“Previous to 1861…

…there weren’t any policeman, but there were [slave] patrollers instead.

Their duty [of the slave patrollers] was the same as that of the policemen today.

If the slaves had a corn-shucking party or a prayer meeting, and if they made too much noise, the patrollers would arrest them.”

-Testimony of Jane Pyatt

[“[Jane Pyatt was] Age 89 when interviewed by Thelma Dunston in Portsmouth (Virginia)… Mrs. Pyatt was born in Middlesex County. At only three months of age, she was sold with her mother to a Norfolk slaveholder who shortly moved to Portsmouth.”]

All quotations from We Lived in a Little Cabin in the Yard, ed. Belinda Hurmence, part of the Slave Narratives of Virginia (WPA, Federal Writers Project).

copyright Belinda Hurmence, LOC/WPA and Federal Writers Project, and Off the Porch History 2020

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