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William Hunter

From: Arkansas

Interviewer: Miss Irene Robertson
Person interviewed: William Hunter, Brinkley, Arkansas
Age: 70

"John McBride was my mother's last owner. His wife died in slavery. I
never heard her name called. My mother come from Abbeville, South
Carolina, a Negro trading point. When she was put on the block my father
went to McBride and asked him to buy that woman for him a wife. He said
she was a mighty pretty young woman. McBride bought her. I don't know
how they got to Carroll County, Mississippi but that is where I was
born. My mother raised Walter and Johnny McBride (white). She nursed one
of them along with my brother May--May McBride was his name. That was at
Asme, Alabama before I was born. I heard my mother say she never worked
in the field but two years in her whole life. It must have been just
after the war, for I have seen a ditch she and another woman cut. When
they cut it, it was 4 ft. x 4 ft. I don't know the length. When I seed
it, it was a creek 100 ft. wide. I don't know how deep. I recollect
hearing my father talk about clearing land before freedom but I don't
know if he was in Alabama or Mississippi then.

"My mother was mixed with the white race. She was a bright woman. My
father was a real dark man. He was a South Carolina gutchen--soft water
folks, get mad and can't talk. He was crazy about yellow folks.

"McBride died fifty-one years ago. When I was a boy he carried me with
him--right in the buggy or oxcart with him till I was up nineteen years
old. He went to the saloon to get a dram. I got one too. When he went
to a big hotel to eat something he sent out the kitchen door to me out
to our buggy or wagon. We camped sometimes when we went to town. It took
so long to go over the roads.

"When freedom was declared McBride called up all his slaves and told em
they was free; they could go or stay on. My father moved off two years
after freedom and then he moved back and we stayed till the old man
died. Then my father went to Varden, Mississippi and worked peoples
gardens. He was old then too.

"I never seen a 'white cap' (Ku Klux). I heard a heap of talk about em.
The people in Mississippi had respect for colored worship.

"I farmed till we went to Varden, Mississippi. I started working on the
section. I was brakeman on the train out from Water Valley. Then I come
to Wheatley, Arkansas. I worked on the section. All told, I worked forty
years on the section. I worked on a log wagon, with a tire company, at
the oil mill and in the cotton mill. I had a home till it went in the
Home Loan. I have to pay $2.70 a month payments. I get commodities, no
money, from the Welfare. My wife is dead now."

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