Baker, Joe Ann
Summary: Joe Ann Baker grew up a small town in Eastman Georgia where she did not notice prejudices (white doll). But life was quite different when she moved north. After moving north she encountered racism and white flight in Michigan. She also discusses the Highland Park riots and the mayor at that time Colman A. Young.
Summary: LaDonna Byrd is a single mother of five children living in Detroit, MI. This interview recounts her younger years living in Detroit and the difficulty of dealing with the early loss of her parents. Also, how moving back to Detroit, Michigan from a safer Burlington, Vermont has changed her life.
Summary: Marygrove College student Tracee Anderson interviews Bardha Caka (Barbara) about her experiences moving to the United States from Albania. Barbara talks about the lottery and how she came to America. Ms. Caka goes on to speak about Communism in Albania, her journey to the United States, and how she learned English by watching television.
Summary: Dr. Pao Yu Ching Chou was born in Beijing, China, the oldest of three children. Though of royal descent (Qing dynasty), her father grew up an impoverished orphan; her mother was a very wealthy member of the Han majority. Dr. Chou's early life was influenced by the 1911 and 1949 revolutions in China, by the tension over finances between her parents, and by the rise of communism. After graduating first in her class with an economics degree, she received a scholarship to attend graduate school at Bryn Mawr. There she was struck by the gap between her expectations of the United States (as an ideal, democratic country of equality) and the realities exposed by the civil rights movement. Dr. Chou married, and continued to work while completing her PhD dissertation on inequities in milk production and government subsidies. For a long period, China's importance in her life was minimal, but now China and the rest of the world have become a major interest. She says, "I think I’ve become a Marxist. I have to throw away everything I learned in graduate school...The hardest thing is to clean up bourgeois economics. Clean it up and relearn."
Summary: Marygrove College professor Dena Scher interviews Mercedes Echevaria about her experiences coming to the United States from Cuba. Mercedes came to the United States via Mexico in 1968 when she was around ten years old with her mother and siblings. Mercedes' father came to the United States a few years before to find work earn enough money to bring his family.
Foote, Sandra A.
Summary: Marygrove College student Crystal Avant interviews her mother, Sandra Foote, about her experiences moving to Detroit. Sandra Foote grew up in New Orleans and lived a sheltered life with a close-knit Creole community. Foote did not feel much racial prejudice until she moved to Detroit. Foote moved to Detroit with her mother when she was five years old.
Summary: Marygrove College student Danielle Washington interviews her great-grandmother, Daisy Gary, about her experiences moving to Detroit. Daisy Gary was born in Arkansas, later moved to Houston, Texas, and finally arrived in Detroit in 1945. Gary then details her life since the migration.
Summary: Marygrove College student LeAndre Johnson interviews his father, Andrew Johnson, about his experiences moving to Detroit. Andrew Johnson came to Detroit in 1962 with his mother and siblings. Johnson's mother came to Detroit looking for work. Johnson talks about racism in the South and in Detroit and his perceived differences between the Black Panther party and Dr. Martin Luther King's approach.
Summary: Izzat Khapoya was born in Tanzania and raised in Mombasa, Kenya. She was the seventh of eight children born of Indian parents who were members of a small Muslim sect called Ismailis. She enjoyed a privileged childhood thanks to her father's successful scrap metal business. In 1965, a few years after Kenya gained independence, Ms. Khapoya's father moved the family to London. From there she enrolled at Foothill College in Los Altos, California, and then Oregon State University. She met her future husband Vincent at Oregon State. Because her husband was African he was not accepted by everyone in her family; her father was especially opposed to the marriage. She and Vincent eventually moved to Detroit so he could take a job at Oakland University; it was from OU that Ms. Khapoya earned her clinical psychology degree.
Summary: Dr. Khapoya talks about his early schooling and initiation rites when he was a 14 year old boy in Kenya. In the interview, he recounts his father’s dedication to achieving an education for his children, including his sister who was not his sister, but his cousin. The continuity of tradition is noted in Dr. Khapoya’s building a house for his mother, which is not his mother’s house but his own house.
Summary: Herbie Kirn grew up in a small town as a homosexual male. As Herbie grew older he joined a band, and traveled around the country with the band. He later joined the Church of Scientology where he met his wife Lorrie Kirn. The couple stayed married for while and had 2 children. Herbie eventually divorced Lorrie, because he was still a homosexual male.
Summary: Marygrove College professor Dena Scher interviews Nulca Lerebours about her experiences coming to the United States from Haiti. Nulca came to the United States in 1968 at age 26 with her husband. Nulca speaks about her journey from New York to Florida with her children, her involvement with the church and community, and how Haitians are living in Florida.
Summary: Frances Herbin Lewis was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1942. Greensboro at the time was segregated, with separate school, church, and recreational facilities for blacks and whites. Black people had separate bathrooms and water fountains, and they could buy food at a lunch counter but couldn't sit down to eat it. Ms. Lewis recalls that from an early age she was encouraged by her teachers to study government, to recognize the injustice of black people's daily lives, and to become an active, informed citizen of Greensboro.
Summary: Mildred Matlock speaks about her mother, Myrtle Lois Gilford, and her mother's move to Detroit. Myrtle Gilford came to Detroit from Beloit, Alabama in search of better job opportunities and a better life. Mildred Matlock is a member of the Detroit Association of Black Storytellers (DABS). The speech was given during the "History Telling Concert" at Marygrove College on May 7, 2006.
Summary: Sam Moore was born April 1, 1932. He was raised in a small town outside of Texarkana, TX. In this interview, Sam Moore revisits living in poverty during his childhood which led to his migration to Detroit. He also recounts living in poverty in Detroit as a result of migrating to the region during “the turn over” (when automotive plants lay workers off for two weeks).
Marygrove College professor Dr. Chukwunyere Okezie was one of 10 siblings in his family's compound in Nigeria. After Zaira University in Nigeria was closed, he moved at the age of 22 to the United States to earn his undergraduate and Ph.D. degrees. Dr. Okezie married in 2001 and describes his growing family and academic life at Marygrove College.
Summary: Marygrove College professor Dena Scher interviews Cosmae Perez about his experiences working the United States as a migrant. Cosmae was born in Mexico from Mexican American parents. After he quit school at the age of sixteen, Cosmae began to work - first locally and then as a migrant worker.
Summary: Marygrove College professor Dena Scher interviews Esperanza Perez about her experiences coming to the United States from Mexico. Esperanza's mother crossed into Texas while pregnant and gave birth so that Esperanza would be registered as an American citizen. Esperanza lived in Mexico and immigrated to the Unites States when she was nine. Esperanza talks about migrant work and how she met her husband, Cosmae, and their family.
Revell, Jr., Henry
Summary: Henry Revell grew up the oldest of 12 brothers and sisters on a farm near Selma, North Carolina. Their grandfather was a former slave who had been given the farm and property as payment from his former master. Mr. Revell describes his early experiences playing baseball, winning public speaking contests, and participating in a 4-H group. He explains what it was like to play baseball while in college, in the military service, and for the Negro League, travelling up and down the coast for exhibition games. He majored in agriculture at North Carolina A & T, spent the next two years stationed in Fort Lewis, Washington, where he was the only black player on a white baseball team, and eventually made his way back to North Carolina to marry and work as an agriculture agent.
Summary: Yvonne Revell was a Bennett College student, living at home, during the sit-in demonstrations at the Woolworth’s lunch counter which began on Feb. 1, 1960, Greensboro, NC. The interview recounts her student days at Bennett College, the demonstrations in February 1960, how these events impacted on other events in her life, and her years as a schoolteacher in segregated schools.
Summary: Gwendolyn Mackel Rice was born the fourth of five children in Natchez, Mississippi, to parents who were active in the 1940s and 1950s civil rights movement. Although her childhood was comfortable and protected, she remembers racial slurs, separate restrooms and drinking fountains, and not being able to try on clothes in department stores. In 1956, just before Ms. Rice's senior year in high school, her family moved to Chicago after being "run out of Natchez, Mississippi by the Citizen's Counsel." Ms. Rice attended Bennett College in Greensboro, N.C., where her instructors were "fiery," "dynamic," and influential in expanding her worldview. She was present when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke at Bennett, and actively participated in the demonstrations at Woolworth's and the Carolina Theater in Greensboro, N.C. After graduating, she began a career as a social worker and has worked in public welfare, community-based programs for the elderly and youth, especially black males, and college preparatory programs for underserved youth. In the interim, she earned the Master's in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago after which she served as a senior program officer for a local foundation and later, as a not-for-profit consultant for organizations in underserved communities. She is currently at Developing Communities Project, a faith-based community organizing institution that addresses youth violence and advocates for transportation and environmental equity.
Summary: Marygrove College professor Dena Scher interviews Freddie Rodriguez about his experiences coming to the United States from El Salvador. Freddie came to the United States in 1995 when he was seven years old with his siblings. Rodriguez's parents came illegally to the United States a few years before. In his first years in Florida, Freddie and his brothers were set apart by their language barrier, but they eventually overcame that obstacle.
Summary: Mr. Shakarnah was born in Bethlehem in the West Bank. He started to cook at an early age and was working as a chef in the Middle East. Mahar came to the United Stated for a visit in 1997. He traveled the country and eventually settled in Michigan to continue working as a chef.
Roslyn Smith was born in Princeton, West Virginia, the fifth of six children. Her mother was a domestic and her father was a railroad laborer. She was raised by her mother, grandmother, and aunt, who taught her about the "place" of black people in the South, for example, never using the public library, sitting in the back of bus, using the back door of a white family's house, and addressing white people as 'miss' or 'mister.' Ms. Smith received a Merit Scholarship to attend Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C. and made the move from small town to big city in 1957. She and other Bennett women became inspired by their personal experiences and their expanding knowledge of the outside world to join the fight for civil rights. With the support of their teachers, community leaders, Dr. Willa Player (then president of Bennett), and fellow students from nearby A & T University, they targeted Woolworth's in Greensboro as the stage for the 1961 sit-ins. Looking back on her experiences now, Ms. Smith worries that Bennett women's involvement is being written out of the official history of this integral part of the civil rights movement.
Summary: Earnest Stamps, a retired pharmacist, details his migration from Atlanta to Detroit and the opportunities presented by the move north. Stamps also speaks about his life once he arrived in Detroit. He speaks about the hard times for his family, going into foster care, and the Marcus Garvey Movement. The interview was conducted on April 28, 2006 by Marygrove professor Dena Scher.
Summary: Marie Teasley was born on October 1, 1926. She grew up in Hannibal, Missouri. In this interview Marie recalls memories of her mother who immigrated from St. George's, Bermuda, and her father who migrated from Hannibal to Ann Arbor, Michigan and then to the Detroit area. Marie speaks fondly of growing up in Hannibal. She recounts the story of her father owning the Hannibal Registrar, the only African American newspaper in town. Marie describes how the family transitioned the business from Hannibal to the Detroit area. At the age of 9 she was dubbed "reporter" for the Registrar by her father, inspiring a life-long career in journalism that culminated in her position as Women's Editor for the Michigan Chronicle.
Summary: Esther Terry grew up the youngest of 12 children on a farm in Wise, North Carolina, and became the first in her family to attend a 4-year college. In the fall of 1957 she began classes at Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, North Carolina, where she became part of the group of men and women participating in the sit-in demonstrations at Woolworth's lunch counter in 1960. Ms. Terry recalls those days in Woolworth's, and describes some of the people who most influenced her during this time, including her parents, her closest friends, and Dr. Willa Player, the first female and the first black president of Bennett College. After graduating from Bennett, Ms. Terry earned a master's degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Summary: Laretta Torrence is interviewed by Marygrove College student Stanley Keyes about her experiences growing up and going to school in Detroit. She was born in 1930 in Black Bottom where blacks and whites lived and played together in shared poverty. When her family moved to a better house in southwest Detroit in 1948 she observed white flight but not much racial tension. Laretta recalls listening to the radio, dancing at the Greystone Ballroom, and visiting Belle Isle for entertainment. She married at age 19 and had two sons who also grew up and went to school in Detroit.
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