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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM
INTERVIEWEE: Mrs. Crumpton
INTERVIEWER: Joel Buchanan
DATE: July 26, 1984
B: Good evening, Mrs. Crumpton.
C: Good afternoon.
B: How are you this evening?
C: Just fine, and you?
B: Fine, thank you. Thank you for allowing me to interview you. Mrs. Crumpton,
will you please tell me where your life began.
.C: Right here in Gainesville. When I reached the age of five and a half years
old, my mother became ill. My father was a railroad man, and he decided that
it would be best to put me in Baldwin Haven boarding school at the age of six.
I was too young to go to the school, but my father said if they would allow
him to hire someone to come in, take care of me, bathe me, dress me, get me
ready for school, would they accept me. That was our church school, Baldwin
B: Is that school still there now?
C: No, it is not there now. This is the third or fourth year it has been moved
from Jacksonville, Florida. But it was in Jacksonville. It was the church
school of Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church. We were Methodists.
B: Being there as a young girl, were you required to wear uniforms?
C: We were required to wear uniforms everyday.
B: And what was your uniform?
C: Well, for school we wore blue skirts, white navy blouses, oxfords and socks
and we were allowed to wear little bows in our hair. Then on Sundays, we
wore white uniforms; white pleated skirts and midi-blouses and little
bows in our hair.
B: Now where did you live while you were in school?
C: In Baldwin Haven. It was a boarding school.
B: And how many years were you there?
C: I was there from first to eleventh grade. I did not finish there because
I had pneumonia. I had to come home after my junior year. My parents
decided I had better stay home the next winter. They were afraid that I
would not take good care of myself so they let me stay at home. My father
was running from St. Petersburg to Jacksonville. He was a train porter.
My mother was staying in St. Petersburg with him and so I went to Gibb
High School which I finished there that winter.
B: Do you recall what the cost was for you to go to Baldwin Haven?
C: Well, the cost then I know was $200 a month. My parents had to pay a little
more because of the extra care for me.
B: Was the age of six very young for a young lady to leave home?
C: It was real young, but my mother was sick and my father wanted to be
sure that I was well taken care of.
B: Mrs. Crumpton, being there at that age, do you recall any time that stands
out in your mind about being a girl at that school?
C: Yes. I enjoyed Baldwin Haven. Baldwin Haven was just like a home. I was
admitted to sing in the Glee Club in Baldwin Haven. We were taught how to
cook and how to clean a home.
B: Let us go back to your former first five years. Your father and mother's
C: My mother's name is Mrs. Jessie Stedmyre. My father's name is Frank Stedmyre.
B: What did he do for a living?
C: He was a railroad porter on 39 and 40. That was a train that came through
here from St. Petersburg going to Jacksonville. He went through Gainesville
every other day.
B: And what did your mother do?
C: My mother was a home person. I was the only child.
B: Tell me something about your parents.
C: Well, they were very sweet parents. They cared for me very much. I was
brought up very strict in the home. I had to go to church. When I was
home in the summertime I had to go to Sunday School, and stay through
morning service on Sunday.
B: Now you say a strict home, what does that mean?
C: A strict home was this: there were certain hours I had to be at home.
I could not go out and come home whenever I pleased. That was not allowed
in my home.
B: I see. Being such a young person away from home, and being in a boarding
school, do you think that made you more of a responsible person or a
better person or did it make you a little distant from your family?
C: I was not distant at all because my family visited me quite often. When
school was out, I came home. I was home on the holidays. We were in school
nine months of the year but on the holidays we were allowed to come home.
B: What was your transportation?
C: I came on the train with my father. He would bring me on the train.
B: Let me ask you about that. Back in the days when your father was porter
on the train and he was making his runs, do you recall the train being
divided for the blacks and the whites?
C: Oh, yes. The trains were divided. The blacks were in the first coach
and the whites were in the back coach and you.were not allowed to sit with
the whites. You always had to sit in your own coach.
B: What did you all do about meals on the train?
C: No meals were served on the 39 and 40, not for blacks.
B: Now as a daughter of a porter on the train, did it cost you anything to travel?
C: No, the family had a pass. Mother and I had a pass. In fact, we would go
off to different places in the summer time and we did not have to pay.
B: That was a pretty good job.
C: Oh, certainly.
B: Approximately how many years did your father work for the railroad?
C: My father worked for the railroad over forty something years.
B: Now are your parents living today?
C: No, my father has passed, but my mother is living.
B: And this is home that I am in tonight, the family's home?
C: This is the family's home, I was reared in this home.
B: Has the area changed very much since the beginning when you were here as
a little girl and being raised up in this area?
C: Yes. This area has changed because a lot of us have grown up, left home,
and in different ways we have more privileges now than we used to have.
When I was a child, the blacks could not even go to the university. When
I finished high school I had to go to Daytona.
B: Now how did you know that you could not go to the university?
C: My parents took me to the university to go to school and I was not allowed
to go. They said, "With her average, she can take extension from the
University of Florida. We will send her work and her books to the Seagle
Building on University Avenue. You will go there and pick up her books.
She will mail her lessons in to the school. Then she can go to the
superintendents office to take her exams." I had to do that.
No blacks were allowed at the University of Florida at all. My mother
would go up to the Seagle Building and pick up my books, and bring them
home. I would do my work and she would mail my work in to the university.
When the time came for me to take my exam, I would go to the county
office here in Gainesville. I would go in the back of the superintendent's
office and take my exam. He would take the exam and mail it to
C: the university and they would mail my grades back to me at my address.
Now that is how I took extra courses at the university.
B: What did that make you feel like then?
C: Well, I felt bad. I lived near the university. I could walk to the university
from my home herei'hich you know. But could not stay at home and take my
college work. I had to go off to get it. It was most disturbing to me
and my family. We paid taxes yet I could not go to the University of
B: Now where did you go to college?
C: I went to college at the Bethune-Cookman College and I went ot Tallahassee
to further my education.
B: So you got your master's from Bethune-Cookman?
B: Were you on campus when Mrs. Bethune was there?
C: Yes. I sang in the Bethune-Cookman choir while I was there.
B: Tell me something about being on campus with Mrs. Bethune.
C: Which you know, Bethune-Cookman is a very religious Methodist school.
And it is a very nice campus. The college is very active. You would have
to come up to certain standards to be in Bethune-Cookman. It was for the
better students and for the better families. It was for religious
B: What was it like being there with Mrs. Bethune, you know we hear so much about
her, her very refined behaviour, her values?
C: Yes, she was very refined and very, very strict on her students. At, certain
hours we were in the dorm. At certain hours we were on the campus. At
certain hours we were allowed to go out. Girls were chaperoned to town
B: Did she have very much to do with the students day-to-day?
C: Yes. When she was not traveling, she was right with the students working
from one classroom to another, seeing to it that you were there. Three
demerits, you were out.
B: Were you allowed to come back?
C: Well, no. When you got that first demerit, they gave you a chance to think,
that second demerit let you know that you were just there on borrowed time,
and the third one, you were sent packing.
B: Did Mrs. Bethune come out and teach you all or give you lectures and things
of that nature?
C: Yes she did. She would come out and give us lectures on the campus.
Especially when she came back from her travels she would tell us different
things that had happened. She would come to chapel and tell us how to
be ladylike. You were taught that in Baldwin-Haven, how to be a lady.
I would not take a thing for growing up in those two institutions.
B: Let us just digress for a moment. You just made a point about growing
up in those two institutions, being a lady. There is so much current
information about the quality of values and education for blacks,
Would you say that you had the very best: preparation at those two
C: Yes, I would say that.
B: Would you put yourself equal to any person at your level today to stand
next to them?
C: Yes, I would.
B: So you say that you got the quality and the substance then?
C: That is right.
C: Because I had a good background.
B: Now what does that mean?
C: That means I had, in the beginning, training at home. Therefore, it
just was polished off when I went to the two institutions.
B: As a young lady, what were some of the things you did for socializing?
C: Well, for socializing we had parties. We were trained how to have a party,
and what to serve. That is why I am so helpful in my church now.
I organize most of the church's parties myself. And I have parties here
in my home. I make up my own menus. I was taught that.
B: Is that a good thing to be taught nowadays to girls?
C: I think it should be. Every lady should know how to entertain and when to
entertain, who to invite, who not to invite.
B: Being near Mrs. Bethune, seeing her on campus, and being a part of her
"children", as she used the term, has being at Bethune-Cookman made an
impact on your life?
C: Being there gave me encouragement to go on, and not back down on anything.
I could face the future. In teaching, I have taught my children who were
under me to never give up. I would not give up. They said I could not go
through the University of Florida, but I could take extension. I took it,
and made a B average. I could have gone on to take all my subjects there if
they had allowed me.
B: I have heard that a lot of black persons start teaching after they had
an eighth grade education.
C: No, I started after I finished twelth grade. My first school was in
Hawthorne. I taught there two or three years and my salary was $48.00
a month. Then I was sent out another school as principal of that school
and the salary was raised.
B: Was this a one-room school?
C: It was a one-room school with two teachers. We taught elementary school.
The two of us divided the subjects.
B: What made children come to school then?
C: Well, I encouraged them to.come. I would give them little parties.
Especially those who made good grades, you know. Then, sometimes,
I would stay over and go to church with them cause these children loved
for the teacher to go to church with them. I would visit the parent's
home and so that I could know better how to teach the child. You know you
have to visit the homes when you are teaching in order to know just how
to control the child. It is very important because if you do that, you
know how to handle the child in the classroom. A teacher has to work
with the parents.
B: Now, was it expensive for you to go to school then?
C: My parents put me through school.
B: Why did they do that? Was that important to them?
C: They wanted me to finish school. Surely, I was the only child. I was
loved by my parents.
C: No. I -would not say that. I was not spoiled. I had what I needed. I
would not say I had everything that I wanted, but I had what I needed.
I was the only child, and my parents were able to take care of me.
B: I see. Is there anything about your college career that stands in your
mind as being an important event or an important person? Something that was
special about those years you were at Florida A&M or at Bethune-Cookman?
C: At.Bethune -Cookman I sang in the choral class and I was in different clubs
on the campus. At Tallahassee, I sang in the chorus and we had clubs
on the campus and I participated in those. That stands out in my mind
because we were very close classmates. We worked together, and we traveled
to different churches.
B: Your parents allowed you to travel?
C: Yes, with the church.
B: So was your education and the church closely knit together?
C: Yes, they were close together.
B: Back at Bethune-Cookman did you have to wear uniforms?
B: And did you live on campus?
C: No. I did not live on campus the last two or three years. The freshman
have to live on campus. So when I wanted to live off the campus my
father sent my aunt, Mrs. Bessie Richardson, with me to Daytona and I lived
off the campus with her.
B: You mean to tell me he sent your aunt down there to be in Daytona in order
for you to live off the campus?
C: Sure, we stayed down there. I did not live off campus in someone's
home alone. I was not married, and I was a young woman.
B: That was not proper?
C: Not to live off campus alone in those days, no.
B: Now what did your aunt do while you were in school?
C: She took care of me. She did all my work so I did not have anything to
do but study.
B: Were you a good student?
C: Pretty good student.
B: Well, that is good. After you finished from Florida A&M, did you decide
to come back to Gainesville to teach, or did you teach any other place?
C: I taught right here. But they did not pay quite as much as Levy County
and I left and went to Levy County and taught there and when they raised
salaries here, I came back.
B: So what.schools have you taught in Gainesville, Alachua County?
C: I taught at Eastside High School for about ten or twelve years.
B: As a teacher who taught twenty-five years in the school system, how have
you seen things change, or have you seen things change?
C: Oh, yes. I have seen things change. Children have changed. They do not
obey like children did then.
B: Why do you think that?
C: I know, I do not have to think that. I know they do not.
B: Why don't they?
C: Well, it is because-parents are not interested in their children like they
were in those days. Parents used to come to PTA meetings. They would
ask teachers about their children's work. Now, you can talk with parents
but if you do not just tell them about their children's work, they will
not even ask you.
B: What made parents be interested in their children then?
C: I guess from way back, their parents were interested in their children
more so. Parents are not interested in their children like they used to
be. I hate to say it but it is true.
B: What about supplies in the school system?
C: Oh, there is plenty of supplies now, but when I taught school there were
B: What did you do for supplies? Did you have to make yours or what?
C: Yes. Sometimes we would have to make up our own spelling, or own math
because some of the pages would be missing. See, we would get the books that
were used over at the white school and sometimes the pages would be torn
out. That was way back, but in my last beautiful year, I had everything
B: Do you feel that you did an excellent job with the supplies that you had
twenty years ago?
C: I do, because I had it to do.
C: In order to let the children learn, you had to be a pretty good teacher
to do that. I taught at Hawthorne when I first started but we did not
have lunchrooms. Children brought their lunches to school. We did
have water on campus.
B: As a teacher, at this school in Hawthorne, did you have a person who was
your administrator over you that saw you daily? Who was in charge?
C: Yes, we had a principal, Mr. Hamp Williams.
B: Was he on campus with you?
C: Yes, he was staying at the shcool.
B: And then when you left Hawthorne, where did you come to?
C: I went on to Levy County, to Williston High School. I taught there for fifteen
B: Was it worth your time commuting from Gainesville to Williston?
C: Yes, it was worth my time because I was making a little more money.
B: Now did you drive daily or did you stay there?
C: We just commuted.
B: Were you involved in the activities of the county?
C: Very much so. Very much so.
B: Now was that expected of you or you did what you wanted to?
C: I did it because I wanted to. In order to get my children to go to church
more. See, when the teachers would go, the children would love to go and
be with the teacher at church, and they would ask, "Are you going to
church? Are.you going to stay and go to church? Coming back and going
to church with us? When I said yes, they would be there.
B: I know as a teacher you are going to probably give me a very positive
answer, Were children more interested and committed to learning then
than you think they are now?
C: Very much so, yes. Because, I think the parents pushed them more than the
parents do now.
B: Is that the reason you are where you are today?
C: Yes, my parents encouraged and supported me.
B: Do you think we need more of that now?
C: Parents need to play with their children more. They need to go with them
more. I never did go into a school that my parents did not go and see
how.I was getting along. Not just ask me, they would go to my instructor
and see how I was getting along. I appreciate that to this day.
B: Did you have any special events that you did as a teacher with your children
in Williston or Hawthorne?
C: Yes, I was a music teacher at Williston, and I would have the children sing,
teach some new songs and new games and so forth as a music teacher would do.
B: Really. We have talked about the school and you being at the school. Tell
me more about your family. There were no brothers and sisters?
C: No brothers and sisters.
B: Did your mother have a sister?
C: Yes, she had family.
B: Their names please,
C: Well, Mrs. Bessie Richardson, her sister. Miss Mamie Trapp was her sister.
Her brother was Mr. Tom Johnson. Mr. Cary Johnson and I had an aunt that
C: passed before my time, Miss Sarah Johnson, and I had an uncle pass before
my birth and his name was Willie and I was named after him in memory.
B: Now were they all here in Gainesville?
C: This was their home.
B: This is a lovely home. I am enjoying being here this evening.
C: Glad to have you.
B: Thank you. Was this community, it is now called the Fifth Avenue Community,
I do not know what it was called years back, was this the better section of
town for the blacks?
C: Yes, on this side of town it was better for blacks.
B: Now what was the street in front of you called?
C: Church Street. When I was a child it was Church Street. Now it is Fourth
Place. We enjoyed this area then. My mother would cook cookies and have
the children to come in and we would have little parties in the yard. I
did not have any brothers or sisters so that is the way I was entertained,
with communicating with other children in the neighborhood.
B: Now is there anything that is on the Fifth Avenue strip now that was there
and that was important years ago to the black community, building wise
that is still there today?
C: No, they had the old theatre, used to be on Fifth Avenue cross the street.
Right across Fifth Avenue. It was on Fifth.Avenue but it was in the left,
here on the right side of Fifth Avenue.
B: Any other buildings that were important, that used to be used years passed?
C: Yes, they had the church that was on Fifth Avenue, you know. It was the
AME church, on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Eighth Street.
B: Did you go to Lincoln?
C: No, I have never gone to a public school other than one year and that was at
St. Petersburg at Gibbs High.
B: Only one year at a public school?
C: That is right.
B: Did you feel that you should have taught at a public school, having gone
to a private school?
B: There are not many public, private schools now for blacks are there?
C: No, I do not think there are very many private schools now cause everything
is merged, you know, to boys and girls going to schools now and we all mixed
now so this, all that is cut out.
B: Now wasn't there more that just one school in Gainesville for blacks
then? Was Lincoln the only school for blacks?
C: Only school then.
B: It was?
C: Yes, for blacks.
B: And did that go through twelth grade?
C: That went to twelth grade in my time.
B: And you were here, now why did you go to Gibbs to go to school to finish?
C: Well, my mother was staying down there.
B: And then she moved back?
C: Back home, yes.
B: Did you all, having such a large house that you are in, a two-story home,
did you all ever take, your mother ever take, young ladies in that were
here training to be teachers already?
C: No, we never had anyone stay other than the family.
B: The family.
B: What was it like living in Gainesville, being the only child and a black
girl, educated, with the white society? Or even just dealing with the black
C: You know what? I have always felt comfortable around the white.
It did not matter about color to me. I was brought up in a moxed school
in Baldwin Haven. It was white and black.
B: Oh, was it?
C: It was. So see, the color did not make any difference with me. I felt
very comfortable working with the white after I finished.
B: And you said this school Baldwin Haven was the church run high school?
C: Yes, and it had black and white teachers there. Do oyu know Miss Jessie
C: She was one of the teachers there when I was going to school.
C: Really, she is black.
B: Yes, but now, Bethune Cookman, was that an integrated school then or was
it predominantly black, all black?
C: It was predominantly black but white could go.
B: Did they?
C: Yes, we had one or two whites, yes. We had white teachers too.
B: At Bethune Cookman?
C: At Bethune Cookman. So see, the color did not mean anything to me.
I was very comfortable working with them.
B: Did you have any problem at any time, were you mentioned about your
lessons from the university and going back and forth. Was there ever any
time you had any confrontations that might have left a place in your mind?
C: Yes. The problem that Ihad in my mind why I had to go to Bethune Cookman
when I could walk right here and go to school, and that has always stuck
with me, all my life.
B: How did your parents explain that to you?
C: They told me that they just could not let me, they would not accept me
because I was black. But do not let that hold me back There were other
schools that I could go to, and be sure that I made good by going.
B: Have you had a chance to study on campus since things have changed?
C: No, I did not have a chance to go.
B: Would you want to now?
C: Yes. If I want to take any extra courses or anything I want, I can go now.
B: Would you?
B: But you do not need to do it?
B: What do you think about all the publications concerning blacks not being
B: able to read, not being equal to whites. Do you think that is a true
statement, or how do you feel about that?
C: What do you mean by being equal to white?
B: Well, I guess what I am saying is that all the publications say that
whites do not do well on tests. Blacks can never stand and be next to a
white and do the same they do and be equal to them.
C: Why? Why can we not stand? That has been my question. Why can we not
stand as educated. If we are educated, I think I could stand with anybody
else. Why not? I mean, I never could understand that. They say we can
not. We are not capable. Why are we not capable? I have worked with
white that just know about as much as I do.
B: Do you feel that the cause may be that we have not had all that they have
had that we are at a disadvantage.
C: Yes. Now that could be it. But I feel like I am just as important as
anyone else. I am a human being like the whites are.
B: What was the difference that you saw in the school system from the
black schools when they changed to hte mixed schools? What was the big
difference that you saw?
C: The big difference was some of the children were afraid. That is number one.
Was it comfortable when it first opened? They were not comfortable.
And some of the teachers were uncomfortable too, I think, because
we did not know how it was going to work out, but after the third year,
I think everybody just simmered down. It worked well.
B: Were you working in Gainesville at the time?
C: Yes I was. When they were changing over. But it was all right.
B: Was it?
C: Yes, it worked out fairly well. After the third year, it you know,
everybody began to simmer down, and said, well, this is it.
B: Do you think we will go back to that, all black, all white schools?
C: No, I do not think so. I do not think so.
B: You do not?
C: I do not think so.
C: Why would you go back?
B: Well, they are saying now that blacks in the school system are not equal to,
B: not coming to whites and that you have your own societies, you do not
have blacks making the grades that they should make.
C: As long as they say that, that will be. But it is not so. Every white
does not come up. Is that right? Am I right?
B: That is right.
C: Every white does not come up, Some of the black do not come up. Some
of the blacks come up, do they not?
C: And do some of the whites come up?
C: Okay. That is your answer. Do not ever think that blacks can not be
equal with the whites because that is the worst statement they can make.
I am just as important as every white woman in this town.
B: Are you?
C: I am. I may not have the money. Now that is where we may be different.
But other than that, I will measure up. From housekeeping up to the classroom.
B: This question I have been asking, I am not quite sure I am going to
get a very loaded answer and you are going to probably run me out of
here, the children that you taught, did they get the very best from
Mrs. Stedmyre Crumpton?
C: I gave them my best, If they had taken it in, some of them I know took
it in cause some of them are working on different good jobs, have good jobs.
I have been in contact with some of my students and I am very proud of
B: You have done a good job. You feel that you have been successful then
as a teacher?
C: Yes. I do feel that I have been,
B: Would you teach again if you had to?
C: If I had to, I would. But I am retired now, I want to rest,
B: Let us go back about fifty years or thirty years. If you had a chance
to do it all over again, would you be a teacher, or what else would you have
C: I would be a teacher. I would love to be, if I had to go back that far, yes.
C: It is a need for, now first of all, if you do not like children, you
should not teach school, I had students to tell me, Mrs. Crumpton,
I would like to be a teacher and be just like you. I said, do you love
children? That is the first thing I asked her. Do you love children?
And if they say, well, no. I said well, do not be a teacher then.
Because you got to first love children to be successful in teaching
because you are going to come into contact with children all the time,
and you are going to have to be a light for the child. You want to prick
hte child, you want the child to love, to want to be educated. You want
to give him an example, like you take me for an example. You want to
be an example for the child so you have to love children in order to be
a successful teacher. See, you can just teach school and not be successful
in what I call successful in helping the child. Then I say I am successful
when I can help the child.
B: And were you successful?
B: Do you feel the black children are getting a better education today than they
C: I think they have more material to work with than they had then. Therefore,
most of them are getting a good education now.
B: What about the quality of the teacher?
C: Now that depends on the person about the quality of teachers. You know
a lot of us, just go you know, just to be teaching. Then some of us went
to college, finished college, got our degree in order to be a good teacher,
so you have to weigh that. You have to weigh that out. Couldn't say,
you know, what is successful for everybody.
B: Let us go on to the teaching. Did Mrs. Crumpton do very much traveling?
C: Yes. I have traveled a little. My father was a railroad man. I would
go off every summer. I would go to New York or Washington, oh, different
.places all the time in the summer after I would get out of school.
B: Now when you traveled on a train, you had the separate cars. Were you able
to live in hotels and motels?
C: No, you did not live in motels. I had relatives in different places that
I would go and we would live with them, but if you would go other than that,
I mean like if I went to, most places that mother would take me, we had
relatives, so we would live with them. But they would call them boarding
houses. You could not live in a motel. No, my goodness, no. That was
just for whites.
B: Did you ever wonder why?
C: Yes, I wondered why I could not live there. Because I felt that I was a
human being just like the whites. We could not eat in certain places, you
B: As a child, were you ever, thought of how to, not disobedient, but did you
ever try to do those things that you could not do concerning black and
white and have to be suffered about it? Did you ever try those things?
C: Well, I did not get a chance to go to a white restaurant around here.
You know to try, you know what I mean.
B: Yes. It was something that you just did not do.
C: No, no. I did not do it because I did not get a chance to.
B: Now what did the black teachers ... you were from a well-to-do, outstanding
family in Gainesville. What did you all do for entertainment?
C: Well, we would have parties sometimes, We would have parties here. I always
B: Did you all ateend a lot of social clubs?
C: We have different clubs now. We had a club meeting yesterday here.
B: So that is the reason why there are so many clubs among the black
C: Yes. So you can entertain yourself.
B: Were you able to enjoy yourself in doing that?
C: Yes, we did enjoy ourselves doing it.
B: In our interview, you talked a lot about church. What church were you talking
about that you were a member of?
C: Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church.
B: Have you been a member of that?
C: All my life.
B: Now that is the church that is right now on Second Street?
B: What was it called then?
C: Mount Pleasant United Methodist, Mount Pleasant Church.
B: Now was the street called Second or was it called Pleasant?
C: Pleasant, when I was a child it was Pleasant Street,
B: What was on the north side of that?
C: Dr. Ayer's office.
B: What was on the south?
C: There were just homes on the south side.
B: Was that street more of the prominent families composed to here on Fifth
Avenue? Which one was the main area for blacks then?
C: Well, the main area for blacks was Pleasant and Fifth Avenue, you know.
Those were the main streets.
B: Were there any other doctors offices on Pleasant Street?
C: No, I do not think there were any-other doctor's offices on Pleasant Street.
B: What else was there besides Mount Pleasant and Dr. Ayer's office and homes?
C: Just a barber shop.
B: A barber shop?
C: That is all that was on Pleasant Street.
B: It is said that when ladies in the early years had to go downtown to shop
to buy clothing, that was something you just did not do, or even childs
clothing. Did you have that experience?
C: No, I did not have that experience at all.
B: Were you able to shop?
C: Yes, my mother shopped for me every year. You know she had to get me ready
to go back to school. And of course, I wanted new clothes to go back to
school, and my mother would take me up to Wilson's. That was one of the
nice stores in the town was Wilson's. We would go to Wilson's and mother
would get me clothes. I did not have any problem shopping.
B: Do you ever recall any bad problems that happened in this area with blacks
B: Would you say that it was a pleasant to live then?
C: It was a pleasant to live then.
B: It was?
C: I tell you, we could just, mother and I, we could go to town from here and
just push the door through, the screen through, and leave the door unlocked,
so the, mother said so the house would be cool when we came back. But you
can not do that now. We sit on the porch now with our, with the door
locked when you came the gate was locked.
B: You think that it was a pleasant area to be with no problems.
C: No problems whatsoever. We would go all the way to town. I would take my
daddy's dinner in the summertime. We would be here. Meet the train, just
C: push the screen through and run and take his dinner down and meet the train,
give him his dinner and run back home. Yes. Did not do all this locking
up. We would go and sit over to my aunts. You know, she is right across
the street from me. And we would sit on her porch sometime till late night
in the summertime. You know, it is hot, and we would just kick the door
through here. And sometimes when she was coming over here she would just
push her door through and leave the screen and the house would be cool
when you go back. But you can not do that now. Everybody fastens up.
Well, I say it was a better time.
B: Was it? Did people, well you say this about locking up, was there a
closeness among the community?
C: Very much so. Neighbors thought about one another. The whole community
cared about one another. Your sorrow was their sorrow. Your joy was their
joy. But now you don't know your neighbors.
C: And sometimes people just don't know what has happened. Nobody thinks about
B: Mrs. Crumpton, when did Mrs. Crumpton become Mrs. Crumpton?
C: About ten years ago.
B: Were you single up until that time?
B: Tell me the name of the gentleman that you married.
C: Mr. Ike Crumpton. He's from Detroit.
B: And he's still with you now?
C: Right now.
B: The very home that you're in now, who lives with you?
C: My husband and my mother. My father passed years ago.
B: Would you ever leave this home?
C: Well, I just love my home. I was reared in this home and I plan to live
here forever unless something happens. I'm comfortable here. I enjoy
B: I've enjoyed talking with you. I've enjoyed being in the home with you and
C: I've enjoyed having you.
B: Thank you. Everything supposedly was within the black community
for blacks to live. There are supermarkets, barber shops, restaurants,
so forth. Would that be all here at Fifth Avenue in this community?
C: Now you know on Fifth Avenue, I know little, I was reared right here.
B: You were one block from Fifth Avenue.
C: But that's the street I never was allowed to just go on all the time.
B: You were not?
C: No. Only to cross Fifth Avenue. But they would say just you know,
like girls walk out and go on Fifth Avenue and be walking up and down
Fifth Avenue in the afternoon. I couldn't do that.
C: Well, most of the time the young men would be on.Fifth Avenue and my
parents thought it wasn't ladylike for you to be hanging around on the
streets and on the corners. So, I never did go out on Fifth Avenue.
I go out Fifth Avenue more now than I did in my growing up time. As
I first said, my parents were very strict.
B: What would you encourage the young ladies today to do ?
C: Well, I would encourage the young ladies to be more ladylike. I would
encourage that. I would encourage them to dress better, very much so, be
more ladylike, I would encourage that.
B: Do you feel that the values at home have gone down somewhat?
C: Well, I don't know. I guess so because now they are building modern
homes now, you know. And they are not building bungalows now, like mine,
but I'm enjoying mine, because I keep it up.
B: If you had to leave a statement that you would like a young man or a young
lady that listens to this.tape the next fifty years, what would you want
to leave with them that you think would be important for them to hear
from Mrs. Willy Mae Stedmyre Crumpton?
C: First of all, if she's a young lady, be a young lady. Get your education
and get a good job. Prove to the world that you can be equal to anybody.
That goes for the man and the lady. First get your education so that you
can be equal to anyone. Prove your equalization by working shoulder
to shoulder with the other race. Let them know that you can do. Just
as important as they are.