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About Oscar Evans
Perhaps it may appear to be stretching the definition of “family” to include the names of in-laws as family members. Yet in many rural black communities the claims of kinship seem to have very elastic boundaries. The reverence paid by African Americans to the tradition of the extended family is part of their cultural heritage from Africa that was greatly enhanced during the days of slavery in America and continues to varying degrees until today. By rural Arkansas standards, Oscar Evans, who is a cousin by marriage to Catherine Parker Hall, does belong to the Parker-Hall family group.
Oscar Evans was born in 1908 near Emerson, Arkansas. He was one of twelve children born to Beulah and Leon Evans, sharecropping farmers. Oscar’s mother was a quiltmaker, and he remembers that she quilted on frames resting on the backs of straight chairs or with the quilt laying directly on the bed. When Oscar grew up, he became a farmer and a carpenter. In the 1920s he married for the first time, wedding Cassie Jones of Claiborne Parish, Louisiana. The couple had seven children, all but two of whom are now deceased. Life was hard for Oscar in 1920s and 1930s. In order to feed his family he often worked in the fields until dark and then went on to other jobs in the evenings. His wife, Cassie, died in the mid-1940s. Oscar was married for the second time to a widow, Margaret Sudds, in 1952. There were no children from his second marriage. After Margaret died in the mid 1970s, Oscar lived alone.