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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.
Interview with Mr. Louis Days conducted by Vicki.Johnson and Shelia Washington,
May 23, 1971.
;D: I have lived here for 65 years.
J: Were you born here?
D: No, I was born about tyAdky miles this side of m
J: What kind of place was it where you were born?
D: Where I was born at?
D: I was born in a log cabin. They were made out of logs. YOu would cut
them with notches in them.
J: Who made it?
D: My granddaddy made it for our home because he was all ready living in one.
We all 4 a surrounding place kind of like a plantation like but all of
the property belonged to him. That is where I was born in a log cabin house.
J: Was that any where near (
D: Do you khow where the tobacco barn is up there on University Avenue?
D: Well, just this side is some big oak trees and/hat is where it was.
J: What was your first job and how much did you make?
D: My first job I can remember it just as good now as if it was then. I was
pulling moss for the cucumbers to keep the cold off.
J: Did you do that for pay?
D: I did that for pay.
J: How much?
D: I got $.15 a day.
J: What did you do with your money?
D: TXRYIYXXXXXJWYXXXXK#YXX YXXgXXYXX I carried it home to mother just
as fast as I could get it.
J: You did not take any and go buy some of the girls some ice cream?
D: I had two sisters and me and mymother. My father had died when I was a year
old. My mother was working hard and my mother was keeping the children for
another mother to go to work and so what work that I did do I would take
my money home.
J: What were some of the things that you did on Saturday night?
D: I went hunting on Saturday afternoon and that was the only time that I had
to go. I would go into the swamp and catch us some rabbits and then come home.
On Saturday night, we might boil some peanuts around the fireaat home.
J: You did not go to any dances?
D: No, I did not even know how to dance.
J: What kind of dances where they doing then.
D: I think..that they were doing some kind of a shuffle.
J: What was everyday for you?
D: I had a part-time job with the people that my granddaddy was a share-cropper
for. I worked with them part of the time. The spare time that I had I would
work out there for that ( ? )for .30 a day.
J: You did go to school did you not?
J: What school did you go to?
D: I went to Professor Space's school up on Chase Street in Gainesville. We had
four miles to walk to get there.
J: Was this an all-black school?
D: It was an all-black school.
J: WHat kind of courses did you take?
D: What kind of courses did I take. I did not have much opportunity to take
any. All I could do was to study that little blue-black Webster and that was
the only book that I had. I did not even get out of it.
J: What was the most exciting experience that you had?
D: I loved to get out there and ride the horses, until one of them threw me up in
a tree one day and I thought that I was gone.
J: Were you told by your parents how to dress?
D: No, I was not told how to dress. They would lay out those pistol-leg pants
with the three buttons on the side. They had three buttons on each side on
the outside and they were straight.
J: That is what you had to wear?
D: That is what I had to wear. I did not ask for anything else because there
was no need to.
J: What kind of transportation did you have?
D: I owuld go into Gainesville sometimes with my granddaddy in his oxen wagon.
He had two oxen and that was how we were transportated back and forth.
You have never seen one of them.
J: Where did-you go in Gainesville?
D: In Gainesville at that time, they use to have a man named HOwell who use to
have a grocery store. He use to have a grocery store there on Second Street and
Second Avenue the best that I can remember. It use to be old Union Street.
Anyway, it was a block this side of the courthouse.
J: What kind of a store was it?
D: It was a combined store with everything groceries, plow tools, harnesses for
J: Was it the kind of a store that you could buy clothes at?
D: You could buy your clothes there. The clothes did not interest me. I did not
look at the clothes-corner. With those pistol-leg pants that I had, I knew
that was all that I was going to get. They use to have cheese in big round
boxes and then you could get crackers in your hand and dig it around. YOu
could get a whole sack of them for a nickel.
J: Compare some of the food that you ate then and some of it that you eat now.
What do you think about food prices today?
D: You could not compare that with this stuff that they have got now. Because
we did not anything in the world to buy except sometimes we would have to
buy a little flour. My granddaddy raised all of his livestock, all of his
corn and his grits everything that he needed. He raised all of that. Some-
times he would buy a little flour and sugar, coffee something like that.
J: In those days, did the kids talk baek to their parents?
D: Oh, no. If they told you to go do such and such a thing there was not
any back talk. We would just say, Yes, mam and go do it. They thought that
was an insult if you looked back.
J : I have heard my grandmother say that when they were young that kids did not sit
up when company came and if you did then you would get spit on.
D: Yes, right in the eye. She was right. YOu did not sit there and stare at
them like the kids do now. Just like if a car was to drive up there right
now in front of your door and if you have got a half dozen kids every one
of them will run out there to hear what you have got to say. We had to run
the other way. WE tried to get out-of- doors while they were there.
J: Do you remember any racial incidents that happened in your time?
D: No. We had once upon a time, incidents that happened. YOu take that we had
(AlR Murray and he was a Negro and his brother was a Negro too. They did
not take anything off of nobody. (Interruption in the tape. A third
person has entered the room and begun talking to Mr. Days. This conversation
is rather difficult to hear but it concerns history of Gainesville.)
D: When my granddaddy came from South Carolina there were two streets in
Gainesville. Two main streets, East and West of the courthouse and that
was how it was when my granddaddy came here from Cambridge, South Carolina.
That is right, there were only two streets.
J: Why did they put the University here?
D: They had an agreement with the city that the city would furnish them with all
of the water and all of the electricity. They moved it in here then. Now, since
they have come here the city wants them to pay for the water. THey have had
a round about that thing. That is exactly why the University is up there.
End of the interview.