MOTHER ANNE CLARK, 112 years old, lives at 3602 Alameda Ave., El
Paso, Texas. She is too crippled to walk, but a smile lights up the
tired old eyes that still see to sew without glasses. One tooth of
a third set is in her upper gum. She is deaf, but can hear if you
speak close to her ear. She says, "Lemma git my ears open, bofe of
'em," wets her finger, then pulls so hard on the ear lobes it seems
they would be injured.
"I'll be 112 years old, come first day of June (1937). Bo'n in
Mississippi. I had two marsters, but I've been free nearly 80 years. I
was freed in Memphis.
"My marster was a Yankee. He took me to Louisiana and made a slave outta
me. But he had to go to war. He got in a quarrel one day and grabbed two
six-shooters, but a old white man got him down and nearly kilt him. Our
men got him and gave him to the Yankees.
"Capt. Clark, my second marster, took a shot at him and he couldn' come
south no more. You don' know what a time I seen! I don' wanna see no
more war. Why, we made the United States rich but the Yankees come and
tuk it. They buried money and when you bury money it goes fu'ther down,
down, down, and then you cain't fin' it.
"You know, the white folks hated to give us up worse thing in the world.
I ploughed, hoed, split rails. I done the hardest work ever a man ever
did. I was so strong, iffen he needed me I'd pull the men down so the
marster could handcuff 'em. They'd whop us with a bullwhip. We got up
at 3 o'clock, at 4 we done et and hitched up the mules and went to the
fiel's. We worked all day pullin' fodder and choppin' cotton. Marster'd
say, 'I wan' you to lead dat fiel' today, and if you don' do it I'll put
you in de stocks.' Then he'd whop me iffen I didn' know he was talkin'
"My poppa was strong. He never had a lick in his life. He helped the
marster, but one day the marster says, 'Si, you got to have a whoppin',
and my poppa says, 'I never had a whoppin' and you cain't whop me.' An'
the marster says, 'But I kin kill you,' an' he shot my poppa down. My
mama tuk him in the cabin and put him on a pallet. He died.
"My mama did the washin' for the big house. She tuk a big tub on her
head and a bucket of water in her hand. My mama had two white chillen by
marster and they were sold as slaves. I had two chillen, too. I never
married. They allus said we'd steal, but I didn' take a thing. Why,
they'd put me on a hoss with money to take into town and I'd take it to
the store in town, and when I'd git back, marster'd say, 'Anne, you
didn' take a thing.'
"When women was with child they'd dig a hole in the groun' and put their
stomach in the hole, and then beat 'em. They'd allus whop us."
"Don' gring me anything fine to wear for my birthday. I jus' wan' some
candy. I'm lookin' for Him to take me away from here."
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