Harriet Mason

In this excerpt that the interviewer records in the first person, Harriet Mason describes her life as an enslaved person in Texas.  Teachers may need to help students navigate Harriet Mason’s complementary description of her enslavers with the fact that they enslaved people.
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…I didn’t sleep in the cabins with the rest of the [enslaved people]…; I slept in the big house and nursed the children. I was not paid any money for my work. My food was the same as what the white folks ate. The white folks took me to church and dressed me well. I had good shoes and they took me to church on Sunday. My master was a preacher and a doctor and a fine man. Miss Mat sure was hard to beat. The house they lived in was a big white house with two long porches. We had no overseer or driver. We had no Poor white neighbors. There were about 300 acres of land… but we did not have many slaves…There was no jail on the place and I never saw a slave whipped or punished in any way. I never saw a slave auctioned off. My Missus taught all the slaves to read and write, and we sat on a bench in the dining room. When the news came that we were free General Gano [the enslaver] took us all in the dining room and told us about it…

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
Harriet Mason1847 (Unknown)Eliza IsonBriar M. Jones and Gano
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
Garrard County, KYKYBryantsville, KY
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
Literacy, EducationGarrard County, First Person