Interview with Georgia Ayers

Georgia tell me about how your family was affected directly by the I-95 building.


The downtown establishment decided that they wanted to make commuting for the haves that lives in the south and the north end, more convenient for the haves to come downtown. So they decided to build that we call I-95 or the expressway. And by doing so, ah, they, in order to get downtown they had to come through Overtown so that meant, and this is, I'll tell you what we said, "The niggers had to go." So they came out and talked to all of the, ah, property owners and told them by eminent domain, this property is needed to build this expressway, you know, growth is coming on and sometimes some people lose and invariably it's Blacks that lose. Few Whites were displaced too but Overtown was destroyed because of urban renewal and because of the expressway. My mother-in-law, well, matter of fact my husband was born in Overtown on Second Avenue and 7th Street. And now Second Avenue, 7th Street is really downtown. Ah, that's where, right across the street from where the Post Office is. But, as I said, my mother-in-law, just on this past Saturday, ah, because she's older now and she's senile. She doesn't like where she is. She thinks that she's living elsewhere. She told my husband she wants to go home. She wants to go to her house on Sixth Court. Well the expressway now covers Sixth Court so in her life, my father-in-law worked for the railroad company all those years to build their house for them. But because, as I said, the downtown establishment and the powers to be felt that needed, ah, a quicker way for the haves to get downtown. They decided to misplace my entire husband, my husband's entire family because all of his family members had to be removed. And he was born Overtown, for the 95 expressway.