Joseph Allen

Joseph Allen was an enslaved person who lived on the same plantation until the end of the Civil War.  Here, he recalls instances of being whipped by his enslaver’s wife, and his attempts to retaliate.
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Ole Missus was cross and whipped us children a-plenty. A white man taught us in their slave room. I learned my A, B, Cs quick, and Ole Missus caught me studying and learning. I ain’t forgot it. When she whipped, she stuck my head between her knees and clamped me tight. She slipped my garment aside and fanned me plenty with a shingle on my bare self. I was getting too big, and I studied how I’d break her. Next time, I bit her like a dog and held on with my teeth to her leg. Ol’ Missus was lame for a spell; I broke her. I says, “I’ll eat you up like a dog.” After that, she buckled me up on the ground and lashed me. 

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
Joseph Allen1851Martha Freeman, William TuttleMatt (Met) and Eliza Allen
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
Muncie, INIndianaCumberland County, KY
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
ViolenceFirst person, whipped, dialect


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