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Interview with Elizabeth March, 1984 August 1

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Creator:March, Elizabeth, 1914-
Creator:Hamrick, Peggy
Title:Interview with Elizabeth March, 1984 August 1
Date:1984 Aug. 1

In this interview, Elizabeth March talks about growing up in the country and living in Birmingham through the Depression and the Civil Rights Movement. March recalls country life. She explains the system of sharecropping her parents worked under. She also discusses what they did about health problems, handling most of them at home because hospitals were too far. She describes their recreation, how most of it came through the church. However, she says whites burned many of the black churches in her area. March recounts coming to Birmingham as a teenager in order to attend school. While her country school went through only the sixth grade, she claims that it was a better school, because she was ahead when she came to the city. After she finished school, she worked as a maid in the homes of whites. She describes dealing with those families. After working in an Avondale cotton mill, she worked as a maid for the Board of Education for 23 years; she also joined the AFL-CIO. March recalls that the Depression wasn't too hard on her because her husband worked for the city. She remembers buying coal from other blacks who collected the remnants. She also recalls feeding many hobos. She explains how difficult it could be for people to get aid; if someone got mad at their neighbor, they might tell the Red Cross people that that family didn't need aid anymore, and the Red Cross would cut them off without even investigating. March also remembers Jim Crow laws. She says she didn't like the way she was treated but was afraid to push for rights. In particular, she remembers having to move off the sidewalk for whites, being waited on after whites were, and having to call the children of the white people she worked for 'ma'am' and 'sir.'

Interviewed by Peggy Hamrick on August 1, 1984.

Types:Oral histories | Transcripts | Sound recordings | Sound | Text
Subjects:March, Elizabeth, 1914- | Birmingham (Ala.)--Race relations | Rural life--Alabama | Sharecropping--Alabama | Discrimination in education--Alabama--Birmingham | Depressions--1929--Alabama | Segregation--Alabama | AFL-CIO | African American women household employees--Alabama--Birmingham | Women textile workers--Alabama | African Americans--Alabama--Birmingham--Social conditions--20th century | African Americans--Civil rights--Alabama--Birmingham--History--20th century | Depressions--1929--Alabama--Birmingham--Social aspects | Birmingham (Ala.)--Social conditions--20th century | African Americans--Economic conditions--20th century | African Americans--Segregation--History--20th century | New Deal, 1933-1939 | United States, Alabama, Jefferson County, Birmingham, 33.5206608, -86.80249
Collection:Working Lives Oral History Project
Institution:William Stanley Hoole Special Collections Library
Contributors:William Stanley Hoole Special Collections Library (University of Alabama)
Original Material:

Archive of American Minority Cultures

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To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library.

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Forms part of the online collection: Working Lives Oral History Project.

Persistent Link to Item:http://acumen.lib.ua.edu/u0008_0000003_0000044