This is one of an occasional series of reports on people, events and places in Marion County’s past.
Many family histories and personal narratives were discovered and developed by visiting anthropologist Kari Dickson while she was interning at Collins Academy.
These documents are now available to family, past UMBC congregants and other interested parties.
The photo is of Francis Black, an 1850s-1880s inhabitant of Jefferson.
Francis was born into slavery and grew up in Jefferson, where she attended the “African Church,” which was later renamed Union Missionary Baptist Church.
Stolen from her family in Grand Bluff, Mississippi, she was sold to a Jefferson family, who she stayed with five years beyond Emancipation.
She saw the big boats, “sometimes three at a time,” come to town and remarked about the great balls that were held on them. She saw the occupying army, the great fire along the river and wagons so thick “you couldn’t get down the streets.”
After marrying and moving to Cass County, “My old man got so trifling and mean that I quit him and worked for myself in Texarkana.”
To read the complete narrative of Francis Black, please contact Gary Endsley at Collins Academy.
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