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Excerpt: A former slave looks back

    "I was born in Dunbar, West Virginia, in the year 1847, and was owned by Ellis Grant...
    "Our homelife as slave children was hell, as we never had any playtime at all.  From the time we could walk Mistress had us carrying in wood and water and we did not know what it was to get out and romp and play like children do now.
    "Our quarters was pretty good, they were built out of bark logs and all the cracks were daubed with mud to keep out the cold and rain.  Our beds, they were built down on the ground in one corner of our quarters out of moss, shucks and grass.  Yes, we kept real warm in there all the time as we had a big rock fireplace built to keep us warm.  We kept plenty wood as that and water was about all we got free.
    "As slaves we done all kinds of work such as hoe tobacco, pull and dry it then, we cut rails for fences, and just anything that Mas[t]er had to do as it did not make any difference to him, he worked men or women slaves just alike.  The women cooked and washed dishes while the men tended to the stock that Mas[t]er owned.  Mas[t]er would give us a nickel or dime once in awhile, and we bought candy and things like that when he would give us any money, but that was seldom ever, maybe one or twice a year.
    "Yes, we had plenty to eat, such as it was.  We had cornbread, gathered right out of the fields as we ate it grated by hand, nothing in it but water and salt.  We had pork and beef cooked on the open fireplace most of the time and we called it roasted meat, it was sure good.  Yes, we had plenty rabbit, possum and fish, but I never did care anything about such except fish.  I sure did like fish fried good and brown on a big flat iron skillet in plenty hog grease."

Source: Lizzie Grant, March 6, 1938

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