“Interview with Betty Jones” (Date Unknown)


In this narrative Betty Jones describes how her enslaved grandmother reacted when she discovered that slavery had been abolished. The narrative was collected by an unknown interviewer from the Virginia Writers Project and compiled in the book The Negro in Virginia. This interview, along with other Virginia Writers Project interviews, offer a composite portrait of interviewees’ self-styled personal stories. Interviewers’ interests, lived experiences, and editing choices, as well as their social relations and expectations shaped their relationship and conversation with the interviewees. Although the interviews aren’t unmediated autobiographies, they are no less authentic and are just as fruitful a source for reconstructing historical experience.



Betty Jones (b. 1863)

Charlottesville, Va.

Interviewer: Unknown

Date of interview: Unknown

Source: Negro in Virginia, published version, p. 209

Gramma used to tell dis story to ev’ybody dat would lissen, an’ I spec’ I heered it a hundred times. Gramma say she was hired out to de Randolphs during de war. One day whilst she was weedin’ corn another slave, Mamie Tolliver, come up to her an’ whisper, “Sarah, dey tell me dat Marse Lincum done set all us slaves free.” Gramma say, “Is dat so?” an’ she dropped her hoe an’ run all de way to de Thacker’s place—seben miles it was—an run to ole Missus an’ looked at her real hard. Den she yelled, “I’se free! Yes, I’se free! Ain’t got to work fo’ you no mo’. You can’t put me in yo’ pocket now!” Gramma say Missus Thacker started boo-hooin’ an’ threw her apron over her face an’ run in de house. Gramma knew it was true den.

APA Citation:
Jones, Betty & Unknown Interviewer. “Interview with Betty Jones” (Date Unknown). (2021, May 25). In Encyclopedia Virginia.
MLA Citation:
Jones, Betty, and Unknown Interviewer. "“Interview with Betty Jones” (Date Unknown)" Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, (25 May. 2021). Web. 29 May. 2024
Last updated: 2021, August 18
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