Slave Narrative of R. B. Anderson

Interviewer: Samuel S. Taylor
Person Interviewed: R. B. Anderson
Location: Route 4, Box 69 (near Granite), Little Rock, Arkansas
Age: 76
Occupation: Grocer, bartender, porter, general work

[HW: The Brooks-Baxter War]

“I was born in Little Rock along about Seventeenth and Arch Streets. There was a big plantation there then. Dr. Wright owned the plantation. He owned my mother and father. My father and mother told me that I was born in 1862. They didn’t know the date exactly, so I put it the last day in the year and call it December 30, 1862.

“My father’s name was William Anderson. He didn’t go to the War because he was blind. He was ignorant too. He was colored. He was a pretty good old man when he died.

“My mother’s name was Minerva Anderson. She was three-fourths Indian, hair way down to her waist. I was in Hot Springs blacking boots when my mother died. I was only about eight or ten years old then. I always regretted I wasn’t able to do anything for my mother before she died. I don’t know to what tribe her people belonged.

“Dr. Wright was awful good to his slaves.

“I don’t know just how freedom came to my folks. I never heard my father say. They were set free, I know. They were set free when the War ended. They never bought their freedom.

“We lived on Tenth and near to Center in a one-room log house. That is the earliest thing I remember. When they moved from there, my father had accumulated enough to buy a home. He bought it at Seventh and Broadway. He paid cash for it—five hundred and fifty dollars. That is where we all lived until it was sold. I couldn’t name the date of the sale but it was sold for good money—about three thousand eight hundred dollars, or maybe around four thousand. I was a young man then.

“I remember the Brooks-Baxter War.

“I remember the King White fooled a lot of niggers and armed them and brought them up here. The niggers and Republicans here fought them and run them back where they come from.

“I know Hot Springs when the main street was a creek. I can’t remember when I first went there. The government bath-house was called ‘Ral Hole’, because it was mostly people with bad diseases that went there.

“After the War, my father worked for a rich man named Hunter. He was yardman and took care of the horse. My mother was living then.

“Scipio Jones and I were boys together. We slept on pool tables many a time when we didn’t have no other place to sleep. He was poor when he was a boy and glad to get hold of a dime, or a nickel. He and I don’t speak today because he robbed me. I had a third interest in my place. I gave him money to buy my place in for me. It was up for sale and I wanted to get possession. He gave me some papers to sign and when I found out what was happening, he had all my property. My wife kept me from killing him.”

Interviewer’s Comment

Occupation: Grocer, bartender, porter, general work

Anderson, Wright,

Federal Writers' Project. WPA Slave Narratives. Web. 2007-2024. The WPA Slave Narratives must be used with care. There is, of course, the problem of confusion in memory resulting from (73+ years) of the participants. In addition, inexperienced interviewers sometimes pursued question lines related to their own interests and perspectives and attempted to capture the colloquialism of the informant's speech. The interviews provide fascinating insight and surprisingly candid information, however.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Access Genealogy

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Scroll to Top