Slave Narratives can be found at the Library of Congress, there are nearly 10,000 pages in this collection. They are the written recordings of former slave interviews.
Below is an interview with Silas Abott in Brinkley Ark. at the age of 73.
"I was born in Chickashaw County, Mississippi. Ely Abott and Maggie Abbott was our owners. They had three girls and two boys - Eddie and Johnny. We played together till I was grown. I love em like if they was brothers. Papa and Mos Ely went to war together in a two-horse top buggy. They both come back when they got through.
"There was eight of us children and none was sold, none give way. My parents name Peter and Mahaley Abbott. My father never was sold but my mother was sold into the Abbott family for a house girl. She cooked and washed and ironed. No'm, she wasn't a wet nurse, but she tended to Eddie and Johnny and me all alike. She whoop them when they needed, and Miss Maggie whoop me. That the way we grow'd up. Mos Ely was 'ceptionly good I recken. No'm, I never heard of him drinkin' whiskey. They made cider and 'simmon beer every year.
"Grandpa was a soldier in the war. He fought in a battle. I don't know the battle. He wasn't hurt. He come hom and told us how awful it was.
"My parents stayed on at Mos Ely's and my uncle's family stayed on. He give my uncle a home and twenty acres of ground and my parents same mount to run a gin. I drove two mules, my brother drove two and we drove two more between us and run the gin. My auntie seen somebody go in the gin one night but didn't think about them settin' it on fire. They had a torch, I recken, in there. All I knowed, it burned up and Mos Ely had to take our land back and sell it to pay four or five hundred bales of cotton got burned up that time. We stayed on and sharecropped with him. We lived between Egypt and Okolona, Mississippi. Aberdeen was our tradin' point.
"I come to Arkansas railroading. I railroaded forty years. Worked on the section, then I belong to the extra gang. I help build this railroad to Memphis.
"I did own a home but I got in debt and had to sell it and let my money go.
"Times is so changed and young folks different. They won't work only nough to get by and they want you to give em all you got. They take it if they can. Nobody got time to work. I think times is worse than they ever been, cause folks hate to work so bad. I'm talking about hard work, field work. Jobs young folks want is scarce; jobs they could get they don't want. They want to run about and fool around an get by.
"I get $8.00 and provisions from the government."