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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
'When I got married they got me a home on the place ...' - Harriet Smith
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Personal Narratives
Harriet Smith
Interviewee: Harriet Smith
Interviewer: John Henry Faulk

JHF: Oh you bought your home. About how long after the big break up did you all buy your home?

HS: Oh, I didn't buy. We didn't buy. Pa bought the home from old R., across the creek. And he stayed down there. And I used to stay with Aunt Rose an Uncle George. They was old folks, had no children, you know. They used to get me to come stay with them. And when I married they give me a home on the place.

JHF: Well were they white folks?

HS: No, colored folks.

JHF: Oh, colored folks. Well, how old were you when you married?

HS: I don't know, about seventeen, eighteen years old. Well maybe not that old. I didn't know my age. But ma and them knew. They didn't tell us though. We just guessed at it.

JHF: Who did you marry?

HS: J. S.

JHF: J. S. Had he been a, had he, had he been a, a slave?

HS: Oh yes. He was a slave. After the break up they sent him, he come from Blanco and bought a home over across the creek where we bought homes, adjoining our home. His father and mother did, you know. [mumbles]

JHF: Uh, well, he, he had been freed then, I guess, the, uh, same time you had.

HS: Oh yes, yes. They lived at Blanco. They bought them a home over in the colony. R. had sold the colored people all the homes there. I don't know.

JHF: Who was R.?

HS: A white man name R. lived right down the hill from us. They sold P. B. a home, and uh, pa had a home, Uncle Dave a home. All, all of them just all of them [JHF interrupts]

JHF: Well I declare. Uh, that was right after the big break up was it, uh?

HS: Mmmm. About two, three years after the break up.

JHF: Huh, and you just had a colony of, uh, colored folks?

HS: Yes, that colony, where we, where I come from, has got homes out there. At Buellah they call it now. It wasn't nothing but woods when we bought it.

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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