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Slavery and the Making of AmericaPhoto of a slave family on a plantation in Georgia
Time and Place Slave Memories Resources The Slave Experience

The Slave Experience: Family
Intro Historical Overview Character Spotlight All in the Family Personal Narratives Original Docs
Personal Narratives The Family
'Papa and mama got, got together somehow. I don't know how ...' - Celia Black
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Personal Narratives
Celia Black
Interviewee: Celia Black
Interviewer: Elmer Sparks [with Celia Black's daughter]

CB's Daughter: Celia? Tell him about when you were born in Mrs. C.'s bed.

CB: I did. I was born behind a rich white woman. I sure was. She wasn't no poor woman. No, she wasn't. Her husband was living then. Oh, she wasn't no poor woman. Mama, she, she brought my mother up here from South, oh from one the other, in this country. She brought my mother here in Texas, when she was young. Oh, my mother was young. She wasn't grown. Oh, she brought her here. Oh, way up Texas [unintelligible] get grown. Oh, we've heard, we've heard tell. Oh. Well, my pa, my father and that, they, hired him to help her. Her white man, was name Mr. R. Mr. R. was a white man, and papa, papa was a [unintelligible] a boy. And he raised, Mr. C.'s boss, boss, uh got, hired him to be his yard boy. When mama, she was at Mrs. C.'s here uh, uh, uh a house girl there. [unintelligible] papa and mama got, got together somehow. I don't know how they got together. But anyhow, my, my papa and then mama, uh. Mr. C. hired my, my father be a yard boy. He stayed there till he was a grown young man too, with Mr.C. There they kept in her yard and kept her house, her yard and her horses. Oh.

In the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) sponsored a federal project dedicated to chronicling the experience of slavery as remembered by former slaves and their descendants. Their stories were recorded and transcribed, and this site presents dozens of select sound recordings and hundreds of transcriptions from the interviews. Beyond the content of the interviews, little to no biographical information is available on the individuals whose interviews appear here.


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