Will Glass

Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor

Person interviewed: Will Glass

715 W. Eighth Street, Little Rock, Arkansas

Age: 50

Occupation: All phases of paving work

[HW: [Bit Dog's Foot Off]]

"My grandfather was named Joe Glass. His master was named Glass. I

forget the first name. My grandfather on my mother's side was named

Smith. His old master was named Smith. The grandfather Joe was born in

Alabama. Grandfather Smith was born in North Carolina."


"There were good masters and mean masters. Both of my old grandfathers

had good masters. I had an uncle, Anderson Fields, who had a tough

master. He was so tough that Uncle Anderson had to run away. They'd whip

him and do around, and he would run away. Then they would get the dogs

after him and they would run him until he would climb a tree to get away

from them. They would come and surround the tree and make him come down

and they would whip him till the blood ran, and sometimes they would

make the dogs bite him and he couldn't do nothing about it. One time he

bit a dog's foot off. They asked him why he did that and he said the dog

bit him and he bit him back. They whipped him again. They would take him

home at night and put what they called the ball and chain on him and

some of the others they called unruly to keep them from running away.

"They didn't whip my grandfathers. Just one time they whipped

Grandfather Joe. That was because he wouldn't give his consent for them

to whip his wife. He wouldn't stand for it and they strapped him. He

told them to strap him and leave her be. He was a good worker and they

didn't want to kill him, so they strapped him and let her be like he



"Both of my grandfathers said their masters used to give picnics. They

would have a certain day and they would give them all a good time and

let them enjoy themselves. They would kill a cow or some kids and hogs

and have a barbecue. They kept that up after freedom. Every nineteenth

of June, they would throw a big picnic until I got big enough to see and

know for myself. But their masters gave them theirs in slavery times.

They gave it to them once a year and it was on the nineteenth of June


"Grandfather Joe said when he wanted to marry Jennie, she was under her

old master, the man that Anderson worked under. Old man Glass found that

Grandfather Joe was slipping off to old man Field's to see Grandma

Jennie, who was on Field's place, and old man Fields went over and told

Glass that he would either have to sell Glass to him or buy Jennie from

him. Old man Glass bought Jennie and Grandfather Joe got her.

"After old man Glass bought Jennie, he held up a broom and they would

have to jump over it backwards and then old man Glass pronounced them

man and wife.

"Grandfather Joe died when I was a boy ten years old. Grandfather Smith

died in 1921. He was eighty years old when he died. Grandfather Joe was

seventy-two years old when he died. He died somewhere along in 1898."


"I heard them speak of the Ku Klux often. But they didn't call them Ku

Klux; they called them whitecaps. The whitecaps used to go around at

night and get hold of colored people that had been living disorderly

and carry them out and whip them. I never heard them say that they

whipped anybody for voting. If they did, it wasn't done in our



"Uncle Anderson said that old man Fields didn't allow them to sing and

pray and hold meetings, and they had to slip off and slip aside and hide

around to pray. They knew what to do. People used to stick their heads

under washpots to sing and pray. Some of them went out into the brush

arbors where they could pray and shout without being disturbed.

"Grandfather Joe and Grandfather Smith both said that they had seen

slaves have that trouble. Of course, it never happened on the

plantations where they were brought up. Uncle Anderson said that they

would sometimes go off and get under the washpot and sing and pray the

best they could. When they prayed under the pot, they would make a

little hole and set the pot over it. Then they would stick their heads

under the pot and say and sing what they wanted."

Slave Sales

"Grandfather Joe and Grandfather Smith used to say that when a child was

born if it was a child that was fine blooded they would put it on the

block and sell it away from its parents while it was little. Both of my

grandfathers were sold away from their parents when they were small

kids. They never knew who their parents were.

"When my oldest auntie was born, my mother said she was sold about two

years before freedom. Aunt Emma was only two years old then when she was

sold. Mother never met her until she was married and had a family. They

would sell the children slaves of that sort at auction, and let them go

to the highest bidder."


"My grandfather brought me up strictly. I don't know what they thought

about the young people of their day, but I know what I think. I will

tell you. At first I searched myself. Kids in the time I came along had

to go by a certain rule. They had to go by it.

"We don't see to our children doing right as our parents saw to our

doing. It would be good if we could get ourselves together and bring

these young people back where they belong. What ruined the young folks

is our lack of discipline. We send them to school but that is all, and

that is not enough. We ought to take it on ourselves to see that they

are learning as they ought to learn and what they ought to learn.

"I belong to Bethel A. M. E. Church. I married about 1919, November 16.

I have just one kid and two grand kids."

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