Interview with Unita Blackwell
QUESTION 24
INTERVIEWER:

OK, NOW DURING THAT SUMMER BLACKS—I MEAN WHITES—LIVED IN THE HOMES OF BLACK FAMILIES. FREEDOM VOLUNTEERS CAME AND LIVED IN THE HOMES OF BLACK MISSISSIPIANS. WHAT DID THAT EXPERIENCE DO? WHAT DID PEOPLE LEARN? WHAT DID BLACK MISSISSIPIANS LEARN FROM THOSE STAYING WITH THEM, AND WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT THOSE STAYING WITH THE BLACK MISSISSIPIANS MIGHT HAVE LEARNED. WHAT WAS THE EXPERIENCE?

Unita Blackwell:

You know, one of the things that was interesting for a lot of the whites that came, they felt that they had to, you know, not clean up and clean themselves up. And that that was the way that it was, you know. They learned that black people were poor, but also that they liked to clean up, clean up their houses, clean up whatever they had. They learned too, black people learned the interaction of whites, would eat with them, you know, and I remember cooking some pinto beans, and that's all we had, and everybody just got around the pot, you know. And that was an experience, you know, just to see white people, you know, coming around the pot and getting a bowl and putting some stuff in, and then sitting around talking, and sitting on the floor, sitting anywhere,'cause you know, wasn't any great dining room tables and stuff that we had been used to working in the white people houses, and go in there and find them all sitting, you know, and everybody sitting and they'd ring a bell or something and tap and you'd come in and bring the stuff and put it around. But this, you was sitting in the floor and they was talking and you know, we was sitting there laughing and I guess they became very real and very human, we each to one another.** Tt was an experience that I guess will, you know, centuries and centuries, that will last a lifetime.