Former slave speaks


Above, Aunt Lucy Chiviss. If you look closely, you’ll notice this page says "Wednesday" and "Sunday" and the caption type is pied. Someone was certainly having a bad day. Below, the story of Lucy Chiviss. Yes, I know slave narratives can be problematic and the WPA project on former slaves is a subject unto itself. Still, this a vivid story. The type is barely legible, unfortunately, but the story is compelling. Her description of being sold in the slave market is worth the struggle it takes pick out the words. If I get time I’ll keyboard it into the blog. The Times said she lived at 14th and Clayborne, but I’m having trouble locating Clayborne and I’m wondering if it was an error.


Email me

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Countdown to Watts, Front Pages and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Former slave speaks

  1. Notice that she’s called “aunt”. That’s not a term of endearment. During that time, older African Americans were called “aunt” or “uncle” as a way to avoid using “Mr. and Mrs.” as signs of respect. That’s why “Aunt Jemima” and “Uncle Ben” are still offensive to many African Americans.


  2. Also, note that Lucy was sold to a “Col. Cassius Clay” of Kentucky. That’s the former name as Louisville, Kentucky native Muhammad Ali.
    –I did notice that… Thanks for your views!


Leave a Reply. Note: Your IP is logged with your comment so a fake name and email address are useless.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s