Susa Lagrone

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Susa Lagrone

25th and Texas Streets, Pine Bluff, Ark.

Age: 79

"I don't know exactly how old I am but I know I was here at surrender.

I was born in Mississippi. I seen the soldiers after they come home.

They camped right there at our gate.

"I think--now I don't know, but I think I was bout six or seven when

they surrendered. I went down to the gate with Miss Sally and the

children. Old mistress' name was Sally Stanton. She was a widow woman.

"I learned to knit durin' the war. They'd give me a task to do, so

much to do a day, and then I'd have all evenin' to play.

"My father was a mechanic. He laid brick and plaster. You know in them

days they plastered the houses. He belonged to old man Frank Scott. He

was such a good worker Mr. Scott would give him all the work he could

after he was free. That was in Mississippi.

"I went to school right smart after freedom. Fore freedom the white

folks learned me my ABC's. My mistress was good and kind to me.

"When we went down to the gate to see the soldiers, I heard Miss Judy

say (she was old mistress' sister), I heard her say, 'Well, you let em

beat you' and started cryin'. I cried too and mama said, 'What you

cryin' for?' I said, 'Miss Judy's cryin'.' Mama said, 'You fool, you

is free!' I didn't know what freedom was, but I know the soldiers

did a lot of devilment. Had guards but they just run over them


"I think Abraham Lincoln wanted to give the people some land after

they was free, but they didn't give em nothin'--just turned em loose.

"Course we ought to be free--you know privilege is worth everything.

"After surrender my mother stayed with old mistress till next year.

She thought there wasn't nobody like my mother. When she got sick old

mistress come six miles every day to see her and brought her things

till she died.

"My mother learned to weave and spin and after we was free the white

folks give her the loom. I know I made a many a yard of cloth after

surrender. My mother was a seamstress and she learned me how to sew.

"I never did hire out--just worked at home. My mother had six boys and

six girls and they're all dead but me and my sister.

"Somebody told me I was twenty-five when I married. Had three

children--all livin'.

"I used to see the white folks lookin' at a map to see where the

soldiers was fightin' and I used to wonder how they could tell just

lookin' at that paper.

"Old mistress said after freedom, 'Now, Susa, I don't want you to

suffer for nothin.' I used to go up there and stay for weeks at a


"I just got down with rheumatism here bout three or four years ago,

and you know it goes hard with me--I always been used to workin' all

my life."

Sue Higgins Susan Bledsoe facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail