Slave Narrative of Esther Hudespeth

Interviewer: Mary E. O’Malley
Person Interviewed: Esther Hudespeth
Location: Kentucky

The following story was given by a colored woman, Esther Hudespeth, who was once sold as a slave. It was told to her by her slave mother in 1840.

“A long time ago there lived a rabbit and a coon. They lived so close together. One morning Mr. Coon came by after Mr. Rabbit, and wanted him to go over to see some girls with him. So Mr. Rabbit agreed and went with Mr. Coon. Mr. Coon and the girls had some fun making fun of Mr. Rabbit’s short tail. Mr. Rabbit was very glad when the time came for him to go home, because he was tired of being talked about. Mr. Coon had to go get a drink of water, and Mr. Rabbit told the girls that Mr. Coon was his riding horse and he would ride him when he came back. By the time he got thru telling the girls, Mr. Coon called to Mr. Rabbit that he was ready to go. Mr. Coon had enjoyed himself so much, while Mr. Rabbit had not.

The next day Mr. Coon came by for Mr. Rabbit to go with him to see the girls. Mr. Rabbit played sick. I am too sick to walk over there, he said. Mr. Coon said, I will carry you on my back if you want to ride. No, said Mr. Rabbit, I cant ride on your back. I will fall off.

Mr. Rabbit said, If you will let me put this saddle and bridle on you, I will go. So Mr. Coon agreed to let Mr. Rabbit put the saddle and bridle on Mr. Coon. So they went along thru the woods. When they got in sight of the House, Mr. Coon told Mr. Rabbit to get off-that he did not want the girls to see him on his back. Mr. Rabbit pulled out a whip and began to whip Mr. Coon, hollowing so the girls would see him, and made Mr. Coon go up to the hitching rack. There Mr. Rabbit hitched Mr. Coon and went in the house and enjoyed himself with the girls, while Mr. Coon pawed the ground. Mr. Rabbit bade the girls goodbye, and never did Mr. Coon come after Mr. Rabbit to go to see the girls with him.


Caldwell County KY,

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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