Slave Narrative of Kizzie Colquitt

Interviewer: Grace McCune
Person Interviewed: Kizzie Colquitt
Location: Athens, Georgia
Age: about 75

Old Aunt Kizzie Colquitt, about 75 years old, was busily washing in her neat kitchen. She opened the door and window frequently to let out the smoke, saying: “Dis old wore out stove don’t draw so good.” Her hands and feet were badly swollen and she seemed to be suffering.

“I’ll be glad to tell all I kin ‘member ’bout dem old times,” she said. “I wuz borned durin’ de war, but I don’t ‘member what year. My pa wuz Mitchell Long. He b’longed to Marster Sam Long of Elbert County. Us lived on Broad River. My ma wuz Sallie Long, and she b’longed to Marster Billie Lattimore. Dey stayed on de other side of Broad River and my pa and ma had to cross de river to see one another. Atter de war wuz over, and dey wuz free, my pa went to Jefferson, Georgia, and dar he died.

“My ma married some nigger from way out in Indiana. He promised her he would send money back for her chillun, but us never heered nothin’ from ‘im no mo’. I wuz wid’ my w’ite folks, de Lattimores, when my ma died, way out in Indiana.

“Atter Marse Bob died, I stayed wid my old Missus, and slep’ by her bed at night. She wuz good to me, and de hardes’ wuk I done wuz pickin’ up acorns to fatten de hogs. I stayed dar wid her ’til she died. Us had plenty t’eat, a smokehouse filled wid hams, and all de other things us needed. Dey had a great big fireplace and a big old time oven whar dey baked bread, and it sho’ wuz good bread.

“My old Missus died when I wuz ’bout 6 years old, and I wus sont to Lexin’ton, Georgia, to live wid my sister. Dere wuz jus’ da two of us chilluns. Den us wukked every day, and went to bed by dark; not lak de young folks now, gallivantin’ ’bout all night long.

“When I wuz ’bout 14 I married and come to live on Dr. Willingham’s place. It wuz a big plantation, and dey really lived. When de crops wuz all in and all de wuk done, dey had big times ’round dar.

“Dere wuz de corn shuckin’ wid one house for de corn and another house for de shucks. Atter all de shuckin’ wuz done, dere wuz eatin’ and dancin’. And it wuz eatin’ too! Dey kilt hogs, barbecued ’em, and roasted some wid apples in dey mouf’s to give ’em a good flavor, and course a little corn likker went wid it. Dey had big doin’s at syrup makin’ time too, but dat wuz hard wuk den. Makin’ syrup sho’ wuz a heap of trouble.

“Later us lived wid de Johnson fambly, and atter my old man died, I come to dis town wid de Johnsons. Dere wuz three chilluns, Percy, Lewis, and a gal. I stayed wid ’em ’til de chilluns wuz all growed up and eddicated. All my other w’ite folks is gone; my sister done gone too, and my son; all de chillun dat I had, deys done daid too.

“Now I has to wash so I kin live. I used to have plenty, but times is changed and now sometimes I don’t have nothin’ but bread, and jus’ bread is hard to git, heap of de time.

“I put in for one of dem old age pensions, but dey ain’t give me nothin’ yet, so I jus’ wuk when I kin, and hope dat it won’t be long ‘fore I has plenty again.”

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.

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