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Slavery and the Making of AmericaPicture of a plantation house near Social Circle, Georgia
Time and Place Slave Memories Resources The Slave Experience

The Slave Experience: Living
Intro Historical Overview Character Spotlight A Year in the Life Personal Narratives Original Docs
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Personal Narratives

Interviewee: Celia Black
Interviewer: Elmer Sparks [with Celia Black's daughter]

CBD: Were you born at Mrs. C.'s?

CB: I was born right be, behind Mrs. C.'s on a Tuesday morning, my mother said. My mother said it was on a Tuesday morning. Mama. I was born right behind Mrs. C.'s, in her bed. She always, my mother always slept with Mrs. C. when she was young, was young, before she was married. And Mrs. C.,after she was married, my papa, Mrs.C. wouldn't, wouldn't agree for my papa to take her away from there. No, she wouldn't. She wouldn't agree for her to try and take her away from there. Oh, oh. In them days, them days the white people had control over the, when they had, uh, uh, uh colored help, they wouldn't hardly, wouldn't agree, agree for you to take them away from them. Then, and my, Mrs. C. brought my mother to this country, she wouldn't let no, wouldn't let, wouldn't let nobody take, take her away from there. She raised her there, with, with her children, with her children. She raised her there with her boys and girls. She didn't have but one girl. Oh, but she had five or six boys. She had, had, she had five boys, Mrs. C. did. Oh, but mama was just the only one, uh, only, and uh, and uh, Mrs. C.'s girl, she didn't have but one girl, and she, and she was a little. She was little. She wasn't no big girl. Oh. Oh, but she stayed there till, till she got to be a young missy. Oh, with, with, with mama, with mama and then, uh, I was a, she growed up to a big [unintelligible] when I was grown. [unintelligible] Before she, ever think about time to get around amongst her boys.

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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