From: More Arkansas
Interviewer: Bernice Bowden
Person interviewed: Norman Burkes
2305 West Eleventh Street, Pine Bluff, Arkansas
"I didn't quite make slavery. Me and freedom came here together.
"I was born in Union County, Arkansas. My mother was born in Virginia
and my father was an Alabamian.
"I've heered 'em say how they done in slavery times. Whupped 'em and
worked 'em and didn't feed 'em much. Said they'd average about three
pounds of meat a week and a peck of meal, a half gallon of molasses.
That was allowed the hands for a week. No sugar and no coffee. And
they'd issue flour on Saturday so they could have Sunday morning
"My father was sold to Virginia and he and my mother was married there
and they moved with their white people here to Arkansas.
"They called their owner old Master. Yes'm, I can remember him. Many
times as he whipped me I ought to remember him. I never will forget that
old man. They claimed he was pretty good to 'em. He didn't whup 'em
much, I don't think.
"If my mother was livin' she could tell you everything about Virginia.
She was one hundred and two when she died. My folks is long livers.
"My oldest brother was sold in Virginia and shipped down into Texas
about ten years before I was born and I ain't never seen him.
"They sold wives from their husbands and children from their parents and
they couldn't help it. Just like this war business. Come and draft 'em
and they couldn't help it.
"I think the way things is now, they're goin to build up another war."
I was interviewing this man on the front porch and at this point, he got
up and went into the house, so the interview was ended as far as he was
Next: Will Burks Sr
Previous: Jeff Burgess