Slave Narrative of Joe Robinson

Interviewer: Anna Pritchett
Person Interviewed: Joe Robinson
Location: Indiana
Place of Birth: Mason County, Kentucky
Date of Birth: 1854
Place of Residence: 1132 Cornell Avenue

Federal Writers’ Project of the W.P.A. District #6 Marion County Anna Pritchett 1200 Kentucky Avenue


Joe Robinson was born in Mason County, Kentucky in 1854.

His master, Gus Hargill, was very kind to him and all his slaves. He owned a large farm and raised every kind of vegetation. He always gave his slaves plenty to eat. They never had to steal food. He said his slaves had worked hard to permit him to have plenty, therefore they should have their share.

Joe, his mother, a brother, and a sister were all on the same plantation. They were never sold, lived with the same master until they were set free.

Joe’s father was owned by Rube Black, who was very cruel to his slaves, beat them severely for the least offense. One day he tried to beat Joe’s father, who was a large strong man; he resisted his master and tried to kill him. After that he never tried to whip him again. However, at the first opportunity, Rube sold him.

The Robinson family learned the father had been sold to someone down in Louisiana. They never heard from, or of him, again.

Interviewer’s Comment

Mr. Robinson lives with his wife; he receives a pension, which he said was barely enough for them to live on, and hoped it would be increased.

He attends one of the W.P.A. classes, trying to learn to read and write.

They have two children who live in Chicago.

Submitted January 24, 1938 Indianapolis, Indiana

Black, Hargill, Robinson,

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

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