John Graves

John Graves was originally enslaved in Charleston but his mother was purchased and moved to Kentucky when he was five.  In this excerpt, he briefly recounts how it came to be that he and his mother moved from Charleston to Kentucky.

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I was born ten years when Freedom came out. Been seventy-odd years since Freedom, ain’t it, Cap?  Dr. Jim Gibbs was mighty good to me. You see that I’m going about now. Dr. Gibbs came from Aiken to Union and set up a drug store where Cohen’s is now. Dr. Gibbs was a Charleston man, but I am a Kentucky man. Dr. Gibbs brought me from Kentucky to Charleston when I was five years old. My ma was the one that they bought. Dr. Gibbs’ wife was a Bohen up in Kentucky. When Dr. Gibbs fetched his wife to Charleston, he bought my ma from his wife’s pa, and she fetched me along too. 

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
John GravesUnknown (85 years old)Caldwell SimsDr. Jim Gibbs
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
Spartanburg, SCSouth CarolinaUnknown
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
FamilyFirst Person, Dialect, Sold (self or family), Slave Traders