"Mammy done put my age in de Bible and I'm eighty-eight years old now. I'm born in 1849. But I can git round. Course, I can't work now, but, shucks, I done my share of work already. I works from time I'm eight years old till I'm eighty past, and I'd be workin' yit if de rheumatis' misery didn't git me in de arms and legs. It make me stiff, so I can't walk good.
"Yes, suh, I starts to work when eight on dat plantation where I'm born. Dat in Arkansaw, and Massa Hampton own me and my mammy and eight other niggers. My pappy am somewhere, but I don't know where or nothin' 'bout him.
"Us all work from light to dark and Sunday, too. I don't know what Sunday am till us come to Texas, and dances and good things, I don't know nothin' 'bout dem till us come to Texas. Massa Hampton, he am long on de work and short on de rations, what he measure out for de week. Seven pounds meat and one peck meal and one quart 'lasses, and no more for de week. If us run out, us am out, dat's all.
"One day us gits sold to Massa Tom Young. He feels mammy's muscles and looks on her for marks of de whip. Massa Young say he give $700, but Massa Hampton say no, he want $1,000. He say, 'Yous takin' dem to Texas, where dey sho' to be slaves, 'spite de war.'
"Finally Massa Young gives $900 for us and off us go to Texas. Dat in 1861, de fall de year, and it am three teams mules and three teams oxen hitch to wagons full of farm things and rations and sich. Us on de road more'n three weeks, maybe a month, befo' us git to Robinson County.
"When us git dere, de work am buildin' de cabins and house and den clear de land, and by Spring, us ready to put in de crops, de corn and cotton. Massa Young am good and give us plenty to eat. He has 'bout twenty slaves and us works reason'ble, and has good time 'pared with befo'. On Saturday night it am dancin' and music and singin', and us never heared of sich befo'.
"One day Massa Young call us to de house and tell us he don't own us no more, and say us can stay and he pay us some money, if us wants. He ask mammy to stay and cook and she does, but I'm strongheaded and runs off to Calvert and goes to work for Massa Brown, and dere I stays till I'm growed. He paid me $10.00 de month and den $15.00.
"When I's twenty-five I marries Addie Easter and us have no chillen and she dies ten years after. Den I drifts 'round, workin' here and yonder and in 1890 I marries dat woman settin' right dere. Den I rents de farm and if de crops am good, de prices am bad, and if de prices am good, de crops am bad. So it go and us lives, and not too good, at dat. I quits in 1925 and comes to Fort Worth and piddles at odd jobs till my rheumatis' git so bad five years ago.
"I done forgit to tell you 'bout de Klux. Dem debbils causes lots of trouble. Dey done de dirty work at night, come and took folks out and whip dem.
"Some cullud folks am whip so hard dey in bed sev'ral weeks and I knowed some hanged by dey thumbs. Maybe some dem cullud folks gits out dere places, but mostest dem I knows gits whip for nothin'. It jus' de orneriness dem Klux. It so bad de cullud folks 'fraid to sleep in dey house or have parties or nothin' after dark. Dey starts for de woods or ditches and sleeps dere. It git so dey can't work for not sleepin', from fear of dem Klux. Den de white folks takes a hand and sojers am brung and dey puts de stop to dem debbils.
"'Bout de livin' now, us jus' can't make it. Us lives on what de pension am and dat $30.00 de month, and it mighty close us has to live to git by on sich. I thinks of Massa Young, and us live better den dan now.
"I never votes, 'cause I can't read and dat make troublement for me to vote. How I gwine make de ticket for dis and dat? For dem what can read, dey can vote."