Callie Williams

Callie Williams was four years old when the Civil War ended.  In this first person excerpt, the interviewer documents Callie Williams’ description of the life of enslaved people that was passed on to Callie Williams by her mother.  In this excerpt, Callie Williams describes the role of song in the life of enslaved people.
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…Most of the time the slaves would be too tired to do anything but go to bed at night, but sometimes they would sit around and sing after supper and they would sing and pray on Sunday. One of the songs that was used most was ’Yon Comes Old Master Jesus.’ If I remember, it went something like this:     

‘I really believe Christ is coming again    
He’s coming in the morning    
He’s coming in the morning    
He’s coming with a rainbow on his shoulder    
He’s coming again by and by’ 

They tried to make them stop singing and praying during the [Civil] war because all they’d ask for was to be set free, but the slaves would get in the cabins and turn a big wash pot upside down and sing into that, and the noise couldn’t get out….

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
Callie WilliamsApprox. 1861 (Unknown)Mary A. PooleHiram McLemore
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
Mobile, ALALUnknown
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
Religion, SongsThird Person, Dialect, Slave Patrollers, Hired Out