Spence Johnson

Born free on Choctaw Nation Territory in Mississippi, thieves kidnapped Spence Johnson, his mother and four siblings and sold them into slavery.
Part Choctaw, Mr. Johnson recalls playing down by the river with his brothers and sisters while his mother washed clothes nearby.
“The n----- stealers drive up in a big carriage and mama just thought nothing, ‘cause the road was near there and people going on the road stopped to water their horses and rest awhile in the shade,” Mr. Johnson told an interviewer for the Work Progress Administration in the 1930s, some 70 years after Emancipation.
“The two big men grab mama and she fought and screamed and bit and cry,” Johnson recalled. “But they hit her in the head with something and drug her in and throwed her on the floor. The big children began to fight for mama, but one of the men hit them … and they drive with the horses under whip.”

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