Betty Bormer

Her words say what she thought others wanted to hear, but her face tells a different story.

Like many of the former slaves interviewed by federal writers in the 1930s, Betty Bormer, 80, fearing reprisal, spoke highly of the people who enslaved her.

However, her proud expression shows a woman who maintained a dignity that the hardships of enslavement could not steal. Ms. Bormer, her parents, five sisters, four brothers and 75 other African Americans were enslaved on a large farm near Johnson Station, Texas.

Oil on canvas, 12X16.

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