Document A (Original Spelling) This is an interview with William Colbert, a 93-year-old former slave from Alabama. The interview was conducted by John Morgan Smith in 1937. [Interviewer]: “Well, Uncle Will, tell me something about the slavedays. Was your master good to you?” [William Colbert]: “Nawsuh, he warn’t good to none of us niggers. All de niggers ‘roun’ hate to be bought by him kaze he wuz so mean. . . . One day I remembermy brother, January wuz cotched overseeing agal in the nextplantation. . . . Well suh, when da massa found out thathe wuz a hour late, he got mad as a hive of bees. So when brother January camehome, de massa took down his long mule skinner and tied him witha rope to a pine tree. He strip’ his shirt off and said: “Now, nigger, I’m goin’ to teach you some sense.” “Wid dat he started laying onthe lashes. January was a big, fine lookin’nigger, de finest I ever seed. He wuz justfour years older thanme, andwhen de massa begana beatin’ him, January neversaid a word. De massa got madder kaze he couldn’t make January holla. “What’s de matter wid you, nigger!” ‘he says. “Don’t it hurt?” “January, he neversaid nothing’, and de massa kepta beatin’ till littlestreams of blood started flowing’ down January’s chest, but he neverholler. His lips wuz a quivering’ and his body wasa shakin’, but his mouthneveropened; and all the whileI sat on my mammy andpappy’s steps a cryin’. De niggers wuz all gathered about and some uv ‘em couldn’t stand it; dey hadda go inside dere cabins.” Vocabulary long mule skinner: large whip STANFORD HISTORY EDUCATION GROUP sheg.stanford.edu Document B (Original Spelling) This interview was with Tempie Herndon Durham in North Carolina. The interview was conducted by a white interviewer named Travis Jordan in 1937. Durham reported that she was 103 years old at the
time of the interview. My white folkslived in Chatham County. Dey was Marse George an’ Mis’ Betsy Herndon. . . . Dey had a big plantation an’ raised cawn, wheat, cotton an’ ‘bacca. I don’t know how many field niggers Marse George had, but he had a mess of dem, an’ he had hosses to, an’ cows, hogs an’ sheeps. . . .