Interview with Mrs. Bethunea Hicks, May 27, 1971

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Interview with Mrs. Bethunea Hicks, May 27, 1971
Hicks, Bethunea ( Interviewee )
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Gainesville High School (Alachua County) Oral History Collection ( local )
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This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.

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Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
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This interview is part of the 'Gainesville High School' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
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W: What type of recreation did you have like volleyball, etc.?

H: Most of our recreation during that time a was playing

baseball. We played a lot of baseball and ring-plays.

W: What for example?

W: Yes

H: Well, we would play, during that time we would play "sheep-

shang going to come rolling under." We would hold up the

gates shy high and let King George and his wife come by.

Other ring-plays would be, "Handkerchief is walking" and

others like that.

W: Did you attend any dances in your time?

H: Yes, we attended dances not too regular but sometimes we

would go to dances.s

W: Can you tell me the location?

H: The location would be at the Odd Fellow Hall in the bottoms

part of the building.

W: How old were you when you were allowed to date?

H: When I was allowed to date, I was around 17 years old.

W: That was the limit?

H: Yes

W: Did you attend proms like we do today?

W: Yes

H: No, back then we did not attend proms because when it would

come time for school closing. School would close like today

and that night we would have a big concert.

W: With bands and everything?


H: No, it would not be with bands. It would be the chorus that

was made up from among the children. They would sing and

different ones would have readings and things like that.

W: Were your schools of today structure wise? Was it in a one

room or was it in many rooms?

H: No, our school was just one big room.

W: Were all grades in that room.

H: Yes, all grades were in that room.

W: What kind of material was it made out of like wood.

H: Yes, wood buildings with wood windows or shutters.

W: I am getting to a subject that you might not want to talk

about. What was your first job?

H: Do you mean like I am getting out and making money?

W: Yes

H: Well, my first job I was hired out by a white lady as a


W: How much was your pay?

H: My pay was threes dollars a week.

W: Was it hard during that time to find a job as a young black?

H: Well, no, it was not so hard such jobs as they were if you

would accept jobs that they give you. It was not really too


W: What type of religion did you have back in those days?sd

H: How do you mean?

W: You know, Baptist, Catholic and all of that.

H: It was Baptist.


W: Everyone was Baptist?

H: Yes, I mean in our settlement everyone was Baptist. We all

belonged to one church.

W: What type of activities did you preform in the church like

today they have the BTU.

H: Well, no back in those days, we did not have the BTU. We

would just go out and have Sunday School and service. On

Easter programs, Christmas programs and things like that.

It is a big difference now then it was back along then.

W: We are going to get to the ways that you dressed. What was

the length of the dress.

H: Well, the length of the dresses most girls when they would

have on a short dress it would be down below knees. At

times, the long length dresses would come into style and

back along in then some of the dresses were made similar to

the dresses that are made now. Such as those high-waist

dresses, and some of them have bows in the front and like

that. Well, back along in then dresses were make similar to


W: How long have you lived in Gainesville?

H: I have lived here 17 years.

W: What was the settlement like when you first moved here?

H: Well, when I first moved here, the settlement was poorly.

Because out here it was nothing but woods. There were three

or more old houses around but no store or nothing our here

just mostly woods.


W: How far was the nearest store?

H: The closest store was I would say uptown.

W: Did you have a car back in those days?

H: I did not have any transportation but my husbands was

working away from home. He would always do all of the

buying out where he worked at and he would always bring home

the things that we needed. If there were things he did not

bring home, I would walk to town and go and get them.

W: In the dress styles, did they change when you came to the


H: Well, since I came to the city the dresses are mostly like

they were before I came here. Before I moved here the same

style of dresses that they were wearing here we were wearing

them in the country. So, for changing of the dresses, since

I have been here it has been all the same as it was before I

moved here.

W: What do you enjoy most?

H: What I enjoy mostly now is house-keeping, taking care of my

little great grandchildren and working in the church. I

helped young adults by working in the church in different

programs and especially with the choir. I have worked with

them. I really enjoy working with the young folks in the

choir and different organization in the church.

W: How do the young people differ when you were a teenager?

H: Well, there is a great difference in the young folks now

then it was when I was growing up. The young folks today


are more active and they are really just more active in the

homes and in the churches. They participate in activities

more so then they did when I was coming up. Because when I

was a girl coming up, the grown folks mostly would take over

everything and the young folks did not have anything to do

except play games and things like that. But now, the young

folks seem to me that they are more active in everything and

carrying out everything mostly like it is supposed to be

carried out.

W: Some people say that young people are changing for the worse

like they are using drugs and things. What so you think

about this?

H: Well, I would not say that they young folks are changing for

the worse. Because as far as I can see, the young folks

have changed a lot for the better. You take in the churches

and things, now if is was not for the young folks, there

would not hardly be enough congregation to have service.

So, I say that we just have to look into things like this

and not say that the young folks are changing for the worse.

Because you take these drugs and things, it is just a new

thing that came about. But as far as the young folks

changing for the worse, I would not say that they are

changing for the worse. Because as the time goes by, it

will just be different things for young folks to get into.

These drugs I would say is just a new thing come about. You

take long years ago when the young folks were coming up they


were not using drugs but they were using other things. I

would not say that they were changing for the worse. As far

as I can see, the young folks have proved a lot.

W: What things would they use for example as you started?

H: Well, back along in then it was not drugs, it was what they

called moonshine. A lot of folks was drinking that old

moonshine. That is the reason why that I would not say that

the drugs that they are using now is changing for the worse

because they have just left from moonshine to drugs.

W: Did they have any kind of drugs? Did they smoke anything

like grass and pot?

H: No, not as I know of. I never had heard of it from the

young folks back along in then.

W: Was this moonshine home-made or did you buy it from a store.

H: No, people would have stills and they would make this


W: How much did they sell it for?

H: Along in then, I think that it was $.25 for a half pint.