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Example Questions & Answers

Sample Questions

Unbiased Questions

  • Where and when were you born?
  • Give the names of your father and mother. Where did they come from?
  • Give names of your brothers and sisters.
  • How many acres in the plantation? How many slaves on it?
  • Tell about your life with them and describe your home and the “quarters.” Describe the beds and where you slept.
  • What did the slaves do when they went to their quarters after the day’s work was done on the plantation?
  • What did you eat and how was it cooked? Any possums? Rabbits? Fish? What food did you like best? Did the slaves have their own gardens?

Biased Questions

  • Was the overseer “poor white trash”? What were some of his rules?
  • Did the slaves ever run away to the North? Why?
  • What did you hear about patrollers? How did slaves carry news from one plantation to another? Did you hear of trouble between the blacks and whites?
  • Stories about “Raw Head and Bloody Bones” or other “hants” of ghosts? Stories about animals?
  • What do you think of voodoo? Tell about the ghosts you have seen.
  • Now that slavery is ended what do you think of it?
  • Tell why you joined a church and why you think all people should be religious.

Sample Answers

WPA Answer

Bettie Massingale Bell, Mobile, Alabama. The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography: Supplement, Series 1.

Cade Answer

Sam Tabin, Arkansas, (Folder #015 Tabin, Sam. 1844-1865)

Sam Tabin Interview Full Text