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Oral history interview with MaVynee Betsch, November 22, 2002

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Creator:Betsch, MaVynee, 1935-2005
Creator:Taylor, Kieran Walsh
Creator:Southern Oral History Program
Title:Oral history interview with MaVynee Betsch, November 22, 2002
Date:2002 Nov. 22

Environmentalist MaVynee Betsch removed the letter R from her first name to protest what she saw as Ronald Reagan's disregard for the environment and expunged her middle name, Elizabeth, when she learned that Queen Elizabeth I nurtured the British slave trade. In this interview, she describes her childhood in the 1930s and 1940s in Jacksonville, Florida, a childhood spent in a vibrant black community peopled by pioneering professionals who created institutions to support one another. She remembers her travels in Europe after graduating from Oberlin College in the mid-1950s. And she describes the decline of the African American neighborhood of her youth, a stronghold of economic and cultural independence divided and destroyed by an interstate and chain stores. But if Jacksonville reveals the predatory relationship between development and the black community, Betsch's life in the resort founded by her great-grandfather, American Beach, represents the potential for black Americans in a changing South.

The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the aggregation and enhancement of partner metadata.

Types:Transcripts | Sound recordings | Oral histories (document genres) | Text | Sound
Subjects:Betsch, MaVynee, 1935-2005 | Lewis, A. L. (Abraham Lincoln), 1865-1947 | African American environmentalists--Florida--American Beach | African Americans--Florida--Jacksonville--Social life and customs | African Americans--Florida--Jacksonville--Social conditions | Sopranos (Singers) | United States, Florida, Duval County, Jacksonville, 30.3321838, -81.655651
Collection:Oral Histories of the American South: The Civil Rights Movement
Institution:Documenting the American South (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Contributors:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Documenting the American South (Project)
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Forms part of Oral histories of the American South collection.

Persistent Link to Item:http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/R-0301/menu.html