Living with Jim Crow: African American Women and Memories of by Leslie Brown, Anne Valk

By Leslie Brown, Anne Valk

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Extra info for Living with Jim Crow: African American Women and Memories of the Segregated South (Palgrave Studies in Oral History)

Sample text

I’d say, “If I can’t go today, I’m not going tomorrow. ” And nobody would say a word; they went on about their business, because I’d be up early the next morning to go to school. I was a school nut. I was just a school nut. I thoroughly enjoyed going to school. When we finished what we called graded school, there was no high school for blacks to attend in the whole county. 10 There were three of us [sisters]. The third one had gone to school for one year. 11 Livingstone had a high school at that time, but since my sister and I came along, [our parents] sent us all to Mary Potter.

That went on for a while until my grandfather decided to buy a car. That was a big thing because many people didn’t have a car. My grandfather bought a little coupe with a rumble seat. He bought that and then later the next year he bought another one. You could get them for about $500 then. We always laugh about that. He could get them for about $500, and he paid cash for it because he was a pensioner,13 so he could afford a little more than the average person. So he got the little car and then I learned how to drive and I’d drive myself and some of the kids who used to go to school and I’d pick them up.

That’s how we learned to make ties, me and my sister, because my father used to take us with him. I learned how to saw, cut timber, to plow, to pick cotton. My whole life as a youth was simply working on the farm or working in a home or something like that. My grandparents on the Smith side had a great big farm out at Blackton. They owned land. My great-grandparents, they were slaves and were born to half-white people. In pictures of my great-grandparents, they looked white as anybody. You couldn’t tell the difference.

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