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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
Douglas Martin (M)
Interviewer: J. Paredes (I)
August 24, 1973
Typed by: P. F. Williams
I: This is August 24, and I'm talking with Douglas
Martin who lives in Zion, Illinois, and is currently
on vacation at his mother's place here in Hedaperdido.
How old were you when you first moved away from this
M: That was seven years ago. That'd be...what would
that be? Back in '60. .4twenty-eight years old.
Twenty-eight years old when I left from here going
I: And you're thirty-five now?
M: Yeah. Thirty-four, I'll be thirty-five on my birth-
I: How'd you happen to pick Zion, Illinois? Or is that
the first place you moved to?
M: Well, I had some cousins to migrate from here. Going
up there and working, started working in a factory up
there--Goodyear. And, well, there's several people
CRK 48A 2
from here, you know, that works up there. There's
Junior McGhee and Cecil McGhee and __I brothers
and s_Ff like up there.
I: Who was their mother and daddy?
M: Uh, IurierkL McGhee.
I: How did all them get started going up that far away?
M: Well, first of all, Junior, he came from, uh...was
living in /,A7T/GB Wisconsin. He married a girl
from up there. Because we used to all go migrate
and work and leave from here and go up to /4ATIDo
and work in potatoes and stuff like that around.
And so Junior, he married up there and so from there
he got a job down here at a Goodyear plant so he
started working there. And everybody else from
around here got to knowing where he was working at
so they just migrated. I think seven...let's see, ck,-/
I'd say twelve years ago, there was about seven or
eight of us guys that worked together. You know,
going off? And we're every one in Zion right now.
I: liYou say "work together," going off and working in
the fields.with them?
M: Yeah, in Wisconsin.
CRK 48A 3
I: All right.
M: njrtvery one of us is working in Zion, and working at
the same plant, too.
I: Now, -you work at Goodyear yourself?
I: Did y'all help each7other get those jobs, or just
M: Yeah. In a lot of ways, yeah. Because when they... r'P
if they needed somebody at the plant, we'd contact
somebody that we knew or something like that. Or
either when they'd go put in an application, well,
we'd recommend them, give'em something like that.
I: Have you ever, any of you ever phoned down here from
Illinois to say, "Hey, there's a job open. Why don't
you come on up?"
M: Yeah, lot of times.
I: Who are some people that you got to go up there that
M: Let's see, Norman Raymond and a couple of his...well,
Howard Presley's up there and he had two brothers he
called and they went to work up there. But they've both
quit and come back now.
CRK 48A 4
I: You think there's very much chance you'll come back
down here permanently?
M: Yeah, whenever I.. I'm going to stay there until I
get enough years in to retire, because we have to
have at least ten or fifteen years in. Then we
can draw some retirement when we quit.
I: What would you do if you came back here? You have
M: Well, I hope to have me a place built. I mean, you
know, bought and built. I'd like to have some farm
land or something like that.
I: Are you thinking about trying to build out around
here, or further out, or what?
M: Probably here or either...yeah, more than likely around
I: Do,4-d1 of y'all that are from this community originally
that are up there, do y'all ever get together for social
M: I'll tell you what just about every weekend. Because
we all work together and we've always got something going.
Like we...well, up there weAplay ball together, or...
more or less when football games come on or something
like that we all generally get to one house and watch
CRK 48A 5
it -jtrr ,rnt .. We really...we get together quite
a bit up there.
I: Do y'all ever go out drinking together or anything
M: LI I[ sed to a long time ago. But now most everybody is
just about settled. The guys are more settled now
than they used to be. I guess everybody, has to settle
down and watch that penny now. pretty close.
I: Are there any real young guys up there at the present
time, say in their late teens or early twenties?
M: I/A Well, Norman's boys, they're up there, but they're...
you know, they're only about fifteen or sixteen years
old. But they're going to school some.
I: Were you married when...?
M: Let's see,4Huey's up there. Huey McGhee. Well, he's
just cLc I r. I guess he's about twenty-one now,
he just rer c- .
I: Were most of y'all married when you first went up there
and started working at Goodyear, or not?
M: Ulf/rNo, I wasn't married.' I had been divorced.
I: You were divorced and then you went up:,there?
CRK 48A 6
M: Yeah. t4, h
I: Do y'all ever get together with...are there anymore
of you people still living over in 4A/-IGD
M: Yeah. There's apMcGhee boy up there. And Charles
Jackson, his wife...he married a girl from /ti7RD
and that McGhee boy married a girl from Af7/6' .
I: What kind of work do they do over there?
M: ; 1, Charles, last time I talked to him, he's driving a
truck. And that McGhee boy, he's working at some
little old factory. And there's a Gibson boy up
there, Floyd Gibsoni You probably...Claudia?
M: I believe she's a sister or a nephew or an aunt or
something, I don't know, but he's related to her.
He's up there. I guess this whole community's
related some way or another.
1:' W- Were you up there at the time that Houston and
Benny and David and Evelyn and all those were at
M: Yeah, I used to go over there and visit them.
CRK 48A 7
I: How far away is that from Zion?
M: That's thirty-five or forty miles, about all.
I: I noticed the other night'your granddaddy's IJCJ -Aerc
that Grady was teasing you about not coming over
to visit or something. Would y'all...at that time
would there be an occasion when all of them from
Harvard and all of them from Zion would get together
and watch a football game or something?
M: Yeah, we used to go over there a lot of times. E-Gc /
MC- and John McGhee used to go over there quite a
M: Yeah, John. Because he knew them.
I: Do any of you up there go to church?
M: UL, J eah, Cecil's wife, she's gone. Well, since he's
been up there sheAgot-saved and-everything.
I: Do most of the people that are from here up there go
to the same church?
M: No, they go to tfe-Holiness church. I'm Episcopal
I: Let me ask you...I may have asked you A informally once
CRK 48A 8
before. Have y'all up there ever had much contact
with large numbers of Indians that are living in
Chicago that have Indian clubs and all that kind
M: Never have, Mrcf More than likely the only
reason I don't contact them myself like that is
becausegenerally in a riot and stuff when you hear
anything...anything that happens, well, it's generally IJ' -
one of them riots or something'like that, and...I
don't know. Just like that deal they had up there
in, what was it? North Dakota?
I: Yeah, South Dakota.
M: Well, see. That was a big...well, that was their own
tribe and stuff like that. And IAdidn't even know
much about it myself, wasn't going j0 kI oj much
I: Are you familiar with the Chicago Indians;at all?
M: Well, there's a few around, but they are.7there
was a couple of them that worked at the plant where I
did once before, but...I don't know. They kind of...
I don't know. Those Indians kind of stay more to
themselves. They're kind of different from...they're
CRK 48A 9
not as friendly as people around here. They...I wo- -
was out one night tothis club and gofin a conversation
with one Indian and he was from Alaska, up in there,
and so...and really, he and I just didn't have the
same lingo at all. _Cc'j C r
I: What were your differences?
M: Well one thing, he couldn't even hardly speak...he
couldn't even hardly speak American. And the way
they live up there and everything. It's completely
different and everything. I don't know, we just didn't
see eye to eye. He believed in one thing and I believed
in a different way, and...
I: Had anybody up there from, say, a church or a university
or anything ever contacted any of you because you were
Indians, wanting to do research on you or anything like
M: No, never have. Because I don't believe... they don't
know that we're up there, a lot of themA 1 imagine
they would have if they knew that we was there. A'.' l'
I: When somebody new comes up there from .the community,
would it ever be the case that y'all would pitch in
and provide him with transportation money or get him
started on a house or anything like that?
CRK 48A 10
M: Oh, yeah. We've always...yeah/ We,4on't let him go
hungry, that's for sure. He'll .have a place to stay
or something like that. Matter of fact, some of them
boys came through there not too long ago and stayed a
couple of nights and went on to Wisconsin. Just about,
I mean, just about every year there's some of them
comes through, you know, and stops. A lot of them
boys just likes to, still likes togo from one place
to the other. They don't want to really settle down,
I: Are you talking about-- it was just a couple of weeks
41r Le- 1
ago, I guess--when -avalee took a crew up there?
M: Yeah. iNavaiee was staying there with some more boys
off by themselves, and they stopped by through.
I: So these people that are still working in the fields,
they sort of have a resting place at the homes of you
guys that live up there in Zion, Illinois.
M: Well, if they stop by here. They generally stop to
see us, and sometimes they'll even come down from
up there in Antigo where they're working at, come
down for the weekend _____ I have left
and went p. there for a weekend just to see and be
CRK 48A 11
I: Not to work, just to visit.
M: No, just to go up there and visit them, because they
know we know they're up there.
I: Do y'all ever,fsince that's good hunting and fishing
territory, do y'all go hunting and fishing around
there in that area?
M: I go fishing a lot. Back thispast winter I did.
more fishing than I've ever did before. I doneta
lot of ice fishing.
I: You did!
I: How'd you...I've been ice fishing myself and it's a
lot different from any...
M: Take off, find you a lake and make sure the ice is
good and froze solid...
I: Yeah, I knowhow to ice fish, but how did you get into
it, through people up there, or...?
M: No, I started back in...when I was up in Wisconsin
with a boy that lived up there. He took me ice
fishing one time, and we went out on a big lake up
there. And this past time here, I went out with
CRK 48A 12
M;fi 'ic.s boy to work, we work together and so we
went out. 7I" got a...built a little shaek out on the ice.
M: And you just goout there and dig you a...take a
auger and cut about a twelve-inch hole and set your...
rig your poles up and just put them in and fish just
like a...actually I believe you can catch them through
that ice better than you can in a lake, because the
fish, he can come to that place and he can breathe, get
the oxygen better.
M: And so they'll just start gathering to that hole.
I: Y'all ever have parties in your ice fishing shacks?
M: No, that's....+v I
I: Two of you guys out together just doing more shooting
the bull and that sort of thing than fishing?
M: Oh, yeah. We fish and talk, just talking. A couple
abh <7 1J
of us, about two or three is about all you can get
into one shack because they don't build it very big. iw 4
I'd say about four by six or something like that or
something. Just a big...
CRK 48A 13
I: 4-Wel, I/haven't actually seen it, but I used to hear
a lot of people in Minnesota talk about sometimes
people would equip those things with TV sets and
everything else and really just stay out there
practically all winter.
M: Well, you/could do it if your ice, if you catch it
at the right time of the year and the ice froze good.
But, you know, if that ice is froze good, well, it
don't take much to hold up a shack. Just set it out
there and put you a heater in there and everything,
if you want.
I: What lakes do you go on?
M: Uh, there's a chain of lakes up there in
that area where I'm at. Gray's Lake, Gage's Lake, Fox
Lake, uh, we got one called Deep Lake. That Deep Lake's
got a lot of(trout and bluegill and stuff down there.
That Cecil McGhee, he went out there just before I
left coming down here, and him and his boy caught about
fifty-some (trout)and bluegill out of there.
I: Do you ever go way up into Wisconsin up in the North
Woods country and go fishing or vacationing or anything?
CRK 48A 14
M: Yeah. A friend of mine that works together, we went
upkthis past season about back in June or July one,
and went up there while the white bass was running
in this one lake up there ,-.e-. jt didn't
take us no time we had about sixty of them.
I: I heard some of the older people that used to go up
there talk about they'd occasionally run into Winnebago
and .Ie-- i nY-r' and Chippewa Indians up there.
Have you ever run into any of them while you're
traveling through Wisconsin?
M: You can if you go out on the reservations...
I: Have you yourself ever been out on a reservation?
M: Yeah, I've been through there.
I: What'd you think of it?
M: I tell you what, on that reservation they got it made.
That's pretty nice.
M: Yeah. Looked like it is.
-4,^y ,'V y6r c
I: From your perspective, do you think they'reAany better
off than the people are here?
M: Well, in one way I believe they-are because they don't
have to work and these people around here have to work
CRK 48A 15
for a living. Them people out there can go to that
reservation and stay on it and not do anything hardly.
That makes a difference. These people around here
has got to get out and work.
I: Yeah. What about their housing? How did it compare
to housing around here?
M: Most of those people on the reservation have got nice-
I: They do.
I: Well, I've heard a lot of folks around here that, just
what they know of reservations, what they read and see
on TV, talk about how terrible reservations are. Have
you ever had any discussions with your own people here
about reservation Indians?
M: Ne, I never have discussed it with them.
I: I Yeah. As a matter of fact, you're about the first
person I think I've ever heard from this community
talk in any kind of positive way at all about the
reservation conditions. I guess it's because you've
seen them closer.
CRK 48A 16
-U'f! f / (1 yJrL IC!4rfCI )- ?'-^
M: -I think the reservation would be all right for people,
you know, that's not able to work or anything like
that. fIn that way they know they would be taken care
I I,, -p cP Ce -
of, you know,'and stuff like that. ButAif a person
is able to work it's best for him to work. I don't
catrwho it is.
M: In reservations, they're not all that tied down like
that, because they can4go off of it and back on it,
I: But most of those Indians in Chicago come from reser-
M: A lot of them. Matter of fact, right there at Zion
there wasAthis camp, I believe Camp Logan. You
probably read that in the paper about them Indians
coming in to Camp Logan and taking it over, and they
held it, stayed down there for ..shit I know two
months, two or three months.
I: That was on national TV, wasn't it?
M: Yeah. And the peoplein Zion got so involved in it
till they would take clothes and food and everything
CRK 48A 17
over -r 4m i'ilts -they wanted to stay there.
I: How did you feel about it?
M: Well, they was fighting for theirsrights, what they
thought was right, s6 I admired them for sticking
it out as long as they could.
I: Do the people at work generally know that you're Indian?
M: Well, everybody that I work with, every one of us is
Indian. They call us the Indians.
I: Do they? Did you get any comments from any of them
when all that was going on?
M: I*k, Teah, just about everybody that come by me says, "Hell,
I wished I wasIndian." Especially when we got that,
what was that, a check for a hundred at/ei? t:'/cLi '?
I: Uh-huh [affirmative].
M: They found out that, they said, "Damn! I wished I
was Indian m-m ."
I: Now, talking about when they took that Camp Logan over,
did you get any people asking you what you thought
about it, or teasing you about it or anything?
M: No. Not so much about that deal, but when they was up ,
in North Dakota, I believe it was...
CRK 48A 18
I: Wounded Knee, you mean?
M: Yeah, Wounded Knee. ihey was asking us when were
we gonna go up there.
I: And what would you say?
M: We'd always tell them, Well, we're getting together.
We're gonna leave anytime."
I: So you play along with that kind of teasing, huh?
M: Oh, yeah. Go right along with it. I think that
people has changed a lot in the last...I'd say in
the last twenty-five or thirty years. Twenty-five
years that I can remember good, they've changed a lot
about towards the Indians and stuff like that. They
used to be pretty rough on the Indians around here
because a person that, wellthey didn't have any
Indian in them at all, well, man, they wouldn't even
hardly socialize with you. But
since then, back then twenty five years, they've changed
a heck of a lot. Now\everywhere you go, you're proud
to be an Indian, I guess.
Ck f", -
I: Welly when you were growing up here in this community,
was that still the conditions when you were growing
CRK 48A 19
M: Yeah a lot of them.
I: What about in school?
M: Yeah. Not...well,A g Eto go to Atmore school where
things,have been changing completely. But back then...
I: Did you go to school out here your first six grades?
M: Went to school right over here .at first, had this
little school here,the first time. And from there
I went over here and graduated from there from the
sixth grade, and from there I went to McCullough.
They had a school up there.
I: You went to McCullough. What was the reaction of
the McCullough people to y'all going up there?
M: R When I went to McCullough, well, everything had done
changed completely. There was no difference hardly,
butAyou could still sense it a little bit. But my
brother,(Ben,) now, if you could ever interview him
I,- ( L .r -T-"
he could tell you because he really knows, When he
went to school it was hard.
I: He went to McCullough, too?
M: Yeah, he went to McCullough. S6in^ i
I: I heard the people in McCullough were really worse...
CRK 48A 20
M: He went to McCullough a little, but most of his was...
he went from then to Atmore.
I: I had heard that the people in McCullough were really
harder on the Indians than people in Atmore. Would
you say that was true?
M: Well, I candonly speak for myself. -I lived with my
aunt and uncle up at McCullough-4Rube Stetterman' and
his wife, (Ora--and all the people around McCullough, T '/il"-- c
I knew them. all and.I mean I got along/good with
I: So you were living up there. You weren't going up
there every day on the bus.
M: No./ See, I was going from over there in the neighborhood
up (Cos. 4-o the school where Reuben lived at. And
I guess all them boys, guys I went to school with, they
thought the world of me, I think.
I: Well, howAmany years were you at McCullough?
M: I went to McCullough for three.
I: And then you transferred to Atmore?
M: Yeah. See, it only went to the ninth.7/A graduated
CRK 48A 21
from McCullough, then I went to Atmore.
I: Did you finish high school?
I: How come you didn't finish?
M: Well, I tell you. It's just like a ...it happened
to me what happened to a lot of these boys. Back
then, your money was...it was pretty tight. Andp,.
when I got out of school, well, that year.I'd go
off...I'd done got big enough that I went off and
got me a job working on a boat. And you get to
making a little bit of money and you figure, well,
that's...you're gonna make it then. That's all
you need. Sb I decided...that's one of the reasons
whyAI never did finish high school. If I hadn't nre-r
have migrate off like that I probably would have
stayed. any kid that's coming up now, I'd say to
stay put until they finish school.
I: Did you get ajob through "' over here on boats,
M: No, my brother Oakland, he's been working on boats.
I: Oakland. That's your brother, Oakland?
CRK 48A 22
M: Yeah. He's been working on boats since...shit, I
imagine he's got about twenty-eight years experience
on those boats and stuff._ And the first one I went
to work on, I was working with...let's see, I started
working with just me and a captain. And then my
brother...I got what they call experience, a little
experience--about a month or two. And then one day
we was going up the river and my brother, he pulled
up. They come up behind us on another boat, and
so I had a little experience so they took me off
of that boat and put me on the boat with him. So
I worked with him, and he and I worked together for
three or four years on the same boats and everything.
I: v-How old were you when you quit school and started working
on the boats?
M: I think I was sixteen.
I: Isn't there a law in this county that you have to
go to school until you're sixteen, or not?
M: Yeah. You supposed to go now, I think it is. But
back then, back then, it didn't make any difference.
If a kid dropped out they figured, well, that just
CRK 48A 23
makes room for another one. Let him go. They didn't
push it too much. Now they push it pretty good.
I: There would never have been a truant officer looking
for you or anything like that1would there?
M: Not back then, there wasn't. Especially on the Indian
boys. They didn't care whether they went or not.
You know, a truant officer or anything. like that,
because, I don't know, they just didn't take much
interest in them. They had to put up a big eight or
argument and they finally got this school over here,
because this wasn't nothing but more or less a house,
clubhouse or something like that.
I: This is the same one that's attached to the church.
M: This one here.
M: Yeah. And that's about all the size it was. It wasn't
very big. But then you take... that place over there
was taking care of the community from Pobrch and Hog...
well, Poorch, Hog ForKand them places they call that,
and this community around here and all that. This
place over here we're talking about, I used to be
CRK 48A 24
full /f'./c -
I: And they had some from Huxford, too, didn't they?
Or did they?
M: Yeah, kids coming in from...I believe. Yeah. Kids
coming from Huxford. Because, see, that is why I
say they were Indians and instead of them going to
a school that was closer by to them, they came all
the way over here.
I: Were you in school at the time that some of the parents
kept their kids out of school as a kind of protest
against the kind of teaching they were getting? Or
was that before your time?
M: Uh, I can remember. I heard a little of that, because
they didn't want *lf_:'I to go because the Indians
was going there or something.
I: I'm talking about the Indian people themselves keeping
their kids out of school one time. Sort :of a strike
at school to get better teachers or something.
M: No. Never had. They was always glad to get them
there. I mean, that's my part the way I've heard
of. I mean, just speaking for myself, I never heard
CRK 48A 25
I: Well, were you in school at the time or maybe
yv- v**'^-^ y^'jC
it's hard to remember, you're so youngp-the time
that Calvin McGhee and all those really got hot
on trying to get a better school and all that?
Get the kids bussed to town? Do you remember
anything about that?
M: I can remember just a little bit about/hearing it,
but I didn't...
I: But as a kid, it didn't make much of an impression
on you at the time?
M: Back then it didn't, because.4' .,,.
M: Lv4Syou'd have to talk with some of the older ones
that really knew that, because...
I: Yeah. I was just asking you since you were a kid at
that time what kind of impression it made on you, and...
M: See, they were trying to go to Atmore andAI was going
to McCullough. AndAI fell right in with the group
at McCullough. It didn't bother me too much. It
was just...McCullough, I know just about every family
in McCullough, just about. Around there.
CRK 48A 26
I: Did you live there with your aunt for the whole
three years you were in school there?
M: Mt let's see. I lived with them some, and then my
mother and step-father, they moved up on my aunt's
place and was farming with them, and I stayed with
my mother then.
I:O1iA.Do you know of any other, during your time, any other
families that had their kids living up there at McCullough
so they could go to school?
M: No, I didn't. I think my family was about the onliest
ones that I knew that really went. Yeah, there was rv-
one boy, LAvs' McGhee, you've probably heard some
of them mention him. Call him Frank, Little Frank
McGhee. He went to McCullough School. I don't know,
what it was. Frank, he fell right in the pattern with
them, too, and every one of them liked him, too. I
guess because we played basketball at McCullough and
played Y1' c- and, boy, they really did r._v_
on that. They liked that. Frank, he was a good
I: Did you ever play any sports at Atmore?
CRK 48A 27
M: Yeah, I went out for football at Atmore. Played
I: Was ,//Ji' McGhee in your class or was he a little
ahead of you?
M: Oh, Houston...me, Houston, and Benny was all in the
I: You were? You played football at the same time they
M: ; they played a little ahead of me andAI played a little
next year with them. Me and Houston and Benny was on
the same team all together one time, until I...Houston
got his leg hurt and I quit and went off on that boat.
And Benny was the onliest one teat stayed on. He played ['ii'ckie,
for the whole time. But we had.14this would have been.ave--
if they'd had a high school out here for the Indians,
they would have had some kind of a football team.
M: Because all these boys out here was country boys and
they were big boys.
I: Was there ever any talk of trying to get a high school
out here for the Indians?
M: Yeah, there was talk, always talk, of wanting it, but
CRK 48A 28
*',nobody couldn't ever come up with the money and never
had theAwherewith to get it, anyway. None, whatsoever.
I: Going back to Zion
M: Well, offhand I'd say Zion is about fifteen,
eighteen, twenty thousand: But what makes. IA couldn't
really pin it down because I'm right between.iilseven
miles on each side is, uh...on the south side is
Waukegan, got about seventy, eighty thousand. And
the north side has got about seventy, eighty, I imagine.
It's called Kenosha, Wisconsin. See, I'm right up next
to the Wisconsin line. And see, for the Zion part,
there's fifteen, sixteen thousand, or eighteen, some-
where along there. But they've spread it out now. It's
almost expanded all the way.
I: The Goodyear plant where you work, is it in Zion or...?
M: No, it's in what they call North Chicago.
I: So you have to commute quite a ways to work every morning?
M: Well, I think it's about twelve miles.
I: Now, let me go back to something else you said and/see
if I got it right. You said the original person *wfrryl
this community that got a job with Goodyear,
get it down here and transfer up there, or did he get
CRK 48A 29
it up there?
M: No, he got it up there. I think it was Junior McGhee.
I believe Junior's got the most time in that plant.
I: And he just sort of walked in there one day-and asked
for a job, or had he been one of those that was...?
M: No,, he just filled his application in and went
on in there.
I: He was the one that was married to the girl in Antigo,
M: Yeah, he married a girl in Antigo, Wisconsin.
I: Your wife was saying something the other day about
how impressed she was about how fast word travels
from down here up there. Is that really true?
M: Yeah, because, see, if something happens down here,
well, anyone of those guys up there, they contact
them, well, they'll generally let the rest of us
I: So that way, by working all together, each individual
doesn't get called individually..... ....I... .J2 I
What were you just saying about if somebody calls, just
whatever you were saying just a minute ago.
CRK 48A 30
M: Well, generally when if anybody calls from up there
down here, generally they find out if there's anything
happened or.if there's anybody sick or something like
that and they generally let everybody else know if
they are. Because...especially men, because everyone
of us men has been up there, and/we/all work on the
same shift and we see one another every day.
I: How many of you/are married to girls from here in the
community? I know you're not. how many of the others
M: Let's see, Norman Raymond, he married Eloise McGhee--
Junior's sister. He married from down here. And Cecil
McGhee, his wife's from down here.
I: Is she Indian?
M: No, she's not Indian, though. Jack _r)tl my brother-
in-law, he's married my sister from down here. And
the rest of them, let's see, Junior, Early, and Howard
Preh, they married girls from Antigo, Wisconsin.
I: Do all those fellows get down here about as often as
M: Yeah, we'vefali been to that plant long enough now we've
got three years vacation a year now.
CRK 48A 31
I: Three weeks?
M: I mean three weeks a year. We get three weeks a year.
- S, ft -P.'n-
I: do all of them take their vacations coming down here r-
every time, or...like yourself?
M: Most of them, they/try to take at least two weeks,
because they.4 save a week and go up north with
the wife or something like that. Or either they...
or sometimes they take all three weeks down here and
on the weekends--see, that's only two hundred miles--
they can go up there for a weekend.
I: Yeah. When you first went up there and when others
have first gone up there, did they encounter any
particular problems in getting used to city living
that you can think of?
M: Well, with the guys that work with me that I know of
didn't, because we've all traveled around enough that
I VA,., W -L..
I: So there was no...
M: It's still hard living in the city when you've lived
in the country all your life. It just don't,..it ain't
the same thing.
CRK 48A 32
I: What are the specific things that you find hard about
M: Well, you're tied down a lot because you can't...living
j KJ f 1.1611
in the city like that, youAdon't have a garden, land
up there. They don't have the land for you, you don't
have a garden, you can't have no dogs outside, you cac' / '-< r-
can't have anything. Unless you own property, and iy'\/L-
if you own the property, you can't have any"dogs or
chickens...a dog can't run loose in the city. And
chickens, you can't even have them in the city limits.
Well, in the city it's just not like the country, really.
I: What about getting around different places? You find
any particular problems there?
M: You mean going from...
I: Driving and things.
M: No. 9e and my brother was just talking a while ago,
and I told him that Illinois' driver's licenses are r. I'. j -
more stricter than they are in this part of the country.
Because we got too much interstate and more stop signs
and stuff like that, and the traffic is much, much
CRK 48A 33
I: For your own self. personally, if you could, I'd
like for you to just sort of list off what you see
to be the advantages of living in-acrty, and then
what you see as being the disadvantages of living-4a-
A -ci &cty-. f rfor what advantages -do you personally
M: Well, they got a lot of jobs up there. If you got.@., LA-
if your job gets closed down, 4aeU, you could find
-a-new one the next day, because they got factories
on top of factories up there. And just about all
them factories is run by people from the South.
There's millions of people up there from the South
working in those factories.
I: Besides the ease in getting another job, what other
advantages are there in living up there?
M: Not any, really.
I: Well, what are the disadvantages, then, of living...?
*,A 'z 4-oo -pr- -4-a co-yv^-
M: The biggest disadvantage is that people -wantt to- u
home, something like that, you know. You can't come
home, well, every weekend like you would want to.
You have to use your vacation./lone of the advantages,
CRK 48A 34
I believe, up there, too, is because when you work cl y o-
and say you get a vacation three weeks...like I was
telling a boy the other day, how many people down
here get threeAvacation a year and get to go some-
4,. ',O.,fi f 4.t -1
where? I said if they get three weeks, I -said
they're sure not going/fo take three weeks and go
I: That's right. TJDN t3
M: I said, I get three weeks' vacation, I'm gonna come
5/outh. I got someplace to go. I ain't gonna take
no three weeks and go north.
I: When you come south on your vacation, do you usually
do like you did this time and not spend all your
time right here in the community, but maybe go down to
the coast for a few days?
H: Yeah, I try to get down there, but more or less, though,
this time we had the kids with us, you know, and they
had never saw anything, really. Coast or nothing.
That's one reason why I went down there. But if it
was just me and my wife' I'd probably stay up here
in the community the whole time and I could, you
CRK 48A 35
know, run down there like if I wanted to...got up 4 tt(
early in the morning in time,spent the day and came
back and lay around and rest up for a couple of days
and maybe go back again.
I: How has the community accepted your wife and your
M: Everybody seemed like they accept them all right.
I: Well, getting back to the original question I asked
you, besides being able to get those three weeks
and come down South, have you thought of any more
advantages to living -n-he-eity in your own -thinking?
-- r- t-f'^-
M: Well, one thing about it, they got.wwell, the company
I work for, they gothhospital plan that's better,
the insurance is better. The company I work tor
pays all the insurance and everything. I even got --
a medical card if I need medicine or my family needs
medicine, well, I can get a prescription filled for
one dollar, anywhere. And they pay for it. And that's
hard to beat. You can't find that nowhere.
I: You don't think you could find as good a fringe
benefits and that kind of thing in any kind of job
you could get right around here, say in Mobile or
CRK 48A 36
M: I haven't really checked in on it, but I'was talking
to Kent yesterday and--Kent McGhee--and he works pt i ft
-the telephone company and they got good benefits.
I: If there was an opening suddenly for you in a job
that's lSR/as good as Kent's down here, do you think
you'd give up your job up there and come down here?
M: As old as I am right now, thirty-four years old, anditi,
the years I got in that plant, I couldn't make the
changebecause/I'm working for retirement, too, you
I: How soon do you think you'll retire? Will you retire
as soon as you can or will you put in more years?
M: Oh, I think I'll come back home in another ten years,
anyway. ea --
ptt. W"- wto (rt
I: You won' work up there until you're sixty-five?
M: No. If it was ju---end-e-my wife, we'd come back
I: She's Originally from where?
CRK 48A 37
I: Mississippi. Does she have people still living over
M: Oh, yeah.
I: Y'all gonna swing by there on your vacation, or...'
0'r" 6 -
M: Oh, we're thinking about going back through there,
stop. But her mother's up there right next to us.
I: Oh, yeah?
M: Yeah, her mother lives up in Waukegan. No, not Waukegan,
North Chicago, right down below about seven or eight
miles from us.
I: I've been asking about things that y'all do sort of
AWi- r yourselves, but how about...do many of you send
money back down here and help support any family down
here at all? Like your parents or anything?
M: Well, if I get hold of any spare money I send it to
my mother. She can always use it.
I: Do you know of any of the fellows that regularly are
sending a part of their checks down here to help out
their folks or anything like that?
M: No, notAoffgand right now. If they do, they kind of
keep it more or less to themselves, in the family.
CRK 48A 38
I: So y'all aren't really, except for occasional extra
money...well, you said if you get any spare money you
send it to your mother. About how many times a year
would that happen that you'd get some extra money you
could send her?
M: About two or three times, about three times, I guessj-S -
QOiC-Jf she gets in a jam and needs any money, well, she'll
let me know and I'll send it to her. I don't care how
I: Just a rough estimate during the past year, about
how much do you think you've sent to your mother in
M: O, Well, my daughter, see, I have to take care of her
down here anyway. I imagine...I try to send her at
least six hundred dollars a year, my daughter., average
of fifty a month. And my mother, before she got on-- l -
I think it's Social Security she's getting now--before
she got that, well, we always sent her money then, you
know, to help her out.
SI; fIp there, do you get many folks coming from down here
up there to visit you? Like does your mother ever come
CRK 48A 39
up, or any of the other fellows' parents or anything?
M: When I got married, my mother came up. And my...John
McGhee, he got sick back here, well, I guess it's been
about five months ago now. And about seven or eight
of them came up. Eugene Sales, Howard McGhee, my
brother Oakland and his wife, and John's three sisters,
everything. A lot of them came up with them.
I: They just come up for a visit, or...?
M: No, they just came more or less to see him, what was
wrong with him.
I: How long did they stay?
M: I think it was a week. I think it was a full week they
I: So all in all, y'all stay in pretty good touch with
people down here.
M: Oh, yeah.
I: How many phone calls do you think you make a month back
SV, tiCA -fW
down here? Or either you make or your mother makes. How
many times are you in touch by phone to people down here?
M: J-I generally try to kMVCLA once a-month or twice a month.
0-yj I might call her twice in the same day, if somethings _te __
4-i o6J CaJl' I always tell her to call me anytime she wants to,
CRK 48A 40
but she says, "Well, I'm not gonna call you unless-K-wess
*t-e something important that you have to know," or
something like that.
I: Do y'all ever exchange letters, or can your mother read
well enough to exchange letters?
M: / Well, Mama don't. She don't read. She always has to
get somebody to read her letters.--It's much easier
to pick up the phone and call her, you know, or some-
thing like that now.
I: Has she had a phone all the time you've been up there?
M: Who? My mother?
I: Your mother.
I: Oh. If you could--and I know it's hard--if you could
sort of reconstruct the scene last December the day that
the Indian money arrived and how you found out about it
and all of that.
M: Well, when I found out about it, well, there's been talk
going on all the time aifte they was gonna get it. .SOa-c//
Si i '
I figured they was gonna get it but when I didn't know
CRK 48A 41
because it'd been going on for twenty-some years. And,/A,
all of a sudden one morning, I think one of them'guys
was talking, he said, "Well, I got my money today."
I said, "What money?" He said, "Well, that Indian
money. I got it." Then I believe my mother called
up there and told us. See, mine came to my mother's
house, mine and my daughter's. My daughter's, hers
was made out to me for her, an then I cashed and
sent her the money, to her because...
I: Do you happen to know, just generally, how most of
the guys up there used their Indian money when they
got it? What they did with it?
M: No, I don't really know. I don't really know how
most of them used it.
I: Now, you sent your daughter's just directly back to
M: I sent hers back/to her.
I: di\J c.hat'd you$use yours for?
L -- r b O v / i 1
M: Let's see, I bought me a fishing rod. A reel and rod
for one thing. And I think I put the rest of it in
the bank. I don't know really how it was spent then,
but I put it in the bank then.
CRK 48A 42
M: Some of mine might not be spent yet.
I: Did by chance y'all have any kind of celebration or anything
after the money came to celebrate, or was there much
to-do made out of it?
M: No, there wasn't. I think everybody was glad to get
that hundred and twelve dollars, but nothing much
o P_" that's no money)not rJ gI now. But still,
that, you know, just the idea of getting it. There's
-1,f'?' yat. p1t-i c'i -
something. .I never did believe, really deep down believe,
that they was ever gonna pay off, because the government
been holding on to it so much, andAthey canAfind ways
to keep on holding on to it. You know how they operate.
M: Because if they want to pay off, whyAdon't they just go
ahead and get it over with? Like that, instead of
just dragging along and dragging along because...I don't
I: Generally speaking, when you're up there in Zion, I
assume that you have friends up there that don't come
from here as well. Is that true?
CRK 48A 43
M: I tell you what, I know more people up there than I
do around here now. Because a lot of theseAkids have
growed up since I've lived here, and/there are a lot
of kids around here that I don't know. But I try to ,>/ o I
learnAand get back to knowing whoSe kids is whom
and stuff like that now, but up there, the(plant I
work in we only have about six or seven hundred
employees, and I know every one of those. A-4i, t--
I: Do you socialize with them much outside the job?
M: Oh, yeah. Yeah, and I know all their families and
I: What, ..about how much of your socializing is with people
you know from up there compared to socializing with
people from here that are up there?
M: Well, there's a big difference. I mean people's that's
from here, well, you're more closer. And the people up
there, you know, there's a lot of people up there now
that I know that I'm real close with, but you're/still
not as close to them as you are with people that you
was born and raised with and _rvd LMt .
I: C!trC-re you saying that most of your real close socializing
CRK 48A 44
and friendship/that are from here? Well, like when
y'all get together and watch ball game. t j I----
fAp ?; --eA7/ /-,t ryry, t/ V-1-- e
M: No, a lot of people up there, because em guys up
there that I work with are from the South, too. They're
not from this area, but they're from the South, too.
I: So they might...some of them might get together with
your bunch from around here, too.
M: Oh, yeah./ sometimess as high as twelve or fifteen guys
I: Let's take a specific thing. If-you needed...if you
were in a tight and'you needed to borrow a hundred
dollars, say, a hundred dollars, would you ever go to
anybody that you just knew from up there or would you
usually or always go to somebody that you knew from
M: Well, if it's somebody I knew from here, and they got
CM\I 7d i4
the money right away and stuff like that, well, I'd
go and get it from them. But if they .generally,
somebody's got it, you know, around. Butguys up
there, if you know them, I've been working with them
CRK 48A 45
and they're close. I can walk in that plant out there
and the guys that I know, I could get five or ten from
each one and it wouldn't take no time to pick up a
dr C (YLr
hundred dollars and walk out / you might walk up to
one of them and he might have a hundred dollars on him
or two hundred dollars in a pocket. Because a lot-ef
of times you can't get a check cashed and you can't
get to the bank...
I: Yeah. And you'd ht up somebody that you just
met up there as easily as you would somebody you
knew from down here.
M: Oh, yeah. But mean, see, when you work..that plant -,rt,
I work in is just like one big family, really. And
we got a union and it's strictly .it's nothing but a
big family, really. Everybody knows everybody, and
it ain't nothing to borrow.w' A -j.
I: Is it a closed shop?
I: Is it a closed shop? -That you got to be in the union
to work there? -"/,
_F6 c fu ,- I-I^ x Ln /io
M: if you work in the plant you got to/loin the union. yF
If 'Aot t/fi heuin
CRK 48A 46
M: It costs seven...I believe seven and a half a month.
I: Did you have any particular feelings about that when
you first started working for them?
M: What, the union?
I: The union, uh-huh.
M: No. I like the union. That's a good...it protects
the people, too.
I: Yeah. I know in the South generally unions are not
well-thought of in a lot of places, and I just wondered
if you had any...
M: Butjif you ever talk to any company that is-'IEs union,
they wouldn't have nothing else but union.
I: Feel like they get better work out of the people or
M: They don't get better work out of them, but youget
paid for what you do and there's nobody gonna...if yai
'Fyou got a certain job to do...that's the way we work.
WeAhave a certain job to do. Well, we do our job
and if we get caught up with something like that, well,
that man can't come over there and bother me and say.
CRK 48A 47
"Well, you got to go over here and do this job, go
there and do that job," and just keep moving you around.
And that's/ one thing that the union protects you from. TfJ'
I: Getting-back to something you said, you said tehy-rel-f I
just not the same, the other people and the ones that
you grew up with. Can you point to any specific
difference in the way you act with the people you grew
up with here compared to the others? Now, I asked
you about borrowing money...
M: Well, one thing about it is because all us guys up
there is related, just about. Andyou're more closer
to, I guess, to your kin-people than you are...
I: You feel closer to them...
M: Right, right. If I go to one of those guys' houses
or something 1 '/I I feel like I'm just at home,
really, you know. Instead of something...I don't care
how close a/stranger is to you, but you just don't go
in his house and...I don't know, just feel completely...
I: Yeah. You feel like you're in your own house almost.
M: Yeah, you feel you're in your own house if you go to one
of these boys' houses or something like that.
-: Has it ever been a case of somebody from here thaj really
Is Has it ever been a case of somebody from here tha really
CRK 48A 48
wasn't in the circle, that sort of just stayed off and
didn't participate with the other people and visit
back and forth?
M: No. They always...if we don't see them at home on
the weekends we see them every day at work _acn o..
And matter of fact, some of us work back together
at the same job.
I: And you're on the same shift.
M: Yeah, on the same shift. On the same shift and have -
the same job. He'll be doing a job just exactly like
my job, and...
I: yeah, uh-huh. Now do you say that all
of the men you know that came originally from this
community, the Indian community, work at Goodyear?
that live in Zion?
M: Every one that ever came from this community is working
I: They are.
M: Just about e-r one.
I: Let me ask you last general...
M: -A- old boy told me up there the other day, said, "We got
CRK 48A 49
more Indians in here than we have, employees." Eat-
I: But thatwas a supervisor or something?
M: Yeah, it was a supervisor. We got more Indians than
we have employees. Then I get to kidding him like that
when he gets to saying we ain't got enough work out,
and I says, "Well,"--and you know, they have a lot of
bosses running around the plant--I saysA "All I can
say the reason you ain't getting no production out is
you got too many chiefs and not enough Indians!" /'/A r
Because, you know, they got a lot of supervisors and
stuff like him. Well, them supervisors ain't doing
nothing, see. I tell them, I say, "You got too many
chiefs and not enough Indians around'yYou're gonna have
to send out some smoke signals and recruit some." OA
I: Well, there's a fair amount of joking about the Indians.
M: Oh, yeah. It's. that other's in the past now as more
of the people been talking.
I: Well has there ever been anybody that you know of that
works up there that's been offended by any of the joking
about being an Indian?
M: No. Everybody that I run into now, I don't care where
CRK 48A 50
I go, just Otrd sit down and talk with them, they all
wish they were Indians now. I mean, you've probably
run across the same _CSL- now that you ?V talk
to them. You get to serious talking with them and
just about--I don't know how/they get it--but just
about everybody you talk to has got a little touch
of Indian somewhere in them. And they can tell you
and they done found it out, figured out where it come
from and everything.
I: Have you ever met any people up there that you hadn't
known before who were Creek Indians that got in on
M: Up there?
M: No. A J.
I: Well, let me ask you...
M: I imagine there's some, but they didn't knaw about it
and they didn't get in on it. They lost out.
I: bux y]JALi k ji ,-how many years ago was it that
that first man that you mentioned got the job at Goodyear?
You know how many years ago that was?
M: He's got about ten years in now, so that's been about ten
CRK 48A 51
I: And I don't remember whether I asked you this or not,
but you had already been up in that part of the country
earlier, working in the fields.
M: In Antigo, Wiscons=in, yeah. But when I was working
on the riverboats I used to run the Mississippi River
and we went all the way to St. Paul, Minnesota.
M: St. Paul, and...that was on the Mississippi, and then I
went up the Ohio to East Liverpool and places like that.
See, I had run all over, been up the rivers and things.
See, I...just about...
I: What were you hauling up the rivers?
M: -/ gasoline and oil. that was from...one company I worked
with, we didn't carry nothing but oil and4gasoline
and stuff. And the last company I worked for, wef strictly
didn't push anything but grain. We'd go up empty and
come down loaded with soybeans, corn, stuff like that.
I: Do you still have a license, operator's license to
M: No. I never did have an operator's license. I was
just more or less a deckhand on there, working on the
CRK 48A 52
boat. You didn't...
I: You don't require any special licensing for just being
I: How much did that pay, by the way?
M: Back when I was doing it, I was getting ab ut five-
something a month.
I: Five hundred a month on it. And how many years ago
M: That's been about eight years ago.
I: How did your brother Oakland, how did he get into that
work in the first place?
M: I really don't know offhand, it's been so long ago. But
a couple of these guys worked around here on a little
old boat down at Pensacola. And he got in with/a guy
who was a captain down there, a man by the name of
Spooner. And he took a liking to Oakland and they tl- H
just kept on W_a 4h tl L boat.
I: Oakland helped others get jobs besides you?
M: Well, Oakland got a lot of these boys jobs on boats
I: Who were some of them?
CRK 48A 53
"M: Well, Shirley __ you know Shirley. I think
he got old Shirley .F, and Randy.44QA..
M: A.D.'s boy, Randy Martin. And 'DI. Gibson, he's
in Pensacola now. He's helped a lot of them. He's
helped a lot of guys get jobs not even from around
here, but, you know, run into them, stuff like that.
I: Let me ask you real/quickly...
M: I imagine he needs somebody to work right now) He's
I always after me when we come back to go to work with
I: What do you think lies in the future for the Indian
people of this community?
M: I don't know. I was talking to Kent yesterday and Kent
was telling me something about this -/ ql,- if they
could in any way....Kent was talking about buying, combining
this section of land here for the school and stuff like
that and make it a...put a swimming pool out there and
make a park area. And/lItell you, that would be one
big help for a lot of these kids to have some place
to go swimming. They already got a nice baLt .down
CRK 48A 54
there if they could fix it up and keep it fixe up.
But we-e gonna have to get together and get them
some little old tractor or something to keep the
thing mowed and stuff like that.
I: Do you see any possiblility of any significant further
changes in people's attitudes about how they look at
life in general?
M: You mean the Indians, how they look...?
M: Well, I couldn't really say, bcaPse I'm not around
here all the time, but I'm...I really wouldn't know
myself because you know, I'm not around here enough,
but I think my mother, she's doing good now.
L '5o rA //4 --
I: / $s she making more quilts now than she's ever made before,
do you think?
M: Yeah, I think she is.
I: A LWhat I was getting at was the kind of joking y'all do
about being Indian up there. I wonder if that ever would
happen down here.
M: Oh, these boys down here, they don't think nothing about
it. They want to be Indians. '-b
--END OF TAPE--