This month, at various locations in the Tulsa City-County Library system, you'll find some great programs celebrating African-American history. In the Tulsa and Oklahoma collection, you'll find several great resources on African-American history in our state. One resource, The WPA Oklahoma Slave Narratives, compiles slave narratives that were found at both the Oklahoma Historical Society and at the Library of Congress. The narratives were collected from 1936-1938 under the New Deal's Works Progress Administration (WPA). Several former slaves were living in the Tulsa area when the interviews were conducted. One of the interviewees, Katie Rowe, describes her experience as a slave on a Arkansas plantation, close to the Bois d'Arc Creek. Her narrative begins:
"I can set on de gallery, whar de sunlight shine bright, and sew a powerful fine seam when my grandchillun wants a special purty dress for de school doings, but I ain't worth much for nothing else I reckon.
These same old eyes seen powerful lot of tribulations in my time, and when I shets 'em now I can see lots of li'l chillun jest lak my grandchillun, toting hoes bigger dan dey is, and dey poor little black hands and legs bleeding whar dey scratched by de brambledy weeds and whar dey got whuppings 'cause dey didn't git out all de work de overseer set out for 'em."
Katie Rowe was interviewed in 1937 at 1004 N. Lansing. You can read her entire interview in the book above or access online at the Library of Congress website.