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African American Lives 2 -- Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
In Search of Our Roots -- Buy the companion book now from ShopPBS
Sharing Stories: One Family's Story
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STORYTELLER LOCATION YEAR TOOK PLACE TELLER'S PLACE OF ORIGIN HOW YOU HEARD
my mother, my aunts and uncles Stedman, Cumberland County, North Carolina 1925 Cumberland County, Stedman, North Carolina oral tradition

Many many stories about my grandfather Rufus Malloy were told to me. During thunderstorms or days when it snowed or any quiet time, one of his children would volunteer some information about this remarkable man born of slaves who amassed so much land during a time when many people of all races barely had a corner lot. This man had a farm which had a saw mill and orchards of fruit trees, live stock and even made his own mash.

As many farmers used there children as farm hands to work such a huge place, often those persons needing help would often ask to borrow those children. This particular spring day was planting time and this white man who knew Papa as he was called by my mother asked for my grandfathers help to get a particular field hoed and chopped as mother put it. On the particular day all but 4 of the children gathered on the porch as Papa called them, he told them, "this morning I want you to go over to the Faircloths and your gonna work in his field today." Well doing as they were told, they approached the mans field. Mr. Faircloths seeing them walking over, puffed up because he had negros to do all this hard labor. He said of all things, "alright you niggas get to work and I mean now." Well my aunts and uncles including my mother threw down the hoes, rakes, and shovels and turned on there heels and left. Mr. Faircloth was shouting, "where you crazy niggas going, come back here damn it and get to work." Well they returned home. Papa was amazed at seeing them and found out what had happened. He got on his horse and road over to see this man. He returned an hour later and announced, "your going back to work this field because I gave my word. There won't be any more foolishness or name calling." Now my people didn't want to go but Papa's word was law and so they began the trek back. Mr. Faircloth didn't apologize and thought that he was in no way offensive. He explained what he needed and got out of everybody's way.

It may not be an interesting story as I imagine to anyone else not connected to my family. But to hear my mother tell this story with such light in her eyes, was one of those things that happened in her life which she never forgot.

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Major corporate funding for African American Lives 2 and its outreach initiatives is provided by The Coca-Cola Company and Johnson & Johnson. Additional corporate funding is provided by Buick.
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