During #slavery children were a big part of the plantation life. The more children the better for slave owners; males slaves meant more laborers, and female slaves meant more breeding. Most slave women didn’t want to bring children into the world of slavery but for those who did, their children suffered the along with the thousands of other slaves. #Fannie Moore recalls her life as a child growing up on the Moore plantation. She told her story in 1937 at the age of 88.
The Moore plantation belonged to Master Jim Moore in Moore, South Carolina. The Moore’s owned the plantation and their slaves for years. Jim Moore inherited the land from his father who left the plantation to his son to take care of his mother. Jim’s mother was a stern and hate-filled woman, she didn’t believe slaves needed anything to eat; they were too much like animals, and less like people. Fannie Moore recalled being whipped many times with a cow hide until she was #black and blue.
Young master Jim’s wife Mary Anderson was the sweetest woman Fannie remembered. She was always good to the slaves. All the children slaves liked working for her. She never talked mean and would just smile and speak with a soft tone. Her laugh was like listening to the gurgling sound of the spring that flowed in the back of the main house. The Moore plantation was the largest plantation in the whole country. They owned thousands of acres of land. Young Master Jim had five children, not like his mother who had 12. Young Master Jim’s daughter Harriet was good to the slaves too, she would often gather the children slaves and teach them Sunday School lesson. But, if her grandmother caught her she would make life difficult for everybody.
The slave quarters were a long row of cabins built with some type of clay dirt, and one family lived in one big room. In one room there was a big fireplace; it had to heat up the whole cabin and be used for cooking as well. Slaves cooked in a big pot that hung on a rod over the fire and baked con’ pone in the ashes; it could also be put in a skillet and covered with a lid and set on the coals. There was always plenty of wood to stay warm.
Sometimes there was no going to bed. If mother worked all day in the fields, she still had to come home and work through the night sewing and quilting; someone had to hold the light so she could see. Many times mother was beat because she was always taking up for her children. She had twelve children and she would fight the overseer to protect them all. One day while working in the field she let out a big scream. She started singing and shouting, and it seemed like she worked even harder. When my brother died of the fever, and Moore recalled her mother not being able to be with him. She didn’t even know until the night when she got in from the field. She knelt by his bed and just cried and cried. Even though he was sick night time was the only time she could got to see him and he was dead when she got home. Even when he was buried she had to watch from the field still plowing.
White people never recognized black people no more than if they were dogs. Slave owners would go through a field and buy the slaves they wanted. Young Master Jim would never sell a father or mother from their children. It was terrible for children to see people sold from the field. When the white people came to the field to buy slaves, the slaves would get to shaking they were so afraid. Sometimes, they would take the slaves and sell them on the block. The “breed woman” who was just used for having children, brought in the most money. They would put her on the block with her children standing around her to show people how fast she could breed. When she was sold she never saw her family again. It was common for men and women to marry relatives, even brother and sister because unless people talked about who they were related to—no one knew.