Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Slave's Christmas Memories - Martha Bradley

Martha Bradley was a slave to Dr. Lucas of Mt. Meigs, Alabama, long before the War between the States:

"But Marster Lucas gin us big times on Christmas and July. Us'd have big dinners and all the lemonade us could drink. The dinner'd be spread out on de ground an' all the niggers would stand roun' and eat all dey wanted. What was lef' us'd take it to our cabins. Nancy Lucas was de cook fer ever'body...In de winter time us'd quilt; jes' go from one house to anudder in de quarter. Us'd weave all our ever'day clothes, but Marster Lucas'd go to Mobile ever' July and Christmas and git our Sunday clothes, git us dresses and shoes and we'd sho be proud of 'em."

Photos & quotes from The Slave Narratives, a collection of over 20,000 pages of typewritten interviews with more than 3,500 former slaves, collected between 1929-39. Those interviewed ranged in age from 1 to 50 at the time of emancipation in 1865; more than 2/3 were over 80 when they were interviewed. The obvious problem is the language as reported by the interviewers. The Library of Congress explains on their website, "The narratives usually involve some attempt by the interviewers to reproduce in writing the spoken language of those interviewed."

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