Interview with Dorothy Graham

So how did your mother take all of this?


It was very rough on my mother. You see, it was her house, that she and my grandmother had worked for. And it meant that everything we had had was being just taken away. Even your shrubbery that you had cherished and had planted, and, ah, you couldn't take that with you**. You weren't being paid very much, and at that time, you see, colored people, Negroes, as we were then called. We were not very sophisticated. We did not know who to go to or what to do in order to even get the amount of money you were entitled to for your land. This hurts and, and, and it brings up, ah, memories that you want to forget. I, I don't know how I can get you to see that, but, it hurts to even think about it. And, we looked night after night, and day after day, and I had a little Black book with every house I looked at, and, ah, I finally found this house, but my mother never got over the fact that we had to move, that her name was taken off the deeds to a house, and somebody else's name, it was my name, because she was too old to start buying a house, so my name was on the deeds to this house. But now, we had mortgaged that house in order to renovate it, you see. And, ah, it meant that whatever we got, whatever we owed the bank had to come out of that, and then what was left over, we would buy another place. However, a lot, out here, this house is on two lots, and that was just about enough to buy two lots in this section, the amount that I got for the house over town, you see. And my son Michael, it was time for him, about time for him to go away to school, so I had to get out of there in order for Michael to be able to go to school, get settled before he could go to school. And it was just devastating. My mother died in '81, and I think by then she was just about to the place that she was accepting the fact that this was just as much hers as it was mine even though her name wasn't on the deed.


Let's stop down now.