Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person interviewed: Sarah Taylor, R.F.D., Madison, Arkansas
"I was born in Releford County, Tennessee, ten miles from Murfreesboro.
My parents belonged to Dr. Jimmy Manson. He was off and gone from home
nearly all the time. He didn't have a Negro driver. Because he didn't
they called us all Manson's free niggers. Folks didn't like it because
we had so much freedom. One day a terrible thing happened broke up our
happy way of living on Dr. Manson's place.
"Grandpa was part Indian. Dr. Jimmy didn't whoop. He visited and he'd
get a jug of whiskey, call his niggers and give them a little, make them
feel good and get them in a humor for working. Dr. Jimmy had a nigger
overseer. They was digging a ditch and making a turnpike from Dr.
Manson's place to Murfreesboro. They told grandpa to drive down in the
ditch with his load of rock and let the white folks drive up on the
dump. They was hauling and placing rock on the dump to make a turnpike.
In Tennessee it was a law if a man owned a nigger he had to whoop him or
have him whooped. If he didn't he had to sell him. They told grandpa
if he didn't do as they said they would whoop him, then they said they
would break his back. They took the fussing to Dr. Jimmy for him to
whoop grandpa. He sold him to nigger traders and they drove him to
Mississippi. Mother never seen him no more. Grandma died of grief. She
had nine girls and no boys. After freedom seven went North and mama,
was Jane, and Aunt Betty lived on in Tennessee, and I lived some in
Mississippi. That's the reason I hate Mississippi to this very day.
"The day they fit on Stone River in Tennessee, brother Hood was born. He
was born during the battle. I guess they moved off of Dr. Jimmy's place
at freedom, for I was born on Jack Little's place.
"The times is passing faster than I want it to and I'm doing very well.
I don't never meddle in young folks' business and I don't 'low them
meddling in mine. Folks is the ones making times so hard. Some making
times hard for all rest of us can't help ourselves. It is sin and
selfishness makes times so hard. Young folks no worse than some not so
very old. It ain't young folks making times hard. It's older ones so
greedy. They don't have no happiness and don't want to see old ones live
nor the young ones neither."
Next: Warren Taylor
Previous: Millie Taylor