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Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 288 pages of information about Slave Narratives.
for the money, he carried them straight to the swamps and showed than where the money was hidden.”  Although the Yeard [TR:  typo “Heard”] farm was in the country the highway was very near and Mrs. Avery told of the long army of soldiers marching to La Grange singing the following song:  “Rally around the flag boys, rally around the flag, joy, joy, for freedom.”  When the war ended Mr. Heard visited every slave home and broke the news to each family that they were free people and if they so desired could remain on his plantation.  Mrs. Avery’s family moved away, in fact most slave families did, for old man Heard had been such a cruel master everyone was anxious to get away from him.  However, one year later he sold his plantation to Mr George Traylor and some of the families moved back, Mrs. Avery’s family included.

Mrs. Avery married at the age of 16; and was the mother of 14 children, three of whom are still living.  Although she has had quite a bit of illness during her life, at present she is quite well and active in spite of her old age.  She assured the writer that the story of slavery, which she had given her, was a true one and sincerely hoped it would do some good in this world.

FOLKLORE (Negro) Minnie B. Ross

[Mrs. Celestia Avery]

In a small house at 173 Phoenix Alley, N.E. lives a little old woman about 5 ft. 2 in. in height, who is an ex-slave.  She greeted the writer with a bright smile and bade her enter and have a seat by the small fire in the poorly lighted room.  The writer vividly recalled the interview she gave on slavery previously and wondered if any facts concerning superstitions, conjure, signs, etc. could be obtained from her.  After a short conversation pertaining to everyday occurrences, the subject of superstition was broached to Mrs. Avery.  The idea amused her and she gave the writer the following facts:  As far as possible the stories are given in her exact words.  The interview required two days, November 30 and December 2, 1936.

“When you see a dog lay on his stomach and slide it is a true sign of death.  This is sho true cause it happened to me.  Years ago when I lived on Pine Street I was sitting on my steps playing with my nine-months old baby.  A friend uv mine came by and sat down; and as we set there a dog that followed her began to slide on his stomach.  It scared me; and I said to her, did you see that dog?  Yes, I sho did.  That night my baby died and it wuzn’t sick at all that day.  That’s the truth and a sho sign of death.  Anudder sign of death is ter dream of a new-born baby.  One night not so long ago I dreamt about a new-born baby and you know I went ter the door and called Miss Mary next door and told her I dreamed about a new-born baby, and she said, Oh! that’s a sho sign of death.  The same week that gal’s baby over there died.  It didn’t surprise me when I heard it cause I knowed somebody round here wuz go die.”  She continued: 

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