|In this interview, recorded by the interviewer in the first person, Walter Rimm describes a slave auction, where enslavers tried to sell a young woman who appeared to be white. The excerpt ends with Walter Rimm describing his second wife’s racial background.
*Historically-used terms that are offensive, marginalizing and/or disparaging have been removed from the transcripts and replaced with [redacted]. See more information.
…You want to know about slavery? Well, a great deal happened besides that, but …
Master Hatch buys and sells [redacted] some in those days, but he ain’t a [redacted] trader. Those sales are one thing that made an impression on me. I heard old folks whisper about going to a sale, and about noon there was a crowd of white folks in the front yard and a [redacted] trader with the slaves. They set up a platform in the middle of the yard and one white man gets on that and another white man comes up and has a white woman with him. She appears to be about fifteen years old and has long, black hair down her back. They put her on the platform and then I heard a scream and a woman who looked like the gal cried out, ‘I’ll cut my throat if my daughter is sold.’ The white man goes and talks to her, and finally allows her to take the young gal away with her. That sure stirs up some emotion amongst the white folks, but they say that gal has just a little [Black]…blood and can be sold as a slave, but she looks as white as anybody I’ve ever seen.
… [after the Civil War was over and the death of his first wife] I married Minnie Bennett, a light colored gal… Her mammy am a white woman. She was kidnapped in Kentucky by some white men and they dyed her hair and skin and brought her to Texas with some slaves for sale. Master Means, in Corpus [Texas], bought her. She was so small all she remembered was her real name was Mary Schlous and her parents are white and she lived in Kentucky. Master Means comes in the next morning and busts out cussin’, for there is black dye all over the pillow and his slave is getting blonde, but dem slave traders are gone, so he can’t do nothin’. He ‘cides to keep her and she grows up with the slaves jus’ like she is a [redacted]. She gets used to being with dem and marries one. She has one child ‘fore freedom, what am Minnie [Walter Rimm’s second wife]. She has to run away to get freedom, because Master Means won’t let her have freedom. Lots of slaves had to do that…
Formerly enslaved person
|Birth Year (Age)
|Fort Worth, TX
|San Patricio County, TX
|Themes & Keywords