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Sarah Mann

From: Ohio

Wilbur Ammon, Editor
George Conn, Writer
C.R. McLean, District Supervisor
June 16, 1937

Summit County, District #9


Mrs. Mann places her birth sometime in 1861 during the first year of the
Civil War, on a plantation owned by Dick Belcher, about thirty miles
southwest of Richmond, Virginia.

Her father, Frederick Green, was owned by Belcher and her mother, Mandy
Booker, by Race Booker on an adjoining plantation. Her grandparents were
slaves of Race Booker.

After the slaves were freed she went with her parents to Clover Hill, a
small hamlet, where she worked out as a servant until she married
Beverly Mann. Rev. Mike Vason, a white minister, performed the ceremony
with, only her parents and a few friends present. At the close of the
ceremony, the preacher asked if they would "live together as Isaac and
Rebecca did." Upon receiving a satisfactory reply, he pronounced them
man and wife.

Mr. and Mrs. Mann were of a party of more than 100 ex-slaves who left
Richmond in 1880 for Silver Creek where Mr. Mann worked in the coal
mines. Two years later they moved to Wadsworth where their first child
was born.

In 1883 they came to Akron. Mr. Mann, working as laborer, was able to
purchase two houses on Furnace Street, the oldest and now one of the
poorer negro sections of the city. It is situated on a high bluff
overlooking the Little Cuyahoga River.

Today Mrs. Mann, her daughter, a son-in-law and one grandchild occupy
one of the houses. Three children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Mann, but
only one is living. Mr. Mann, a deacon in the church, died three years
ago. Time has laid its heavy hand on her property. It is the average
home of colored people living in this section, two stories, small front
yeard, enclosed with wooden picket fence. A large coal stove in front
room furnishes heat. In recent years electricity has supplanted the
overhead oil lamp.

Most of the furnishings were purchased in early married life. They are
somewhat worn but arranged in orderly manner and are clean.

Mrs. Mann is tall and angular. Her hair is streaked with gray, her face
thin, with eyes and cheek bones dominating. With little or no southern
accent, she speaks freely of her family, but refrains from discussing
affairs of others of her race.

She is a firm believer in the Bible. It is apparent she strives to lead
a religious life according to her understanding. She is a member of the
Second Baptist Church since its organization in 1892.

Having passed her three score and ten years she is "ready to go when the
Lord calls her."

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