Old Het

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Display Name: 
Old Het
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Old Het
Race: 
Black
Gender: 
Female
Class: 
Free Black
Rank: 
Minor
Vitality: 
Alive
Date of Birth: 
Tuesday, January 1, 1856 to Thursday, December 31, 1857
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Biography: 

Currently a resident of the local poorhouse and believed to have been wet nurse to many Jefferson citizens, she is said to be "about seventy, though by her own counting, calculated from the ages of various Jefferson ladies fom brides to grandmothers that she claimed to have nursed from infancy, she would be around a hundred and, as Ratliff said, at least triplets" (241). Charles describes her as "tall, lean, of a dark chocolate color, voluble, cheerful" (242). Even if she's only 70, she would have been born into slavery, though the novel does not register that. Although the "ladies" of Jefferson try to lock their houses against her intrusions, she does her best to help "Miss Mannie" Hait when a stray mule gets loose on the white woman's property. In his account of that chaotic event, Charles often relies on Old Het as a source of the narrative: "old Het said" occurs over half a dozen times in Chapter 16 (248, etc.). Her voice, however, is relayed through white voices: Ratliff's as well as Charles';he first time Charles refers to her as a narrative source, he writes: "She told Ratliff how . . ." (248).

Individual or Group: 
Individual
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digyok:node/character/15160