Federal Writers Project. Slave Narratives -- a folk history of slavery in the United States, from interviews with former slaves. Arkansas Narratives, part 4. 

Interviewer Mrs. Bernice Bowden
Person Interviewed Susa Lagrone -- 25th and Texas Streets,  Pine Bluff, Ark.
Age 79 [since this interview was probably done in 1938, based on dates of other interviews in pt.4, she was born around 1859]

"I don't know exactly how old I am but I know I was here at surrender. I was born in Mississippi. I seen the soldiers when they come home. They camped right there at our gate.

"I think -- now I don't know, but I think I was 'bout six  or seven when they surrendered. I went down to the gate with Miss Sally and the children. Old mistress' name was Sally Stanton. She was a widow woman.

[n.b. Sarah M. Stanton of District 2, Noxubee Co, Mississippi owned 20 slaves according to the 1860 Census]

"I learned to knit durin' the war. They'd give me a task to do, so much to do a day, and then I'd have all evenin' to play.

"My father was a mechanic. He laid brick and plaster.  You know in them days they plastered the houses. He belonged to old man Frank Scott. He was such a good worker Mr. Scott would give him all the work he could after he was free. That was in Mississippi.

[n.b. Frank T. Scott of District 2, Noxubee Co, Mississippi owned 33 slaves according to the 1860 Census]

"I went to school right after freedom. Fore freedom, the white folks learned me my ABC's. My mistress was good and kind to me.

"When we went down to the gate to see the soldiers, I heard Miss Judy say (she was old mistress' sister), I heard her say, 'Well, you let em beat you', and started crying. I cried to and mama said, 'What you cryin for?' I said 'Miss Judy's cryin'.' Mama said, 'You fool, you 
is _free_!' I didn't know what freedom was, but I know the soldiers did a lot of devilment. Had guards, but they just run over them guards.

"I think Abraham Lincoln wanted to give the people some land after they was free, but they didn't give 'em nothin' -- just turned 'em loose.

"'Course, we ought to be free -- you know privilege is worth everything.

"After surrender, my mother stayed with the old mistress till next year. She thought there wasn't nobody like my mother. When she got sick, old mistress come six miles every day to see her and brought her things till she died.

"My mother learned to weave and spin, and after we was free the white folks gave her the loom. I know I made many a yard of cloth after surrender. My mother was a seamstress and learned me how to sew.

"I never did hire out -- just worked at home. My mother had six boys and six girls and they're all dead but me and my sister.

"Somebody told me I was twenty-five when I married. Had three children -- all livin'

"I used to see the white folks lookin' at a map to see where the soldiers was fightin', and I used to wonder how they could tell just lookin' at that paper.

"Old mistress said after freedom, 'Now Susa, I don't want you to suffer for nothin'.' I used to go up there and stay for weeks at a time.

"I just got down with the rheumatism here bout three or four years ago, you know it goes hard with me -- I always been used to workin' all my life."

[I believe Susa may be the grandmother of the Tuskeegee Airman, and artist, Roy E. Lagrone (1921-1993)]

Return to Contents

Genealogy of the Lagrone families - Susa Lagrone, as compiled by I. Marc Carlson, Last Update: 18 October 2000. Copyright 2000 This page is given for the free exchange of information, provided the compiler's name is included in all future revisions, and no money change hands, other than as expressed in the Copyright Page.