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Slave Narratives

A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves Georgia Narratives (Complete)

United States Work Projects Administration

301 pages
Library of Alexandria
Rachel Adams' two-room, frame house is perched on the side of a steep hill where peach trees and bamboo form dense shade. Stalks of corn at the rear of the dwelling reach almost to the roof ridge and a portion of the front yard is enclosed for a chicken yard. Stepping gingerly around the amazing number of nondescript articles scattered about the small veranda, the visitor rapped several times on the front door, but received no response. A neighbor said the old woman might be found at her son's store, but she was finally located at the home of a daughter. Rachel came to the front door with a sandwich of hoecake and cheese in one hand and a glass of water in the other. "Dis here's Rachel Adams," she declared. "Have a seat on de porch." Rachel is tall, thin, very black, and wears glasses. Her faded pink outing wrapper was partly covered by an apron made of a heavy meal sack. Tennis shoes, worn without hose, and a man's black hat completed her outfit. Rachel began her story by saying: "Miss, dats been sich a long time back dat I has most forgot how things went. Anyhow I was borned in Putman County 'bout two miles from Eatonton, Georgia. My Ma and Pa was 'Melia and Iaaac Little and, far as I knows, dey was borned and bred in dat same county. Pa, he was sold away from Ma when I was still a baby. Ma's job was to weave all de cloth for de white folks. I have wore many a dress made out of de homespun what she wove. Dere was 17 of us chillun, and I can't 'member de names of but two of 'em now—dey was John and Sarah. John was Ma's onliest son; all de rest of de other 16 of us was gals. "Us lived in mud-daubed log cabins what had old stack chimblies made out of sticks and mud. Our old home-made beds didn't have no slats or metal springs neither. Dey used stout cords for springs. De cloth what dey made the ticks of dem old hay mattresses and pillows out of was so coarse dat it scratched us little chillun most to death, it seemed lak to us dem days. I kin still feel dem old hay mattresses under me now. Evvy time I moved at night it sounded lak de wind blowin' through dem peach trees and bamboos 'round de front of de house whar I lives now.