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Marsha Bruggman: OK, this is June 22, 1:00 in the afternoon. We're at the Parkland Branch Library, and we're resuming our project on the oral history of the Parkland area. This is Marsha MB, and today, I am interviewing OJ Jones and Dathron Jones --

Dathon Jones: DJ. DJ. It's pronounced "Dayton."

MB: Oh, it's pronounced "Dayton?" Oh! I've been mispronouncing it all this time!

DJ: D-A-T-H-O-N.

MB: OK. Who are residents of the Parkland area. And I'd like to start out with you, Mrs. Jones. Could you tell me some biographical information about yourself? When were you born?

Oma Jones: Born 1914.

MB: Nineteen-fourteen.

OJ: In Lyon County, Kentucky. My parents were William and [Ista?] Henderson. They were ---

MB: How many children?


OJ: There were six children. I was next to the youngest. My only brother was the youngest, which made --[

MB: Five sisters!

OJ: Which made it quite an -- interesting life.

MB: Yeah, I was going to say!

OJ: Nineteen-forty, I came to Louisville.

MB: OK, backing up a little bit to being raised in Lyon County: what were your parents' occupations?

OJ: My mother: housewife. My father was a county schoolteacher. My older sister was a schoolteacher, my third sister was schoolteacher, and my father thought I should be a schoolteacher, but it didn't work that way.

MB: Where did you go to school?

OJ: I went to the public schools right where we lived. My -- we had a small community of black children that went to a school that lasted three months a 2:00year. My friends -- my closest friends -- were white children who went to school seven months a year. So it took me twice as long to get out of school as it did my friends.

MB: Why was the black school three months a year?

OJ: There were only a few children. There were only a few students, and the allocations for the funds were divided among three areas that would make up nine months, and the three areas got the allotment for the -- because there were small groups of children in each area, the money was divided into thirds that would cover the whole amount. So each area got three months of schooling. So few people stayed long enough to finish the eighth grade.

MB: Yeah. I would think it would -- you'd have to really have perseverance to hang in that long! Were the three months usually during the winter months?

OJ: No, they were usually in the summer and ended about cold weather time. I 3:00mean, we started school in July, so September, we were finished, in our area and my father taught school in the other area, so he went to the next place and taught school and then at the other time, he went to another place.

MB: So he was employed full-time and moved around?

OJ: He was employed nine months.

MB: Did he live out in those communities?

OJ: No. He would go to the communities for school.

MB: Just for the day and then return home?

OJ: Just for the day. If the weather was bad, he stayed overnight.

MB: That's a strange system! I didn't realize that that's the way it was. So how old were you when you finished school there?

OJ: When I finished eighth grade, about 17.

MB: What did you decide to do at that point?

OJ: At that point, I wanted to go to high school, and they -- I couldn't go to high school in my county because school wasn't integrated, so --

MB: And there was no facility --

OJ: No facilities for black high school, so I went to another county, and the county paid my tuition, but not my room and board, so I stayed with friends and finished the four years high school.

MB: What county was that?

OJ: That -- I went to Caldwell County. Our school now is integrated, and my old high school is now integrated with a white high school, so we don't have any 4:00alone -- we don't have any high school [anymore?].

MB: But I imagine that was really a problem for a lot of families that left -- for a lot of people there was no question --

OJ: Well, people didn't go. My father's children were the only children that went to high school, because it was too difficult and that. And my sisters went to a boarding school. Times might have been a little better then. They went to a boarding school and finished high school. When I came along, it was depression time, so best I could do was just stay with somebody and go to school.

MB: What kind of a career were you headed toward at that time? Did you have anything in mind?

OJ: At that time, I had nothing in mind particularly. I wanted to be a nurse, I'd always wanted to be a nurse, and so when I went to high school, I met -- I was ill, and I met the doctor in that area, and he gave me the list of some nursing schools that I could go to, and so --

MB: That would accept blacks?

OJ: That were all black. See, then nursing schools weren't integrated either. 5:00Perhaps maybe in the far east, but not in our general area, so he gave me the list of some black nursing schools, and I wrote several and was accepted by several.

MB: What year did you graduate from high school, then?

OJ: I graduated from high school, 1937.

MB: Nineteen-thirty-seven. OK, and --

OJ: I went in nurse training in 1937, ten days after I finished high school. It was strange.

MB: And what nursing school did you go to?

OJ: St. Augustine in Raleigh, North Carolina.

MB: And that was a totally black nursing school?

OJ: Totally black. Our faculty was mixed; we were on the campus of St. Augustine. Our faculty was mixed, but the students were all black, in the nursing school, and in the college, and in the social services department. I mean, all the departments were black students.


MB: What kind of -- I know now that there's a difference in the types of nurses you can be: you can be a practical nurse, or a registered nurse --

OJ: A diplOJ. We were called a "diplOJ nurse." Now, I'm a registered nurse, but on the diplOJ program, which took three years. Four years is you get the BS degree. Two-year program, now, is associated nurse.

MB: So you went right in in 1937 into the nurses training, stayed for the three year --

OJ: Came here in 1940. Straight from nursing school.

MB: How'd you happen to come to Louisville?

OJ: My brother lived here. My brother and I -- the youngest of the family -- my mother died, and there were just two little ones -- I mean, not little ones. My brother was 18, I was 20. There was an age span of five years between my sister and me which made they were adults, while we were still young. So as after my mother died, there were only the two of us at home, and when my father remarried, we were not pleased and so we made other plans. Had not my father remarried, I might have stayed on there and kept house for him, but when he took a wife, that broke up our household, and my brother came to Louisville, and he was just here three years when I came. I also had a sister here. He came because 7:00one of our older sisters.

MB: So you came to be close to them and also to start your nursing career?

OJ: Yes.

MB: OK. Now what year did you marry, then?

OJ: Married 1941.

MB: OK. Now that's the point we want to begin with.

OJ: December 27, 1941.

MB: Oh my goodness. You're another one of those people that's good with dates! OK, we'll want to come back to that point at your marriage, but I want to get 8:00some biographical information from your husband. Where were you born and raised, Mr. Jones?

DJ: I was born in Louisville, in that area, so, East Indigo, Smoketown, in June of 1970, June the 5th.

OJ: Not 1970 -- 17.

MB: I was going to say, you're young! OK. How many children were there in your family?


DJ: There were eight children in my family, finally. I was the second oldest, the oldest boy. I had a sister older than I.

MB: What did your parents do for an occ-- or what were their names, first of all?

DJ: My father's name is Clayton Allen Jones. My mother's name, Haddie Anne Beiler Jones.

MB: What were their occupations?

DJ: She was a housewife, and he was -- he worked -- he was a minister in the Apostolic Church, and he worked at what they called "[Ernots?]." I think that was Standard -- "Medical Standard" now. They called it "Ernots" in those days.

MB: And that was that -- did he stay with that company for many years?

DJ: In fact, he was involved in an accident from which he died from that company while I was a youngster.

MB: How old was he when he died?

DJ: Oh, he wasn't old -- in his thirties.


MB: Oh my! And how old -- about how old were you?

DJ: I was about 11 or 12.

MB: So your mother was left with quite a brood to take care of!

DJ: Yes, and they had a way of making the older son responsible for the family. In fact, that's what he said to me when I visited him at the hospital: "You're the man of the house now, so take care of your mother" --

MB: Did he know he was dying at that point?

DJ: I suppose he did.

MB: Where did you go to school? Did you live in the -- stay in the Smoketown area for all your childhood?

DJ: Until I was 15.

MB: Where did you go to school, then, in that area?

DJ: I went to school at Booker T. Washington and we were the first class in the Jackson Junior High, it was called then. It's named after the principal, now. 11:00Mr. [Ame?], is he? So I went from the grade school right over to the junior high, and that was the first junior high they had for blacks in the city.

MB: Up until that point, you just didn't go to junior high?

DJ: No. You went straight to Central. There's only one high school. You went into eighth grade, and then went to Central.

MB: So that was the first junior high?

DJ: That was the first junior high.

MB: And about the time you -- you said you moved when you were 15 -- what area of town did you move in?

DJ: We moved to Parkland.

MB: You moved to Parkland?

DJ: In October of 1932.

MB: OK, so you've been 45 years in the area. My goodness. Now from -- where in Parkland did you move? Do you remember that?

DJ: We moved to 34th and Young Avenue.

OJ: That time they called it "Little Africa."

MB: Right. And Parkland -- the Parkland area itself was a predominantly white area, and the "Little Africa" bordered around?


DJ: Well, there seems to have been a division amongst the -- that area too. The people [on the other side of the tracks?] referred to mainly as "in the sticks" because people over there had cows and hogs --

OJ: No streets, no food.

DJ: -- chickens, and the streets weren't made.

MB: Right, you mentioned that in [Reverend Ray's?] interview, I think, about the sticks.

OJ: Did the --

DJ: The railroad track was at Woodland --

OJ: Did they call over here "Little Africa" too, or just across the railroad track?

DJ: I think people in general that live here called where the blacks were "Little Africa," but the people down here even made a difference between [the side?] of the railroad, in the sticks, where we lived.

MB: Because even a lot of people today, when they're describing where they live, they make a distinction starting from the railroad tracks.

DJ: We moved to Parkland when the lump sum settlement came through from my father's death, and bought the little house on the -- well, we were buying it -- 13:00put the down payment on it --

MB: Your mother and all the kids. Now, when you moved to the Parkland area, were you still in junior high? Were you traveling down to --

DJ: I just had to pass to Central when we moved. I went there from -- just a month -- while I was in the east end, from on Caldwell, at that court right by the woolen mill, where we last lived. We lived about three or four places in Smoketown as a boy. When my father died, some of my mother's sisters from out in Okolona country then, they came to town, and they got one big house and families all grouped together! But my grandmother and grandfather remain out there longer, much longer than that, and it was amusing that how things have changed 14:00now, in a way, because back there, there wasn't too many families in Okolona, [the?] real country. My father had become -- my grandfather had a little farm west of Preston highway. There was a store at the corner that little in the road that went down to his farm. A general store: Steve [Ebrens?] ran that store.

MB: Do you know where -- now that was where your grandfather lived. Do you know where, about where that would be located today?

DJ: It's so changed that I've tried to find it and I can't recognize it!

OJ: It's not Faraday?

DJ: No, that's in Okolona. I remember riding out there on the street car that led like a train coach. You caught it over at Liberty. Called it "interurban" car.

MB: Interurban?


DJ: Yeah, they called that the "interurban" car! The interurban station! And we would ride out there -- the end of the line was Colt station, and after you got past Camp Taylor, that was just the one track, and the car went all the way down to [their loop?] and came back on that same one track, looped around. And it took the driving mechanism from that end and changed the trolley, turned the trolley around, to come back.

OJ: You could run it from both ends.

MB: So when you got off there at the end of the line, then how far did you have to walk to get to your grandfather's place?

DJ: I guess about a mile and a half or two.

MB: Isn't that unbelievable how this city's built up in just a few years!

DJ: My grandmother had some younger boys, the youngest of which was not quite three years older than I, and she always would come and take me out there -- I guess as company for him. But she called me her boy! She would come get me every 16:00week, and I stayed out there during the summers.

MB: And that was of course when your family was living in the Smoketown area, and you would go out there. Yeah, boy.

DJ: And my grandfather also sharecropped with a lady that had a large farm across Preston highway, not far from the store. Her name was Krup -- Mrs. Krup. She had a son living with her named Ray, and they had a -- I remember they had an ex-racehorse who'd been a racehorse, was boarded on their farm; it was just 26 years old, (laughs) and I recall that we -- my young -- my grandma's youngest son, Sherman, and I, we had to play cowboys a couple days while they were mending that fence to keep the cows out of the corn field. It was fun the first day, but the second day -- (laughs) [tired and sore?].


MB: So you spent a lot of time out there. When you were mentioning that your mother's sisters came into Smoketown and they all -- after your father had died -- and they all had a house there together and lived -- so when you moved to the Parkland area, was it just your mother and brothers and sisters when she got her insurance settlement?

DJ: Yes. Just my mother and brothers and sisters, except that they -- like my baby sister -- they wanted her for --

OJ: The youngest of the sisters stayed.

DJ: -- like the younger daughter -- stayed with them. She came to visit us a lot, but she stayed with them.

OJ: She lived with the aunts.

DJ: And my other brother next to me -- Clarence -- had become more affiliated with the church work there, so he eventually stated. He stayed with us for a while, then he -- about a year or two -- he came back and lived with them in the east end until he got married.

MB: What church did your family belong to?

DJ: They belonged to the -- it's now called Bethel Temple Apostolic Pentecostal Church. It was first located at Jackson and Lampton Street, and it stayed there 18:00a number of years, then they moved to Clay and Breckenridge, and they've recently moved to the Jewish synagogue on Third street.

MB: My! I've just spotted that --

OJ: As we call them, Protestants, but we -- Baptists call them "Holiness" -- one -- that's the general term for them. But they had a beautiful church there!

DJ: There were some other relatives of my grandmother, my mother, round in that area also that -- they didn't seem to visit too much because of their religious difference. I mean, they didn't like you to smoke and any kind of wine and 19:00drinking. So the others didn't come around so much because they knew that they didn't want to --

OJ: They also didn't play radio, go to [football?] games, go to movies, you know. So anybody that wasn't of their faith just didn't come because it was uncomfortable.

DJ: Some of those things have been --

MB: Yeah, that's rather rigid.

DJ: -- been revised since then.

OJ: They've changed the rules some.

DJ: I recall -- I wasn't allowed, we weren't allowed to go to the movie, and there was a movie there at Preston and Caldwell called, "The Dixie Theater," and I remember when [Tolken picked?] his first game there, and we passed out bills with Ben Jacobson, and that's the way I got to go to the movie, because I wouldn't get any show fare -- they weren't going to give you anything to go!

OJ: He was sneaking to the movies, and his brother didn't know it!

DJ: Out passing the bills, I would get to come in and go.

MB: Now, was the Smoketown area during that time -- was it a predominantly black area?

DJ: Yeah, it was predominantly black.


MB: Was that theater that you mentioned it, was that a black owned or black operated kind of theater?

DJ: No. It was a Jewish owned. They had the store right aross the corner at Preston and Caldwell.

MB: Was it operated for blacks, though?

DJ: It was operated for blacks.

MB: OK. So there wasn't anything where you had to go in a side entrance and sit upstairs with whites down below?

DJ: No, no. You had the whole theater.

MB: You had the whole theater. OK.

DJ: And in fact, one of my classmates, Frank Warley got to be the projector -- screen projector. He lived next door to the theater, and there was another fellow, Charles Martin, that did the sound effects and played that organ music while the movies went on. And prior to that, Charlie had been an ice man for Mr. Ben Smith. Ben Smith had an ice route where they had horse and wagons -- course, then they got a truck -- and Mr. Ben also bought where the church -- this Apostolic Church at Jackson and Lampton -- and built those apartments from there up to Preston Street. Those apartments at Jackson and Lampton all the way up to 21:00Preston -- he built that. First he started out with an ice cream and chili parlor where the church had been, and later on he got prosperous, I guess, and built it!

OJ: Now you can get back to the Joneses.

MB: (laughs) It's interesting though. He remembers a lot! When your mother bought the property -- or made the down payment on the property in the Parkland area, and left -- you know -- the Smoketown area, it sounds like you had relatives there, you had friends, you had -- the family had a fairly regular membership in a church -- what motivated her to look over to Parkland?

DJ: Oh, my uncle -- her sister, Nan -- they had bought a house there on that street, and they had encouraged us to try Parkland, it was a good place. I -- having not been in Parkland until then, I thought it was going to the country! 22:00Because when we did come down it sometimes on the Oak Street car to [Tinkersow?] after you got a certain distance, it was just a track that went down and it looked like in the country to get down to [Tinkersow?] Park.

MB: So it wasn't that settled an area or anything -- probably really did seem like it was far out.

OJ: In 1940 when I came and I met him -- I came in June, I met him in September -- when I'd go to the house, we'd look at cornfields. I mean, the house is here, and the dirt street there -- or, street, more or less -- but there was cornfield right in front of the house.

MB: That's so hard to imagine!

DJ: And that cornfield belonged to a -- I don't know if the land belonged to him, but Mr. Bartels -- Al Bartels -- was a white family. He had the city garbage routes down through that area. He had horses and dump wagons, and he had drivers that'd go with him. And he had a cow --

OJ: With your honey wagon, with your honey wagon. Well, the people who clean out 23:00the privies and -- they'd have special containers that they'd put it in.

MB: And that's what they called these?

DJ: He didn't have that --

MB: Is that what they called it, though: "honey wagon?"

OJ: Oh, they called that honey wagon, but he said Mr. Bartels was not an owner of that. He picked up the garbage.

MB: I had never heard of that term! I guess that's a good way of saying it!

DJ: And that was a -- that's where Cotter Homes is now located -- on that side of the street. He had that front -- well there was one house with white family in it, with children.

OJ: Was that Mr. Bartel?

DJ: No, he was on the other side of the street but --

OJ: He lived on your side.

DJ: -- up on 33rd, where 33rd would be as it came through. It's now where the convent is for the Immaculate Order of Mary ladies. That was his house up there.

OJ: But there was white family across the street, and Mr. Bartel was on the other side of the street?

DJ: And then there was a vacant lot behind him which he kept his cows in. He had some cows as well, and his mules, and that worked with the city, his dump contracting operation, and there was a house further down. Our little settlement 24:00had about six houses in it going straight down on one side of the street, then one house over there, then about that number of houses up to 32nd Street within about a block from 33rd, I believe. There was a white family of a man and his brother and his sister, I believe. They rode bicycles. They were quiet. I used to know their name, but I don't remember it now.

MB: So that was the way it looked when you moved in. And you were about 15?

DJ: Yeah. And there was a store at 32nd and Young. Mr. Wheeler ran it, and it was a neighborhood store, because we got things on the bill there. Then there was a store down at 37th and Young -- William's Grocery. And [Vancamp?] got in 25:00there somewhere -- now they're connected with him -- at one time. He later had, at Woodland and 32nd, a feed store, and he brought in these western horses to break, and he broke horses and sold them, and one Sunday, the sparks from a train ignited the building, and a number of the mules and horses were burned -- just a few were saved. And Mr. William's girl -- she later had a partner. He worked there, though, for a while, named Cole Sheldon -- who still lives in this area. I mean, he lives on Woodway. He was a part in it still, and a colored fellow. And there's another store about two blocks to the north of 30th and off of 32nd Street and Southern by the name of Watson's Grocery. That was -- if you 26:00went west of there, you'd be right down where the old fairground was. That was Gibson Lane.

MB: So the area was rather sparsely settled up at the old fairgrounds? It was in operation then?

DJ: It was down here in the west end.

MB: It's so hard to imagine all those places now that the whole area is so filled in for miles and miles!

DJ: The city limits was at Algonquin Parkway at that time!

MB: That's right! You were the one that I was talking to one day about that, and I've been thinking about that ever since! I just can't even imagine it!

DJ: You crossed the river, you saw a sign saying, "City limits," and you headed over to [Shidely?]

OJ: [Really, now the old fairgrounds used to be a subdivision?].

DJ: It's in the [backboard?], or it used to be! And we used to -- the youngsters -- would get summer jobs cleaning up the barns for the horses and getting the fairgrounds ready, and we had free passes to get in the fair.


MB: Now was the fairgrounds at that time -- was that one activity that was integrated? I mean, could blacks and whites alike go to the state fair and enjoy themselves there?

DJ: Yes.

MB: What, you weren't prohibited from anything there?

DJ: No.

OJ: The only thing you didn't go in the dining room and sit down. You could go to the one end and get your sandwich, but you didn't go in and sit down and eat in the dining areas. But you were -- you could buy and take out.

MB: Did you ever think that was funny that that was one thing that wasn't?

OJ: No, never thought anything about it!

MB: Didn't you think -- well -- I don't know. I just think that when there were so many other things that were segregated and limited, to have had the fairgrounds that open, I'm surprised at that. I wonder -- how did people justify the rest of the year?

OJ: It seems to me when I came the main things that were separated were just the eating places, more or less. You always went to theater, except you went to a certain area. We went --

DJ: And you weren't forced to an area of the bus, no time -- not in my lifetime.

OJ: In Louisville, you could ride anywhere on the bus.

MB: So it wasn't like it was deep in the south?

OJ: No, not deep south. It's just that you didn't eat -- you'd come to the back to get our special window, or you went to a special bathroom.

MB: Yeah, bathrooms are separate. What about public drinking fountains?

OJ: No, you drink wherever there was a fountain.

MB: But what about parks, too? Recreational facilities?

DJ: Yeah.

OJ: He doesn't remember, but when I came to Louisville, you weren't supposed to go through Shawnee Park. I know because --

MB: None of the other parks either, others have told me. That Chickasaw was the black park --

OJ: Right.

DJ: Well, I recall in an unusual arrangement of one small park at Jackson and Madison: they called it the "in-town" then.

MB: "In ten?"

DJ: We called it the in-town.

MB: (laughs)

DJ: You went across Broadway --

OJ: Cross Broadway, you were in town!

DJ: Yeah, called it "in town!" And now, there it was an integrated park.

OJ: They had one park integrated.


DJ: It was smaller then, [very small?].

MB: So evidently there was some kind of informal situations --

DJ: I recall going over there to watch the [Marnee?] Club players practice and I got carried away swinging --

OJ: What kind of prac-- what kind of practice?

DJ: Football practice. They came over there to do a practice, and I went with them, and -- little fellow -- I sat in the swing, and I was playing with the other kids, and I hadn't noticed that they had left! But the people over there noticed that I was a stranger, those fellows, and they said, "Here's one of the Smoketown fellows." And they put me in their water truck -- horse drawn -- right there at the corner! It was [trying to be tough?] --

OJ: Black children, white?

DJ: The black children. There was a sectionalism even during -- whether you were black or not, what section you lived in, if they caught you out of section, alone or not in number, you were --

MB: Oh, so that if you were from Smoketown, that was the group you hung with and 29:00if another group caught up with you by yourself, they'd get [jealous?]! That happens a lot of places!

DJ: Now the peculiar thing is that that all changed with the junior high because they all came from everywhere. When Jackson Junior High was there, they began to come from those places and you got to know those people.

MB: So you weren't as identified by that?

DJ: They didn't do that.

MB: I thought that was interesting: one other tell me -- talking, not on tape -- but we were talking about your experiences at Central High School, and you were talking about your transportation to school, and then you were also talking to me about how you did -- you got to know people from everywhere. And I always have -- I haven't lived in Louisville very many years, but I've always found that so unusual, that within the black community -- if I meet any member of the black community -- they know everybody else that they've gone to church with them, or they're related, or they remember them from school, and I asked you about that. And you said, you replied the same kind of thing to Central High School. That -- what was that you said? That --


DJ: They came from all areas, even at Jackson, they brought in a bus of black students from Masonic Home. They were bussed there. And some from Orell, they came too.

OJ: And from any other county area where the blacks lived, bus went around and picked them up and brought them to Central for the high school.

MB: So that was the only high school. I guess, well, you were mentioning, even in your -- in the small town you were raised in -- that --

OJ: I have a neighbor now who went to school with me in the high school, she came from one little town and I, well, from another, but we were bussed in -- they were bussed in. There were more of them: there were several of them coming, so the bus brought them in from the school in our little --


MB: That really does make a difference in tying people together, because even now among whites -- white community here -- the thing that I notice, especially among older residents: they identify, not necessarily the area they were raised in, but the high school they went to. That's how they identify themselves, and that's how they remember so-and-so. So it really is different! What year did you graduate from Central High School?

DJ: Thirty-five. June of '35.

MB: And you were telling me, too, about the transportation. How'd you get to school when you wanted to go to high school?

DJ: I walked most time from 34th and Young. We would pick up others with walking, especially when I got over to Greenwood, and we would take as many shortcuts --

MB: What do you mean? Car fare given by the school or by --

OJ: By the board of education. See, when I came to Louisville, the board of education was furnishing car fare for any person who lived more than six or eight blocks from the school, they would give you car fare.


MB: Whether you were black or white they would give you that?

OJ: Whether you were black -- yeah, that was how.

MB: Was there when you were a student?

DJ: I got some once when my homeroom teacher noticed that I was really wet with sweat there, and it was time for school to be out, and he asked me, did I walk? Yeah, that's why I was running a little late!

MB: How far did you -- how long did the walk take you in the morning?

DJ: I got there when the people who rode the bus did. The people that rode the bus -- they had to wait. Now the children from our area, the closest bus was at [Wood and Talbert?] and Woodland, which was about eight or --

OJ: Which means they walked about ten blocks. Eight or ten blocks --

DJ: To get up there to the bus.

OJ: To get to the bus.

MB: No matter what the weather.

DJ: And the next nearest bus to us was at Hill Street, 32nd and Hill. And it went -- I mean, not Hill but [Dougan?] Hill. Thirty-second and Dougan Hill. And it went up Dougan Hill and didn't come south where we were.

OJ: So that was still about the same distance, just about as close.

DJ: A little farther.

OJ: Little farther.


MB: Now, maybe I misunderstood, but did you walk all the way in, or did you walk just the portion till you could get a car -- or get a street car? Bus? Was a street car when you were in high school?

OJ: They were street cars.

DJ: They were, but they were trolley busses then.

MB: Did you go all the way -- walk all the way in then?

OJ: When he didn't have the fare, he walked all the way, but if he had the fare, he could ride the bus. But he didn't tell his teachers that he didn't have the fare. I don't know whether it was in his provision made for them.

MB: But there wasn't --

DJ: I remember my teacher gave me a packet of tokens one [afternoon?] -- this teacher, homeroom teacher, Mr. Barber. And came back, and said, "Here!"

OJ: And you don't know whether it was his that he bought or whether it came from the office.

DJ: No, I don't know where that came from.

OJ: You don't know whether it came from the office, whether it had been given him to --

MB: So I imagine with as many children as there was in your family, and your 34:00mother being a widow, it probably wasn't always that easy to come up with the car fare!

DJ: No, I had to work after school when I was small in Smoketown. I started out selling papers on the corner. I had the Preston and Breckinridge corner.

MB: What papers did you sell?

DJ: I sold the Courier. Times there, but a new paper came here, the Herald Post. And a man came to me and offered me a route if I could get the money together, and my aunt got it together, and I had a route with the Herald Post, and they didn't last too long, they folded -- went out of business. Then I transferred over and had a Courier and Times route.

MB: Still in the Smoketown area?

DJ: In the Smoketown area.

MB: Then when you moved here, how did you support yourself in school?

DJ: I did a number of things. Even in Smoketown there was a man from Jeffersontown who had us to sell -- pedal vegetables with him when he came. I liked to do that because I had a chance to drive the horse and wagon!


MB: Right. You were the one who was telling me that you liked it!

DJ: Yeah, ride the horse -- and I would sometimes go all the way back out to the man's house and the man would have to walk back to Smoketown! I was going to get off a little bit further, but I was so enthused being able to drive the horse, I would be riding in the man's farm going, before I thought how far I'd gone!

OJ: And what did you do in Parkland? I mean, there wasn't much work there in that end?

DJ: Oh yes. We (pause) -- I helped sometimes at people's yards, yardwork. I did every kind of handyman job you could find. I went up on [Grensley?] Drive, worked with some people there, and they gave me a dollar there, and car fare. And my mother worked for a man at Atlas Plaster Company originally, and I would work extra over there when they needed me.


MB: So that's how you supported yourself through high school?

DJ: And I worked at [Cora Nussbaum's?] scrap metal place. Mr. [Cora Nussbaum?], an older man, the man that had the business. Had a young son about our age and some of my friends and I were hired, and we were put on the hired man's crew, and we worked all that work just scattered out in the field until the [night hours?]. We got a quarter an hour -- that was big money then!

MB: Yeah, I was going to ask you how much -- I was going to be sick when you told me! And that was big money then?

DJ: Yeah, and some friends of mine, William [Edmondton?] would rent a delivery stable on Liberty, a horse and wagon, and we'd go out to the farms and they would let us take prod -- some of their produce, then we would resell it and make a little money on it. Had to return the horse, I think it was $3 to rent the horse.


MB: Sounds like you were an investor [all the way?].

DJ: We went out in the wood areas and got this dry wood and chopped it up and sold that for kindling and I even went to a [Three "C"?] camp in the Depression. These are the Depression years, right. In '35 I went --

OJ: You went after you finished high school.

DJ: Yeah, after I finished high school. We were at Fort Knox a while. Went to Fort Knox for a while.

MB: Now was that right after -- the summer after you graduated from high school?

DJ: Yes. Then we cut those tank roads through those hills at Fort Knox.

MB: Was that the only kind of work for high school fellows at that point during the Depression?

DJ: It was the only kind of work for most anybody in those times! Now this 38:00friend, Edmondson: his father was a mastercraft plasterer, and he had two sons that I ran with, and I did extra work with them when he needed extra.

MB: Were you bringing money home at the time for your mom?

DJ: Oh yes. I remember once the -- we got behind on the payment and I went to the homeowner's loan corporation, and I think it was in Lincoln Bank, and I forget the man's name, but he was very nice, and he worked it out to where the payment was $7 a month.

MB: Wow. How old were you at the time? Do you remember? That you went to talk to him about that?

DJ: I was -- I was in my twenties.


MB: So you were still helping your mom out even at that point?

DJ: Oh yeah. Had to.

MB: Seven dollars a month?

DJ: Yeah, I was head of the household.

MB: For many years, obviously! So, you met and were married in 1941. Then what kind of -- you weren't -- were you nursing at that point? Where were you?

OJ: I worked in Board of Health -- public health nursing. Started April, 1941.

MB: Did you visit? Was that out in the community?

OJ: Yes. You did visiting to the homes, to schools, to some institutions, nursing homes -- they didn't have them then, but to any area where there were people that needed -- there were poor people that needed help, or either where there were communicable disease, with it was some kind of disease. I carried a hammer and a placard where you quarantined for measles and chicken pox, and maybe you come back tomorrow and they'd torn it down because they didn't want people to know they had it and -- worked with schools and with clinics. We did immunizations in baby clinics and mother's clinics and tuberculosis clinics and the like.


MB: You moved in -- you were living in the Parkland area, but when you married --

OJ: I haven't been anywhere but Parkland area in Louisville. (laughs)

MB: When you married, did you move into your own place, or did you -- where did you live?

OJ: Well, it was -- now he was helping his mother, and didn't feel that they could get along without helping his mother, and it was still not far from Depression time, because work still was hard to come by. And so I was living with my brother and his wife, and so we married and I continued living with my brother and his wife, and he lived with his mother, until we were able to find our own place.

MB: How much time passed?

OJ: Six -- five months. Five to six months.

DJ: Even then till we were married, we continued -- she helped my mother [with her earning together?].

OJ: Yes. He helped his mother until I felt like that there were more than -- more people in the family than him!


DJ: Well, when my younger brother finally got a good job, he said he would -- since he was staying there -- he would do the --

MB: Two families. That's a lot of load to carry, it is. So when you got your first place as a couple, where was that? Do you remember the address, or approximately where it was?

OJ: Yeah, 3304 Hale Avenue.

MB: Oh you people. (laughs)

OJ: Well, I -- 10 years. Let's see. That was in '41, and then we stayed there -- he went in the service and we stayed there until he came out of the service, and we moved down to just four doors down from where we lived. We moved to 3222 Hale on the same block, same side of the street, and lived there for 10 years, and then we moved to our present address. We've moved only three times since we've been married.

MB: Well, you were working as a public health nurse, and then you got your own 42:00place, and you went into the service. What branch of service did you go into?

DJ: They call it "Army-Air Force" then. I was in the quartermaster's.

MB: How many years did you stay in?

DJ: I was in three years.

MB: Three years? And then when you came out --

DJ: Prior to that, I had worked at the -- found a good steady job I had -- I got at the building of the powder plant in Charleston, and then I was drafted out of that after being frozen on the job. In '39 I'd taken the postal exam for clerk-carrier, and I was offered it. I was a regular -- had a regular bulletin, but I was frozen on that until I had to go to the service.

MB: At that point -- and that was, what, '39? Thirty-eight, '39 -- somewhere around there?

OJ: No, it was 1940 --

DJ: Nineteen forty-two.

OJ: In 1941, you went to work at quartermaster at DuPont at 1941, and then in 43:001942 -- was '42 -- he went to service. But he had to work at quarter -- he had to work at Charleston or else go into service, and so it was a government -- they were making gunpowder, getting stuff together for that. So they -- if you've heard of such thing as frozen, I mean I don't have -- he had to stay on this job or else go in the service, so he stayed there and then later on things got bad and had to go in the service anyway. But before that, he'd had an application at the post office, but he was called but he couldn't leave because this was a frozen job. So when he came out of the service his -- he renewed his application at the post office.

DJ: No, it was kept for me --

OJ: It was kept open.

DJ: -- by an act of congress.


Q;Was that one of the first really good, steady, career kind of jobs that blacks could get into in terms of post office?

DJ: One of them.

OJ: Well, post office, [Ellen inn?], standard centers.

DJ: Most people here worked out to the railroads, and I had walked out there a minute a day over the bridge with the work with my sandwich and they hired outside the door, but I was -- I was kind of small then. Too small for what they could work with, I suppose.

MB: But the post office was considered a good position --

DJ: Oh yes.

MB: -- then, even at that point in time? Had good benefits and this kind of thing?

OJ: Fair.

DJ: Not like we have now.

OJ: But you'd be surprised at the black college men that that was the only thing they could get.

MB: Even with a college degree when they came out?

OJ: With a college degree. And one of the reasons that the post office had to promote when they did get going real good -- they had to promote these men with seniority and college degrees. They had to promote them, even though they'd just been mail handlers and clerks -- they had to move them up to supervisor now, because they were the best qualified education wise.


DJ: (inaudible) had to store it, there wasn't any clerks to mount anything -- you took the same examination, but you were always mad a carrier.

OJ: Blacks were made carriers.

DJ: Right, until later when -- something happened --

OJ: They got a union going, they got a black union going!

MB: And that made a difference?

DJ: That helped quite a bit! And then they needed more clerks and they began to allow you to come in, but they had a restriction on that allowance at one time, that you had to revert back to [sub?] for five years when you restored your seniority!

OJ: As substitute.

DJ: When you first went.

MB: Did you stay with the post office then here in Louisville until the time of your retirement?

DJ: Yes.

MB: And you were a public health nurse until retirement? OK, so -- early on then 46:00in the '40s, you were a public health nurse, and you were beginning to work for the post office. How many children did you have? I don't think I --

OJ: We didn't have any. We adopted a child in 1956.

MB: Daughter or son?

OJ: Daughter.

MB: So you just raised the one?

OJ: Just one child.

MB: What agency -- do you mind if I ask -- did you adopt your child from?

OJ: Kingston -- the -- it's now called Human Resources.

MB: Oh right!

OJ: But a Mrs. Bellmore was our social worker, but the child that we adopted was my great-niece, my sister's grandchild, and she's from Cleveland. The mother of -- I mean, my niece -- had several children, but she had gotten to be -- we call them now -- delinquent, maybe -- mother, or she was a mother that wasn't giving the children the time and care that they were supposed to or that was required by the agency, and so the agency finally had to take the children, and they were put in foster homes. There were five of them, and my sister adopted one of them, 47:00I adopted one of them. They were two girls. The older ones were boys. And they were like ten years old, nine years old or whatever, and little girls. My sister adopted her little girl when she was two, but my child was five, and so --

MB: What -- did it motivate you because it was a relative's child, or did you want children?

OJ: I had -- we had wanted children, and he's from a family of eight, my family had ten. My mother didn't raise but six. But we had always -- we were just family orientated. I mean, it's just accustomed to have big families, and we thought we'd have a big family, but we didn't, and so I had thought of adopting a child, but we hadn't made any move toward it, and then when my sister got her little girl and she said, "Why don't you take the other one," and I had weigh it up on Saturday another long time, because we'd been married a long time, that was 1954 --

MB: You get used to not having children!

OJ: We'd been married 15 years, see, and with a five year-old coming in your house, that you don't know what they're going to be like, really!


MB: Makes for a lot of adjustments!

OJ: Oh boy!

MB: So you took her at five?

OJ: At five. She was (inaudible). And --

MB: And she -- and of course, she was raised then from five on in Parkland area. What schools did she attend when she was a child?

OJ: She attended -- we lived on Hale, and Virginia Avenue was next to us, so she attend Virginia Avenue School. It's now called Carter -- [Tercel?] Carter. And the streets -- still, Parkland wasn't made up like it is now. There were a lot of streets that weren't made, there was no sidewalks, so in the third grade we -- she was in the third grade, and we had moved to where we are, and there was -- she had to walk to school, which was 10 or 12 blocks, and part of it was no sidewalks for them to walk on for protection, so we transferred her to another school where she could be on the sidewalk all the way to school, so she went to Foster School. It was just being integrated. It was right -- let's see -- she 49:00was five, six -- eight years old, seven years old. Nineteen-fifty-seven -- even though the Supreme Court had said in 1954, Louisville schools didn't really get around to doing it too much until in the '57, '58 -- somewhere in that -- 1958 she went to Foster School.

MB: And that -- and it was just beginning to --

OJ: Just beginning. She was some of the first of the black children to enter.

MB: Where'd she go from there, then?

OJ: She went to Shawnee. She went to Lucy Duvalle for the junior high, and then to Shawnee for her high school.

MB: Do you remember anything about when you were educating your daughter in this area --in the Parkland area -- do you remember anything on -- I know you're talking about, say, where the roads and some of the sidewalks were, that some of the kids had to walk a great distance, and there wasn't really much protection -- can you remember anything else that you felt she -- your daughter got in 50:00terms of education because she was in this area, or anything that was lacking? Do you remember being dissatisfied?

OJ: Not particularly. When -- it might have been because I measured it from -- by what I had gone through, and I could see that she had so much more to offer her than what I had, and at that time, just her Carter school was considered the best black school in the city area for grades one to six. The plant locate-- the plant facilities and the teachers backgrounds and all at Carter school was always considered very good, and I think it still -- it was one of the schools that met the reading requirement -- national reading requirement -- one of the black schools. Only black school in the city, and one of maybe six or seven black schools -- six or seven schools all over. I mean, see, Louisville's reading is down whether it's a black school or white. But Carter was one who met 51:00the standards, along with maybe half a dozen other white schools, and I felt that she was getting very good -- whatever they -- I knew many of the teachers, and I wanted to move partly because she, being an only child, and being a child of maybe broken home or batter family to start with, she had five years implanted already, and the teachers knew me, and I don't know -- but you know -- that many times if you're friends with teachers, they usually give a little or lean a little too much, and I was afraid that she wouldn't get enough discipline, and when she moved to the other school, none of the other teachers knew me hardly -- I mean, they're [human?], and that she would get just whatever everybody else was getting. And so --

MB: I know exactly what you are talking about. Sometimes it can be a blessing, sometimes it isn't when you're around friends.

OJ: Well, I felt like that if -- and knowing her -- that if there was anything short, I would get the information in that I wouldn't -- you know -- know where 52:00to start get it corrected, and so it worked out very well.

MB: So during the -- you were describing in the '30s and early '40s what the Parkland area was like -- and of course, this was in the '50s when you were raising your child -- do you remember anything else in the Parkland area during the '40s and '50s -- when did it -- did it seem like there was any specific time that the area began to grow up, to develop? Or did houses just kind of pop up all over steady?

DJ: Let me see. I think urban renewal came in the '50s and '60s --

OJ: When did they start tearing down and start building [Southwick?] and Southern? Many of the -- many of where he used to live -- what the call "across the tracks" -- were people who had come from southern areas -- southern states, brought their relatives, and lived, and built houses next to them. Many of the houses were not built according to city standards, so more like --


MB: Were they the kind of -- almost -- ramshackle shacks?

OJ: Some of them would be made out of tin, tarpaper, or built --

DJ: Some, but not quite --

OJ: Not all of them. Not all of them.

MB: But some of those people --

DJ: Many of the people were good craftsmen. They could build very good.

MB: But were they escaping from the South?

OJ: Well it was just an improvement, yes.

DJ: I wouldn't say that. They were looking for something better. There was a church on my street, Young's there -- between 34th and 35th that was called Little Zion Baptist Church. It's now called New Zion, it's up on [Seventh?], and the minister there was rather prominent -- deceased -- Reverend [Kanye?], CJ Kanye was their minister. And many of the people had come from Georgia -- special little town called Commerce, Georgia." And they seemed to bring their 54:00relatives, would stay with their relative till they in turn got a job. Then there was another settlement there across Bell's Lein -- the [tide land?], where many of them worked. It was on, I think, by -- was it Bonn Brothers?

OJ: Bonn Brothers. Bonn Brothers Tire Plant.

DJ: And they had houses out there built just alike where many of them stayed, and they had a company store where the people had the -- they dealt with that store they lived out there.

OJ: Now, they had come from Georgia up to Louisville, and worked at a tire plant, but there was still -- like we were talking about -- there were still -- oh, you were here when the teacher was here -- they owed the company store, had to buy from the company store, they buy their shoes from the company store, and when they get through at the end of the year, they may still be in debt at the company store.

MB: Right. I was talking to somebody about that the other day who was describing that, and I'm sure it was this situation that they were -- I think they must have come from that area or something.


DJ: Only thing is, they could leave the place and come over to Parkland.

OJ: They could leave.

DJ: That was outside of the city limits over there at the time.

MB: Well what were you saying about urban renewal? Was that when whole areas were torn down, and the Cotter Lang housing project put up?

DJ: Just prior to urban renewal -- yeah, just prior to that -- the Order of Mary was about to get started, there were many vacant lots behind us there -- that was called "Southwake," as well as a lot across there where the cornfield was on the south of us. And they bought -- the Immaculate Order of Mary -- the agents bought some of that land, and we had a lot -- a lot of them had a lot --

OJ: I'm trying to remember: what made the [Kittrels?] and them move out from over there by the duck farm? I mean, was that urban renewal then? Was that 56:00started to -- [Cordells?] and them moved down that way. Was that urban renewal that did that?

DJ: Yes. My sister and her husband were on 34th Street near the corner. Urban renewal took that house and they took Mr. Coker -- white fellow's house there -- and a filling station was put there. And my brother-in-law moved on Magnolia between 32nd and 34th, and was told that they weren't going to bother that part, and later they came through to get that one. He died while he was over there and --

MB: Bless his heart. Did he think urban renewal was chasing him down?

DJ: Same thing that went through and [murdered?] him on Young on that side of the street where they were. They were going to build Cutter Homes across, and they worry about this side of the street. But eventually they did, they moved over on him.

OJ: But I'm thinking back on where Cordell and them lived -- and I can't 57:00remember back about the Kittrells and the Bells -- back over on Stratton and Von Spiegel was back there in the '30s.

DJ: There was too many houses from 34th over there --

MB: Didn't Harrison -- doesn't Harrison project spread that far?

OJ: It does, but I wonder --

DJ: It does now, but at that time --

OJ: At that time, I'm thinking those people seem like move for some other reason. I don't remember. Cutter Homes wasn't built along when they first moved -- oh, I guess maybe they built the Duvalle School.

DJ: That flood -- changed a lot of people, after it was over. In '37 there was a -- that great flood here, and in that area, two story houses -- the chimney was even underwater down to the west of us. Where we live at 34th and Young, it was like a kind of an island, and I came home once after being out helping get other people out below to get out of their places where the water's creeping up on them real fast. I saw people I used standing on their houses, shoulder to 58:00shoulder, right up at the line where we live, people had -- the people all came in and you couldn't tell them -- you know -- there's now room there, because they know -- you know, it can be a dangerous thing! And you can hear on the radio instructions from the city and all, and there was a white family that lived on Southern near 32nd -- I believe his name is Harding. We called him "Big Fisherman" because he had the nets that he put in the Ohio River, and then he brought big fish like that and sold them in the area. There was a white family across the corner at 32nd and Southern. What I remember about them was they had a -- looked like a half a barrel with a tree in it -- an orange tree -- and it had real oranges on it! Sitting on their porch! And they also had a boat -- one 59:00of these little paddle boats. I asked them to lend us the boat, and Mr. Harding, the fisherman, took over, and we went down and got a whole lot of people out later that night, and the water began to get iced over, and --

MB: Did the people realize -- in this area of town -- how bad it was? Did they just not have transportation?

DJ: Yeah, now some -- a few people stayed down there in Southwick and assisted, one of their husbands (laughter). And he said in 1918 or something like that way back, we'd had one, and it only got up this far.

MB: So he wasn't going --

DJ: He wasn't leaving. Well, about two o'clock that morning, the next morning, we had all of this help hauling, and Mr. Harding took me with him and several others, and we went down there and found him standing in the window, up in the window, water up there all up in the house, pouring through the windows!


OJ: But when she tells that, they knew the water was down the hill there, but -- you know -- it's not going to get up here. So he is going to watch to see if it's coming up and he's going to get them out. But they all went to bed, and he was to sit here by the door and watch. And he went to sleep.

MB: Oh no!

OJ: And when he knew anything, a little water was seeping under the door, and he rushed to the door to look, and as he opened the door, (laughs) the water -- the water just --

MB: You're kidding! The water had gotten that high?

OJ: The water had just rushed in and by the time --

MB: You can laugh about it years later, but I bet it was horrifying then!

DJ: It was horrifying then and there. When the sewers at 32nd Street gave way, the water was lifting the caps off the sewers and it was bouncing around like you would -- something like with a hose. Bouncing them up the street. Then the water backed up toward us, and somehow or another, they got the word out that we were marooned in this little area, they sent city trucks and brought us up to the YMCA which is on Treston -- not exactly where it is now, but in that same 61:00general area. We stayed over there for about three days, and two of those days, a man from 4th Street, one of those stores, came to get several of us to go help him carry stock from the floor up in the attic. That's when I got my first social security card. We had to get a card to do that!

MB: During the flood?

DJ: During the flood.

MB: What happened to most of the rest of the families in this area? Did they just go wherever they could find shelter, go find other relatives?

DJ: They went where they could and if they knew of a higher place to go, but most of them were crowded in and high area, and in the sticks area, were crowded up in that one little block where we were.

MB: Just kind of camping out.

DJ: Just camping out together. And they carried us, eventually, from the Y to 10th street station and out to [Strobey?] Yard and Highland Park, and as I went through the gate, the man closed the gate -- said, "We got enough over here right now." Well, I was explaining to him, "This is my family and I can't leave 62:00them!" But he assured me after I stayed and all, you're not getting anywhere -- that they were going to be with me. Well, I was on the first watch. They came through about nine o'clock and brought milk and doughnuts for the women and children. We didn't have anything to eat. And they told us, "Stay on [the porch?], don't get off."

MB: Now were these blacks, or was this a mixed?

DJ: No, these were people -- officials that were handling the --

MB: But I mean as far as the [pew?] -- you all -- were they all --

OJ: The people -- all of you -- any color only.

MB: Anybody that just would have been stranded -- OK.

DJ: Anybody that was in this area that was stranded. Yes.

OJ: They forgot who was white and who was black during the flood.

MB: Oh wonderful. Wonderful.

DJ: The man said that about four o' clock in the morning or so, here's a course we forgot about, then they lowered us on the truck, and stored it up on the 63:00east, up through Boyd's Town road, we were riding, and a motorcycle cop stopped us. We was [both been going?] -- sounds like they said "Madisonville." And he stopped us and said, "Take them to Highland Union High." And that's where they took me. When I got there, I was kind of -- it was like everything was in a daze, a dream. Couldn't be real, because they had marshal law there, and the sewer sounded like Niagara Falls, and they had a little --

MB: OK, this is the second tape in our interview with Mr. and Mrs. Jones, and Mr. Jones, we were discussing the '37 flood, and you had taken us to the point where you were at Highland Junior High. What happened? What were you there for?

DJ: They had cots -- like these little camper's cots -- and they gave us a blanket, and we were placed into various schoolrooms, and the big gymnasium, and 64:00there were volunteer workers and (inaudible) at that place, and they had a chapel where they had us singing and scripture read. Everybody was brother then, and they had also several doctors with our group in there, and they gave us these shots against --

OJ: Typhoid.

DJ: -- typhoid fever. We were supposed to be having three; when I had the second one, I came down with hive fever, and they didn't give me my third shot. But we were also on standby to go out on detail to bring barrels of water in -- these -- like new garbage cans, only --


MB: All the men who were there? So, under that marshal law at Highland Junior High, it was not only a place of refuge for families and people to stay, but they also took the men out on work details. OK.

DJ: Especially they bring in the food supplies are coming in from other cities, they had to get it in here. We went over -- it was in the churches -- that we went over to Deer Park Church, and we loaded and unloaded food. They had all kinds of food, and they -- when you went out on a detail, when you got back to Highland Junior High, they would feed you.

MB: So it was worth going on the detail!

DJ: Yeah, eggs and milk and all kind of good food, and when they first got there, they took us on the first detail to Frankfurt Avenue by the distillery where we had to roll barrels down to make a pontoon bridge up to bridge it over 66:00toward -- going over toward the north side. And they also had some guy there in overalls and things, and we learned that they were the prisoners that they had. But they kept them all together. We all had to help work to bring in barrels --

OJ: All doing the same kind of work.

DJ: -- all of us doing the same kind of work.

MB: How long a period -- how long did you stay, end up staying, at Highland Junior High? Do you remember? Week? Ten days, or --

DJ: It was more than that, I believe. Little bit more than that. I was the first to leave because I was concerned I hadn't seen my other people, my folks. I'd met the cousin over at Deer Park Church, and he told me my mother and them were at that Newburgh, I believe, with some of their relatives. So that helped me to not be worried about that.

MB: Now that was the same year you graduated from high school, then.

DJ: No, this was '37 -- two years later.

MB: Two years -- oh, you graduate in '35? Oh, OK. So what -- you were about twenty years old when all this was going on?


DJ: Yes. And my sister was brought over there about a week before it got to where I decided I could make it back home; they said the water was going down. And they brought here there because she was expecting and they had medical attention there. Now some of the people at the place needed medical attention. I recall one lady had a nervous breakdown. She was going around with her apron like she was picking things up off the floor -- which there wasn't anything there! Just like she was picking (inaudible). And I recall having to have to stay there and watch her for a while, and she was turning [me?] like turning a doorknob, you know. She didn't realize what -- it had snapped her mind.

MB: I imagine it was a tough time of tremendous pressure and anxiety!

DJ: And we had some sick people there in that room: one man and his brother, they were very devoted to each other. They were old folks, and I think the man 68:00died later, a little later. So when they got to where I learned that the water was down, I thought I could make it home, I took my little cot and my blanket and checked out, and I walked around over that little pontoon bridge -- there was still a little water, not like it was when we put it up there -- around [Garrison?] and back through south to --

OJ: He thought he could walk to Central!

DJ: -- to Floyd Street, and just south of Floyd, and as I was coming up Floyd, it was in a community there where the (inaudible) home is, on -- now, but it used to be -- there was a lady called me and I -- it was on a Saturday, because I remember this lady was Jewish, and she asked me to make a fire in her furnace, and I took newspaper and wadded them up and kind of dried out and then made the fire with newspaper and put the wood in it --


MB: As you -- and this was on your walk --

DJ: On my way back home, on my way there. Yeah.

MB: -- on your way home. How bad was it when you got here?

DJ: When I got home, oddly enough, we didn't have much water in our house. There was about a foot. Only the doors were swollen, why, they went -- after I got it open, I couldn't shut the door anymore. And to my amazement, I looked out in the yard and walked out there and the debris was so thick it was like walking on matting! And there were two solid stacks of crossties sitting in the yard as though somebody stacked them -- just like they stacked them over at Bonn Brothers.

MB: And they had floated in?

DJ: They had floated in the yard.

MB: Oh my goodness. Was there much damage on the inside of your house?

DJ: Not much damage inside the house.

MB: But what about the -- what about the rest of the Parkland area? You said it changed -- the flood changed a lot of things --

DJ: There were houses that had just been ruined. There was a little shoe shop 70:00there at [Seven?], the man's name was Shawn. He was a Pilipino. And I -- his was washed away during the flood. That was washed away.

OJ: And did he come back again?

DJ: No. And --

OJ: I guess some of the houses probably were rebuilt --

DJ: There was one man on my street, and he lived in that tall house -- Mr. Perry. He was down the end of the houses, right on that little row was from 34th to 33rd, and he came to the door when he saw me, and hollered and told me that nobody was on the street. He had looked all around: just he and I, until we go up to 28th and Dumesnil, the Red Cross was there, and they would give you some help. I went and they gave me a couple baskets full of all kinds of good food, and I had to carry them back to 34th and Young, but there I was -- sit down, and (inaudible) [eat junk?].

MB: It's a wonder today that you lived to be as old as you have the way you walked around the city!


DJ: And after that, the WPA started -- when I got the bus turned back -- I mean, not the bus, that boat turned back to those people that had leant it to us, they asked us to come on help clean out the sewers and things. I started with that, and then the next thing you know, I was -- since I didn't have a job.

MB: Was that at the WPA? The clean-up, the thing after the flood.

DJ: Yeah, they enrolled me in the WPA, and after that, there, we went out to Canon's Lane at a rock quarry, and for a while I was using a hammer trying to break some rocks, but I didn't weigh enough. I was too slim. I weighed 130 pounds then. I would get a kind of cramp in the arm when I hit it, and the foreman there -- name Mr. Stap -- he said to me, "Son, have to get you hold of that hammer," and he gave me a wheelbarrow. They didn't have rubber tires on 72:00them, and you rolled it a good block to the crusher and then he found another job for me in the cement shed with three older men -- they were in their 40s, I guess.

MB: Now that was still with the WPA?

DJ: Still with the WPA. We were making the runways at Bowman Field.

MB: Oh right. I remember you telling me that.

DJ: They were good runways. Where we went there to unload the trailers of cement; bag the cement and stack them higher than your head in the -- and you put three sacks on the baggage truck, then you went around the harbor -- sand harbor -- and you got the sand. I had my back hurt in that deal. The gentleman told me that they were -- their generation were better men than mind, how they could deal so much, and then I was lured into doing a -- I loaded the whole truck one day, and --

MB: So you set out to prove that you were [the truth?]

DJ: I set out to prove that I was as good as they!

MB: Well did the WPA then -- did they pick up a lot of the fellows here in the 73:00Parklawn area -- did they give a lot of work to people who had lost a lot in the flood?

DJ: They gave a lot of work, a lot of labor to people who were head of families that had to -- to get families. There were a lot of people in that category. In fact, one of the men that worked with me there was a doctor.

OJ: (inaudible)?

DJ: Yes. And they carried me to the marine hospital after I hurt my back, and I was --

MB: Oh, the marine hospital down in the Portland area?

DJ: In the Portland area. And I was out for a while, and I got well and came back. They put me on the sand hopper, where all I had to do was pull a lever and let the sand down where a young man named Brooks, and I think he said he played 74:00football at the U of K.

MB: So, really a variety of people --

DJ: He was about 20 -- in his twenties. He wasn't much -- we were about the same age, I suppose that time.

MB: Now you mentioned during the flood that people kind of forgot about race as people were housed together, they worked side by side: was the WPA situation the same? Was it segregated or was it fairly integrated?

DJ: Yes. It was fairly integrated. The work was -- yeah. Of course --

MB: Everybody was needing the work, and it was there.

DJ: They needed the work, and we did it. And it wasn't any lean on the shovel job I ever had -- I had been four areas of that -- first cleaning up them sewers, and then the rock quarry, and doing the Bowman Field roads, then we went to Highland Park to put in them deep sewers. That was a different gang altogether, they switch you from this to --

MB: But it was whites and blacks together?

DJ: Yes.

OJ: Did the whites have more supervisor jobs, or were there any blacks that ever 75:00were supervisors?

DJ: No, the whites had the supervisor jobs out here. There was one black man that was too -- that was like a supervisor job: he didn't do any work, he just checked out the tools to you, and he was bodyguard for the main foreman.

MB: So there wasn't then -- so there was a difference in the way whites and blacks --

OJ: It was a different type of work you got to do.

DJ: But you get the same work. I mean, the laborers were doing the same thing side by side.

OJ: The laborers, yes.

MB: And there were black and white laborers?

DJ: Right.

MB: But when there were supervisory jobs, those tended to be white.

DJ: Right. And I recall I wasn't smoking then, and I came out of the -- out of my section, as they call it, to get some air, and a man told me, "What you doing? What you doing up here?" I said, "I came up for some air." He told me, "Get back down!" Well I said, "Look at these fellows!" They -- he was out there 76:00smoking, so I went back down -- I got to smoking to get a chance to get a break!

MB: That's what got you started! (laughs)

DJ: Now these sewers were deep enough where they had two scaffolds in the hole, and I was down in the bottom, and I had to throw it over my shoulder, throw it up on that scaffolding, throw it up the other side!

MB: Digging it out.

DJ: Yes.

MB: Now was that after your back was injured, or was that before? That was after! I can't imagine that was good for you back!

DJ: Yes, and --

OJ: Maybe wasn't. He's had two back operations in his lifetime. I don't know if that has anything to do with it!

MB: Man, I can believe it!

DJ: That went on for a while, they -- in these holes like that, there's -- when they're not round -- they've got to put these great boards and these great log-like -- square log-like boards there. They call them -- what did they call them -- beams and sheeting. They called it sheeting. Stringers, and they had three brawny men that would drive these things around by you so it wouldn't cave 77:00in on you. These three men were black and they -- on this particular day, the last day I worked, they were at the fire -- I hadn't been to the fire -- it was cold and wet, and I finished about ten minutes ahead of the others. I came up out of the hole and was cleaning my tools and the straw-boss, they called the guy, was [lean boss?] came down to me, and asked me to grab him out and drive the sheeting around the hole. I told him he must be kidding, because I saw the three whose job it -- they didn't dig any dirt at all, they just did that -- standing there, telling jokes to the main boss round the fire! And I hadn't been to the fire. So he told me to do it or else! And I got, I got extremely angry. I said, "I'll take the else." So I was sent in to headquarters and immediately 78:00they put me on [AMYA?] -- national youth authority. Similar thing, except it was youngsters. And I worked on that out the U of L, with the custodial authority and the maintenance man, and even over the municipal college where the blacks went.

MB: So that was another government work program?

DJ: It was still the work program.

MB: But for younger people?

DJ: Yeah, and it wasn't as hard as being out there!

MB: You decided you wished you were younger, huh?

DJ: I wish I'd been on it in the first place! I didn't know!

MB: And that was all following the '37 flood?

DJ: That came out of the aftermath of the flood. And --

MB: What else?

DJ: -- a lot of people left Louisville, even. My uncle and aunt who lived next door. They moved to California --

MB: After the flood?

DJ: -- after the flood. Many other people went else --

OJ: My sister moved east after that.

DJ: -- moved into the inner city that didn't have too much water.


MB: Was it because people just lost so much? Were they discouraged, or did the times too, where jobs were hard to find, people just went on someplace else?

DJ: It had something to do with both.

MB: So the -- evidently the whole look of the Parkland area changed at least somewhat during that period?

DJ: Yes. And I remember there was a drugstore at 28th and Greenwood where the tavern is now and the ceiling -- the water had been all the way up to the ceiling in there, and this man that I -- remember, I told you about this plaster man, who had the job -- and he got me to bring the [hours?] and mix the mortar for him, and his sons, and he plastered that. He -- his main contract that was subcontracted to him was a man name Leo Miller, related to the plumbing Miller that used to be on Hill Street near 18th where the man used to live, where this 80:00contracting man used to live, there wasn't a plumber. I recall we got another job doing that on Main Street at a store, to re-plaster the store. And the man needed another workman for his grocery -- wholesale grocery chain. And he asked this contractor to make up his mind about which of us and everybody who was working to get this regular job. It was a regular job income. So Mr. Edmondson said, "I like them both, so we'll flip a coin!" but I lost the coin flip and the other guy got the job. But I -- I really needed the job worse than my buddy did at the time, because he was single and he did have some supporting family. There was a big family then and several of them were working in the family, they were all pooling their monies.


MB: At the time, now, your mother was working a little, and were you --

DJ: Yes, and she did laundry, too, and brought in --

MB: Was she a domestic?

DJ: Yes.

MB: And so you and your mother were then in the sole support, so you really did need the money.

DJ: Yes.

MB: I wanted to move on into other things -- into the Parkland area during the '40s and '50s: we talked a little about the schooling and the -- what -- about your daughter when she was small and the school she attended. What else was there about the Parkland area during the '40s and '50s when it began to fill up with people and --

DJ: Well, prior to the '40s, there was a little school on the Southern and 34th that went to the first two grades. Then they had to go over [there?] to Virginia Avenue. I had a younger brother --

OJ: They had grades one, two, and three.

DJ: One, two, and three.


OJ: And they had two teachers. It was called "Southern Avenue School." And it had two classrooms and a potbelly stove, and it had a teacher on each side.

MB: Was it a pri-- was it a public school?

OJ: Public school. So the children that came from out of the 34th, 35th, 36th -- which is Cotter Home area now -- Southwick and Cotter Lang and Cotter Home -- they could come there. This was close. They were little, you know, the first grade. Then when they finished the third grade, then they would come to Virginia Avenue which was way over here, which was six blocks farther over. So --

DJ: I remember bringing my little brother sometimes!

OJ: So they -- there were two schools in this general area --

DJ: Walking distance.

OJ: -- for blacks, which was Virginia Avenue, and Southern.

MB: During this time, was this particular area right around Parkland and 28 -- we're sitting right on the 2800 block of Virginia Avenue, but -- was this particular area right around here predominantly white with black community bordering it?

OJ: Um hmm. Whites --

DJ: There were some mixed in, in it.

OJ: Predominantly -- predominantly white. Some --


MB: Was it upper-middle-class area? Because now some of these houses, they must have been --

OJ: They must have been. When I moved -- when I came to Louisville in 1940, Virginia Avenue was white all the way to 32nd, except maybe one or two black families. But predominat-- I mean, it was -- I think it was all the way white to 34th Street, I mean, 34th.

DJ: Black over there in that area -- Cotter Home area there where there -- was a man we call Farmer Brown, right off the back of Algonquin, just beyond where Cotter Homes would -- where the cornfield was where Cotter Homes is standing. He had a big -- a nice big farm there.

MB: That did sound -- from the way you were describing neighbors, that there were a few whites over there with the blacks --

DJ: Yes.

OJ: But it was -- but it was but --

DJ: And there was down at 37th Street, there was a Narville Green and houses --

OJ: But there were more blacks then there were whites!


DJ: But there were some whites --

OJ: Some whites. She said "predominantly."

MB: In your -- but what about this particular area right around here, like Hale, where you moved.

OJ: This was white.

MB: This was white -- was Hale?

OJ: We bought our house from a white lady.

MB: Was the neighborhood just beginning to change then, there in the early '40s when you bought the house on Hale?

DJ: It had changed prior to that.

OJ: It was changing, because we lived down the street from this lady before we bought the house from her. It was changing.

DJ: After the war it started to -- a little more rapidly.

OJ: Yeah, it changed more rapidly after '46. But it was changing some.

DJ: The closest drug store was at 32nd and Hale.

OJ: And the people in that area was predominantly white. This was white lady had drug store on Main. But this was -- and 32nd Street -- was white. I mean, it just in the last, in the '40s, I guess, started changing.


MB: Over the last 20 years --

OJ: Over the last 25 years.

DJ: The shopping area was 28th between Dumesnil and Virginia.

MB: When did that start getting really big? Do you remember? And it was all white --

DJ: Oh heavens -- it was white then, and when we first moved there, it had a store where the A and P was called "Piggly Wiggly!"

OJ: It had a movie theater --

DJ: And there was an A and P store called it, "[Align it with Pacific?]" then.

OJ: This, when I came here, and it was shopping area -- big shopping area. Well-kept, beautiful area. I mean, you'd feel like going to 4th Street when you came to 28th Street! And there was -- was it -- a theater, hardware stores, garages -- I mean, just anything you'd almost think about -- was right in this 86:00[the middle?].

MB: So you didn't have to travel any place to go get to it?

OJ: No, you could just walk up here!

DJ: There still was a mile or so from where we lived, but we carried what we had in our arms and --

OJ: You all shopped up here all the time!

DJ: Yes, it was the only shopping we do! Close.

MB: When you were young?

OJ: When he moved to Parkland in --

MB: And it was already big and --

OJ: -- in '32.

DJ: Yeah, it was already a thriving place then.

MB: And taken care of and --

OJ: Taken care of, and it was cleaning, and shoe shining, dress shining, and one of the department stores where you could buy name brand things like you'd buy at Stewart's now was right there! He stayed there -- and I hated to see him go. He stayed -- he was there -- I think he said something like 35 years right in one location! The old man retired. Mr. Snyder. He retired and his son is now working at Lever Brothers on 3rd Street. But they -- you could buy Buster Brown shoes for the chi -- really, this is where you came to shop. My daughter's Buster Brown shoes: we'd get them here at Snyder's. Anything else you wanted. They had 87:00good stores. Good stores. First quality vegetables and fruits. Just anything you want.

DJ: Two drug stores in that area, and that [Pit and Dale?] on the corner the big drug store that's downstairs, and there was a five-and-ten --

OJ: A five-and-ten, and a hardware store --

DJ: [Pool hall?].

OJ: Hardware man stayed here -- Heinz was here in hardware business when you all came down here, wasn't it?

DJ: But the store is now Mrs. [Freel?] that works it --

OJ: No, I'm talking about -- I mean in the beginning.

DJ: Oh yeah, you knew that.

OJ: And just until -- you know, when we had -- we did "Burn, baby, burn" -- you know, when they had -- '46, I guess, when they had the rioting and the breaking and the looting at all --

MB: Sixty-seven here? You mean the riots of '67?

OJ: Yes. This -- from that 20th Street started going down. It was just (inaudible.)

MB: What -- do either one of you have any ideas about why it started going down at that point? People get scared and run?

OJ: I think they got afraid.

DJ: Then there were others -- other shopping centers opening up too --


MB: Competition?

DJ: That competition kind of cut into --

OJ: Yeah, well, maybe cut into the business, but they were still keeping the places nice and clean and you didn't mind shopping here, if you were passing, you didn't mind -- you know -- stopping here. But if you'd already come past from the other place. But their stores were still good thing.

MB: Well I think that the thing that's kind of sad is especially for the real older folks, that maybe don't have car transportation -- where do they go now?

DJ: Well right across the street -- where the laundrOJt is -- that was a drug store at one time.

MB: What's All Volunteers -- where the All Volunteers of America store is, what did that used to be?

OJ: I don't know if volun--

MB: There's a Volunteers of America store over there now, and it's painted blue -- right next to the A and P.

DJ: I haven't been through that --

MB: You can see it right when you look right across the street here. And it's a big -- it's got big storefronts. And maybe it was a five-and-dime at one time, because it looks like that kind of --

OJ: It's the one through there, right straight into that?

MB: It's right on 28th here. You cross the alley from where the A and P is, you're going down toward Dumesnil. It's sitting right there.


OJ: It's next to the parking lot? That was Snyder's Department Store! Beautiful place.

MB: Oh, I was going to say, because it's got still today it's got --

OJ: You could buy nice shirts and -- I mean -- mostly I would buy shirts and sweaters and -- go and get them at Snyder's!

MB: Because it's big. I went in there this morning to look, and it's still got great big display windows that looks like it at one time was much more than a Volunteers of America.

OJ: It was a lovely department store. You could buy hose, main brand, ladies' hose -- I mean, just whatever you wanted.

MB: So there was no question of having to travel way out of the area to get what you wanted?

OJ: To get good quality things. You could get them there.

DJ: I'd like to back up a little bit about the earlier part of them years down there in the area they call "the sticks" -- there was a truck farmer who allowed us to glean on the farm -- the name of [Jenny Wine?].


MB: Tell me what gleaning means. Take the extra?

DJ: It means you can get -- they would leave some potatoes and things so you could pick them up.

OJ: The poor people could come in and get stuff after they had harvest.

MB: Oh!And it was a truck farm? Small --

DJ: Yeah, small farm, and they did hot house farming too, so they had tOJtoes and things in the winter time as well.

MB: And so they let the people there in the area come in and get lucky.

DJ: They let us come from over there.

MB: Did you and your brothers and sisters do that a lot?

DJ: Oh yeah. And then people [all over here did it as well?].

OJ: I think maybe you and your brother -- who went with you to glean? You didn't have many brothers and sisters go with you?

DJ: No, but --

OJ: Because (inaudible) and [Sarah?] didn't do much gleaning.

DJ: Oh, I was in that sense, I was thinking of my neighbors.

OJ: He'd be the one gleaning. Other brother was up town and beneath him were two sisters that were smaller or didn't believe in doing much anything --

DJ: And further out, there were some farms where we picked beans and onions and things of that nature in the season, and we got pretty good for that.


MB: And you had your odd jobs and your mom had her jobs, and then when you did any other extra store shopping, did you tend to come up to this shopping area, or were there other little stores close by your family home that you could go to?

DJ: Well if you thought you were really going shopping, you went to 4th Street, you caught the bus.

MB: It was a big deal.

OJ: But that was buying clothes. But when you came for the meat and potatoes and vegetables, they came here in this area.

DJ: The large stores -- the stores down here brought a lot in. The area stores because they let you have it on credit.

MB: But if you wanted to make a big shopping trip, like you were going to buy a special outfit for school or something, you went to 4th Street?

DJ: Went to 4th Street.

MB: I've heard so many people say that. It must have really been something at one time.

DJ: It was. Like a wonderland. I used to think so. When -- before my father died 92:00-- he used to carry me with him, sort of like he was grooming me for so I could be the head of the family.

OJ: Since were older today, I would say [me too?]. All boys are supposed to be groomed to be head of family

DJ: And they, well, they made a big deal out of the oldest -- was supposed to be over it. And he taught me how to buy the bulk things that he would buy, and -- like beans, and the variety that had the best price. Like there were navy beans and pinto beans, and he bought them in bulk because of the family --

MB: So even as a child he was giving you that kind of advice?

DJ: Yes. And we arrived via street car over there, and back as far as we could, and carried the rest of the way home, bag on your back.

MB: No wonder you got used to walking early on! Every time you tell these places you would walk! Makes me ashamed to think I'm hard up when I have to walk a block and a half too convenient!


DJ: That was the days when stores had barrels of stuff open -- peanut butter barrel, they had a little try and they would wrap it up for you. And --

MB: When did you get your first car?

DJ: After we were married -- we saved about seven years before we got the down payment!

MB: You saved?

OJ: We married -- we're both from very poor families. I mean, just chicken poor. Just so poor. Just poor you cannot believe! We bought our first car '54, wasn't it? Bought a 19.

MB: Oh my goodness -- so you saved a number of years didn't you?

OJ: We had been married -- see when he came out of the service, he had arthritis in his leg, and he worked for WL Lines in a $25 a week. And so we didn't have much, you know. I was making $90 a month, and he was making $100 a month. Well, it was good in a way, because the top jobs where I was was $96 and that was for the white nurses, and the black nurses got $90.


MB: I was going to come back to that. I wondered about that.

OJ: So with him making $100 a month, and me making $90 a month -- so we had $190 between us for -- we both had to ride bus to work, and we had to pay the bills, and he was giving his mother five to ten dollars a week out of that. We had just -- you know -- just nip and tuck! So we finally got enough money together to make a down payment on a car and we bought one for [1200?].

MB: What did you buy? What kind?

OJ: We bought a Ford. And we stayed with Ford until -- we didn't change [31:05] -- I got a Chev -- we got a Chevrolet in '66 was the first time we changed from Ford.

MB: Let me switch this over.

MB: You got a Chevrolet when, did you say?

OJ: We got a '66 Chevrolet. Was the first time we bought Chevrolet. I liked the 95:00Chevrolet. He didn't -- he liked Ford, but finally, he's ended up with a Buick!

MB: (laughs) When you bought that first car in -- '54?

OJ: Fifty-four.

MB: Do you remember -- what color was it?

DJ: Blue.

OJ: Blue and [white?].

MB: Was it -- do you remember it really being a big deal?

OJ: It was big -- oh, big deal. Because he just learned to drive, and I just learned to drive, a year before we bought the car! He went to driver's school and learned to drive and that, and he taught me -- well, somebody taught me finally! He -- I don't know -- we needed one, but I don't know -- I think buying the house was probably the more important than buying a car. I mean, I've never -- car was --

MB: The car was really a luxury.

OJ: The car was just -- I mean -- the car was a thing that -- you needed transportation: it was just so hard to get where you were going, and the busses would run 40 minutes apart, and the like, and if you missed one, here you're stuck on the corner and with us working -- and we were trying to work, so he worked night and worked days, and we didn't ever have a babysitter. Our daughter never had a babysitter, except if we were going somewhere, and got somebody to 96:00keep her. So I'd get home -- before time for him to go to work -- I'd get home, we'd have dinner together, and then he'd go to work. And then in the night, he'd get home, and then in the morning, I'd get up and get her ready for school, and he'd take her to school, and go to sleep.

MB: So you were scheduled --

OJ: We were scheduled. We were scheduled tight, and so car was a convenience, really, when we got it. So it --

MB: I just thought that was interesting because the car -- it's another thing. In the interviews, I tend to ask people about things that I've considered to be practical things that you have -- that I've had all my life. And so to imagine that somebody waited that many years for a car -- I mean --

OJ: Right. Because I was born in 1914, got a car in 1954 --

MB: You waited a long time!

OJ: Forty years.

MB: 3Forty years.

OJ: Forty years, and -- my father had a car, though, long -- as times got a little better and I was there, my father had a T-Model Ford, so we -- one time 97:00-- when we were a little better off than we were at other times!

MB: Also, I knew a lot of married couples, a lot of times, that was the way they would -- I wanted to ask you -- wanted to get back to the public health nursing and some of the things you said, but I also wanted to ask you about that term, "chicken poor." That's the first time I've ever heard that! Have you -- is it just common?

OJ: Well -- I mean -- no, it's not an expression that -- they don't use it as I know of!

MB: That's great, I just wondered if it came from someone.

OJ: I would just -- just poor is what we -- the expression that is used among us a lot -- maybe not in [Nambeth?] but I [can remember?] -- was "poor as Job's turkey," now, you've heard that?

MB: Oh yeah, but I never knew --

OJ: Yeah, well it's -- I don't know why Job's turkey was any poorer than Paul's turkey, but we used to say "poor as Job's turkey" --

MB: Everybody -- every single one of these interviews, though, people have come up with different expressions, different nicknames they have --


DJ: [That farm I was born on and later taken by the?] --

OJ: We lived -- my father was a farmer, sharecropper, school teacher, and his father before him was a -- he raised fruit. I don't know what you call a person who has arted trees with pears, apples, grapes -- he had grape arbors -- and he sold fruit. I mean he -- this --

MB: Do you think all those truck farmers do that?

OJ: This was his livelihood. This is what he did. He just had -- just vast areas of them and they would tend like people do now, more or less, except he didn't have spray or whatever. He had dust on top of it he put on. But he's -- my father brought -- he let my father have part of the land adjoining his to where we lived, and then -- but my father didn't go for the truck farming or whatever 99:00-- not too much. He never was too much of a farmer. He liked to read books and papers, and he taught school, but he never was much of a farmer. He just raised what we could get to eat -- you know, what we did to eat -- but he never was -- we never had anything to sell, but not anything because -- it's what he liked to do, and with him teaching, he didn't have a lot of time to do this.

MB: That kind of farming is a lot of full time, hard work.

OJ: It's full time. And so the children would start the croup -- we would do the -- you know -- the rest of it as best we could, but later on, after -- the area never built up, it just gradually went down as time went on, people moved away. There was not factories, no work, there was nothing particularly to do in our area, so -- moved away and in recent years, the TVA in western Kentucky bought 100:00our property. My sister talked to me last night -- night before last -- and she said she tried to go back to the homestead and they'd made forestry reservations and whatever, said she couldn't find anything recognizable. They'd built roads and -- I haven't been there, we haven't been there -- went about 10 years ago or 15 years ago we went down -- and we could find, I could find the same road and the same fruit trees and the same thing.

MB: Even though they'd leveled the houses and stuff, you could still find some landmarks?

OJ: Uh-huh. I could find the landmarks. But she said now there are no landmarks. She couldn't even find where the road used to go. My father -- my father's parents owned the property on that side of the road and my mother's family owned the property just across the road from me, and she said she couldn't find anything anywhere that resembled anything. She said they'd made gravel roads, a path -- you know -- a [walkway?] -- they saw eagle, bear -- not bear -- deer, and things like this. It's a reservation, it's a natural reservation.

MB: At least it hasn't -- even though it sad not to be able to find the landmarks -- at least you know there are animals there and it's nice, somebody 101:00hasn't built a factory [on top?] and ruined the plain!

OJ: Well, see, this is the land between the lakes is all government reservation -- I mean, government land -- and they're not going to do anything except let animals grow and use it for eagle camping or whatever you want to do in that area, but this is as much as the government -- she said there's nothing there that will let you know when you're there. And so they rolled up and down roads, and they got lost in the river. There's no houses or anything. I mean, there's nothing there. It's just a natural reservation.

MB: Kind of like urban renewal -- but I guess it's got a happier ending than urban renewal! I wanted to ask you about your years as public health nurse: you made a distinction there a few minutes ago about the wages you received. You were talking about how your husband made 100 dollars a month, you made 90 dollars a month. And the highest paying job then was 96, and that was for white nurses. Did they actually tell you that?


OJ: Um-hmm.

MB: OK, and did they ever make -- of course, I always have -- I have such a questioning mind --

OJ: Yeah. They make -- we went to a meeting once, and they had a lady to come in and explain why that we didn't need to have the 90 in comparison to the other nurses' 96, because our living scale, our living attitudes were different -- that white nurses went out to eat in the evenings, or they went to theaters and movies and the black nurses didn't do it.

MB: Do you remember -- (laughs) -- do you remember about when it was that somebody told you this?

OJ: That must have been -- oh, it was in the '40s. Maybe like '48, '49.

MB: What did you think?

OJ: I think -- (laughs) -- (inaudible) I could give them one across the lips!

MB: (laughs) You were thinking if somebody gave you the money, you could go out and have a hamburger too, huh?

OJ: If they would only give me the money, I would go out and eat too!

MB: And was it a white person who was explaining it to you?

OJ: Yes.

MB: And I -- well -- obviously they didn't think it would --

OJ: It was in a staff meeting.

MB: And obviously they didn't think there was anything wrong with that kind of an explanation.

OJ: No. They did the clerks the same way. They had different salaries for the clerks.

MB: Was there a dis -- well of course, [this whole thing is so unbelievable?], but -- was there any difference in the kind of work that you as a public health 103:00nurse did because you were black and that the public health nurses did that were white?

OJ: We all did the same thing.

MB: You all did the same thing?

OJ: Except that I could not go to visit any white families.

MB: Oh. OK. Did -- were you -- is this [question a problem?]

OJ: (sneezes) No, I just have a cold.

MB: Oh, I see.

OJ: If there was a white family next door to a black family, the nurse -- the white nurse -- went to see the white family, and I went to see the black family.

MB: Was that because -- was that the public nursing -- was that their code or their policy, or was that because the white family divided -- demanded a white nurse, and a black families demanded, or the black community demanded black nurses, the white community demanded white nurses?

OJ: I don't know but it seems as if they thought that you couldn't go to visit any person, but when the law finally came down that we were going to integrate 104:00and that Jones is going to visit everybody on this street, whether they're white or whether they're Indian or whether they're black, whether they're Chicano, the people that we visited treated us just like they did [her?]. The fact that you're a nurse sometimes you might feel maybe a little raised eyebrow, but the fact that you came from the health department and you were a nurse here to see you about a certain thing, it worked -- I mean, they accepted you as they did other nurses, and --

MB: When they integrated that way in terms of sending you to whatever homes you were -- you know, whatever area you were designated to work in -- when they integrated like that, did they also change that pay scale? Was your pay brought up?

OJ: The pay scale was changed before then. It was changed somewhere along the line before then. Somewhere down the line -- I don't remember what year it was 105:00or where it was -- we had a director of nurses who had been director of nurses in New York, and when she came, she said -- she was -- you know, it was during the time of the war or right after -- right after, because she had been an army nurse.

MB: Was she white or black?

OJ: She was white. She came with the idea that nurse is nurse and jobs are jobs, and everybody's doing the same job, and there would be no difference, and she took it to the board of health. She went to the board of health and said, "I will not serve until you make them all equal."

MB: Oh wow! That's terrific!

OJ: And they said, "Oh?"

MB: -- and they evidently wanted her bad enough!

OJ: They said, "Oh" -- well, they -- somewhere along the line, the United States public health had sent her. I don't know -- she came on a two-year tenure, on a two year something -- from the government, more or less. So maybe, I don't remember whether it was in a line with the -- bringing it up to standard, or bringing it up to something, or whether we didn't have somebody, and they had to be filled. I don't remember why she came. But when she came with this attitude, there was just a few raised eyebrows at the board, but they said, "Well, that sounds reasonable."


MB: I wonder how -- have you ever speculated on how many more years it would have taken had that person not taken a stand?

OJ: Well, no. But it wouldn't have taken too long, because there were one or two black nurses that had been considered very outspoken, and -- who had been given the opportunity to speak at one of the staff meetings on -- you were supposed to be bringing a paper on this, but at the end of the paper (laughs) --

MB: She did her own stuff?

OJ: She didn't -- she'd gotten a chance to throw in two or three things that opened everybody's mouth and started some people to thinking and she was, maybe, [right bold?] but not really, you know, thrown out because what she said was true. And when she -- when they found that, "We didn't know you felt like this!" And they had one by one conferences, "Who feels this way?" And when they found out that everybody felt the same way the person did that made them speak, they said, "Oh! We didn't mean no harm!"


MB: It's always easy to say that when you're on the benefiting side of it, though! Was there anything else during that period of time that made it difficult for you to work for the public health department because you were black? Was there any other difference that you noticed along the way or -- I know jobs were tough at the time and people needed the money, and you were obviously interested in nursing, or you wouldn't have stayed with it.

OJ: I am -- I think I had a -- you know -- fairly, just average time in work, and I had, as I came along and integration was becoming a way of life, they -- I was -- we had areas in which there were black nurses; we had centers all over the city, maybe three or four or five. And black nurses worked out of one particular area, but they would go out into whatever area there were black 108:00people. The time when nurses were short over in a white area and we need somebody and there's a whole lot of black nurses, but there's a few white nurses in that area, they had -- I would be the one that they would send to go over and help Miss So-and-so out today. And I -- I didn't mind it, because I knew the people that I was working with, and one time when I was working in the area where they had never -- in the tuberculosis clinic, they had never had any black nurses to work, and one time in the clinic, they had an area in which black people sat on the back side, and the whites sat on that side, but you -- then one time they had where black come on Monday and white will come on Tuesday -- but I mean you still receiving free services -- and white come on Wednesday and black come on Thursday. But then they finally got down to where we're going to take all of you on one day, but we'll seat the whites over here and the blacks -- I went into there after they had started to letting everybody sit together, but they'd never had any black nurses working in. And one thing I remember in 109:00particular, they had worked out a way to where we put the black people that are to be seen in the lab where I would see them and not have to see any of the white -- you know -- for interview or for temperature, weight, blood pressure, you know what. So one day we just got bogged down, there were just so many people to be seen: and the supervisor was away and the girl that was working with me -- same age I was -- we were just working together -- and she just threw up her hands, she said, "I can't do it! You just take whatever -- you just take the next chart. I can't separate these charts!" And she said, "And if she says anything about it, I'll just have to tell her, couldn't do any better!" But she didn't say anything when the supervisor came in. I mean, the next day she 110:00[said?], "All right," and we just worked through the whole thing until we told her that we just had to work towards what we could, so after that I just worked off the top of the stack, who's next?

MB: Rather than wasting all that time divining and --

OJ: And maybe there were only three black people to be seen and 10 white -- she'd have to see all 10 of those, and I'd -- so just leave and began and take them from number one, number two, number three, and --

MB: I never thought about things like that -- my goodness.

OJ: -- it worked out all right.

MB: I've taken a tremendous amount of your time. Why don't we -- shall we just go ahead and sum up with a -- did you have anything -- isn't that something? We just get to talking and seeing and -- can you all -- you know -- think of anything else you wanted to add about the Parkland area or the changes you seen? Now, we've talked about such a variety of things and so many different parts of town and --

OJ: I have been concerned always with why, when one black family -- it's not as much now -- moved into an area, that all the white families feel they have to move. I had a friend who was in real estate -- or is in real estate -- and I had 111:00learned that even the black realtor will encourage the white people to move, and that he can get a black tenant to buy the house the people are going to move in, and get them to buy it at a little -- you know -- a pretty good price, whatever price he can get ups his percentage of his -- you know -- money too. That many times, real estate people help to make the --

MB: Cash in.

OJ: Yeah, they cash in. They cash in.

MB: You think that's what happened here?

OJ: I don't -- I think so, in some ar -- in some instances. And the fact too that ignorance to the point that you live next door to those people it's going 112:00to depreciate the value of your property. And I have never figured out if the house was a $50,000 house or a $10,000 house -- it's still tomorrow the same house, the same -- somebody move in today doesn't drop a thousand dollars off your property because they moved in.

MB: Or raise it!

OJ: Or raise it. Yeah. And in this area where the whites stayed, they kept their house just like they had kept it before the blacks moved in, and in many areas, the blacks -- to me -- improved the area. There are definitely places where have gone down, probably -- maybe because of the poverty or the low income of the people who took the property. Some of the cause I feel is due to the fact that people had not been accustomed to keeping up property where they came from, not 113:00because of the color, but just one of the things that they did. And I've always felt that this was just an injustice to say to people that you're going to lose the value of your property if you let them move in your block --

MB: And I've heard it being said, too!

OJ: Move quickly. They're coming!

MB: Right. You better sell it now for 20,000 -- wait till tomorrow, you'll have to sell it for 10,000. I've heard it said. It really does happen, I know what you're talking about! I wonder too -- not only people, whether they be white, black, or whatever -- not only are some people not accustomed to taking care of property, but also the cost of living has gone up so high -- gas and electric bills are monumental now.

OJ: Yeah, you don't have money to live.

MB: People have got to have good jobs or they cannot survive. People with good jobs live day to day!

OJ: I -- this -- true enough, but I feel also that if you can't keep your property -- if you can't keep it painted and such, you can keep the porch clean, the sidewalks cleaned, you can trim the grass -- if you have to it, with 114:00scissors -- you can sweep, you know, you can pick up the trash in front of your house and make it clean around the area, even if you can't keep it painted like you want to. You can wash the windows and wash the window curtains, and that thing.

MB: It's expensive to paint, right. That is -- there are other ways to keep things -- let alone with aluminum siding and all that other extra kind of stuff. I mean, it is monumentally expensive.

DJ: One other things I've observed is that Parkland seems to have been the only area for growth, and eventually I began to see people, saw in east end, living down here. (cough) I don't know what happened, but the only expansion at the time for black seems to have been to this area. That contributed. Eventually, there's growth.

MB: You mean that blacks were being channeled into the area? An area where --


DJ: Coming to this area. They weren't moving to any other area, they came to Parkland.

MB: Or moving to town. Yeah, I see what you're saying.

OJ: The --

DJ: Yeah, there's a whole --

OJ: There was a time when it felt, "Are you going to move to the west end?" You know, if you lived on Chester Street, and then now we find the people on Chester Street have moved to the west end! I mean, they are. When we moved into our house in 1958 and that subdivision had just been built probably that year or the year before --

MB: From Virginia Avenue?

OJ: From Virginia. Mm-hmm. There were no areas in which black could buy new houses unless they went outside of city limits, and I didn't -- I wasn't particular about going outside of city limits. They weren't building new homes --

MB: So, what? They were talking about Shively, Fairdale, Okolona -- all those different areas? Or Hurstbourne Lane, Newburgh?

OJ: Uh-huh. You see, Hurstbourne Lane had just come into being. It hadn't --

MB: At least out in that direction.

OJ: And we bought our house with -- my husband didn't use GI loan, we asked for 116:00FHA loan, and FHA would lend only to white people to new houses. It leant to black people if you're buying a used house, you know.

MB: Was -- did they tell you why? Or they didn't have to tell you why?

OJ: Well, we had a black contractor, and nobody said why, the just said, "Well, you know, we don't --" but they took our application! They took our application and sent it to Washington, and we had to wait to see if they were going to -- I said, "Well, put it in any way," I mean, it's time that somebody started to lend and to apply!

MB: You could buy used home, but they wouldn't lend you --

OJ: You could buy a used home, they would finance you a used home in Louisville, but they didn't finance you a new home.

MB: Is that because it would be less to tear up? I don't know!

OJ: I don't have any idea!

DJ: I think -- I'm not sure there, but I think that it was a new market service company that was operating [a year ago?] -- Louisville Market.

OJ: Louisville Market. Just started.


DJ: And it had a director, a man named Mr. [Pahee?} who started out there. It went through him.

OJ: Well we went to -- we put in for a -- and of course, the contractor wanted to get finished: he said, "Look, it's going to take you a long time to get this," and we had already paid of the mortgage where we were because we wanted to not have any -- you know -- any more expenses then we had to have. So we just said, "We'll wait. Nobody's rushing us out of this house, and the new house is finished," and he said, "It's ready for you to move in," but no [funds?] this move, and -- you know -- we don't have to move now, just leave it finished and let it sit there till we get through it. And we applied for a loan, and I think we had to wait nearly six month then, didn't we? We put in for that in October, and we moved in May -- in June.

DJ: In June.

OJ: We put in for it, first --

DJ: But we got the correspondence concerning the approval and all sooner than 118:00that. It was just when it was convent for us to --

MB: So they did go ahead and grant you that --

OJ: They granted it. And we had the first FHA loan [in Louisville?] --

DJ: It took quite a while, but --

MB: In Louisville?

OJ: This is what we were told by (inaudible).

DJ: All I know is what -- I wasn't interested in that angle, I didn't even know that was considered anything.

OJ: They concluded that --

MB: Yeah, I have never thought of that. I mean, it always makes me -- when I hear something like that, I always think, now was it just some totally stupid reason, or did they just not even bother to have a reason, they just made up their mind that this was the way it was? That's phenomenal!

OJ: They -- much of the time, they said that restric-- the rules for FHA was pretty strict, and that many blacks didn't qualify, but you could get a conventional loan, but much of the time, you didn't qualify for FHA.

MB: And conventional loans take a monumental amount of money!

OJ: And the -- but the FHA, the whatever something was so much less -- the 119:00interest rate was down in comparison with what was conventional, and so we just waited on it.

MB: And you already had your home on Hale all paid for? And you both had professional careers that you'd been in for a number of years? And it still took them that long for them to clear it?

OJ: Well, it took -- we were several months, but at the last time, we had an investment saver that we had that came due, and we'd planned it to try to get all close to the same amount, and it came just before time for us to move. So we wanted to apply some more money for our down payment, and we had to write to Washington to explain, "Where did you get some more money to put on your house!" Because it was huge -- you couldn't borrow any money in addition to the FHA on the house. You couldn't have two mortgages -- you could only have just the one mortgage -- and "Where did you get extra money now that you didn't have at the time you applied for the loan?" And so we put some additional, oh you didn't put 120:00down the house saves your payments and additional.

MB: Yeah, so that was a brand new house in a brand new subdivision.

OJ: That's right. Nineteen years.

DJ: We got a whole fairground in the back of it.

OJ: The old fairground where they used to keep the cattle and everything -- they built it up and it's --

DJ: The builder is still living.

MB: Who's the builder? What was his name?

OJ: James Turner. He built several --

MB: Oh! And he was a black builder in this area?

OJ: Yes.

MB: Well, I think it's -- I've run out of questions. I can probably think of some more, but I think I'm tired! Can you all think of anything else you want to say? I appreciate all your time.

DJ: I just -- it's a little hard thing to happen when it's in three seasons, when you move from Fort Knox to Benton, Kentucky, and it's the first time I was 121:00in a town when there wasn't any black people.

MB: Oh, I remember you telling me that!

DJ: They came out to see us get off the train like a circus had come to town!

MB: And that was a total all white country community?

DJ: And there was one black man in the town, named -- I forget his name now. But we were restricted to staying in camp because of the supposed attitude of people. Then there was a fire in the area -- a big fire -- might have destroyed everything. And our group had to bring it under control. We had to -- three days and three nights straight. And after that, they were just about to give us the town! We'd go anyway.

MB: Did they ask you questions? Did they ask you funny questions because they had not been around that many blacks?

DJ: No, the oddest thing I saw or I heard was that there was a fellow who asked his mother about this fellow who had his hair kind of long, and he said, "Mom, look, it can eat!" (laughs)


MB: I just -- you know -- I wondered if those kind of things came about. I've seen some children -- some white children who have never been around -- like, I come from Midwest, in a town where there literally have never been blacks, and then when the first black college professor came to town, the kids would go up and want to rub his skin to see if it rubbed off, and I wondered if those were a part of the experiences.

OJ: No, to me --

DJ: This fellow was Ethan Hathaway!

OJ: To me, this is where education of white children are limited. They weren't -- they haven't been given much information about blacks, only their living experiences. You know -- textbooks didn't tell them anything.

MB: Yeah. Much was missed. Made me wonder why we have different [problems we're in now?].

OJ: Yes, right.

DJ: There's something else that amused me in the three-C camp, that the people 123:00there with me from out in the state and places would ask me about somebody in Louisville, and if I didn't know them, they would say, "Say, he's living in Louisville, and he doesn't know Joe!"

MB: Assuming -- I guess -- that it was a small community!

OJ: They thought it was a small town like theirs!

MB: Well, thank you all so much.