Monday, 9 November 2015

Henrietta Isom

The narrative account is from ‘Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1938’. This website is intended to give an insight into what previous slaves had to deal with on a daily basis and how they lived during the period of slavery.
This biographical slave narrative is from a woman called Henrietta Isom, who was born into a life of slavery in Mississippi. In this account she discusses her personal experiences during this time. Overall the narrative gives an indication into what life was like for a slave, also from her account it is clear that she and other slaves lacked education and in turn spoke in restricted code.

During Henrietta’s time as a slave it is evident that she and the other slaves were rewarded on their good behaviour, “They tell us if we be good we could go.” She also states that during this time they had ‘plenty to eat’. Although the reward system sounds torturous, throughout the account Henrietta does not state any occurrences of violence to her or any of the other slaves she lived with. 
However, she does briefly mention the Ku Klux Klan, and how she and the others would ‘peep out the cracks’ when they passed and were ‘scared they would turn in an come to the house.’ Noticeably, the KKK were a great threat to the slaves, them peeping through the cracks emphasises the fear they must have felt. Fortunately, they ‘didn’t bother nobody’, which would have been a relief to Henrietta and the others.

Henrietta also mentions when freedom was declared and how the slaves ‘walked off so glad they was free’. However, due to them all being able to only farm, they had a ‘hard time’. Being a farmer all her life meant she could only perform a limited amount of tasks.

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