‘Tween de White Folks and de yankees

by John Dinkins, New Orleans, Louisiana

     The Northern people first called it “The War of the Rebellion,” later, they called it “The Civil War,” and continue to do so. We do not believe it was a civil war, but a “War Between the States.” The National Dictionary defines a “civil war” as “pertaining to the relations between the citizens of a State,” while the war in the sixties was between all the States in the Union. Mr. Davis said it was “a war between the States,” and that is good authority – but now comes a different definition which may settle the matter to the satisfaction of some people anyway.

     Some time back a lawsuit was brought in Birmingham to settle ownership of some land. Mr. Wallace, who had occupied the property for many years, had an old family servant summoned (who all in the court knew) to establish the length of time the Wallace family had lived there. It is a well-known fact that when an old-time negro is on the stand and he is asked a question, he will almost invariably repeat the question.

     The defense attorney called Uncle Ephraim, and said:

“Do you know Mr. Wallace?”

“Does I know Mr. Wallace? Marse Joe, is you talkin’ to me? Of course I knows Mr. Wallace.”

“Well, Uncle Ephraim, how long have you known Mr. Wallace?”

“How long is I knowed Mr. Wallace? I knowed Mr. Wallace ‘fore de war.”

“Well, Uncle Ephraim, that is not definite. We have had several wars in this country. What war are you referring to?”

“Eh, I’s talking ’bout de war ‘tween de white folk and de yankees.”

That created a laugh in the courtroom, and Uncle Ephraim said:

“You ne’en’t laugh, that’s dis what it was. I was der myself.”

   So, upon the testimony of Uncle Ephraim, Mr. Wallace retained the property, and it would seem that the court having so decided upon Uncle Ephraim’s testimony, that the proper title of that unhappy affair is

“De War ‘ Tween de White Folks and de yankees.”

From: Confederate Veteran Magazine, Volume XXXIV., No. 2., February, 1926, Page 77