~This piece previously appeared in New Letters (2009)
Editor's note: This story contains offensive language.
Field Notes: Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) interview, Lottie Eppes, 97. Riverfield, Ala. September 12, 1936.
These be hard times, sure ’nough, but they ain’t hard like what us had before Freedom come. I was born on the Teclaw Place, and ain’t far from it now as the crow fly. Ain’t never been far from it in all my days.
Marster Will wasn’t no good marster, but I heard tell a worse. Us didn’t starve, but us got hungry some. Three pounds a meat, a peck of meal, and potatoes every week ’bout all we got. A little fatback and syrup. Maybe a chicken on Sunday if us picked enough cotton.
Most old folks like me, they tell some, but they ain’t gon’ tell all what could be tole, just what white folks wants to hear. In these hard times now, black folks needs what they can get from white folks and be scared somebody gon’ take it away. Me, my day soon to come. I ain’t got no worry ’bout nothin’. What anybody gon’ take from me?
So I tell what some won’t.