Slave Narrative of Dina Beard

Interviewer: Pernella Anderson, colored
Person Interviewed: Dina Beard
Age: b. 1862

Yes I was born in slavery time. I was born September 2, 1862 in the field under a tree. I don’t know nothing about slavery. I was too young to remember anything about slavery. But I tell you this much, times ain’t like they used to be. There was easy living back in the 18 hundred years. People wore homemade clothes, what I mean homespun and lowell clothes. My ma spun and weaved all of her cloth. We wore our dresses down to our ankles in length and my dresses was called mother hubbards. The skirts had about three yards circumference and we wore plenty of clothes under our dress. We did not go necked like these folks do now. Folk did not know how we was made. We did not show our shape, we did not disgrace ourself back in 1800. We wore our hair wrapped and head rags tied on our head. I went barefooted until I was a young missie then I wore shoes in the winter but I still went barefooted in the summer. My papa was a shoemaker so he made our shoes. We raised everything that we ate when I was a chap. We ate a plenty. We raised plenty of whippowell peas. That was the only kind of peas there was then. We raised plenty Moodie sweet potatoes they call them nigger chokers now. We had cows so we had plenty of milk and butter. We cooked on the fireplace. The first stove I cooked on was a white woman’s stove, that was 1890.

I never chanced to go to school because where we lived there wasn’t no school. I worked all of the time. In fact that was all we knew. White people did not see where negroes needed any learning so we had to work. We lived on a place with some white people by the name of Dunn. They were good people but they taken all that was made because we did not know. I ain’t never been sick in my life and I have never had a doctor in my life. I am in good health now.

We traveled horseback in the years of 1800. We did not ride straddle the horse’s back we rode sideways. The old folks wore their dreses dragging the ground. We chaps called everybody old that married. We respected them because they was considered as being old. Time has made a change.

Beard, Dunn,

Federal Writers' Project. WPA Slave Narratives. Web. 2007.

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