Interview with Ethel Mae Matthews

What were you fighting for? Not just then, but in general?


We were fighting for dignity, respect, and a better way of life. And more money for welfare recipients to live on. More money for the welfare mothers to get their children school clothes, and things like that, we were also fighting for credit. Some of us got it and some of us didn't get it. And so that's what we were fighting for. And we was fighting for them to put a handle to our name. You know. Because it had been down through the years, you know, Sue, Ann, you know, Annie, Aunt, Aunt, and all of that stuff. But you know, down here in the South, you worked for White peoples, and they got a little girl, when she turned ten, they, ah, the mother'd take you up in a corner. I know what I'm talking about 'cause that's what she did for me. She said, ah, "So-and-so turning on ten years old, now you have to call her `Miss'." And so we decided we would fight for some of that, too. That we wanted a handle to our name. And we thought, and when we got that handle to our name. I tell you, you might think, you know, ah, that Mrs. Matthews is this and that. I do not answer nobody when they call my house and say, "Can I speak to Ethel, or this," I say, "Who-what Ethel do you want?" "Ethel Mae Matthews." I say, "I don't know Ethel Mae Matthews." I say, "I know Mrs. Matthews." 'Cause that's what everybody know me by, Mrs. Matthews. So that's what we were fighting for.