Interview with Dorothy Graham

You were just saying something about ownership and Black women? Start that again and tell me--


OK, ownership is a very important thing to Black women. It doesn't seem to matter too much to others, to other ethnic groups, but Black women have always been independent. Black women have always worked for what they want, so when you get this women's movement and all of that, you've always had it, you know, and, ah, I can remember making my own money from about seven years old, the people who lived upstairs in our house, all men, we never rented rooms to women, only men, because men were clean and you didn't have to worry about them, cleaner than women, my mother, my grandmother thought, anyway, and I made money by heating water for them to take baths when they came in at night, five cents a pail because we didn't have hot running water. We had running water, but not hot running water. And six men upstairs, five cents a night, you see, that added up, and that was my money that I had to buy Christmas presents and Mother's Day presents, and things of this sort. We've always worked, we've always saved, we've always worked toward what we needed, and to have all that you had worked for all of these years just pushed away from you, pulled out from under you, you, you can't imagine what that is like. And then looking for somewhere to live, where you had to be careful because there were places you could afford the money but you couldn't afford to live around those kinds of people, and so this is why it took you so long to find somewhere to live.