Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Slave's Christmas Memories - Nicey Pugh

Nicey Pugh was born a slave to Master Jim Bettis in Alabama:

"At Christmas time, Massa would have a bunch of niggers to kill a hog an' barbecue him, an' de womens would make' lasses cake, an' ole massa Jim had some kinda seed dat he made beer outen, an' we-alls drank beer 'roun' Christmas."

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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