Sarah Taylor

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Sarah Taylor, R.F.D., Madison, Arkansas

Age: 70

"I was born in Releford County, Tennessee, ten miles from Murfreesboro.

My parents belonged to Dr. Jimmy Manson. He was off and gone from home

nearly all the time. He didn't have a Negro driver. Because he didn't

they called us all Manson's free niggers. Folks didn't like it because

we had so much freedom. One day a terrible thing happened broke up our

happy way of living on Dr. Manson's place.

"Grandpa was part Indian. Dr. Jimmy didn't whoop. He visited and he'd

get a jug of whiskey, call his niggers and give them a little, make them

feel good and get them in a humor for working. Dr. Jimmy had a nigger

overseer. They was digging a ditch and making a turnpike from Dr.

Manson's place to Murfreesboro. They told grandpa to drive down in the

ditch with his load of rock and let the white folks drive up on the

dump. They was hauling and placing rock on the dump to make a turnpike.

In Tennessee it was a law if a man owned a nigger he had to whoop him or

have him whooped. If he didn't he had to sell him. They told grandpa

if he didn't do as they said they would whoop him, then they said they

would break his back. They took the fussing to Dr. Jimmy for him to

whoop grandpa. He sold him to nigger traders and they drove him to

Mississippi. Mother never seen him no more. Grandma died of grief. She

had nine girls and no boys. After freedom seven went North and mama,

was Jane, and Aunt Betty lived on in Tennessee, and I lived some in

Mississippi. That's the reason I hate Mississippi to this very day.

"The day they fit on Stone River in Tennessee, brother Hood was born. He

was born during the battle. I guess they moved off of Dr. Jimmy's place

at freedom, for I was born on Jack Little's place.

"The times is passing faster than I want it to and I'm doing very well.

I don't never meddle in young folks' business and I don't 'low them

meddling in mine. Folks is the ones making times so hard. Some making

times hard for all rest of us can't help ourselves. It is sin and

selfishness makes times so hard. Young folks no worse than some not so

very old. It ain't young folks making times hard. It's older ones so

greedy. They don't have no happiness and don't want to see old ones live

nor the young ones neither."

Sarah Smiley Sarah Wilson facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail