Interview with Dorothy Graham

When I say "Overtown in its heyday", people talk about it in such romantic terms. Wax romantic for me, how do you remember it?


Well, I remember being invited, I wasn't, my mother was invited, to dances, and you didn't go to a dance unless you were invited. I remember the Lyric Theater, which is now to be a very special place because it's a historical landmark now. It was owned by Geder Walker, we saw plays there, there were movies that came there, ah, people came from out of town, actors and actresses, and they lived at the hotels that were here in town because they could not live anywhere else. There were nice restaurants. Second Avenue buzzed, it was, that was the central business section. Third Avenue was business also, but Second Avenue was the place where the special things went on. School was very special. Booker Washington High School was one of the best high schools in, maybe in the South, but definitely in the state of Florida. And, ah, well, Booker Washington has turned out some fine people because of the kind of teaching that went on there, the kind of understanding. They were indoctrinated with certain things, certain things you're supposed to do and certain things you're not supposed to do. For instance, I went to school there and I knew that I had to behave myself. I knew that I had to bring home good grades. My mother told me she paid taxes to pay the teachers and the teachers were supposed to do what she could not do. Therefore, teachers had better not need to reprimand me, anytime, at all. And so, I was never reprimanded in school. But, ah, that doesn't seem to be the way it is now.