Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Slave's Christmas Memories - Ellen Butler

Ellen Butler was born a slave to Richmond Butler, near Whiska Chitte, in the northern part of Calacasieu Parish (now a part of Beau Regard Parish), in Louisiana:

"On Christmas time they give us a meal. I 'member that. I don't 'member no other holidays."

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."