An Oral History

With

T.B. Bankston













Interviewer: Worth Long













Tougaloo College Archives























This interview was transcribed as part of the Civil Rights Documentation Project.

Funding for this project was provided in part by the Mississippi

Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and

the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.



1999

Biography



Mr. T.B. Bankston was born in October in the early 1900s, on a Mississippi plantation. As a child, Mr. Bankston helped his father farm in the Duck Hill community. As a young man, he worked mule teams with a breaking plow to clean new pastures. From various "root" healers, he learned to make herbal remedies out of plants, animals, and minerals. As an adult, he married and raised a family by sharecropping, scrapping cotton, and hunting. During the civil rights movement, he found the courage to stand up to the Ku Klux Klan.

Table of Contents



Early childhood 2

World War I veterans 3

Plowing with mules 6

Cooking in a chimney 8

Herbal remedies 9

Farming in Grenada 14

Scrapping cotton 17

Arrested 26

Ku Klux Klan 30

Automobile accident 35

Near drowning 37

AN ORAL HISTORY



WITH



T.B. BANKSTON



This is an interview for the Civil Rights Documentation Project. The interview is with Mr. T.B. Bankston and is taking place on October 16, 1999. The interviewer is Worth Long.



Long: OK. Can you tell me your name and where and when you were born?



Bankston: Now, that's something I can't tell you because I don't know exactly. All I know, it's in October. It was in October. See, when we were coming up, the people wouldn't tell you. Your parents wouldn't tell you because they said it would make you mannish. You know, make you leave home. All that. They wouldn't tell us. Papa didn't tell me until I got twenty-two, and that was in thirty-nine. He told me that, then. We was down at Tie Plant, a place called Tie Plant on Ben McElrat's[?] plantation. Fellow called Ben McElrat.



Long: OK. Now, do any of your brothers and sisters know how old they are?



Bankston: Not exactly.



Long: What's the closest that you can think of? Who know?



Bankston: Would know?



Long: Yeah.



Bankston: Well, I'm the oldest.



Long: Tell me how old do you figure you are?



Bankston: Mister, look, when I told you I was forty-three when I come in, I was older than that, and I know it, but the day I don't know, because Papa told me--.



Long: So, you were forty-three when you came to--



Bankston: I was forty-three, and I came here in fifty-five.



Long: Came to what place?



Bankston: Biloxi, here. Over in Gulfport, and then come on over here.



Long: I see.



Bankston: See, Papa wouldn't tell us. Him and Mama separated in thirty-nine. In thirty-nine. And I was around twenty-two or twenty-three years old then. You understand?



Long: Right.



Bankston: Well, he let me start to smoking when I got twenty, and I had been smoking for years, two or three years before then, because I was smoking up there on the Dan Jordan Plantation.



Long: Now, where was Dan Jordan Plantation?



Bankston: That's out north of Duck Hill. Place called Duck Hill. That's out north of Duck Hill. Out towards that Indian reservation. You know where that Indian reservation [is] up there?



Long: Up near Duck Hill, Mississippi?



Bankston: That's the other side of Duck Hill. Way in yonder. About sixty or seventy miles back yonder way.



Long: What were y'all doing up there in the first place?



Bankston: Farming.



Long: Tell me about it.



Bankston: Well, Papa moved up there to try to, you know, to raise us up and get us a fair living. You know, where he could get something.



Long: But he moved from where?



Bankston: From down there at Duck Hill. Out north of Duck Hill. That's way up in there, around Swetman[?] and Lodi[?]. You heard talk of Lodi?



Long: Yeah, mm-hm.



Bankston: Well, it was up in there around Tupelo. We moved up in there on a plantation up there they called Mr. Henry Riley's[?] plantation. Called it Steeden[?] Place. They called it the Steeden Place. That's where all them bad Abrams[?] was, killed colored folks, you know. I forget that little, old creek. Anyway, it's up there. You remember when Uncle Sam bought that, took all that land up there when they put Camp McCain[?] up there? And they found that white lady, Ms. Lily Day[?] had all that big, old pretty house. They didn't tear it down. You know they didn't tear down Mr. John Bauden's[?] place when Uncle Sam bought that, up there.



Long: You mean that was World War II?



Bankston: Right. It was before then.



Long: Wait, now. It was before World War II?



Bankston: Sure was. Them other soldiers, that war, they were coming in with them leggings wrapped around them up in here and them old hard hats.



Long: That was World War I.



Bankston: Well, let me tell you. You might would know. We were big, old boys. Sometimes, it would be a month or so, folks be coming through, two or three men, sometimes one man, with all that big pack on his back. They done been over there fighting war, and they were coming back home, walking. You know, they'd sleep all beside the roads and everywhere. They had them leggings up to here; wrapped from here up. You know how them leggings was on them.



Long: Yes, sir.



Bankston: And them big, old Army coats way down here. Well, that was then.



Long: What kind of looking men were they, coming back?



Bankston: White and black. White and black, coming back out of the war. See, they just put them so far and turned them loose. They had to walk home.



Long: Is that right?



Bankston: Right. That was way back yonder. Well, this other war, they--.



Long: How big were you, then?



Bankston: When that come up?



Long: When you saw them?



Bankston: Oh, I was like this. (Gesturing.) I was like that. If I could get to Mr. Dan Jordan's cemetery and find that tombstone, I could tell you about how old them is. That was way back. I tell you what. You remember when Lindbergh flew over Mississippi, the first plane.



Long: When he flew overseas?



Bankston: He come over here.



Long: I didn't even remember it.



Bankston: Well, he come over here. Lindbergh. Well, that's when my brother run from the plane, talking about, "There's a devil up there, flying." (Laughter.) And then, I'll tell you something else. You remember when that high water was in thirty-two? Wasn't it? Thirty-one or thirty-two. And that colored woman paddled that boat, that old skiff, across the Mississippi River, and had that pig and two babies and a dog in there? You know, she made it safe to this side. What was the year? Was that in thirty-one or thirty-two? That high water.



Long: It was in the thirties.



Bankston: Right.



Long: High water.



Bankston: High water drowned all them folks' cows and hogs and things. And that woman paddled across the Mississippi River with her children and the dog and the pig.



Long: But, let's see this, and then you can tell me something else, but, the people came from the war before the high water came?



Bankston: Right. They would sometimes be two or three men, walking. You know, just going. They done give out. They just was going. And whenever they'd get tired, they would lay down there and sleep there, because, you see, they would stay warm with the clothes they had on. And they had them leggings. You know them leggings, what I'm talking about. You wrap them on up to here. They had them on. Them old Army coats, with them old, big shiny buttons. And them old hard hats.



Long: Right. They were roundish-looking hats.



Bankston: Round. Right. Hard. I had one one time. Somebody took it. I had one I dug up out of the woods. Somebody done took it.



Long: Yeah. So, let's go back and be sure that we understand that your name as far as you know is what?



Bankston: Well, what my really name was T.B. Bankston.



Long: T.B. Bankston?



Bankston: T.B. Bankston. B-A-N-K-S-T-O-N. Bankston.



Long: I see. Bankston.



Bankston: But now, when they set up in the war, drafted me out to service, Mr. Johnny Heath[?], I think it was, he was the head of the local board in Grenada, and he told Mr. David "White Dude" Whittaker[?], David DuBard[?] that he going to do away with my name. And he done it.



Long: Now, what was the reason he was doing that?



Bankston: Keep me from going overseas. Keep them from sending me overseas and have me taking aspirin that upset my heart. You understand?



Long: Right.



Bankston: And I go to where they welding at, and sit there all day. They have me to sit there all day, so, say that would upset my eyes, too. You know.



Long: So, what were they going to do with you if you didn't go?



Bankston: Well, they were going to send me on in the service.



Long: I mean, I know that the draft board was going to take you, but the people you were working for who had you--.



Bankston: They were working me on the plantation. And in them deadwoods, cleaning them new grounds. Cleaning, building pastures for miles. Because Uncle Sam would let them have them cows to raising them on halves, you know.



Long: Who did the plowing?



Bankston: The plowing? Me, and all the rest of them.



Long: What kind of? Did you have a one-horse team or--?



Bankston: Well, I had, sometimes I had two mules. Sometimes four mules. To a breaking plow.



Long: I'll bet you don't remember what the names of the mules were?



Bankston: Well, I tell you one of them. See this scar? See right here?



Long: Yeah.



Bankston: I used to wear a leather bracelet on there.



Long: Right down by your wrist?



Bankston: Right over here. Big leather band, I used to wear it on this. OK. This mule named Bill. We got him from overseas. His name was Bill. He done killed two or three men. He had three splits in his ear, and he hit at me to get me and busted that off my arm. So, I put him in the stable and tied him with a trace chain to the stable and whipped him. And he got mad, and he was going to kill me. See, he was going to kill me. His name's Old Bill. He a big yellow mule. And he weighed 1200 and something pounds. He was going to kill me. He come from overseas. You know, back then, we was eating the mule meat. You know, the big middling, like that. You don't remember that big middling. Mules. That was mule and horse meat. We eat it when that war was going on.



Long: I see. And why did they bring him to Grenada?



Bankston: Well, he was a good mule. He was a good mule, but he was bad. His name was Old Bill, big yellow mule.



Long: As a work mule?



Bankston: Work mule. Weighed 1200 pounds. Old Bill. You could put him to a log this tall and turn him loose. In other words, just carry him to where you land the logs and carry him back to the log, and you'd stay there. He'd come. He'd carry that log to somebody at the landing, from here to my house, unhook him, [and] he would come back to you. And you hook him to another one, and he'd do the same thing. You didn't have to follow him. He'd go back to the log.



Long: He was already trained?



Bankston: Already trained. He was a mule. Aw, he was a mule.



Long: What would make a good mule?



Bankston: Well, really, to make a good mule, Mister, look, you've got to feed him, and curry him, and keep him clean. Bathe him, and all that. You know we used to have to ride them out in them lakes when we'd come out of the field in Lake Henry and bathe the mule and shear him off. Then we'd turn them loose with the horses and feed them. You see. But every evening, we had to bathe them mules. See, but us colored folks, we just curry them good, you know, and take old greasy dishwater and bathe them. You know. Rub them and keep their hair pretty and black. And feed them all kind of--. You know, like we take medicine, we'd feed the horses and mules that, and it makes a real good mule. It really do. And mules get down sick, you can take turpentine. You'd be surprised what you can do with turpentine with them. His navel. You take a teaspoon, put it half full of turpentine, put it under that mule's navel, you can see it going up. Put it that far from it, and you'll see it going in his navel.



Long: Isn't that something?



Bankston: Just, boom, dry. And if he's sluggish, you'll see him go to moving. You'll see him go to moving. And get that Brown Mule Chewing Tobacco and chip it up in his food, you know. Brown Mule.



Long: Now, what will that do for him?



Bankston: Well, that cleans him out. It'll make him stronger. He'll eat more. See that tobacco gets the worms and things out of him. You understand? And you better not have that old homemade tobacco. You chip it up in his food, you know. In his corn and stuff. You understand? Like them charcoal you burn out of oak wood. You put that in his food, too. See, he eats that. See, that--.



Long: And what would that do for him?



Bankston: Make him, give him more pep. Oh, sure, man. Give him pep. Hogs the same way. Hogs, cows. You know a cow got a wool in them, don't you?



Long: Yeah.



Bankston: Well, you know what to do to get them wools out their back, don't you?



Long: No.



Bankston: Turpentine.



Long: Is that right?



Bankston: Turpentine, coal oil. Just drop a little on him. He'll come out himself. Some of them be that big. Buried in their back and in their shoulder. Just like a rabbit. Just like a rabbit.



Long: So, you use turpentine and kerosene or coal oil?



Bankston: Right.



Long: And what it'll do? It'll make the--?



Bankston: Make that wool come out of them. Out of the cows, too.



Long: The wool.



Bankston: Wool. They call them wool. They'll be in their backbone. Some of them be that big. You see them cows with them knots on them and their hair standing up?



Long: Mm-hm.



Bankston: That's a wool in there. Well, you've got a rag under him with that and touch him. Rub him. He coming out of there. He coming out. See, if you don't, somebody kill that cow and see, when they skin him, they see that wool fall out, they won't eat him. You see? You get that all out of him. Man, it's a lot.



Long: In the old times, people used to do a whole lot of things.



Bankston: Ooooo. That's the way I learned it. You ever eat a rabbit cooked in the chimney?



Long: No.



Bankston: You ain't never eat nary one? Look, you dress that rabbit; you musk that rabbit.



Long: Musk it?



Bankston: Musk it. Get that musk out of it. You get all kinds of seasoning, and mix it up. And get that aluminum foil and wrap him. First wrap him in that wrapping paper. Then, wrap that aluminum foil around him. Put all that seasoning on him. Thick. Wrap him good. Then, get you some brown paper and roll him up in there. Go up on top of the house. Lay you a piece of iron across the chimney and put a piece of wire on it. Let it hang down about that far. Let him stay in there two or three days. Go in there and get him out.



Long: Now's that's hanging down about--?



Bankston: Three or four foot. You understand? Tie him in the middle of that rod laying up there on top of the chimney.



Long: Hang him in the chimney?



Bankston: Hang him in the chimney. Let him stay. You know in the winter when it's real cold, you keep a fire all day and night, don't you?



Long: Yeah.



Bankston: Well, you let him. Don't--. Hang him up there. Let him stay two or three days. Go there and take him down and put him on your table. Take your time and open that up. And you talking about eating! You're going to eat bones and all. All that seasoning, clean through. You'll chew the bones up. See, a lot of peoples don't know that. Now, if you want to do it right, so you won't ever have to take no medicine, you get you a hickory tree. You get you a hickory tree, and cook him with that. Then, make your bread up and put them ashes back, and put that meat in there. Put your bread over in there and cover it up with them ashes. And let it cook, and eat that. You don't have to take no medicine.



Long: What medicine would you have to take, generally? What medicine would it replace?



Bankston: Any kind of working medicine. That there will work you out.



Long: It'll work you out?



Bankston: Yeah, I say it'll work your cold out of you. Hickory ashes. And this here red oak is good. But, see, these folks don't know nothing about this.



Long: What did your mama give you, say, if you seemed like you were going to have the flu or something?



Bankston: Jimsonweed. Jimsonweed. Or else hog goo.



Long: Hog goo?



Bankston: Hog goo. And you know what a hog pistol is under here? Where his pee come out? When you dress him, you cut all that out, you know? Well, papa take that and cut it up and split it open and wash it out, and he put it in a skillet and fries it till all the grease come out, and he strain it. Then he get him a little tallow and put in there and put it in a jar, and when we get a bad cold, he give us a pill of it.



Long: And then what happens?



Bankston: Pneumonia. (Laughter.) You've got pneumonia? Ain't nothing. Ain't nothing. Ain't nothing to it.



Long: What happened to that old time medicine?



Bankston: Them folks just quit making it and the law went to--. You know, they were going to put me in jail until I told them that I'm doing it to try to save the folks. I'm not doing it to try to make no money. And the law told them, said, "Leave him alone."



Long: Now, what you were doing, you were doing old time medicine?



Bankston: Yeah. Just like you got tonsilitis. Say "T., my tonsils. I'm going to have to go to the doctor."



I say, "No, you ain't."



You say, "T.," say, "Will you cure them?"



I said, "Yes." When I cure you and you hear tell of the law got me, going to lock me up, you're going to go up and tell them, "Don't." Ain't you?



Long: Right.



Bankston: Well, that's the way it was. They were going to lock me up. They said they were going to send me to the pen. But I was helping them free.



Long: Now, did they call you an old time doctor?



Bankston: They wanted to.



Long: Did they think you were a root man?



Bankston: I was.



Long: You was a root? What? What was you?



Bankston: Look. Just like you got tonsil trouble? You tell me. Tell me, and I'll cure you. One dose. If I don't, I'll eat you. Just like, you got diarrhea? And, I went to my uncle. I didn't know he was sick. I stayed about ten miles from him. I asked Aunt Freddy[?], "Where is Uncle Sam?"



She said, "He in there." Said, "T., you know Sam is dying?"



I said, "What's the matter with him?"



She said, "He got the diarrhea, and the doctor can't cure him."



I went in there. I said, "Uncle Sam?"



He said, "Uhn." Foam all down him, just white. His eyes couldn't hardly open.



I said, "Uncle Sam, you want me to cure you?"



He said, "Uhn-huhn."



I said, "Aunt Freddy, where your hoe?"



She said, "Go around in the chimney corner, T. Or else, look in the garden and get it." I got it, went down the path, and I go to a blackberry briar root. You know what a blackberry is. Not no dewberry, now. A blackberry. I dig it up. Go to the well, and draw me a bucket of water and wash that root off and let you chew it. And you swallow one swallow. Don't swallow two. It'll lock your bowels. And in a few minutes, you'll hear your stomach go to saying, "Rrrrrrrr." I laugh at you. But you will get scared. Think you're dying. Look, the next morning, you'll be up.



Long: Isn't that something?



Bankston: This fellow we had--. You heard them talking about Big Bill, here? Bad Big Bill used to be on the police force.



Long: Yeah. I heard of him.



Bankston: Well, his wife's sister is in Natchez, now. And her brother was at my house at night, and his mother called from up there down here, and asked was Charlie there. And she told them, "Yeah."

Said, "Could I speak to him?"



Say, "Yeah." Well, she told him, said, "Charlie, your mother on the phone." About eleven or twelve o'clock. Said, "She got to be in the hospital in the morning. To live." Say, "She ain't eat in three days. Won't eat nothing." Said, "And she gone to smelling." Her name is Tempe[?].



So, he said, "T., I heard you say you could cure the tonsil trouble."



I say, "I can."



He say, "You can't."



I say, "Yes, I can."



He say, "Will you get up and tell Mama what to do?"



I got up. I told her. I said, "Ma'am?"



She said, "Yeah."



I said, "Well, you get your knife point. Get some sulfur and pick up what you can pick up on the end of a knife point. Get a piece of brown paper." Now, you know brown paper sack? "And tear it like this. And put it right in the middle of it, and roll it up like you're rolling a cigarette. You open your mouth and blow it down your daughter's throat. It's tastes like flour." You know how flour tastes?



Long: Yeah.



Bankston: Well, that's the way it is. If you've got to take two doses, your tonsils is gone. You don't take no more. No more tonsil trouble. I raised all of my children, sisters, and brothers. Never been to the doctor.



Long: That's sulfur?



Bankston: Sulfur. You know sulfur. Old yellow sulfur.



Long: Yeah, I know. That stuff you put around the house?



Bankston: Right.



Long: Yeah. Now, what that do when you put it around the house?



Bankston: Keeps the snails and snakes and things away. But you take that. That's the best medicine in the world. They tried to outlaw it to keep us from going, so we can go to the doctor. They tried to outlaw it and say it's poison. But I was raised up on it. I got some at the house now.



Long: So, you wrap it up in a--? What kind of paper?



Bankston: Look. You know a paper sack. Now, a brown paper sack. You tear you a piece about that long and about that wide. (Gesturing.)



Long: So, that's about as long as your hand, then?



Bankston: No, about that long. Like a cigarette. Just like. Look a-here now. You look at me. You watch what I'm doing now.



Long: I see. You took out your knife.



Bankston: Mm-hm. You see where I can take this knife and pick up on the end of it. I put it right in the middle of it. And, look, I take that paper. I roll that paper just like a cigarette. You open your mouth and you stick it down in there and blow it in there on your tonsils. It tastes like flour. You know how flour tastes. No taste, is there?



Long: Uhn-huhn.



Bankston: Well, that's what it is. You never feel nothing.



Long: So, you blow it one side and then blow it on the other.



Bankston: No, just stick down there and blow it one time. Blow it out. That's it.



Long: One. That's it.



Bankston: That's it. And like you've got diarrhea. You know, there's a lot of folks die with the diarrhea, and I sees them when I go to the hospital, and I go to telling them, I say, "Y'all, I can cure you."



"I'm scared of that. I'm scared of it."



Look, you know ice? Ice. Ain't poison, is it?



Long: No.



Bankston: We live off of ice, though. I told a woman lived next door to me what to do to save her mother. You know what she told me? "I ain't going to kill my mother." Nothing but put some ice in a bag, and put it to your leg. And put a band around it, and freeze it out.



Long: What part of your leg?



Bankston: The part where it hurts. Got ice in a bag. Put it behind there and hold it till you can't. When you can't, you take it off. When you feel like it, put it on. Freeze that cold. Then you take stuff to run it on out of you. And she told folks, "T.B. is wanting me to kill my mother." I wouldn't do that, Mister. I won't do that. I know too much.



Long: What's the worst thing you done cured?



Bankston: The worst thing? Well, I cured my uncle. I cured mules, hogs, cows, everything. I say, everything. They get down and can't get up, and ain't going to get up, but when I get through--. That white man stopped me. He had the cows. He give them all to me, and the cows. He had other ones around back. He stopped me. He said, he was going to let them die. He'd let them die before he'd give them to me. I had a pasture full. See, you know, the calves used to be born. You know, they used to give colored folks the calves. He quit that.



Long: Why would they do that?



Bankston: You making too much money. You making too much money. Look at me. I moved on the place. The man told me, said, "T.B., I don't want nothing but half of your cotton."



I said, "Yes, sir." I planted thirty acres of corn.



Long: Now, where was that?



Bankston: That's up there at Grenada. I'm from Grenada. The place they called the Hard Time Plantation. The Hard Time Plantation. Out towards Coffeeville, a place called Coffeeville. And I planted thirty acres of corn. I planted about fifteen or twenty acres of sorghum. You don't get none of it. He done told me, "Plant two or three acres of peanuts." That's everything, you know. Well, I know he's going to take half of the cotton. Well, I made so much corn, and I went to the co-op. I didn't know what to do. I heard the folks talking about the [co-op]. I went there. I told them I had so many hundred bushels of corn, and could they get the co-op people to come get some load.



He said, "No, T. I called Arkansas, way in the North, some big feed places." Said, "And they sending them eighteen-wheelers in here."



I said, "Well, do that." And the boss man seen them two eighteen-wheelers in there, he come down there. (Laughter.)



And he said, "What these so-and-so's are doing?"



I said, "I had them come in here and pick up this corn."



"Well, they don't pick up no more, T.B. That's too much money for you."



I ain't going to tell what he said but, "That's too much money for you."



Long: You split the cotton with him, but you didn't--.



Bankston: Well, he told me I could have the corn and the peas, sorghum, all the other stuff. He wanted half of the cotton. That's all he wanted. He don't want nothing else. See, he ain't ever had nobody that would work like me. You know. I was making 100 bushels to an acre on corn. See.



Long: And how many acres did you have?



Bankston: About thirty acres of corn. See? And the next time, you know what he told me?



Long: What?



Bankston: "T.B., you don't plant but five acres of corn."



I said, "Yes, sir." Planted cotton and stuff for him, and I had to work it.



Long: What did you buy with the money you got?



Bankston: Money? Well, the money that he didn't get, I bought me a truck, buy me food, buy me cows, buy me some hogs to feed my family. You understand?



Long: How many did you have by then?



Bankston: How many in the family?



Long: Yeah, how many? Was this your own family by then?



Bankston: Yeah, this is my own family.



Long: Tell me who they were.



Bankston: Let me see, my boy, John Lee. Oh, wait, to start, my stepboy. Let me see, James Lee, Billy, Willy Louis.



Long: Willy Louis?



Bankston: Willy Louis. They found him dead in the North.



Long: Yeah. And who else?



Bankston: And Ollie B. And Banella.



Long: Banella? That was a girl?



Bankston: Right. That Charles' mother. We named her after her mother. See, her daddy raised her. He was a drunkard, and she was good to me, and I wanted her. And I married her. That's the only time I ever been married in my life. So, we had children.



Long: You had stepchildren and--?



Bankston: I had three stepboys, and I raised them. But they pay attention to what the white folks and the rich colored folks. See, when I go in the field in the morning, and come out at three o'clock, it's a bale of cotton, on whatever I empty it on. They tell me to empty it on, it's a bale of cotton. I'd get my rifle; I'd go over in the swamp and kill squirrels or coons and bring them home and skin them to feed my folks, and I kept them fed. You understand? So, they didn't like that. And so, there was a preacher called Reverend Monroe[?].



Long: Who was he? Reverend?



Bankston: Reverend Monroe. He was a preacher.



Long: Monroe?



Bankston: Monroe. Reverend Monroe.



Long: That kind of sounds like Montgomery or Reverend?



Bankston: All I know is Reverend Monroe.



Long: Monroe.



Bankston: That's right. His children up there now. They crazy about me and my chaps. Well, the white man went over there and went to gigging about [how] many it was. And he was a young man, like me, but he had them children. He told me that. He said, "T."



I said, "Sir?"



He come over in the field where I was picking cotton. I stopped. Sat down on my sack with him. He said, "Tomorrow morning," said, "you'd better get in the field." Said, "Son, I'm coming at you."



I said, "Reverend Monroe, you can't touch us."



He said, "Son," said, "I'm going to tear you up." He said, "I'm quitting now."



I said, "Y'all chose all of them." Wife and all. His wife was out there. Had a little wife, but all them children. They went home, and they had a shoat about that tall. They killed that hog, and they all eat a bellyful of meat. It ain't nothing to laugh about. Well, the next morning, the news hit us. He eat so much meat till he died that night. Reverend Monroe did. He was going to try to race with me. They couldn't do nothing with me.



Long: Now, you mean you could do one-hundred?



Bankston: A hundred what? A hundred pound of cotton?



Long: Yeah.



Bankston: A hundred. Seven and eight hundred [is] what I pick every day.



Long: Where you put it?



Bankston: In my sack. Look, Mister, when I leave the cotton house, I leave with three nine-foot sacks. Nine-foot sacks. You can put 110 [or] 120 pounds in one sack. When you turn around and put this on [there] and hold that sack.



Long: Pack it in.



Bankston: Pack it with your both foots. You got them other tied on the back. You don't have to quit and go up yonder to get your sack. You got your sack right here. Untie one off of here and untie one off the back. And just leave them there till you fill them all up. And my children. Ooooh! My wife didn't go to the field. I told the man. He got sore with me till he found out something. He didn't have to come in the field over me. He didn't. And he will tell anybody down there. He'd tell anybody, "You don't have to go in the field on T.B." You look at me. I'll tell you what I did. After he started taking the corn and stuff on halves, I used to go around on everybody's place, like you had a place.

And I would say, "Mister, y'all through picking cotton?"



"Yeah."



I'd say, "Can I have your scrapping?"



And you'd tell me, "Yeah."



I'd say, "Would you put it on this piece of paper for me, please?" And then you put it on your paper and put number 100 on there. This is what's on my truck. The white folks put that on my truck. Number 100. And they put it on there. Well, when everybody get through picking, I take my boys and my truck with my side plates on it. I put four sacks in there for myself. Put four in there for every one of the boys and the girls, on my truck. We're going over in the Delta. We hit that man's cotton fields, where that big square is. You know that cotton ain't never been opened. It done opened up and thick in there. We pack that truck full. There's a bale on the truck. Then we pack them sacks full. I tie them on that truck and up the top, and we head back to Grenada. I had six houses up there, empty. I go in there. And, see, I had keys to them. And Mr. Davis[?] told me to put all I wanted in them houses. Empty sacks of cotton in them houses. And when it's about a week before Christmas, I go to Mr. Darden[?]. Hey, that's the big man, you know. Buys all the cotton.



He said, "T.B., I want to buy all of your cotton. I'll give you $200 a bale for it."



I say, "Yes, sir." See, and I get eighty or ninety dollars a ton for the seed. You understand. Sometimes I had fifteen or twenty bales. Look what I've done done.



Long: Yeah. Now, you're talking about this scrapping. What is that?



Bankston: Wait. You know when you go in your field to pick the cotton, you know it's got low places in there, that cotton never opened till the frost hit it. Well, all that cotton there, the folks ain't going back to pick them snags[?]. I'm going and pick everything in there, me and my children. I bought them new boots, raincoats, underwear, and everything. Then, when I leave home, my wood pile is full of pine and wood. I cut me a heap of wood with my chain saw. We put it in the truck. When we get out there, we go build a fire in two or three places. When we get cold, we go to that fire and warm because the fire already burning. We don't lose no time. You understand? Right back picking that cotton. And we didn't move the truck until we get ready to go back home. Because we done put that cotton on that truck. Carried it there and emptied it. Well, there's a week or two before Christmas. I go to Mr. Darden. "Mr. Darden?"



"Yeah."

I say, "Is you ready for me?"



"Yeah, T. Anytime you want."



I say, "I'll be here in the morning."



He say, "I'll have it open." Like, my truck sitting out there, I go over there and borrow a trailer from my boss man. Six-bale trailer or eight-bale trailer. I'd hook it behind my truck or get two and hook behind it. And me and them boys would load it at night.



(End of tape one, side one. The interview continues on tape one, side two.)



Bankston: And that morning I'd take off to the gin with them two trailers, and my truck loaded and the trailers, yelling. He stopped that.



Long: Now, what would you call it? Scrap--?



Bankston: Scrapping. That's scrap cotton. Scrap cotton. See, you know them cotton-pickers go in there and just mess up that cotton, and them bolls don't be open until the frost. Well, all that's open. And I go there and pick all that and sometimes from here to there over yonder, I done picked a bale of cotton.



Long: How much you paying for it?



Bankston: I ain't paying them nothing. They gave it to me. Just like you got a farm, you know. And your hands done quit. The cows out there, and mules. You tell me, "Go out there and get it, T." Well, T. goes and gets it. And I planted all them peas and me and my children get out there and fill them houses up and I go around to--. You know the white folks keep pea thrashers. I found one. Got a good pea thrasher.



I go to him. "Mister, can I get you to thrash my peas?"



"You got many of them?"



"Oh, yes. I got two or three houses full."



"OK. I'll be there such and such a date, T.B."

I say, "Yes, sir." Well, I go buy me two or three hundred croker sacks, you know. Or else any kind of sacks I want. And have them there. And when that man sees that pea thrasher there, he goes and talks with that white man, I'm in trouble. (Laughter.)



"T.B.?"



"Yes, sir."



"I'll bring my sacks tomorrow."



Long: He wants to share it.



Bankston: He's got the half of it. If he don't, he'd take every bit of it. I say, "Yes, sir."



Long: But at first, what he tell you? He just wants half?



Bankston: Half of the cotton. That's all. But he changed that thing. I told you. Mister, look, I had to learn it the hard way. Papa told me how to do, you know. And I done it, and they [took] it from me. They took it from me. Ooooh, Mister.



Long: But you still, look like, you still did good. Your family, they were healthy. And did they eat good?



Bankston: Who! Did they? I'll tell you what. A gallon of molasses would last us two meals, [or] three meals. (Laughter.) See, I killed plenty of hogs, and hang them up. Get that, what you call that? What kind of salt you call that? That's Morton salt. You know, you salt them down in Morton salt and take that meat up and wash it. It all tastes just like bacon. You can smell it all over this town cooking. You know how bacon smells. Well, they cured it with Morton salt. They don't know what that is down here. They don't know what Morton salt is. Man! Lord have mercy!



Long: You'd wait till it got cold?



Bankston: And kill my hogs. And I got a big box. Built it. That tall. Long from here over yonder. (Gesturing.)



Long: What did you hang them up on?



Bankston: You know how you put wire up there and have a two by four running across and put wire up there, hang down and drive a nail in it? Then hang a ham [or] middling on it. You understand? When you take it out of the box, wash it off. You understand? Meat.



Long: Yeah. Salted meat.



Bankston: Right. Then, you get a bucket or old tub or something and put sand in there and keep you a smoke in there. That's to keep the flies and things out of it. You understand. Man, there ain't nothing to it. Oh, Lord!



Long: And y'all lived pretty good.



Bankston: Every one of my children, fat as a pig. (Laughter.)



Long: Now, tell me one thing, though.



Bankston: Mm-hm.



Long: What about them hard times?



Bankston: Oh! Well, I'll say it like this: the hardest time I had, it was about three or four years. Oh, Lord! We had them horrible white folks. That was when--. Who was that, the president? Was it Hoover or Truman? Was so hard on us. When that WPA come in.



Long: That was Hoover.



Bankston: Look. Papa said, "Children. Y'all can't go to school. You got to stay and help Daddy. Daddy can't make it." Well, he was working for the railroad, and a crosstie fell on him and busted his foot. They brought him home in a section car and laid him on the porch. And I had to take over there. I kept Papa two years.



Long: What was his name?



Bankston: Harry Bankston. He look like that picture up yonder? Yeah. Now, he lived to get a hundred and something. That foot was this big. (Gesturing.) I went out there to the clay dirt. I got me some clay dirt in a tin tub. Put vinegar, all my medicine in there and made it up a poultice. And I put it around Papa's foot. First put a rag and then poured all up in here. I wouldn't put it tight. Papa's foot was done turned dead black. It went to turning back to lose the color. I'd get up every morning and take it off. Wash it and bathe it and put it back on. And he would smile, and say, "Son, you good to Daddy." We could hear him hollering and groaning all night long. He be laying on the floor, you know, on a pallet.



Long: What if it had turned blue?



Bankston: What if it turned blue? I'm going to work with him. Who? I know what to work with him. Get some jimsonweed. You understand. Get that poison out of it. And keep sulfur in it. Keep sulfur in it. Man!



Long: But wait. You can't blow the sulfur in it. How you going to do it?



Bankston: Let him lick it. Let him lick it. Just lick a little bit. Just lick it. And he go and do it. Don't take it when it's raining, though. You'll swell up. Just try to keep from getting wet.



Long: How you get all this knowledge?



Bankston: Well, you know, they used to sell us from over yonder. They sold Aunt Sally Alba[?] over here, and she didn't have no folks.



Long: Over yonder?



Bankston: From overseas. Africa. She was staying in a house across the street from us. Across the road. And she would have them charley horses. She was by herself. Didn't have no folks. The white folks, she done got too old to work, and they put her out on her own. And she stayed in an old house, across the street from us. Aunt Sally Alba, she didn't have no folks. Didn't know nothing about her. So Mama and Papa make me go over there and stay over there at night with them. And when she had them charley horses, and fall out the bed, I had to put her back in the bed. So one morning before day, Aunt Sally, "Come here to me." I jumped up. She said, "Grab my (inaudible)." (Whispering.) "Pull the curtain back." Looked on the porch and this is the way he was (gesturing), the white man, putting a black man in the hole dug in her floor. Pulled the planks up. Dug a hole in the porch and put him in there.



Said, "Boy, don't you tell nobody about this here."



Said, "No'am."



Said, "They'd kill every one of us." You hear me? Well, I wanted to tell Papa and Mama, but I was scared. She told me, "Don't." You know. I didn't know what Papa might say, you know, cause all of us to be killed. I can go to that place now. That man's down there, in a clay hill on that [side] of the road. Aunt Sally Alba. She learned me that. Oh! She learned me, but I done forgot so much of it.



Long: Did she know anything about the healing medicine?



Bankston: She knowed everything. She learned me. She learned me.



Long: And her full name, what was it?



Bankston: Aunt Sally Alba. Big, dark heavy-set woman. Looked healthy, fine, but she was old, and she just wouldn't--. You had to be really known for her to talk to you. She wouldn't talk to you.



Long: Did she dip or smoke?



Bankston: I don't remember her doing none of that. She didn't do none of that. There was a sassafras tree, she used to keep that limb in her mouth. She'd keep that limb in her mouth. She always would keep that stick in her mouth.



Long: Chew on it.



Bankston: Chew on it. Her teeth were just as pretty and white. Aunt Sally Alba. She learned me what I know. That was way back yonder, brother.



Long: She ever tell you any stories?



Bankston: Well, not too much, because she was mostly scared, because that's when them white folks were killing us, you know. And she didn't want to get killed. You had to keep your mouth shut.



Long: What were they killing you for?



Bankston: Well, just most anything. If they'd tell you, "Run," and you didn't run, they'd kill you. And if they--. Just like we'd be sitting off. See them boys sitting off out there?



Long: Yeah, I see them.



Bankston: That truck would drive there, say, "Hey, boys. Come on, I got two or three hours of work."



"Yes, sir. We want to make some money." Well, they'd carry you off and keep you till night or just first dusk. They'd come back with that truck and slow down to about thirty miles an hour and go to raising that bed up. You'd better jump out that truck. If you don't, they'd carry you back. The next time they didn't have to tell you to jump out. If they didn't kill you, they would beat you so you won't never be no more good.



Long: How much they pay you?



Bankston: They pay you then, when they whipped you. You didn't do to suit them. They won't give you nothing. But dump you out on that highway, then they speed up and go. Oh, man. Just like I'd be setting down at home some time, truck drives by. "T.B."



"Yes, sir."



"You want to make thirty dollars?"



"Yes, sir."



"Take this truck and go get you two or three men and go over yonder to So-and-so." Carry me to it. He said, "Now, you see this patch here?"



I said, "Yes, sir."



"This is mine. You load it up and bring it to me, and then I'm going to give you your money."



"Yes, sir." He's stealing that man's watermelon! And getting me in there! See that would get me killed! You see? But what happened, the man didn't kill me. He come to my house and asked me. I said, "Yes, sir. That man told me them was his and sent me over there and give me thirty dollars."



He said, "I'll get that so-and-so." And sure enough, frankly, he would kill him or something. Or shoot him. Because I done told him the truth. Man! Lord!



Long: Now, you trying to tell me that area up there near Grenada, that's so beautiful, land so rich, that there's mistreatment up there?



Bankston: Mistreatment?



Long: When you were coming up?



Bankston: Mistreatment? Hmph! Mister! Look, we used to be going to Sunday school on a Sunday morning. Mama would make us all go. And see them white boys coming in them trucks, Mama hit the bushes. You know how a partridge do when they see you coming?



Long: Right.



Bankston: Well, that's the way we had to do behind Mama's little ribbons to the creek. We carried Mama across. So, look, and them white folks would be in behind us. And you know them slings, how long them ropes is? And if he's got a rock up in there that big, if he hits you up in here, you're going to die. You'd better stay out of the way of him.



Long: Like they call a slingshot.



Bankston: No, a sling.



Long: A real sling?



Bankston: A real sling. Got a rope on it, and it's waxed with wax. They swing it and turn this end a-loose. It'll bust that car wide open. Boom! Oh, man, they had a way of getting us. Lord have mercy. I hate to talk about it. And that man they call Old Man Lon Thomas[?]. You could hear him for miles. "Oooooh! You goddamn niggers! Move up over there." And we'd be in the field plowing on this side, but we'd be mocking him. He'd set up in a great big rocking chair. Great big hat. And them Negroes. Woooooh. And he steady cussing, day and night. Old Man Lon Thomas. You could hear him for miles. "Oooooh! You goddamn niggers!" I nursed one or two, and they got away with me.



"T.B. Come here and get them niggers off me."



Long: What were you nursing them for?



Bankston: They were dying, and they wives had me to come, and they would pay me a dollar a day, or so much a week, to stay there with him. He'd be dying. Some of them, they'd take them a month to die. You understand?



Long: How would you ease their pain?



Bankston: Rub them. Rub them with stuff. And they would be good to me, some of them. But them there sure enough done killed so many folks, they couldn't be good. "Get them niggers off of me!" And they wives had to come in there and bathe them down. "Oh, them niggers is at me."



Long: But they knew that you knew how to nurse?



Bankston: Right. Sure. Oh, they would be so good to me.



Long: What if I burned my hand and I had fire in it? Or I had heat in it? What could you--?



Bankston: Yeah. I forget what that was I put on it. It's a heap of things you can put on that for to burn that fire, to use. But I done forgot it, now. It'll come back to me.



Long: You ever seen anybody that could talk it out?



Bankston: Sure.



Long: What would you do?



Bankston: That was them old folks would do that, would talk it out. But we put medicine on it and draw it out. It's a little simple thing. I forget what it is. Girl got burnt back here, and I put it on there, draw it right out. I forgot what it is. See, folks don't know nothing about it; they'll laugh at you about this. And they'll make you look silly. And so, I just quit. Yeah, I know heat, man. I just don't fool with it, now. See, and the doctors here, they want to rebuke you and make you tell it. The law will get up, "T.B., you going to have to tell it, now. You going to have to." I don't have to do nothing, but die. Can they hear me out yonder?



Long: No.



Bankston: See, that's wrong. That is wrong, Mister. What I know, it ain't killed nobody. Leave me alone. Either I'm right or wrong?



Long: And you helping people.



Bankston: What you said?



Long: And when you're nursing them, you help them. When you were nursing people.



Bankston: I was what?



Long: When you were nursing them, you were helping them.



Bankston: Sure. Sure. Sure. "Put that nigger in jail!" Like they put me in jail over yonder because I cut my brother. Here's the way it was: my brother [was] working at Gulf Hills. I'm working in the woods and painting white folks' houses at night to make money. I was going back to the Delta to get my wife and children and bring them here. And I rented a house from Willie Jackson in Ocean Springs, to get my folks here. Mr. Magee sells furniture over there in Gulfport, a furniture store. I bought all my furniture, refrigerator, and stove from him. Put it in that house. And my brother said, "T.B." Said, "I hadn't got a place to stay. Me and my wife, Rena[?]." They didn't have no children.



I said, "Well, W., you can stay over here with me till you get you a place."



"T., and I'll pay you."



I said, "OK." Went on two or three weeks and he didn't give me nothing. So it was a Friday, I went to him. I said, "W." I said, "Now, you ain't give me nothing. Friday will you give me something?"



He said, "Yeah, T., I'll give you something." Well, that Friday I got paid, and I went down to Mama Tera's[?] to pay her for whiskey I had got from her, a pint or two, you know. And get me another half-pint of V.O.. And I got me two that Friday evening, and I was going on back by Froggy Bottom. I see W.



"Hey, W."



"Yeah."



I say, "You going to give me some money?"



When he got up to me, "Yeah." Boom!



I said, "Wait a minute, W. I'm your brother. Don't do me like that, W. I'm worried about my children." All my hair was black, then.



And he said, "Yeah. Goddamn it. I ain't put nothing on you. I'm fixing to put something on you."



I said, "No, you just met your Daddy and met him drunk." And I reached and got it. You know. I'm glad he run. He run to the jailhouse about a half mile, mile. And I was steady reaching down and cutting at him. And when I knowed anything, he'd run in the police door, and I run in there. (Laughter.) They grabbed me right there.



Long: What did you have in your hand?



Bankston: That knife. It had done split his coat all over him. He knowed to stay out of the way of me. And so, they put me in the county farm without a trial. Over there in prison. Jackson County.



Long: How bad did you get him?



Bankston: Oh, I didn't cut him nowhere. I just bruised him with my fist where I hit him. I just cut his coat. That's all. And they took all my furniture and sold it, and done around, and put me over there for six or seven weeks.



Long: What camp did you go to? Do you know?



Bankston: Jackson County in Pascagoula. Over there. You know, they had it right beside the road. I worked all on Delmight[?] Plantation. See, I'm a fence man. Mr. Delmight had me putting up all them fences for him. And so, they made me mad about something, Captain Ivory[?] did, and I told him, I said--. He was talking about how he'd whip us niggers. I told him, "Don't whip me. If you do, me and the Lord's going to walk around."



Now, he didn't know what it means, and old one-eyed Webber[?] put his pistol on me, talking about carrying me to the beach at night.



I said, "Don't do it." I said, "You going to have me to kill."



And (laughter) he called Grenada home and Mr. Clayton Carpenter[?] told him, said, "Don't hit him." Said, "If you hit him, you've got him to kill." Say, "You're going to have to kill him." Said, "He's a sworn shooter."



And they come back in there, said, "T.B."



I said, "Yeah."



"Mr. Clayton Carpenter said you can hit anything you want."



I said, "I can."



He told them, said, "Pull them shackles off him, and them handcuffs." I had shackles and handcuffs. "And don't carry him on the road no more." And so in about two weeks, my boss, I was working for the Woods[?], come got me.



He said, "T." Say, "You ain't got to pay nothing." Got me out. See, they worked me over there all that time. Had me on that white man's plantation. I'm the one put down them big fences on there. There where that oil refinery is. See, didn't pay me for it or nothing. See? Then took all my furniture and stuff. I had to start all over again. They hard on me. They don't like me. But here the thing is: I will fight back at them. And I will fight. See, I got into it up there. The way it was, I was going to a fellow called Clem Gordon[?], to get me a fifth of whiskey, because I had them women, two women. And I slipped off from my wife and had them, but Clem Gordon got a quart, and I was going back out through the cornfield row. And Vernon Mack, poor old white fellow, had a fellow down there called Jay Black, and done beat all this out of him and was stomping him. Get his mouth straight. All that dirt was going.



I touched him. I said, "Mr. Vernon."



He looked up at me. He said, "Yeah." Quit beating him.



I said, "I want to get by."



"If you get by, you'll tear that corn down."



I said, "Thank you." I walked back and got in that truck and backed up. Put my foot on the gas and plowed that corn back in the road. (Laughter.)



And the women looked back, said, "T." Say, "Here he comes. Here he comes to get you. He's going to beat your teeth out."



I said, "No, he ain't going to beat my teeth out." And I got up to ninety miles an hour.



Someone said, "T.B., you ain't no fool." Said, "Quit that. Quit that running that truck." I quit. And he went to come around me and went to turning over, down the road in front of me. Look, I just stayed along beside him till he stopped. When he stopped, I stepped out, and he got out and tried to get his automatic shotgun out.



And I said, "I'll take it." And I went off on him. I whipped him down and took that automatic shotgun and throwed it out in the field and went on about my business. So that night I come in from Grenada in that fork. I seen all them horses standing up there and them white folks had them sheets on, and when I made that left turn to go off the highway, a slug came in by me. I shelved[?] my lights on, and stomped it. And she done this. I went on home. Got that thirty-thirty. Eased back in that truck and went about a mile to them, where I could see them and went to doing this. You could hear them horses, breaking wind, tearing up roads. (Laughter.) Them riders, they were hollering, "Whoa, you S.O.B.!"



That morning before day, my boss man was there. "T.B."



"Yes, sir."



I stepped out from around that house with that thirty-thirty. "Are you all ready?"



I said, "Oh, yes, sir. I be up till things get right."



"What was going on out here last night?"



I said, "I don't know." I said, "But I know one thing. I ain't going to stand no shoving around here."



That man went and got in that car and ain't said another word to me.



Long: What did you call it? You ain't going to stand no?



Bankston: No shoving[?] here. (Laughter.) And he went and told them. Say, "That nigger say he ain't going back, y'all." And so, they some of them told the colored folks what I said. And I left and come here. And I swim one of them, Yalobusha, [or] Tallahatchie, till I got to Phillips[?] and got my brother. He put me in Winona. Whooooa.



Long: Now, did you drive from one place to another? How'd you get to your brother?



Bankston: Through the swamp.



Long: You had to run.



Bankston: I had to run. I come from Grenada, all the way through them counties into Phillips. And my brother was hauling logs out of the Delta on a log truck. And I knowed the sound of that truck, when he come in the forty-mile bend. I was in johnsongrass over about as tall as that and here's the way I was doing. (Gesturing.) And he said, "Choo, choo, choo, choo, choo." I'll do it again. He said, "Choo, choo, choo, choo, choo." Started getting down, that big trailer loading logs up yonder. Way after awhile, he said, "T.B."



I said, "Huh?"



He shut it off and he come around. "T., Lord! What done happened?" I told him. He said, "T."



I said, "What?"



He said, "Get back there and don't move." See, he had been over yonder, stayed for years in Vietnam. He said, "Don't move." Said, "And I'll be back in a few minutes." Way about an hour, and something, I looked at Ward's Castilla[?], and I see them lights do this.



I said, "That's L.C." Them lights, that straight-eight Ford was rolling. As he come down, he said, "Krrrrrrrr. T.B.?"



I said, "Yeah."



He said, "Come on out." He said, "T., where you want to go?"



I said, "Go to the headquarters, L.C." That's where the Klan, the Ku Klux Klan hangs out. And we went there. (Laughter) I said, "L.C., we are going in there to get a fifth of Granddaddy."



Walked in there and asked for a fifth of Granddaddy, and Mr. Tally Lott[?] said, "Y'all can have this." And them Negroes done did, they'd cleaned that corn field. (Laughter.) And them white folks said, "Them niggers got them thirty-thirty. Somebody's done something to them." And we stepped back in the car, and he didn't charge us for the whiskey or nothing. We went in Grenada and done the same thing at the Chicken-In Café[?]. Asked for a bowl of soup and the police is coming in. We're going out. And they say, "Excuse me." We had the thirty-thirty in his hands. And they say, "Excuse me, y'all."



We said, "Everything's all right." (Laughter.) They give us the soup[?], and we went on and got in the car, and he put me in Winona about midnight. You know they got them up here.



Long: They got what up here?



Bankston: They got the Klan. They got them up here in Gulfport. Up there towards Poplarville. I worked out there two years, and they got at me, to kill. And they couldn't do nothing with me to catch me, you know? Because I would outrun them. And my bossman got the sheriff and went out there and stopped them from bothering me. They told me. They caught me going in his driveway and told me, said, "Nigger," say, "you think you're smart." Said, "But we're going to get you." So, I quit. And I didn't go back out there no more.



Long: Why you think they wanted you?



Bankston: Because I'm a nigger out there. Out there in what they call the Southern Hollow. You've heard them talking about Southern Hollow. Well, I was out there. And they'll tell you every nigger that come out here, you know. Now, one day me and my boy left from here and going down there to find my brother's grave. Where he was buried. They killed him. And my boy was driving. I had a seventy-five Impala Chevrolet, and this white man had a long trailer truck [that] hauled gravel, and I seen him coming. I said, "Charles."



He said, "Sir?"



I said, "Watch this man, now." I say, "He runs over all black folks with a trailer of (inaudible)." Charles went on up there, eighty and going to ninety. I said, "Charles."



He said, "Sir?"



I said, "Get this car down, boy." He got off of it, and I just reached down there and got that thirty-eight. I said, "Charles," I said, "get down to ten miles an hour, now. Let's put it right in his face." He put that truck down to ten, got down there to [Highway] Ninety. He went one way. We went the other. Then he come over here and went to hauling when they put them casinos in here. And that's what I want to show that man. This land here goes straight on through out to [Highway] Fifteen and this one turn go back on [Highway] Ten. Here's a lane over here to keep the fast lane, keep going through. Well, he's over here in this lane and I'm over here, and he was behind me. And when I get up here, he's going to come up side of me and come back over. And come back in there. And a state trooper was sitting down at the foot of the hill, one sitting headed this way; the other sitting headed the other. I pulled up side of them. I said, "Did y'all see that?"



"Oh, yeah. We were looking at that."



I said, "Well, y'all not going to arrest him?"



"Naw. We just call ahead and stop him." They ain't done nothing. The man killed some folks. Then he liked to got me again at Cedar Lake. So, they got rid of him. I don't know what went with him. See that, man. And I wish y'all could stop them from shooting out there. I'll be out there fishing. Boom! Boom, boom! And I'll holler. Don't holler! It gets worser. See, there. That's wrong. That is wrong.



Long: They're just trying to scare you, though, right?



Bankston: They will shoot you, Mister. You know, a lot of folks got shot over there. Do you know some folks in a car got shot over there? And over yonder at the power plant. You know where the power plant is, don't you? Well, you know it's a little creek coming down there, don't you? Well, now, there used to be a big car shed setting back there on the right hand side, going yonder way, at that thing. A big car. A big boat shed. Now, it's a house sitting up in the bushes. The same house, sitting up there in the bushes. You go down there fishing, he got those man-killing dogs, big old black ones, this tall. He'll turn them dogs loose to kill you. And they're going to ease up on you. And that old "Sweat"[?] is going to be back yonder by the lake, and the dogs are going to [go] around here in front of you, keep easing up to you. And you don't know. The way I get them to move, what I do is, they run into them cars on that highway. (Laughter.)



Long: They knew what you had in your hands.



Bankston: They knew. They got sense. They go straight across that highway. The man done trained them. He goes around on the bridge, under the highway, but they go straight across there and a truck hit one of them, and they ain't been back. So, now the man shoot at me, and he stick a white sign up out there and draw a black circle around it. That's his target, and here's the highway, now. And here he's sitting up on the back end. Now, anybody know that better than that. Is I right or wrong, now? You don't shoot towards the highway with no gun. Is I right now?



Long: Yeah. I don't know anybody who will allow that.



Bankston: If the state knows that, they'll put him up under the jail. Look, here's the state highway. Here's the bank up here. He put the sign up here, which way he's shooting. Well, that's where some folks got shot. You know that's where they dumped all that ammunition at. See, that's wrong. But we can't say nothing. We ain't got no help. Look at me. I got two or three guns from that house down there. I know of several deacons got them, now. Good guns. Mister, what's it, Joe Price[?]? Give them to this woman because she's selling that stuff. And that boy. That boy's got life, they tell me, in the penitentiary. Bring them guns there, and they throw them down.



Long: Well, he got life, but he's walking the streets.



Bankston: Who? Joe Price?



Long: Oh, I thought you were talking about Roosevelt. You're talking about somebody else.



Bankston: Yeah. You see. Look, he give them them guns. They're getting them up there around Camp Shelby, carloads of them. Then, bring them here and give them to them colored boys. Well, you know them boys don't know nothing about shooting no guns. They just get out there and shoot them. They don't know about shooting nobody. See, I sit on the porch and look at them. And he'd go around and issue them guns. See, that's wrong, and I took two or three of them. I know a bunch of folks took some of them. And I took one and carried it to Mr. Luther Patton, out yonder to his house. And he told me to carry it down there and he's going to tell Joe Price to meet me at the county jail over there. And here's what Joe Price told me, "T.B., you're too damn smart. You'd better leave them white folks' stuff alone."



I said, "Well, the children ain't got no business out there shooting. And if the church folks see them, you know them dogs cutting up. And you go shooting that gun around, them dogs will jump them fences." And them dogs was in line. Them children there: boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. And them thirty-thirties. And they got hung up, and they put it in a garbage sack and carried it around and put it up in the bus. Well, I pulled my truck up over there when I went to church, and I got it and carried it up there and give it to them. I didn't give them to Clifford. Clifford at the house, now.



Long: Well, looks like you had an interesting life.



Bankston: I ain't told you nothing. (Laughter.) Did you hear what I said, Mister? I haven't told you nothing.



Long: When did things get better? Tell me about that.



Bankston: When--. What's this president? I cried when he died.



Long: Did somebody shoot him?



Bankston: Yeah. They killed him. That president.



Long: John--.



Bankston: Kennedy. Kennedy. That's the best man I ever seen in my life. I cried about that man. You see, Reverend Martin Luther King; I cried on him. That's the best man. You hear me? Lord, I slept like a log, because of everything he said. He said them Klansmen got to go, and they didn't like it. And every time they get us off and get a chance. "Y'all going to have to help us get them old presidents out of there. Y'all ain't going to never do good till you get them out." See, and some of those old, stupid folks don't know no better.



"Yes, sir." You understand? That's wrong. Look at my boy. I worked with this man twelve years, in the woods. And shows you I was working. Now, you listen what I'm saying, please. I'd go out there in the morning around three and four o'clock with that truck, by myself. Brand new truck, brand new chain saws. Three o'clock, I'm at the house, right down there. Three loads of wood at the paper mill. There them, Mister, Derit Campbell[?] got three men on one truck. They get one load. And the man at the mill told him, said, "Campbell, you ought to get rid of them men." Said, "That Cleve Lambert[?] got a boy, ain't but one." Said, "At three o'clock," said, "he's going in the house, three loads. Tandem loads." I done it three years.



(End of tape one, side two. The interview continues on tape two, side one.)



Bankston: Straight. So, I got tired. He's got these fellows right around here what have all them folks, drunk, sitting on his porch. They helped me. I'd go to the mill, come back, he done cut three or four trees. I go to the paper mill and back. He got three or four trees cut, and that's all. I had to take him off. And when that mower said, "Toot, toot, toot, toot," that's a load of wood. Look. I said, "Mister, please, you pay him." I said, "I don't want him no more."



He said, "T.M.[?], he's got to go." He paid him, and Eddie[?] ain't had another--. Well, he did. He worked on this street, out here, but that's all he done. He ain't done nothing else. He can't work. And I kept that truck three years. Every day, three loads of wood. You understand? He give me six dollars a load.



Long: Six dollars?



Bankston: Six. Six. Six dollars a load. Then, he got me, they let my boy come up there and help him clean up his place, and he told my boy, that, "Come on up there and work for me," and he going to build him a brick house and pay him. Buy him a new car. See, he's going to work my boy like he did me. And they didn't take no social security from me, and today, he got all my social security. See, Ms. Duckworth[?] knows it. And when I went to telling that, that white man turned that fan on me. See, that's wrong, ain't it?



Long: That sounds wrong.



Bankston: It's wrong, Mister.



Long: Now, one thing I need to know, and that's: did you do anything--?



Bankston: Just tell me what you think, and I'll tell you.



Long: No, no. It had to do with, how could you keep your spirits up in spite of all that? That's what I want to know.



Bankston: Well, I wanted to get my wife and children down here. I come the hard way. And the white folks up there was killing them and doing everything. You understand? They done killed my oldest boy up there, and put him in the road like a car run over him. And my brother killed the man that killed him, and they give him thirty-something years in the penitentiary. And I come down, and I started working. I holp(1) my brother, [to] get him out from up there. You see. And I wanted my children to have something. I went up there to carry them three or four hundred dollars apiece, up there, and them folks went to talking about, I give them too much. I'm not--. No, I didn't. Them my children. You understand? I don't want them [to] come up stealing or nothing. I want them to come like I did. And then, old fellow said I went there carrying dope. I ain't never hauled no--. I ain't never. I don't fool with drugs. I'm already crazy enough, Mister. Is I right or wrong?



Long: Well, you sound like you got a whole lot of experience and a whole lot of sense.



Bankston: Look, if you'd been through with what I've been through with. Let me tell you this. That's when I was on a place called the Stevens[?] place. We had such a hard time till this man named Mr. Jack Frank[?], he was going to move from Grenada, from Duck Hill, down there to the tire plant. And he asked me would I help him that Saturday morning. I said, "Yes, sir. I'll help you, Mr. Jack Frank." And his wife was named Ms. Dora, and she had a little, bitty, old baby about three or four days old. So, they get in the cab, and the little baby, the little boy, about this tall (gesturing), caught my leg.



Mr. Jack Frank said, "T., he wants to stay with you."



I said, "Well, let him." I goes up on top of the truck and opens us a hole. You know Tie Plant's way up yonder, and we done packed their furniture in there. I go up there and stack us a hole in the middle of it, and I come back, say, "Mr. Jack Frank, you give him to me." He give him to me. Well, we got down near Glen Y[?] number two. You know where Glen Y is?



Long: Mm-hm.



Bankston: And he's going to make a left turn off of [Highway] Fifty-one, coming south. And this gravel truck was making a hundred and nothing with a load of gravel, and caught him right in the door. And I done this: (gesturing). With that boy in this arm. I went over them muscadine vines and that there johnsongrass. Them vines held me and that baby and let us down in there just as easy. So, when I got up there in the road, I had to get out of them vines, you know, all wrapped around my legs. The state trooper said, "Well," say, "everyone of them's dead. We ain't got to worry [about] them."



I said, "No, sir. They ain't." I said, "I got the baby. The big baby." And they didn't pay me nothing because I was a nigger. Didn't pay no attention. After awhile, I said, "White folks."



He said, "Yeah."



I said, "This is his baby."



"That's a nigger." Talking about, you know how them old poor pecks stand on the side.



I said, "This is their baby."



"Well, where in the hell was he at? Where were y'all at?"



I said, "I left that truck back yonder." They had me walk down there and show them.



And they went out there and said, "Look a-here." Say, "There's where he went over in them vines." Say, "Look a-here." Said, "And you come out with no scratch on you and the baby?"



I said, "Yes, sir."



He said, "Lord." So, they say now, the boy is grown. He's fifty-something years old. He wants to talk with me. He wants to see me. But I don't want to see him because he's going to ask me about his mama and daddy, you know. And I'm not going to tell him.



Long: Both of them gone.



Bankston: All three of them: the mama and the daddy and the little baby sister. Nobody but him.



Long: Was that because the car went by them. They were going fast.



Bankston: No. Look, here this here truck going, coming south on Fifty-one Highway. At Glen Y number two. Here this gravel truck coming behind and Mr. Jack's going to make a left turn off of Fifty-one, and they caught him right in that door. And gravel went from here down to that light. Whoosh! You know how the gravel went off of that truck when he hit that solid lick. Well, if we'd have been on top, we'd have been out there, too. But we didn't get none of that motion, because I went in the air before it. See, we was in the air.



Long: Yeah. In the johnsongrass.



Bankston: In the muscadine vines and green vines, hanging over. Just let us down, just easy. See, I had a baby of my own. You understand?



Long: Yeah. How old you figure he was?



Bankston: At that time, I was around twenty-five. Twenty or twenty-five.



Long: You were about twenty-five, and how old was the baby?



Bankston: Little, bitty, old baby. Was just could walk.



Long: Yeah, he about fifty now, then.



Bankston: Yeah, he's fifty. And see, look, he wanted to go with me. He caught my leg to keep his daddy from catching him. And the baby had more sense than the daddy, because the baby must have knowed death was on them.



Long: Yeah. A knee baby, though. So, he was coming on a knee baby.



Bankston: Right. So, I done it. I tell you something else I done. I was plowing at Alice Chalmers[?]. You know what a big Alice Chalmers Tractor is?



Long: Yeah. Big one.



Bankston: Out in the field. Then this rich woman, Ms. Olly DuBard[?] and another rich woman was out there in that big lake with a boat. Look, I was sitting down smoking a Prince Edward cigarette on that tractor, going along under that shade, you know. I look, I see the straw hat floating across. I stood up. I said, "Whoa, Lord." I raised and pulled that power lift up. They was in the water, fighting one another. They couldn't swim. They were fighting. Well, that made them stay up. The hat was going across the water. I throwed that big Alice Chalmers to full gear and run up to that bank and spotted them. And my wife was standing on the porch, hollering. She was up on the hill, standing up on the porch, hollering. I hit that lake. Boom! I could swim. I went to them. She said, "T.B. T.B."



I said, "Ma'am?"



"Don't you touch me because I ain't never had a nigger to put their hands on me."



I said, "This nigger's going to save you." I run into her and I caught her under here and I carried her up. And I shook her, and done this. And carried her to the bank. Put her down. I went back, and the other one done got out this far in the water, going--. Look, I went and got her and shook and come up and shook her and hit her in water. I carried her to the bank.



She said, "T.B. Let me rest a little bit." She was getting her breath back then. I let her kind of lay there like this, on all four. She said, "Now, I'm all right. Carry me to the car." I carried her to the car. I had already carried Ms. Olly there.



And Ms. Olly said, "T.B., stand here and watch us till we get away." See, both of them would have been dead. This nigger saved them. I saved them. Then, my wife, ooooh, you ought to hear her talk about it.



Said, "T.B., they were gone." They were gone.



Long: I bet your wife was proud.



Bankston: Oh, she was. She was.



Long: How did you feel?



Bankston: Well, I felt good because I saved them. And it done Mr. Dave--. He acted like he didn't like it in a way, because I put my hands on her, you know. And she told me, said, "I never had a nigger put their hands on me." She told me this. Said, "Let me die, T.B."

I said, "No. This nigger's going to save you." And I went back and got the other one. So, there ain't no telling where this money come from, Mr. Bobby Parker got for me. You understand? I done done so many wonderful things. The sheriff from up above Grenada called me here, and told me anytime I'm in Grenada, be sure and come to him. He wants to talk to me. Say, he's known me from a boy, and I've been so good to the country that he wants to talk to me. And he told them, don't try to put their children on me, no more. See, I took them down here three or four--. I went to Grenada and got them, you know. And brought them here and that boy carried them back, because he wanted them out with that crowd, with their miniskirts on up to here and no baths. And I wasn't raised up nothing like that.



Long: Yeah. Now, look. I hear Dr. King came through Grenada one time.



Bankston: That was after I come down here. I tried to get them not to let him come, but they don't pay me no attention. He'd have been living now, but they wouldn't hear me. I know. I heard the white folks talking about it. You know, they was supposed to have brought him through here. That time they brought him here. But they killed him.



Long: Took him another way.



Bankston: Brought him around here. And they had the fire trucks over there, and I tried to run over them. I'll tell you like that. I tried to run over them. Look, and they started the fire. Burned their firetruck over there. See, they were going to stop him in the road and kill him. You understand? They were going to burn him up over there. See, they couldn't have got by, you see, but (whispering) they heard about it. They brought him (whispering) in another way. Just like this last time. Were you down here when he was down here?



Long: No, I wasn't here then.



Bankston: I thought it was a fellow kind of favored you. I tried my best to try to get to that guy. I got that knife at the house now, this long. Somebody--. I see that young boy this morning. He tried to get through, again, to kill him with that knife. I might show you the boy. I might show him to you sometime. I'm going to sure show him to you. If anything come up happen, they can walk up and lay hands on him. He was raised up here with his mother, with a grandmother or something, and she dead now. Her name was Helen. You hear me, don't you?



Long: Uh-huh. Now, the last thing I was going to ask is just this: your full name was, as far as you know, your name was--?



Bankston: T.B. Bankston.



Long: And you were born up near--?



Bankston: Right out from Duck Hill, across the river. North of Duck Hill, about a mile out there, across the swamp. Just right across the swamp. You get across the swamp, and you can stand over there and look. It's a mountain. And I was born right at the foot of that mountain, there.



Long: And you have survived all these years doing what you do?



Bankston: Right. You know every president? They curse me so much I could kick him on that television. Look, we used to have to run from that peckerwood, when they carried him from up there, bring him down here to these big meetings. They had them in school buses. Mama sent us to the stores there in the town to get stuff, we had to quit the road. They be shooting on the roads, hollering, "Niggers, get out the road." And now they talking about, he was so good. And done all that kind of dancing and hollering. That thing wasn't nothing but a hoodlum! Now, and I'm so glad some folks got up and told him, "Look, a-here." (Laughter.) Make him feel bad. Now, look, they're telling the truth.



Long: So, last--.



Bankston: You remember when they tarred and burned Duke Jackson, Red, and Dusty?



Long: Uhn-uhn. I don't remember.



Bankston: In Montgomery County. Duke Jackson, Red, and Dusty. They're about us age. They claim they killed Mr. George Sam Winters[?], but they didn't kill him. Mr. Lon Reed[?] killed that man. Shot him through here. And my daddy and my uncle were on their way to the hospital in Winona, and he died in his lap. All they shot out. We stayed about [as] far from them [as] from here to my house down there. And my daddy and my uncle picked him up and put him in his car, and got him right near to Winona and he died. And they killed them boys. And Dusty was the one was going to tell who killed him, and they chopped his head and busted his brains out with an axe. And the scrubbed pasture[?]. Do you know who I'm talking about: scrubbed pasture? I can carry you right to the place, is just as black, where they burned them boys. You know the government made them go in and get them bones and things and carry them to the prosecutor, then. That was about a mile from us out there. It was like a war was going on. We'd be going to the store and have to hit the woods because whenever the president coming through and the crowd with him, and they'd be shooting over us heads and betwixt us legs. We had to hit the woods. And they claimed that peckerwood was so good. Now, ain't that something, man?



Long: Now, who were the people who could play real good, the music, like Preston Carpet[?]? The music that he began to play. Who used to play that music?



Bankston: Well, my brother-in-law used to play. W.C. Wright and Curt Wright and Booker T. Wright[?]. Booker T. even left here and went to Chicago and come back here preaching. We used to be playmates together and Curt Wright's foot's this long. (Gesturing.) Him and W.C. They've been in that war over yonder.



Long: Are both of them, are all three of them still alive?



Bankston: No, they dead. All of them dead.



Long: Who do you know who still plays?



Bankston: I don't know nobody but B.B. King. I used to hear B.B. King, you know.



Long: Yeah. Now, what instrument did you used to play. Did you play anything?



Bankston: I didn't play. No. I didn't ever.



Long: You didn't do any singing?



Bankston: No singing.



Long: Who did you know, who's still alive?



Bankston: I don't know. Did you ever know Ms. Fuller[?]? Used to come up there and do all that preaching? The lady? Did you ever know her?



Long: Yeah. She'd sing gospel. Yeah.



Bankston: Right. You know her.



Long: I know her.



Bankston: Man, couldn't she--? Oh, that woman could preach, couldn't she?



Long: Yeah, and sing, too.



Bankston: Who? Do you know Reverend Charlie Bland[?] from Grenada?



Long: No, I don't know him.



Bankston: He's in Los Angeles, California, now.



Long: He can preach?



Bankston: Oh, Lord!



Long: You know, they used to preach the old sermons.



Bankston: I hear a phone somewhere.



Long: Yeah, it's a phone back over here.



Bankston: Oh, Lord, that was them good, old days. You don't see them folks no more.



Long: I heard that.



Bankston: And the guy they called Mr. Fairly Dell[?], when that woman killed her husband in Grenada that time, it was along in July. And I went to help to dig the grave, in the clay. You know, this clay?



Long: Yeah.



Bankston: And they told me, said, "T.B.," said, "you come out." Mr. Fairly said, "Honey," said, "come out." Said, "You're turning white." Said, "Come out."



I said, "Mr. Fairly, leave me alone."



He caught me. He said, "Come out of there." And when he pulled me up, and I, whop! That was it. When they got me up, you know what had happened. They done buried the man, and the women up there had camphors to my nose. I passed out. I dug so long in that clay dirt. And he drinks a gallon of water, every--. Just like that morning, he drank a gallon. At twelve o'clock, he'd drink a gallon. At night, he'd drink a gallon. And that's the way he drunk his water. Mr. Fairly Dell. He's the one that man stole his turkeys and ducks. (Laughter.) And he went to--.



Long: Yeah. Well, let me ask you this, though, because we're coming down to the end of the tape. What do you think? Are we doing better? Are we going somewhere? You think things are going to change?



Bankston: Well, it's going to eventually change, if black folks wake up. That's what holds us. We've got so many Uncle Toms. Now they running them young boys, giving them all that stuff, and we can't do nothing with them. And then, they steady laying it on them to kill them. You understand. That's wrong. And I can't even talk to them. You understand? I sees it, and they're going to kill my boy. Oh, they're going to kill him. I done told him. They're going to kill him. And they know it. I done went to them a heap of times and set down at the jailhouse twelve, one o'clock, and tell them, if there's anything I can do to stop my boy, I don't want y'all killing my boy. See, they put a gun on me out there for no reason. I went to them with the keys in this hand and the title in this hand. And I parked far from them, about fifty foot from them. About fifty yards from them. I parked this a-way. Here he sit, over here at the fence. I pulled. I got out. I said, "Officer." Here's what he done." (Gesturing.) I said, "Officer, I'm no criminal." I say, "I come to show you something." I said, "That's all right. Shoot me in my back." I turned my back to him and was walking over back to my truck. And he pulled his gun and things off, and laid them on the seat and come to me doing this. I said, "I ain't no criminal or nothing. I come to you to get my tag off my car."



He said, "Well, I'm sorry."



I said, "Yeah, but a stray bullet ain't got no name." And I went and told the big man about it. He called him in and that man got mad because I told that's what he done and walked off from where they had the meeting. Went in another room. Well, that left me standing there like a fool. He could have shot me just like he walked off. Is I right?



And he come back and mad, and he said, "Say it again to him."



And I said, "That's what he done." They made a fool out of me.



Told me, "I'll stop y'all niggers from selling cars." Well, I done bought that truck there. I didn't need the car. You understand. It wasn't no good.



And he's going--. That's the remark he made. He's going to stop us niggers. See there. That's wrong.



Long: But you done made it anyhow.



Bankston: I done made it.



Long: Well, I'm proud to meet you.



Bankston: Yes, sir, Mister. And I'm so proud to meet you. Lord have mercy. If I could just get to be right. I tried to get to Reverend Jackson. See, Reverend Hayes[?] didn't know. He come in from--. What is it? Up here? McComb. I let him have my truck to move in, and I told him, I said, "Reverend, it's full of gas. I bought it in sixty-eight, brand new." I said, "There it is." I handed him my keys. I said, "I'm going to Stateline hunting with these men here." I said, "There the truck is. You take it and move." He done it. So, he got down here. He had to leave here, and he left here crying. My brother told me he left crying, and he stayed away from here so many years. They made him leave here. He's back here now, and he's sick. And I told them, "I ain't going to take it." I'm just not. I'm going to tell it. I'm going to sure tell it.



Long: And you're going to stand up like a man.



Bankston: I'm going to stand up under it, and I'm going to fight behind it. I lay down with my gun. I get up with it. I might use it. You hear me? I might use it. You don't know the way we've been done, Mister. (Crying.) You hear me? Look, I'm tired of running for no reason and can't get no help. And they're going to kill all of us young boys. And if one can't read and write, like me, up there dumb, and asking, they punishing them children for no reason. And these preachers go up there and give them a little money. Talk to them children and make them tell things and get on them folks about it. Is I right or wrong? But we ain't got nobody.



Long: We don't have nobody but ourselves.



Bankston: Reverend Dickey[?] used to do that, used to be here. Reverend Pink[?] used to run that place there. Used to do that. See, when my wife died, them folks were getting a check down there and they put a letter to me "Mr. Bankston, if you intend to get your wife's check, you've got to get up here and sign these papers." And I wasn't getting it. They were getting it.



And Reverend Dickey went down there and told them, say, "Y'all are getting that man's wife's money." Say, "Y'all continue to get it and leave him alone." Say, "He's telling it like it is." Say, "Y'all better leave him alone." Won't give me my food stamps. She had two names: Ms. Moore[?] and Ms. Woods[?]. She isn't supposed to have but one name. Is I right or wrong? And this woman I picked up out of the street, went and told them what I said. And they got rid of her. Keep them from getting caught. See, that's wrong. Now, I'll tell you something else, too.



Long: But, you've been doing right.



Bankston: I've been doing right.



Long: And that's the main thing.



Bankston: I'll tell you what. The driver would take all that hundred pounds of sugar and hundred pounds of rice, lard. Carried the lard and told me I was a damn fool because I wouldn't take it. I said, "No, I'd die before I'd do it." Now, he dead. Old Moran[?]. Now, you see, that's the reason the children couldn't eat. He'd taken the stuff, selling the stuff, and when the children needed to be eating it at school--.



Long: They'd be hungry.



Bankston: How can y'all keep food there for them? You can't do it, can you? He had taken it, and selling it. I went over yonder across the bay and bought him a safe this tall, backing my truck to his house. A money safe. He's making so much money. Off the government. Now, you see, that's the reason we can't get nowhere.



Long: Right. OK. I want to thank you.



Bankston: Oh, you're welcome, man.



Long: For taking up all this time with me.



Bankston: Wait a minute. Let me tell you something. I wish you could catch me if I ever get my money, and get settled down. Catch me and let me talk to you. I'll tell you what. I'll fool my brother to get him here and let both of us get to talking. You catch it all. Wait.



Long: We'll do it.



Bankston: And you'll say--.



Long: Y'all done been through some high water.



Bankston: They killed a black man about as far from here to where the bridge is, (whispering), and there ain't nobody said nothing about that, is there? A black man.



Long: All right.



Bankston: Are you going to tape it?



(End of the interview.)

1. Note: Holp is an archaic form of the past tense helped.

 
 

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