Format Audio Recordings
Contributors Choate, Donna
Johnson, Geraldine Niva
Dates 1978
Location North Carolina
Sparta
United States
Language English
Subjects Ethnography
Interviews
Personal Experience Narratives
Title
"My grandmother was a slave."
Contributor Names
Johnson, Geraldine Niva, 1940- (Interviewer)
Choate, Donna. (Interviewee)
Choate, Donna. (Creator)
Created / Published
Sparta, North Carolina
Subject Headings
-  personal experience narratives
-  Ethnography
-  Interviews
-  United States -- North Carolina -- Sparta
Genre
Ethnography
Interviews
Notes
-  Transcription: GJ: Mrs. Choate, can you tell me a little bit about yourself? / DC: Well, I was born near Baywood Virginia, in 1909. My parents were James and Lucindy Greer. And my grandmother was a slave. Yes, my grandmother was a slave. My mother was raised, white people raised her, from a child up to her marriage. She was raised in North Carolina. Where do I go from there? / GJ: How did it happen that white people raised your mother? / DC: Her mother, my grandmother, was a slave and she lived with these people, and she died, and my mother was a little girl, about ten or eleven years old. And these white people kept her, and raised her. She even went to school. She had very good she could read very well. And count, too. [...] But I have three sisters, and seven brothers, and there's only two of us living. And, of course, I only have a public school here, I guess you would call it, education. I finished the seventh grade and that was as far as they taught those days. They had high schools of course in Sparta, but they were not open to the black people. So I finished the seventh grade when I was thirteen years old, and that was as far I got with school. But I did a lot of reading in my time. I did a lot of reading. My mother and my father too would bring newspapers home from the places where they worked, and I would read the news to them until they got where they could, able to subscribe to a magazine, or a newspaper, something like that, but I was the reader. They said the reason I read so well, I didn't like to wash dishes. [laughter] I could always find something interesting to read at dishwashing time. See, I married in the year of 1933. And we have one child, and she's in Chicago. So it's the two of us here alone. My husband was raised down in North Carolina, but I was raised practically in Virginia. But we moved to North Carolina, oh, I think it was the year of '21.
-  Donna Choate is an African-American woman who learned to quilt from her mother who was taught to piece quilts by the white family who raised her. Although at the time of the interview Mrs. Choate had not made quilts for several years, she describes the process, both as her mother practiced it and as she had done it herself. Mrs. Choate had made both utility and fancy quilts, for the use of her family, not for sale.
-  For rights information please contact the Folklife Reading Room at http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.afc/folklife.contact
Medium
Sound tape reel : 7 in.
Call Number
AFC 1982/009: BR8-GJ-R92
Source Collection
Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project Collection (AFC 1982/009)
Repository
American Folklife Center


Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection (see Title 17, U.S.C.) or any other restrictions in the material in this collection, except as noted below. Users should keep in mind that the Library of Congress is providing access to these materials strictly for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other holders of rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item. See our Legal Notices and Privacy and Publicity Rights for additional information and restrictions.

The American Folklife Center and the professional fieldworkers who carry out these projects feel a strong ethical responsibility to the people they have visited and who have consented to have their lives documented for the historical record. The Center asks that researchers approach the materials in this collection with respect for the culture and sensibilities of the people whose lives, ideas, and creativity are documented here. Researchers are also reminded that privacy and publicity rights may pertain to certain uses of this material.

This collection includes materials from the "All-American Quilt Contest" sponsored by Coming Home, a division of Lands' End and Good Housekeeping. The quilt contest winning entries from 1992 to 1996 are displayed with the permission of Coming Home which retains its rights.

Researchers or others who would like to make further use of these collection materials should contact the Folklife Reading Room for assistance. 

Credit line

Please cite the source collection title, collection number, and repository, for example:

Blue Ridge Parkway Folklife Project collection, 1977-1981 (AFC 1982/009), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Lands' End all-American quilt collection, 1992-1997 (AFC 1997/011), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Rights assessment is your responsibility.

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.