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larder or coop or pen. Snatching a chicken was child’s play compared to “grabbin’ a pig,” Richard Carruthers recalled: “You have to catch him by his snoot so he won’t squeal and clomp down tight while you take a knife and stick him till he die.”The illicit was justifiable. “When you don’t git ‘lowanced right, you has to keep right on workin’ in the field,” Carruthers obseried to a female interviewer, “and no nigger like to work with his belly groanin’. No ma’am, the good Lord won’t call that stealin’, now will he?” Others used the Good Book in defense of theft. Jeff Calhoun remembered a riveting moment when a fellow slave caught harvesting a prized batch of collard greens was lambasted for violating the commandment Thou Shall Not Steal, and then accused his master of ignoring an equally vital biblical injunction: “You shall reap when you laboreth.” Small moments of resistance rippled through daily life. Evading vigilant, nighttime patrols so as to spend time with a lover, mother, or spouse was one way to sustainif incompletely familial or affective ties. Another was to name children clandestinely after relakinship networks and thus avoid marriage even with second cousins. These naming patterns subverted the masters’ desires to control slaves’ identities by bestowing only a first name on them, acts of quiet defiance that found their parallel in the breaking of tools or careless cultivation that just happened to damage crops. These modest forms of insubordination complicate our understanding of the master-slave relationship. Even those who played the part of a daft and docile servant could earn important concessions, and gain the upper hand in this sensetheir actions, like the legendary tales in which Br’er Rabbit outwits the fox, revealed who was the fool and who sly. Despite the importance of these tales of inversion, none of those whose life stories are narrated in Remembering Slavery ever forgot they were property. White domination of their beings was Trying to put his illiterate interviewee at ease, [John Henry Faulk] assured him “what a different kind of white man” he was, and then ticked off a list to prove his point…. Faulk was startled by the elderly man’s reply: “You know, you still got the disease, honey. I know you think you are cured, but you’re not curee manifest in exacting work loads, capricious demands on labor and time, sexual violation of bondswomen, and destruction of black families on the auction block. Betty Simmons knew something of each of these traumas. She had grown up in Alabama, but when her store-owning master suffered financial losses, he sold her to speCulators who hauled her to Memphis’ vast “nigger traders’ yard.” She was one of 200 slaves culled for the New Orleans market; there, she was purchased by Colonel Fortescue from Liberty, Texas. As the transactions mounted, as she became just one more body moving through the complex infrastructure of the southern slave trade, Simmons felt most the emotional costs:”I’s satisfy den I los’ my people and ain’t never goin’ to see dem no more in this world, and I never did.” Emancipation could not bind up all such wounds. But liberation was a deeply moving moment, and Katie Rowe, a former Arkansas slave, surely spoke for many when in the mid-1930s she affirmed she “never forget de day we was set free.” Called to the overseer’s yard, she and the other field hands stood in the morning sun and listened to an unknown but smiling man ask them an odd question: “You darkies know what day it is?” Knowing they didn’t, he plunged ahead. “Well, dis de Fourth day of June, and dis is 1865, and I want you all to ‘member de date, ’cause you allus going ‘member de day. Today you is free, jest lak I is, and Mr. Saunders [the overseer] and yur Mistress and all us white people.” That wasn’t quite true. AfricanAmerican freedom would be severely circumscribed in the coming years, as post-war reconstruction collapsed in response to virulent southern white resistance and growing northern disengagement. The loss of the right to vote followed suit, as did the enactment of the infamous Jim Crow laws; for the next 80 years, social space was tightly segregated. These Black Codes endured because they received state and federal court sanction and because they were inscribed in the hearts and minds of the most well-meaning of whites. That’s what John Henry Faulk discovered about himself one evening after concluding his interview with a former slave. Trying to put his illiterate interviewee at ease, he assured him “what a different kind of white man” he was, and then ticked off a list to prove his point. “I believe you ought to be given the right to go into whatever you qualify to go into, and I believe that you ought to be given the right to vote.” Faulk’ was startled by the elderly man’s reply: “YOLL you still got the disease, honey. I know you think you are cured, but you’re not cured.” As he articulated what ailed Faulk, this unnamed black man identified the source of the tragic misunderstanding that continues to trouble race relations in the United States. “You talking about giving me something I was born with just like you was born with it.You can’t give me the right to be a human being. I was born with that right.” Observer contributing writer Char Miller teaches history at Trinity University. 716101 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19