Monday, June 18, 2007

Another Juneteenth post...

Well, reciently I've been reading Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States, (a very interesting read, by the way)and I thought you may be interested in reading an excerpt from it that's related to this holiday.... sorry for the swearing, I'm copying directly from the book.

Former slaves, interviewed by the federal writer' project in the thirties, recalled the war's end.

Susie Melton:

I was a young gal, about ten years old, and we done heard that Lincoln gonna turn us niggers free. Ol' missus say there wasn't nothin' to it. Then a Yankee soldier told someone in Williamsburg that Lincoln done signed the 'mancipation. Was wintertime and mighty cold that night, but everybody commenced getting ready to leave. Didn't care nothin' about missus- was going to the Union lines. And all that night the niggers danced and sang right out in the cold. Next morning at day break we all started out with blankets and clothes and pots and pans and chickens piled on our backs, 'cause missus said we couldn't take no horses or carts. And as the sun come up over the trees, the niggers started to singing:

Sun, you be here and I'll be gone
Sun, you be here and I'll be gone
Sun, you be here and I'll be gone
Bye, bye, don't grieve after me
Won't give you my place, not for yours
Bye, bye, don't grieve after me
Cause you be here and I'll be gone.

Anna Woods:

We wasn't there in Texas long when the soldiers marched in to tell us that we were free... I remembers one woman. She jumped on a barrel and she shouted. She jumped off and she shouted. She jumped back on again and shouted some more. She kept that up for a long time, just jumping on a barrel and back off again.

Annie Mae Weathers said:

I remember hearing my pa say that when somebody came and hollered, "You niggers is free at last," say he just dropped his hoe and said in a queer voice, "Thank God for that."

The federal writers' project recorded an ex-slave named Fannie Berry:

Niggers shoutin' and clappin' hands and singin'! Chillun runnin' all over the place beatin' time and yellin'! Everybody happy. Sho' did some celebratin'. Run to the kitchen and shout in the window:
"Mammy, don't you cook no more.
You's free! You's free!"


Matt said...

In my opinion all people who call themselves "American" should read "A People's History of the United States". It's a bit long, but TOTALLY worth it.

Allyson said...

I agree.

Cajies Blog said...

Take a look at the news today about Juneteenth... It sucks that this happened - maybe we could talk sometime about why violence happens so much in the black community.