in Wisconsin History
An ex-slave woman visits Watertown after the war
Mrs. Mary Jane (Mattie) Mooreman
Between 1936 and 1938, the WPA Federal Writers' Project (FWP) sent unemployed writers in 17 states to interview ordinary people for a collection of life histories. Initially, only four states (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia) were involved in collecting the stories of former slaves, but John Lomax, the National Advisor on Folklore and Folkways for the FWP, soon directed writers in the remaining states to carry out interviews with ex-slaves as well. Federal writers were given instructions on what kinds of questions to ask and how to capture their dialects, though white representations of black speech had a long and ugly history of entrenched stereotyping. This narrative, from Mattie Mooreman of Hot Springs, Arkansas, describes a trip she took with her employer's family to Watertown after the war, where she was the only black person many of the town's children had ever seen. Her narrative begins on page 127 and runs through page 135. The trip to Watertown is on page 133.
Wisconsin in the Civil War Era|
The Civil War Home Front
|Creator:||Federal Writers' Project|
|Pub Data:||Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938. American Memory Project.|
|Citation:||"Mrs. Mary Jane (Mattie) Mooreman." Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1938.
Online facsimile at:
n025.db&recNum=131; Visited on: 10/21/2016