FFFF: Ask a Slave
Azie Mira Dungey used to work as a “living history character” at the popular historic site, George Washington’s Mount Vernon. She’s created the “Ask a Slave” webseries to hilariously call out some of the most idiotic questions she got when working there.
If you appreciated that, click here to watch Episode 2 on YouTube.
Transcript (after the jump):
(black screen with white titles reading: “The following is based on real interactions I had while portraying a slave character at a popular historic site.”)
(titles change: “Names have been changed to protect the guilty.”)
Lizzie Mae (pointing at camera): You want me to look in there, you said? Well all right.
Lizzie Mae (new shot): Now? Good day to you, lords and ladies. I’m Lizzie Mae personal housemaid to president and Lady Washington and I’m here to answer all your questions about the Washington’s home and plantation. So don’t be shy now! Oh, lookie here! Looks like we’ve got our first question. Go ahead, honey.
Lydia Smith (Allentown, PA): What’s your favourite part of the plantation?
Lizzie Mae: My bed.
Hal Wilmington (Missoula, ID): How did you get to be housemaid for such a distinguished founding father? Didja see the advertisement in the newspaper?
Lizzie Mae: Did I read the advertisement in the newspaper? Why yes, it said: “Wanted. One housemaid, no pay, preferably mulatto, saucy with breeding hips. Must work 18 hours a day, seven days a week, no holidays. But you get to wear a pretty dress and if you’re lucky you just might carry some famous white man’s bastard child.”
So you better believe I read that and I ran right over and said sign me up
Michael and Josh (Philadelphia, PA): “You know George Washington?”
LIzzie Mae: Oh, aren’t y’all the sweetest little dumplings? Yes, I know George Washington.
Michael and Josh: Wow you must be a million years old
Lizzie Mae: Old? Well thank you. I just celebrated not 28th natal day and you know that makes me 116 in slave years. What a blessing. Next question.
Claire Branham (Pasadena, CA): Hi, I would like to know how long are your work days?
Lizzie Mae: Well ma’am, I get in the house about four in the morning and I don’t leave until 9:30 at night.
Claire: Oh no.
Lizzie Mae: Yes I know, it’s a crying shame.
Claire: Yes! What if mary washington wants a cup of tea in the middle of the night?
Lizzie Mae: Well I don’t know any Mary Washington but I know Martha Washington and she
don’t drink tea when she’s asleep.
Claire: But what if she…needs something?
Lizzie Mae: Well if she’s ill I sleep on the floor by her bed and I’m there to take care of her…
Claire (interrupting): But even if she’s not sick, she might need something.
Lizzie Mae: Tell you what, if you’re so worried about the Queen Mother’s sleeping arrangements, why don’t you come on down to the plantation and I’ll give you the honor of working my 18-hour shift, after which you can stay up all night and stare at the old bat while she sleeps. How’s that sound to you?
Claire: Well I…
Lizzie Mae: Mmm hmm. Now she’s done changed her tune. Let me ask you something: what do you do when you need something in the middle of the night?
Claire: I get up and get it.
Lizzie Mae: Well all right then.
Brent O’Leary (Silver Spring, MD): Didn’t I read somewhere that george washington actually freed all of his slaves after he died?
Lizzie Mae: Well I don’t know nothing about that because he’s not dead yet, but even if it was it would make no difference to me. Like most other people around here. I’m owned by Mrs. Washington and her brats. It’s gonna be a cold day in hell before I’m free.
Sylvia Wood (Phoenix, AZ): I don’t understand, how do you have a show?
Lizzie Mae: Well what happened was President Washington was supposed to be here, but he says he’s too busy and when he doesn’t want to do something he just gets one of his slaves to do it, so here I am.
Matt Adler (Springfield, MA): Now why don’t you just go to Massachusetts and go to school?
Lizzie Mae: Now why are you going to go and ask me something foolish like that?
Matt: I don’t think it’s foolish. I think going to school is a good idea.
Lizzie Mae: That’s not the part that’s foolish. How do you expect me to get up to Massachusetts?Am I going to sprout wings and fly?
Matt: No, you know you could, um, ride a horse.
Lizzie Mae: Oh, so now I’m a horse thief and a runaway. Well if I’m looking for new and exciting ways to get myself hung, I will remember to call on you.
Samantha Dillon (Los Angeles, CA): Where do your kids go to school?
(Lizzie Mae just laughs)