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Title: James Norvel Roberson
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Title: James Norvel Roberson
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Creator: Ford, Electra R.
Publisher: Electra R. Ford
Publication Date: 1997
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    Copyright
        Copyright
    Interview
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        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
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        Page 21
        Page 22
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COPYRIGHT NOTICE


This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of
Florida.

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
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Fair use limts the amount of material that may be
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For all other permissions and requests, contact the
SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida










TELL THE STORY
JAMES NORVEL ROBERSON
August 12, 1997

(Mrs. Electra R. Ford): I am at the home of Mr. James

Roberson. Mr. Roberson lives at 717 Northwest 77th Street, his

telephone number is (305) 693-4346. It is approximately 3:00 p.m.

in the afternoon. I am doing this interview within the home. This

interview is transpired as a representative of the Black Archives

on August 12, Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-Seven. This is Side "A"

of the Tape. My name is Electra R. Ford, Interviewer.

Mr. Roberson were your parents born in Overtown or they at any

time live in Overtown?

(Mr. James Norvel Roberson): No they weren't born here and

they never lived her.

(Mrs. Ford): Mr. Robertson could you describe what it was

like growing up in your parents' home.

(Mr. Roberson): It was a beautiful life. My parents were

religion people and I come up with 7 brothers and sisters. Well my

mother was the secretary of the church and my father he was the

deacon of his church so they were pretty strict.

(Mrs. Ford): Did you family attend church services often?

(Mr. Roberson): Regularly.

(Mrs. Ford): The next set of questions, Mr. Roberson I will

be asking you will be regarding employment from approximately 1945

to 1970 in Overtown. Can you tell me about the type of jobs you

worked on?

(Mr. Roberson): Well ah, 19...ah I'd like to go back a










littler further than 1945 say 1940. I was a presser in a dry

cleaning establishment and the salary was thirty-five cents an hour

and I worked for a big establishment and that was the salary,

thirty-five cents an hour for men and twenty-five cents an hour for

women.

(Mrs. Ford): Were you able to support your family with a

salary like that?

(Mr. Roberson): Oh yes, because room...my room rent was $2.00

a week and umm a nickel was a nickel. I recall a bottle of beer

was fifteen cents a bottle and that was before aluminum cans come

out, it was just in bottles. A movie was thirty-five cent. We had

four theaters here...two on Second Avenue, One on Third Avenue and

One on Fourteenth Street and it was...you could live excellent with

the salary.

(Mrs. Ford): Where was the job located that you worked in Mr.

Roberson?

(Mr. Roberson): It was ahhh...between Miami Avenue and ah, ah

Second Avenue, just across the river, just across the river.

(Mrs. Ford): What years did you work on this job?

(Mr. Roberson): Ah 19...it was in the middle of 1940, say in

the summer...all of accept in the first beginning of 1940 'til the

middle of 1940.

(Mrs. Ford): What kind of...what were your work hours?

(Mr. Roberson): From 8 to 5, for five days a week, then

some...I'd say Wednesday night you'd make 4 hours extra, some

Sunday, you worked 4 hours on Sunday.










(Mrs. Ford): When and why did you leave this job?

(Mr. Roberson): Because (laughter) because at one time the,

the city buses had a strike and I ah come up with an idea that it

would be good idea to have a strike. We were asking for a nickel

more an hour and I called the strike. We did have the strike and

we got the nickel a hour...a nickel on the hour but after we got

the nickel on the hour I was fired because I manipulated the

strike.

(Mrs. Ford): So after you received an additional nickel more,

you were earning at that time how per hour?

(Mr. Roberson): Forty...forty cents an hour.

(Mrs. Ford): After leaving that job what was your method of

finding work elsewhere?

(Mr. Roberson): It wasn't too much of a problem because they

had...all pressers in town had heard that I'd call the strike at

this particular place and they were eager for me to come so I went

to work at Blue Ribbon Laundry which was at that particular time,

was on Fourteenth Street and Seventh Avenue so I had no problem

about finding a job.

(Mrs. Ford): Did you have any other relatives that lived and

worked Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): No, no.

(Mrs. Ford): Beginning in the late '50s many immigrants moved

to Miami from the Caribbean including Cuba, Haiti and other

countries. Did those immigrants competed with Overtown residents

for jobs?










(Mr. Roberson): Oh yes, certainly.

(Mrs. Ford): In opinion how would you say they affected

employment for Blacks?

(Mr. Roberson): Well it...it was a real proposition because

they would work for less wages than the Blacks.

(Mrs. Ford): Mr. Roberson the next set of questions I will be

discussing with you will be regarding neighborhood life between

1945 and 1970 and if applicable, earlier years. Could you please

tell us about the house that you lived in Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): Well I lived in rooming houses where there

was...they had strict, very strict rules, you couldn't have no food

in...you couldn't have no food in your rooms. You couldn't have

you know, decent size light bulb in your room and you had to be in

at a certain time and then I moved to another rooming house where

you had access of the kitchen but you couldn't have no guest, you

had to be in at a certain time. Those were the things I put up

with until 1963.

(Mrs. Ford): Could you describe the street that you lived on

in Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): When I first came to Overtown I lived on

Sixth Street near Third Avenue and then I lived on Third Avenue

between Seventh and Eighth Street and my most rememberable landlady

was on Eighth Street on the corner of Third Avenue which her name

was Vannie Bell Roberson, she was a wonderful landlady which you

paid her $2.00 a week rent, had the use of the kitchen, the whole

house and everything, because our names were the same, she said we










was related and that's the most enjoyable rent lady I ever had.

(Mrs. Ford): Who lived in your household besides yourself?

(Mr. Roberson): At that particular time? My wife.

(Mrs. Ford): Were there children to this marriage.

(Mr. Roberson): No.

(Mrs. Ford): No siblings?

(Mr. Roberson): No.

(Mrs. Ford): Who were your neighbors?

(Mr. Roberson): Oh, gee. I remember some neighbors but I

can't recall their names but they were, you know, nice neighbors.

(Mrs. Ford): Do you recall where any of them worked?

(Mr. Roberson): One of the neighbors worked at the store on

Eighth Street and Second Avenue, I think it was Leonard's Clothing

Store or something like that.

(Mrs. Ford): Can you recall what happened to your former

neighbors that lived in your neighborhood when you lived Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): No, definitely no.

(Mrs. Ford): Can you remember when any of them moved or where

they went?

(Mr. Roberson): No.

(Mrs. Ford): Do you recall people moving into the area from

out of town for example from any of the islands or any of the other

cities in Florida or Georgia or North Carolina, South Carolina, or

any other states into Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): Do I recall any of them moving in?

(Mrs. Ford): Yes, moving Overtown?










(Mr. Roberson): Why sure, we had Bahamians in, we had

Georgians moving in, we had Carolinians moving in. But ah...we

didn't have no Cubans and Haitians moving in at that particular

time.

(Mrs. Ford): Where did these people live Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): Ha! well the east boundary was the railroad

track, the south bound was Sixth Street, the West bound was Seventh

Court, the North bound was Twentieth Street so we lived right in

that vicinity.

(Mrs. Ford): What type of work did these people do?

(Mr. Roberson): We had maids, we had janitors, we had

butlers, yardmen, pressers, you name it.

(Mrs. Ford): Could you give us a verbal picture of what the

main business areas were when you lived in Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): The main businesses?

(Mrs. Ford): Where at this particular time we had ah...the

buses was owned by private...ah private individual. We had Blacks

working there as clean up and tire changers but no Black bus

drivers, that was out of the question. That's about it...you know,

other things...you worked in stores but you was moppers, you worked

in banks but you were mopping the floor and all that kind of stuff,

you wasn't no teller.

(Mrs. Ford): Were there any hotels in the downtown area,

churches, laundries, office jobs?

(Mr. Roberson): Laundries, laundries was the main source,

especially for women. Women worked in laundries, men in dry










cleaners and the hotels were maids and that was it. Barber shop

you might have a shine boy.

(Mrs. Ford): Shoe shine?

(Mr. Roberson): That's it.

(Mrs. Ford): Did many people in those days get there shoes

shined.

(Mr. Roberson): Oh yeah because it was a ten cent shine or a

nickel.

(Mrs. Ford): Was it a popular thing for people to get their

shoes shined are was it a thing for them to wear dirty shoes?

(Mr. Roberson): No, no, it was popular, popular to get your

shoes shined.

(Mrs. Ford): It was the appropriate thing to do to have your

shoes shined?

(Mr. Roberson): Sure, sure and also let me mention there was

the Florida East Coast Railroad, there was porters, Florida East

Coast Railroad, shine boys at the station.

(Mrs. Ford): Okay, alright. Could you describe where your

family bought groceries when you lived Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): Well at that particular time there was mom

and poppy stores. There wasn't no Wal...Walgreens or say Winn

Dixies and all them kind of things right then so it was mom and

poppy stores.

(Mrs. Ford): Would you please explain for the record what is

a mom and pop store. Would this be a store located within the

neighborhood?










(Mr. Roberson): Sure, sure, that's where it was, in the

neighborhood. You had to...if you was Overtown and wanted to come

to a major store you had to come Seventh Avenue and Fifty-Fourth

Street was a major store out there.

(Mrs. Ford): Did most people patronize the local stores that

were owned and operated by the neighbors in Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): At that particular time, yes. That was their

only choice.

(Mrs. Ford): Could you describe where your family went to the

barber shop or beauty shop when you lived Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): Second Avenue

(Mrs. Ford): Could you describe where your family went to the

drugstore?

(Mr. Roberson): Well, well we had...we had two choices Second

Avenue and Third Avenue.

(Mrs. Ford): Can you remember the name of the two drug

stores?

(Mr. Roberson): One was People's and the other slips my

remembrance. It was on Eleventh Street and Third Avenue. I can't

think of the name of that one.

(Mrs. Ford): Could it possibly have been Economy?

(Mr. Roberson): That was it Economy.

(Mrs. Ford): Dr. Ward was the pharmacist.

(Mrs. Ford): Could describe where your family went and had

their clothes dry cleaned?

(Mr. Roberson): Well, say French Benzall, Miami Laundry, they










had pick up stores all in Black town so you could drop them off in

any pick up store and have them cleaned or if you choose to go to

A Black cleaners, it was on Second Avenue and about Seventh Street

which I can't recall the name right now.

(Mrs. Ford): Could you describe the churches that your family

attended when you lived in overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): Eighth Street in between Second and Third

Avenue.

(Mrs. Ford): Do you recall the name of the church?

(Mr. Roberson): It was a methodist church, I can't recall it.

(Mrs. Ford): Was it Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church?

(Mr. Roberson): That's it.

(Mrs. Ford): That's one of the landmarks.

(Mr. Roberson): Umm hum and also...also on Ninth Street and

Third Avenue?

(Mrs. Ford): Could that have possibly been Mt. Zion Baptist

Church?

(Mr. Roberson): That's correct.

(Mrs. Ford): Could you describe where your family went for

entertainment?

(Mr. Roberson): (Laughter)

(Mrs. Ford): Did they go the theaters, to the bars,

restaurants or did they go to sporting events at Dorsey Park.

(Mr. Roberson): The only places they'd go was the theaters

and Dorsey Park.

(Mrs. Ford): Tell us about entertainment when you lived










Overtown, what was it like?

(Mr. Roberson): Well at that particular time it was beautiful

because you had the Rockland Palace, you had the Harlem Square, you

had the Reno Bar, you had the Plantation, and also you had I can't

think of that one on Third Avenue and Twentieth Street. So you had

entertainment. You had ah...you had big bands that would be here

on weekends and you had...it was nice.

(Mrs. Ford): Can you name any of the big bands or any of the

entertainers, whether they were famous or local, who entertained

during that time?

(Mr. Roberson): There was famous bands, Lionel Hampton, Hy-

de-ho man and all, all big bands were here. See, what happened big

bands would come play on the Beach but big bands couldn't, couldn't

couldn't stay on the Beach. They had play and get off the Beach

and come over in Overtown and when they would come Overtown then

we'd have the pleasure of playing Overtown for us.

(Mrs. Ford): Oh, in other words, when they left Miami Beach

performers, they would come Overtown and perform for the residents

of Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): That's right.

(Mrs. Ford): When someone in your family got sick where did

they go to the doctor when you lived Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): Dr. Sawyer who was on Eighth Street and about

Second Avenue.

(Mrs. Ford): How long did you continue to patronize those

businesses in Overtown?










(Mr. Roberson): How long?

(Mrs. Ford): Yes.

(Mr. Roberson): Well I had...I patronized them until the time

I left from over there because that was the only choice I had.

(Mrs. Ford): When did you begin to shop or go to

entertainment outside of Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): That was when integration and other places

opened up that you could go.

(Mrs. Ford): During the period from 1945 or earlier to 1970

what were the main things that made Overtown a community? What did

the people do that brought the community together?

(Mr. Roberson): Well I, I...people seemed to be more

concerned about each other. It was me first you know...people just

seemed to care more about each other. You didn't have to worry

about locking your doors and somebody gonna rob you or something,

you didn't have that to worry about.

(Mrs. Ford): Mr. Roberson, I'm going to ah bring to memory

some of the past events and if you are aware of these events, I

would like for you elaborate on them for me please.

(Mr. Roberson): Umm hum.

(Mrs. Ford): Do you remember when you lived in Overtown area,

a local festivity know as the Orange Blossom Classic? The parade

that accommodated it, the football game and any festive events that

was associated with the Orange Blossom Classic?

(Mr. Roberson): We looked forward to that every year.

(Mrs. Ford): Was this a major event?










(Mr. Roberson): It was a major event.

(Mrs. Ford): Did most people who lived Overtown support and

look forward to it?

(Mr. Roberson): Everybody Overtown looked forward to it.

(Mrs. Ford): Can you recall a Junketnew parade and any

activities by the Shepherds when you lived Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): Junketnews?

(Mrs. Ford): Junketnews and the Shepherds?

(Mr. Roberson): Umm no.

(Mrs. Ford): Do you recall to memory Monday as being a

possible dress up day on Northwest Second Avenue during your time

that you lived Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): Yes, that was called Blue Monday.

(Mrs. Ford): Could you tell us what people did on Blue Monday

besides dress up?

(Mr. Roberson): Well you go to the bar, you probably have a

ball game and may be a dance that night and that was it.

(Mrs. Ford): Would you say it would be a holiday?

(Mr. Roberson): Sure.

(Mrs. Ford): What memories are recalled when you reflect on

church activities in Overtown? What are some of the things the

churches did to accommodate the citizens when you lived Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): I can't recall too many things the church did

but I...

(Mrs. Ford): nid they have picnics or plays or...

(Mr. Roberson): Yes, they had picnics...









(Mrs. Ford): Special guest that came or special seminars?

(Mr. Roberson): They had picnics and they helped people who

were in distress. They, they did things for people.

(Mrs. Ford): What memories are recalled when you think of

life Overtown about relatives coming to visit and family reunion,

when the family got together what...elaborate on what your family

would do when they got together for a reunion.

(Mr. Roberson): First you have a picnic, eating and

ah...specially on a Sunday you attend church, something like that.

(Mrs. Ford): I'm told that Dorsey Park was a spot that was

very special for Overtown residents, for the record could you tell

us White people did when they went to Dorsey Park.

(Mr. Roberson): Well Dorsey Park was, you know, Black people

say that was their park because see Black people couldn't go to

White parks, not less a Black lady had on a uniform and had some

White children with her, she couldn't go to other parks so Dorsey

Park was the thing for Black people and there was ball games,

picnics whatnot, anything in Dorsey Park.

(Mrs. Ford): Was this park named after or for D.A. Dorsey?

(Mr. Roberson): Yes it was.

(Mrs. Ford): Would you say it was a Black Park, a park

designated especially for African-Americans?

(Mr. Roberson): Yes definitely.

(Mrs. Ford): We're going to mention a few spots for

entertainment. I would like for you to tell me what comes to

memory when you think and reflect on these places. The Rockland










Palace?

(Mr. Roberson): It was the only place to be for Black person.

(Mrs. Ford): What did you do there?

(Mr. Roberson): Well you drank, you dance, you meet friends

and you were somebody when you were in the Rockland Palace.

(Mrs. Ford): In other words this was a social gathering?

(Mr. Roberson): That's right.

(Mrs. Ford): What about the Harlem Square?

(Mr. Roberson): Well the Harlem Square was ah...you'd class

it...it was a kind of hoodlum place and it was owned by...not by

Blacks, it was in your neighborhood so that's where you had to go.

(Mrs. Ford): Would you say it was a lessor or a better

quality entertainment place than the Rockland Palace?

(Mr. Roberson): No. It was a...it was a lessor. The

Rockland Palace seemed to be more updated and a more sophisticatBe

place than the Harlem.

(Mrs. Ford): When you reflect on places like the Sir John

prior to that name, it was called the Lord Calvert Hotel, what,

what comes to mind?

(Mr. Roberson): We thought that was one of the greatest

things that ever happened in Overtown. The Blacks had a

sophisticated hotel and a bar and you know, so we thought it was

great.

(Mrs. Ford): What comes to mind when you think in terms of

the Mary Elizabeth Hotel?

(Mr. Roberson): It was wonderful, it was wonderful because










see...the only hotel we had here was Dorsey Hotel and rooming

houses and when the Mary Elizabeth was built it was something, you

know, every Black person thought it was great.

(Mrs. Ford): Was there entertainment at the Mary Elizabeth

Hotel?

(Mr. Roberson): Certainly was.

(Mrs. Ford): What comes to memory when you think of the

Carver Hotel that was located on Northwest Ninth Street and Third

Avenue?

(Mr. Roberson): Well each one of them, as they were opening,

you know, they were great but the Carver soon faded but in the

beginning it was great.

(Mrs. Ford): Was there entertainment, pleasurable

entertainment at the Carver Hotel?

(Mr. Roberson): Yes it was.

(Mrs. Ford): Could you tell us a little more in depth about

the type of activity that occurred at the Dorsey Hotel?

(Mr. Roberson): Well they had, you know, they had fine rooms

ah they had entertainment, they a bar, they had a shows.

(Mrs. Ford): Can you tell us for the record, where was the

Dorsey Hotel located in Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): Eighth Street and Third Avenue, hold it,

Seventh Street and Third Avenue, Seventh Street and Third Avenue,

Seventh Street and Second Avenue, Seventh Street and Second Avenue.

(Mrs. Ford): Northwest Seventh Street and Second Avenue,

Second Avenue.










(Mr. Roberson): Second Avenue.

(Mrs. Ford): How and when did that sense of community change

in Overtown? The closeness and the umm parading up and down

and...when did this all change?

(Mr. Roberson): Well if I can recall, when ah the Classics

changed places, no longer come to the Orange Bowl, ah things began

to change. The attitude of people began to change and...

(Mrs. Ford): How has Overtown changed in your opinion since

1970?

(Mr. Roberson): Ah, ah, about a ninety-five percent change

because it's more, it's more ah dangerous then it was then.

(Mrs. Ford): Mr. Roberson, can you tell us, can you talk with

us at length about they type of work that you did?

(Mr. Roberson): Could you tell me every area of drying

cleaning and laundry that you worked in at the...during your

employable years?

(Mr. Roberson): Ah, in the 40's I worked at French Benzall

and like I said when the strike was I left and worked to Blue

Ribbon Laundry and ah I had a confrontation there with foremen and

whatnot and I left there and I worked Twenty-Second Avenue and

Forty-Sixth Street and from there in '42, in June in '42 I went in

the army and I didn't get back to Miami until 19...December in '45.

(Mrs. Ford): At that time did you live Overtown when you

returned to Miami?

(Mr. Roberson): Yes I did?

(Mrs. Ford): When you worked in the laundry did you press










clothes or did you work in the spotting department or did you work

in the mangle? Could you tell us more detail or exactly what you

did in the laundry?

(Mr. Roberson): At this particular time like when I went in

the army I worked on the presser, I was a presser but I had ah

spotting and cleaning knowledge because I took a course in Silver

Spring, Maryland for that but being Black you couldn't get that job

here so after I come out the army I went to work in Coral Gables,

The Ponce de Leon Cleaners which I took the job of cleaning and

spotting and I worked there 23 years.

(Mrs. Ford): The next set of questions that I will be asking

you about will be regarding the future of the Overtown area. What

are the most important and misconceptions or misunderstandings

about Overtown today? What do you think is the most misunderstood

thing regarding Overtown and how it use to be compared to what it

is today.

(Mr. Roberson): Oh, my God. It was ah, it was ah

inspiring, people looked forward to being Overtown then but now

today people shun it. When you go around Second Avenue today and

look at the barred up stores and buildings, it's no comparison with

what it was at that particular time.

(Mrs. Ford): Would you say that there are conditions that

exist in Overtown today that were non-existent during the years

that you lived and worked Overtown.

(Mr. Roberson): Sure, sure.

(Mrs. Ford): Do you think it was better or worse then or now?










(Mr. Roberson): It's worse now. It was glorious then.

(Mrs. Ford): What do you think public officials need to know

most about Overtown and it's history for African-American today?

(Mr. Roberson): Well I think it would be important for

officials to know the importance of the history of Overtown because

it is important to Black people. I could, you could be in Jersey

City or, or New York and somebody told you they was in Miami, they

would ask you, did you go on Second Avenue. Second Avenue was the

mainstream for Black and it...if you come to...a Black person come

to Miami and didn't go on Second Avenue, he hadn't been to Miami.

(Mrs. Ford): Would you say it was important during those

times that a person go to Second Avenue as one of the main

historical places to be in Overtown.

(Mr. Roberson): That's correct, that is correct.

(Mrs. Ford): What should be done to improve the Overtown area

now, such as transportation projects?

(Mr. Roberson): Well I don't...I'm not too familiar with the

situation over there now because I've been from over there about 33

years now and I've been over there about two times since I left but

I...there is still hope.

(Mrs. Ford): Well do you think Overtown could benefit if

tourist attractions were added to the area?

(Mr. Roberson): Sure, sure.

(Mrs. Ford): What do you think about the feasibility of job

development and creating jobs for the citizens who now live in

present day Overtown?










(Mr. Roberson): Well it would be a wonderful thing, if, if

such things could happen. It would be beautiful and it would

improve the whole community of Overtown.

(Mrs. Ford): In your opinion, do you feel that Overtown can

benefit today from beautification programs to make the area look

more scenic?

(Mr. Roberson): Definitely so. Umm hum, yes.

(Mrs. Ford): What should be the relationship between Overtown

and Downtown Miami?

(Mr. Roberson): Communication.

(Ms. Ford): When you have visitors from out of town, where do

you take them to show them culture and history of Dade County's

African-American or Black community?

(Mr. Roberson): I still take them to Second Avenue. And I

want to mention another historical place. I take them and show

them where Good Bread Alley use to be.

(Mrs. Ford): Could you tell us something about Good Bread

Alley?

(Mr. Roberson): Well Good Bread Alley existed from Third

Avenue to Fourth Avenue from Fourteenth Street to Third Avenue...to

Thirteenth Avenue...Thirteenth Street.

(Mrs. Ford): Could you tell us what happened in Good Bread

Alley?

(Mr. Roberson): (Laughter) Every and anything. It was

shotgun houses in there, one right behind each other, side by side,

maybe about 40 or 50 of them in there so if you didn't live in Good










Bread Alley, don't go in Good Bread Alley. Police didn't go in

Good Bread Alley alone.

(Mrs. Ford): Why didn't the police go into Good Bread Alley?

(Mr. Roberson): Because they were afraid what would happen to

them if they would go in Good Bread Alley.

(Mrs. Ford): And what do you think would have happened to the

policeman if he went into Good Bread Alley?

(Mr. Roberson): He would have been killed. It's just that

simple.

(Mrs. Ford): So would you say Good Bread was a community unto

itself? Self operated and self policed?

(Mr. Roberson): Yes, that's correct.

(Ms. Ford): Could you describe in your own words what kind of

community you would like for Overtown to be in the future?

Describe your vision in great detail. In other words we would like

for you to tell us what you think ah you would like Overtown to be

like today or in the future?

(Mr. Roberson): Well naturally I know Overtown couldn't be

like it use to be but I would like to see it have the image that it

use to have, that everybody was friendly and ah, you know, you

didn't have to bar your doors and you could sit on the porch and

wasn't even scared of nobody, young people looked after old people

and neighborhood stores and oh, but today, I know the old buildings

need remodeling or torn down and rebuilt and things like that.

(Mrs. Ford): Did families look after each other's children

and discipline them and what was the relationship with family to










family as they lived in Overtown?

(Mr. Roberson): Definitely family look family, family looked

after children, neighbors looked after children, children obeyed

neighbors.

(Mrs. Ford): What happened if a child disobeyed a neighbor

and the parents were not around?

(Mr. Roberson): When the parents come, the neighbor told the

parent what the children did and you know what happened after that.

(Mrs. Ford): Were neighbors permitted to discipline other

people's children?

(Mr. Roberson): Certainly.

(Mrs. Ford): And what would happen if one neighbor

disciplined another neighbor's child?

(Mr. Roberson): Well you had a small percentage that you

know, don't touch my child but the majority of neighbors

disciplined neighbor's children and the neighbors children

respected neighbors. Like today you hear children walking up and

down the street cussing and carrying on but children didn't cuss in

front of neighbors and other people at that particular time.

(Mrs. Ford): Would you say they lived sort of like it takes

a community to raise a child?

(Mr. Roberson): Definitely it do.

(Mrs. Ford): And everybody was responsible for raising and

rearing each others children?

(Mr. Roberson): Sure, sure.

(Mrs. Ford): Mr. Roberson, thank you so very kindly for this










interview.

(Mr. Roberson): Umm hum.

(Mrs. Ford): I am concluding this interview on Side "A". My

name is Electra R. Ford this is Side A in conclusion of the

interview with Mr. James Roberson and the last questions that we

discussed was the future of Overtown area.




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