Virginia Jackson

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson

Person interviewed: Virginia Jackson,

Helena, Arkansas

Age: 74

[Date Stamp: MAY 31 1938]

"Mother said I was born the same year peace was declared. I was born

before the Civil War close, I reckon. I was born in Tunica,

Mississippi. Mother belong to Mistress Cornelia and Master John Hood.

He come from Alabama in wagons and brought mother and whole lot of

'em, she said, to Tunica, Mississippi. My mother and father never

sold. They told me that. She said she was with the master and he give

her to father. He ask her did she want him and ask him if he want her.

They lived on joint places. They slept together on Wednesday and

Saturday nights. He stayed at Hood's place on Sunday. They was owned

by different masters. They didn't never say 'bout stepping over no

broom. He was a Prince. When he died she married a man named Russell.

I never heard her say what his name was. My father was Mathew Prince.

They was both field hands. I never knowed my father. I called my

stepfather popper. I always did say mother.

"Mother said her master didn't tell them it was freedom. Other folks

got told in August. They passed it 'round secretly. Some Yankees come

asked if they was getting paid for picking cotton in September. They

told their master. They told the Yankees 'yes' 'cause they was afraid

they would be run off and no place to go. They said Master Hood paid

them well for their work at cotton selling time. He never promised

them nothing. She said he never told one of them to leave or to stay.

He let 'em be. I reckon they got fed. I wore cotton sack dresses. It

wasn't bagging. It was heavy stiff cloth.

"Mother and her second husband come to Forrest City. They hoped they

could do better. I come too. I worked in the field all my whole life

'cepting six years I worked in a laundry. I washed and ironed. I am a

fine ironer. If I was younger I could get all the mens' shirts I could

do now. I do a few but I got neuralgia in my arms and shoulders.

"I don't believe in talking 'bout my race. They always been lazy folks

and smart folks, and they still is. The present times is good for me.

I'm so thankful. I get ten dollars and some help, not much. I don't go

after it. I let some that don't get much as I get have it. I told 'em

to do that way."

Virginia Bell Virginia Jennie Davis facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail