Another in our series of new transcriptions of contemporary articles on the Leo Frank case.
July 29th, 1913
He Looks Like a Negro, He Talks Like a Negro, and He Has the Will and the Manner of Darkies in Old-Time Slavery Days—Was on the Stand Three Hours Tuesday Morning
“All I wanted was a chew of ‘bacca. Yes, sir, dat was all,” said Newt Lee after he had testified for three hours Tuesday morning at the Frank trial, had answered question upon question, had experienced all the exquisite delights of a real cross-examination.
“I can’t say I was tired. Naw, sir, not ‘zactly that I jes’ needed the ‘bacca. Soon as I left the stand, the first thing I did was to ask for a chew, and then I felt all right.
“Mr. Rosser was putty terrible, wasn’t he? Sorter wants you to say things jes his way. But I was there to tell the truf and I told it.
“LAWYERS AND DETECTIVES.”
“Lawyers and detectives are sorter alike when the comes to askin’ questions. I’d ’bout as soon be talked to by one as another. Lawyers, though, don’t ‘buse youn like detectives, that’s a fact.
“But when folks don’t do you right, you jes know they hurtin’ they souls and ain’t doin’ you any real harm. That’s the way to look at things.
“Naw, sir, I didn’t get mad when Mr. Rosser kept tryin’ to make me say what he wanted said. Court’s a place where you ‘spect to be questioned, and there ain’t nothin’ to do but jes answer the best you kin. They certainly worked on me, but all I needed was a little bit of ‘bacca.
“I’M PUTTY STOUT.”
“I’m what you’d call putty stout. I used to trim two carloads of lumber every day, one oak ‘nother poplar, when I was workin’ at a coffin factory. Took two men to clean up after me. So, course I didn’t mind sittin’ there answerin’ questions a few hours. I would have liked a little ‘bacca, but course I couldn’t chew there before all them white folks. But it certainly did taste sweet when I was finished. All I asked was a big chew and a spittoon.
“I guess they had me up there an hour and half yesterday and ’bout three hours this mornin’. But I’m putty stout.
“Today makes three months and two days since I was arrested. I counts the time at police station jes like that in jail. They ain’t any difference. And they say they goin’ ter keep me two weeks longer. Well, I—
“ANY KIND OF ‘BACCA.”
“Yes, sir, guess a little ‘bacca would help. Jes any kind, boss, you can chew. Man said he was goin’ ter bring a hat by this mornin’ but I guess his memory’s bad.
“Are you from Newnan? Thought maybe you was. I know folks there, don’t you chew? Naw, sir? Little bit of ‘bacca, boss, and you don’t even mind lawyers.”
Newt is a negro who talks like a negro, who looks like a negro, and who, as he says, can chew more ‘bacca than any other man in Georgia.
This negro, who has the wit and the manner of an “old timey darky,” has been the most interesting and the most important figure so far in the Frank trial. Attention has centered in him. His naturalness, his wit, has given life and color to the hearing.