African American Lives 2 -- Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
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father alabama 1830s mississsippi family legend

My father, Clarence WIlliams was born in 1906 in MS. He told this story all of my his life that happened in AL. His great great uncle was a prized slave who could do the work of three men. He was so valued that he did not eat at the designated spot/hut where all slaves were required to eat their noon meal after being summoned from the fields. This was a general communal low-quality meal. my father said," His wife was "allowed to prepare him a meal and bring it direcetly to him during the 12 o'clock dinner time. He would sit up under a big tree everyday and eat his meal prepared by his wife and brought out to him in a bucket. Well, one day a new overseer was working on "the place" and saw uncle eating alone under the tree and said to him, 'Why ain't you eating with the other niggers'?" Uncle was explaining that "the Marster told me that my wife could cook for me bring my meal to me everyday". Well, the 'po white' overseer said to him as he ate out of his tin pan, "Git up and go eat with the other niggers." My father said, Uncle tried to expain to him one more time that this priviledge was given to hime my the Marster. The overseer said, "Didn't you hear me? Git up now! My father said that his uncle never uttered another word, he just continued to eat his meal. At that point the overseer, seated on his horse pulled out his whip and lashed Uncle right across his brow and blood began to drip from his forehead into this into plate. He sat there watching his blood dripping without speaking until the overseer drew back the whip to lash him again and uncle caught the whip in his bare hand and yanked him from his horse. Uncle had a blade in his boot and beheaded the overseer. He waded out into a pond and as they sent bloodhounds out after him, he proceeded to behead about 12 young dogs. The older dogs refused to go near uncle. When the marster arrived, he instructed them to wound, but not kill him. He was wounded and apprehended, but the marster said that there would be no harsh punishments because the overseer did not listen and caused all this trouble for nothing. He was shackled for the rest of his life, but never produced the way he had in the past.

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