“’Fore de War, all work stopped on de plantation for de funeral of a slave. Grandma didn’t think chillun ought to see funerals, so de first one I ever seed, wuz when ma died two years atter de War wuz done over. A jackleg colored preacher talked, but he didn’t have sense ’nuff to preach a sho’ ’nuff sermon.
“Us heared a heap ’bout dem Ku Kluxers, but none of my folks never even seed any of ’em. Dey wuz s’posed to have done lots of beatin’ of colored folks, but nobody knowed who dem Ku Kluxers wuz.
“A long time atter de War I got married to Traverse Colquitt. De weddin’ took place at my sister’s house, and us sho’ did have a big weddin’ and a fine dinner afterwards. Den next day my husband carried me to whar he wuz born, and his ma give us another big fine dinner. She had a table longer dan this room, and it wuz just loaded with all sorts of good things. De white folkses dat my husband had used to work for had sent some of de good vittals.
“Most of my life atter de War wuz spent in Lexin’ton. Does you know anythin’ ’bout Mr. John Bacon dat used to run de only hotel dar den? Well, I worked for him for many a year. His daughter, Miss Mamie Bacon, lives here in Athens and she is old and feeble like me. She lives ’bout four blocks from here, and whenever I’se able to walk dat far, I goes to see her to talk ’bout old times, and to git her to ’vise me how to git along. I sho’ly does love Miss Mamie.
“My husband died ’bout a year ago. Us had eight boys and two girls, but dey ain’t but four of our chillun livin’ now. Least, I thinks dey is all four alive. Two of my sons lives somewhar in Alabama, and one son stays in New York. My only livin’ daughter lives wid me here, pore thing! Since she seed one of her chillun killed last year, she ain’t had no mind a t’all. I’se tryin’ to look atter her and de other child. Her husband done been dead a long time. My neighbors helps me, by bringin’ me a little to eat, when dey knows I ain’t got nothin’ in de house to cook. De storekeeper lets me have a little credit, but I owe her so much now dat I’se ‘shamed to ax her to let me have anythin’ else. De white folkses on Prince Avenue is right good to let me have dey clo’es to wash, and de young gals in the neighborhood helps me to do de washin’. I sho’ is hopin’ de old age pension will soon git started comin’ to me. Some dat I know, has been gittin’ dey old age pensions two or three months. I done signed up for mine twict, so maybe it will ’gin to come ’fore I is done plum wore out.”
When her visitor was ready to leave, Martha hobbled to the door and bade her an affectionate farewell. “Goodbye, Lady! I prays for you every night. May de good Lord bless you.”
PLANTATION LIFE AS VIEWED BY AN EX-SLAVE
Minnie Davis, Age 78 237 Billups St. Athens, Ga.
Mrs. Sadie B. Hornsby