Slave Narrative of Julia Casey

Person Interviewed: Julia Casey
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Place of Birth: Tennessee
Place of Residence: 811 9th Avenue, So., Nashville, Tennessee

I wuz bawn in West Tennessee en wuz six y’ars ole w’en war broke out.

Mah Missis wuz Miss Jennie McCullough en she ma’ried Eldridge Casey. Mah Missis’s mammy wuz a widder en she gib me, mah mammy, man sistah Violet, mah two br’ers Andrew en Alfred ter Miss Jennie fer a wed’un gif’. Missis Jennie en Marster Eldridge brung us ter Nashville ‘fore de war sta’ted.

Mah Missis wuz good ter us. I’se bin w’ll tuk keer ob, plenty ter eat en warm clothes ter w’ar. Right now I’se got on long underw’ar en mah chemise.

Mah mammy d’ed fust y’ar ob freedum. Dey tuk her ‘way in a two-hoss waggin, ’bout four o’clock one evenin’. Dere wuz no hurses er caskets den. W’en mah mammy d’ed, I still stayed wid Missis Jennie. She raised me. Dat’s why folks say I’se so peculiar. De Yankee soldiers tuk mah sistah en two br’ers ‘way durin’ de war. I ez de mammy ob seven chilluns. All d’ed now but one.

Mah white folks didn’t send me ter schul but I’se l’arned a few things ob how ter act. Don’t ax me ’bout der young people. Dey ez pas’ me. No manners ‘tall.

In slavery days you didn’t hab ter worry ’bout yo clothes en rations but dese days you hab ter worry ’bout eve’ything.

I ‘longs ter de Baptist Chuch. Useter go ter camp-meetin’s en hab a big time wid good things ter eat. Didn’t go ter de baptizin’ much. Dey would leave de chuch singin’ en shoutin’. Dere ez three days in September dat we hab dinnah on de groun’ en all Baptist git tergedder. We calls hit de ‘sociation.

I’se neber voted cose dat ez de man’s job. Mah frens hab nebber had political jobs. Don’t b’leeve in ma’rige ob white en black en hit shouldn’t be ‘lowed.

Since freedom mah main job wuz cookin’ but I’se done washin’ en ironin’. Atter mah health started failing, I done a lot ob nusin’.

I’se aint abul ter wuk fur de las’ five y’ars en de white folks hab he’ped me. De relief gibes me groc’eys, coal en pays mah rent. I hope ter git de ole age pension soon. Mah ole favo’ite song ez “Mazing Grace, How Sweet hit Sounds.”

Casey, McCullough,

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

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