This is a compilation of interviews with people who were once U.S. slaves and now live a free life (at the time the book was written). The stories are written in the dialect of the speaker. They speak of the ghosts and haunts they heard about and how scared they felt, how they were treated by their masters, and how they were treated by other black folks. The Ku Klux Klan were also very frightening to many. Most were not educated at all as their white owners were against them getting “big ideas”, however, after freedom, many learned the basics so they could read and write. They tell of poor clothes and being barefooted all year round. Many were whipped by their owners and others. They usually had to doctor themselves – using turpentine or sugar for stomachache, goose grass twigs, black root for constipation, scraped turnip bound to a frost bitten foot, and many other home-made cures. Pensions for older folks were very small, if anything. Many had to live with younger family members.
One told an old riddle: “I rode over the bridge and yet I walked.” (“Yet I” was a dog.)