Manuscripts/Mixed Material [Nannie Ruth Parks]
East Durham, N. C.
September 7, 1938
I. L. M.
NANNIE RUTH PARKS
Her eyes are weary and underlined with dark, pouchy circles. There is a grave passivity about her face which brings up thoughts of age. Her stomach bulges as with middle-age neglect while she hunches over in her chair and rocks in her lap her pale, scrawny, nine-months old baby. In the summertime her bare feet are usually grimy with sand. She loves the feel of the rough earth against her feet and several times a day she walks slowly up the sanded street to her mother's house. She walks with the stodgy heaviness of an old woman but she is only seventeen.
When she talks to a stranger her manner is that of an undeveloped and untaught child. It is then that one notices that she is not old. Occasionally, though, she makes a statement with a knowledge born of poverty which makes her seem again much older than she really is.
Nannie Ruth married Will Parks a few months before she was fifteen. Will was thirty-two. He was born in Tennessee in a section so isolated that