Tom Haynes

--- 1- 1937

Interviewer: Mrs. Bernice Bowden

Person interviewed: Tom Haynes

1110 W. Second Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas


"I was six years old when the war ended--the day we was set free. My old

mistress, Miss Becky Franks, come in and say to my mother 'Addie, you is

free this morning' and commenced cryin'. She give my mother some jerked

beef for us.

"I know I run out in the yard where there was eighty Yankee soldiers and

I pulled out my shirt tail and ran down the road kickin' up the dust and

sayin', 'I'm free, I'm free!' My mother said, 'You'd better come back


"I never knew my mother to get but one whippin'. She put out her mouth

against old mistress and she took her out and give her a breshin'.

"I can remember away back. I can remember when I was three years old.

One day I was out in the yard eatin' dirt and had dirt all over my face.

Young master Henry come out and say 'Stick out your tongue, I'm goin' to

cut it off.' I was scared to death. He said 'Now you think you can quit

eatin' that dirt?' I said 'Yes' so he let me go.

"One time the Yankee soldiers took young Master Henry and hung him up by

the thumbs and tried to make him tell where the money was. Master

Henry's little brother Jim and me run and hid. We thought they was goin'

to hang us too. We crawled under the house just like two frogs lookin'


"Old master had about thirty-five hands but some of em run away to war.

My father run away too, but the war ended before he could get into it.

"I went to school a little while, but my father died and my mother bound

me out to a white man.

"When we was first freed I know those eighty soldiers took us colored

folks to the county band in Monticello. There was forty soldiers in the

back and forty in front and we was in the swing.

"I learned to read after I was grown. I worked for the railroad in the

freight office fifteen years and learned to check baggage.

"I was a house mover when I was able, but I'm not able to work now. I

own this house here and I'm livin' on the relief.

"My father was a blacksmith and shoemaker--made all our shoes. I've

lived in town all my life.

"The people are better off free if they had any sense. They need a

leader. When they had a chance if they had bought property, but no--they

wanted to get in office and when they got in they didn't know how to

act. And the young people don't use their education to help


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