Tanner Thomas

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Tanner Thomas

1213 Louisiana, Pine Bluff, Arkansas

Age: 78

"I was born down here at Rob Roy on the river on the Emory place. My

mother's name was Dinah Thomas and my father's name was Greene Thomas.

He taken sick and died in the War on the North side. That's what my

mother told me. I was born under Mars Jordan Emory's administration.

"I 'member somebody brought me here to Pine Bluff to Lawyer Bell's

house. I stayed two or three months, then Mars Jordan sent for me and

carried me back out to Rob Roy and I stayed with my mother. She had done

married again but I stayed with her all the time till I got grown and I


"I come here in 1892 and I been here ever since--forty-six years. Oh,

whole lots of these white folks know me.

"I worked at the Standard Lumber Company and Bluff City Lumber Company

and Dilley's Foundry. Then I went to the oil mill. I was the order man.

I was the best lumber grader on the place.

"Course I knows lots of white folks and they knows me too, I done a heap

of work 'round here in different places in forty-six years.

"I went to school a little but I didn't learn nothin'.

"My mother said they come and pressed my daddy in the War. 'Course I

don't know nothin' 'bout that but my mother told me.

"Now, what is this you're gettin' up? Well, I was born in slavery times.

You know I was when my daddy was in the War.

"Oh Lord yes, I voted. I voted Republican. I didn't know whether it

would do any good or not but I just voted 'cause I had a chance. My

name's been in Washington for years 'cause I voted, you know.

"My way is dark to the younger generation now. I don't have much dealin'

with them. They are more wiser. Education has done spread all over the


"God intended for every man in the world to have a living and to live

for each other but too many of 'em livin' for themselves. But everything

goin' to work out right after awhile. God's goin' to change this thing

up after awhile. You can't rush him. He can handle these people. After

he gets through, with this generation, I think he's goin' to make a

generation that will serve him."

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