my Miss. Dat how it was in

slavery time. Oh, my Lord, dere a big slavery people graveyard dere to

dat Hopewell Church."

"Honey, you mind if I smoke my pipe a lil whilst I settin here talkin

wid you. I worry so much wid dis high blood dese days en a ringin in my

ears dat my pipe de only thing dat does seem to satisfy my soul. I tell

you dat high blood a bad thing. It get such a hold on me awhile back dat

I couldn' do nothin, couldn' pick cotton, couldn' say my--me, couldn'

even say, God a mighty--thing pretty. Oh, I don' know. I start smokin

pipe long time ago when I first start nursin babies. Had to do sometin

like dat den."

"No, Lord, I never believe nothin bout dat but what God put here. I hear

some people say dey was conjure, but I don' pay no attention to dey

talk. Dey say somebody poison em for sometin dey do, but dere ain'

nobody do dat. God gwine to put you down when he get ready. Ain' nobody

else do dat."

"Oh, my Lord, I been here a time. I sho been here a time en I thank de

Lord I here dis day en time. I can thread my needle good as ever I could

en I ain' have no speck neither. Sew night en day. De chillun have dey

lamp dere studyin en I hab my lamp dere sewin. My old Miss learnt me to

sew when I stay right in de house wid her all de time. I stay bout white

folks all my life en dat how-come I so satisfy when I wid em."

Source: Mom Sara Brown, age 85, ex-slave, Marion, S. C.

Personal interview, June 1937.

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