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Interview with Leona Williams, 1984 July 30

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Creator:Williams, Leona
Creator:Hamrick, Peggy
Title:Interview with Leona Williams, 1984 July 30
Date:1983 Mar. 2
Description:

In this interview, Leona Williams discusses her life in Birmingham, Alabama, during the Depression and the Civil Rights movement. Williams was a domestic on and off during her life. After she moved to Birmingham, she also worked at a funeral home. She recounts living through the Depression, how she was working as the cook and maid for a banker, so she had plenty to eat and could share her earnings with her family. She says her family had no garden, and they cut wood for fuel. She also recalls the Roosevelts coming to Birmingham for a visit. Williams talks about living in the country before her mother brought her to the city. She calls their home a "little shack house," with four rooms and no electricity. She talks about schools in the country as well as how they handled medical problems with no doctors. She describes coming to Birmingham and says she doesn't think of herself as a country person anymore. Williams also describes her participation in the Civil Rights movement. She says she was involved with several marches and knew Martin Luther King, Jr. She cooked for the protesters and often put them up at her house. She remembers having dogs set loose on them, as well as being hit with a spray of water hard enough that she remembers seeing people cut and bleeding, just from the water. She also recalls seeing two men shot at a march. Williams also discusses an incident in which a man claiming to be a police officer caught her out late at night trying to get to her sister's house; he propositioned her, and when she refused, he took her to the police station. But her employers at the time were well known, and they got her released.

Interviewed by Peggy Hamrick on July 30, 1984.

Types:Oral histories | Transcripts | Sound recordings | Text | Sound
Subjects:Williams, Leona--Interviews | King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 | Depressions--1929--Alabama | African American women household employees--Alabama--Birmingham | African Americans--Medical care | Civil rights movements--Alabama--Birmingham | African American women civil rights workers--Alabama--Birmingham | Civil rights workers--Violence against--Alabama--Birmingham | Birmingham (Ala.)--Race relations | 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 | Birmingham (Ala.) | Jefferson County (Ala.)
Collection:Working Lives Oral History Project
Institution:W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library (University of Alabama)
Contributors:William Stanley Hoole Special Collections Library
Online Publisher:William Stanley Hoole Special Collections Library | 2012
Original Material:

Archive of American Minority Cultures

Rights and Usage:

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

Related Materials:

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

Persistent Link to Item:http://acumen.lib.ua.edu/u0008_0000003_0000076