Interview with Mary Williams, May 13, 1971

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Interview with Mary Williams, May 13, 1971
Williams, Mary ( 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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N)-- Mrs. Mary Williams -----harrgtna -rvi- e (I Diane Mobley -Interviewer
815 s.w. 8th Street GHS
Gainesville, Florida

I: Mrs. Williams, I would like to know something about your family


N: Well, here we go again. Well, I'll say uh, it was kind of rough for

a while. You know, back long and then it was really rough with us

Negroes as you may not know, but I do. And I've known the times

when at seven 0 clock in the morning, we would have to be--and the--

you know the people, on the people's job working like sit in

the back or chopping cotton, hoeing peanuts and things like that.

That's the way we had to make a living.

I: Okay, how much money was made you know, by picking tobacco and chop-

ping cotton?

N: Well, people paid more for working in tobacco than they did for pick-

ing cotton because they paid you by the day for working in tobacco,

which would run, I11 say between seven and eight dollars a day. And

picking cotton you picked cotton by the hundred, which they

paid you three dollars a hundred.

I: And how was your family life, you know. How many kids was in the

family and what routine--what were your chores of doing?--uh, you

know, like taking care of the house?

N: Well, it was a large family. It was eight head of kids and my mother

and father, and I was the oldest one and I always had to do the house-

work, which is clean house, keep the yard, and do the washing and

ironing and so forth.

I: How was your school life back in those days?

N: Well it was kind of rough too, because we had such a long ways to

walk toschool. Well you know that back and then, that's the only

way that kids did get to school was to walk.

I: Hm. Hm.

N: And we had quite a long ways to go and it was kind of rough on us

but afterall we did make it.

I: And how was you know, dinner? What did you get for dinner?

Did you go home or you brought your dinner from home?

N: No, because along in then they were getting what you call the govern-

ment food, and they would always, we would always have dinner after


I: Mrs. Williams, what was church like back in those days?

N: Well, church was quite a bit ofzdifferent between the church then and

what it is now, because people didn't use pianoes and they just had

what you call the good ol' time religion and it wasn't all this choir

singin' and goin' on we just really had good service.

I: Well, when you got back from church, what did you do for entertainment

or did you do anything?

N: Well, we would mostly come home after church and have lunch, and in

the afternoon we just sit around, do nothing.

I: Mrs. Williams, back in those days, what was your way of having fun?

N: Well mostly would be when what we call our little boy friends came

around and we would mostly be out with them and seem like that was

about the biggest fun that I had.

I: Mrs. Williams, what do you think of the teenagers of today?

N: Well, it's quite abbit of difference in the teenagers nowdays and

what it was when I come along. Because when I was coming' long, my

mother never did 'low us to go out and be out with the boys after

night and the boys hold our hands and kiss on us and things like

that, and nowdays the girls don't think that they're having (really)

a nice time unless the boys is always carrin' them out somewhere

you know, like the movie or something like that, and being out late
I __________________________


at night. Why they just think that's just uh, just it now and

we never did do anything like that and so it's just a whole lot of

difference in the teenagers now and what it was when I came along.

I: Well, would you like to be a teenager of today?

N: WEll, I don't think I would like to be a teenager not now because

seem like they are just too wild now.

I: Well, what do you think about the dope, you know, most teenagers are

on the dope.

N: Oh, I think that is just something terrible, and all the teenagers,

girls and boys, seem like is taking the habit up.

I: Vell, when you was a teenager, what habit did the gang have?

N: Well, as far back as I can remember, it wasn't anything much like that

going on no more than achohol.

I: Did you ever try any while you was a teenager?

N: Oh yes I sure did but it just wouldn't work.

I: Did it make you sick?

N: Well, yes it made me awful sick, I had that terriblest headache then

that I've ever had in my life.

I: Well, what about smoking' did you ever slip and smoke?

N: Oh yes. I tried smoking' and it wouldn't work.

I: Mrs. Williams, on a holidays such as Christmas, what did you do?

N: Well, on Christmas Eve we would mostly take that day for

and we'd get our little Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, night

which we would really enjoy them on Christmas day.

I: Well was it any fun in you know, getting the presents or did you--the

kids back there believe in Santa Claus?

N: Oh, yes we had much fun because see Christmas was just once a year

and we that's about the only time that we would get you know,

little presents like, and we just really enjoyed them to the very



I: This interview was made May the thirtieth, nineteen seventy one.

Mrs. williams I would like to thank you for devoting your time

for this rather short interview. And I thank you.

* end.