Slave Narrative of Barbara Haywood

Interviewer: Mary A. Hicks
Person Interviewed: Barbara Haywood
Location: 1111 Mark Street, Raleigh, North Carolina
Age: 85

Aunt Barbara’s Love Story

An interview with Barbara Haywood, 85 years old. Address 1111 Mark Street, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Anything dat I tells you will near ’bout all be ’bout Frank Haywood, my husban’.

I wus borned on de John Walton place seben miles southeast of Raleigh. My father, Handy Sturdivant, belonged to somebody in Johnston County but mother an’ her chilluns ‘longed ter Marse John Walton.

Marse John had a corn shuckin’ onct an’ at dat corn shuckin’ I fust saw Frank. I wus a little girl, cryin’ an’ bawlin’ an’ Frank, who wus a big boy said dat he neber wanted ter spank a youngin’ so bad, an’ I ain’t liked him no better dan he did me.

He ‘longed ter Mr. Yarborough, what runned de hotel in Raleigh, but he wus boun’ out ter anybody what’ud hire him, an’ I doan know whar he got his name.

I seed Frank a few times at de Holland’s Methodist Church whar we went ter church wid our white folks.

You axes iffen our white folks wus good ter us, an’ I sez ter yo’ dat none of de white folks wus good ter none of de niggers. We done our weavin’ at night an’ we wurked hard. We had enough ter eat but we was whupped some.

Jest ‘fore de war wus ober we wus sent ter Mr. William Turner’s place down clost ter Smithfield an’ dats whar we wus when de Yankees come.

One day I wus settin’ on de porch restin’ atter my days wurk wus done when I sees de hoss-lot full of men an’ I sez ter Marse William, who am talkin’ ter a soldier named Cole, ‘De lot am full of men.’

Marse Cole looks up an’ he ‘lows, ‘Hits dem damned Yankees,’ an’ wid dat he buckles on his sword an’ he ain’t been seen since.

De Yankees takes all de meat outen de smokehouse an’ goes ‘roun’ ter de slave cabins an’ takes de meat what de white folkses has put dar. Dat wus de fust hams dat has eber been in de nigger house. Anyhow de Yankees takes all de hams, but dey gibes us de shoulders.

Atter de war we moved ter Raleigh, on Davie Street an’ I went ter school a little at Saint Paul’s. Frank wus wurkin’ at de City Market on Fayetteville Street an’ I’d go seberal blocks out of my way mornin’ an’ night on my way ter school ter look at him. You see I has been in love with him fer a long time den.

Atter awhile Frank becomes a butcher an’ he am makin’ pretty good. I is thirteen so he comes ter see me an’ fer a year we cou’ts. We wus settin’ in de kitchen at de house on Davie Street when he axes me ter have him an’ I has him.

I knows dat he tol’ me dat he warn’t worthy but dat he loved me an’ dat he’d do anything he could ter please me, an’ dat he’d always be good ter me.

When I wus fourteen I got married an’ when I wus fifteen my oldes’ daughter, Eleanor, wus borned. I had three atter her, an’ Frank wus proud of dem as could be. We wus happy. We libed together fifty-four years an’ we wus always happy, havin’ a mighty little bit of argument. I hopes young lady, dat you’ll be as lucky as I wus wid Frank.

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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