Interview with Ethel Mae Matthews

Now, I also want to have you remember, we're still in 1968, right? Dr. King has been assassinated, Resurrection City was mud-bound and then they finally tore it apart. Did you feel discouraged? Did you feel like giving up? Did you think that things were over?


When Resurrection City was coming up? No. But I have, it wasn't, I have, have gotten discouraged and have been discouraged but it wasn't about Resurrection City. It was about things that happened to me in Atlanta. See. Because I just don't know, participated in Resurrection City for two weeks. Been I've been here since 1950 in Atlanta and I thought when I came, you know, that things was, well a lot of things I've found out since I been here from 1950, to up in now, it wasn't what I thought, you know, you see we have come a long ways but we still got a long ways to go. And right now, I don't suppose we talking about the '80s though. But, you know, right now, it's a lot of racism, discrimination. It's a lot of that's going on right now. And it's just, going, you know, a lot of peoples, you know, they got a thing about, "Some White peoples do this to you. Some White peoples do that." Uh uh. I have to say that, your own kind, your own race, they would, they will discriminate against you no worse than the other race will, you know. And don't ask me why. I don't know. But it's sad, it's, it's sad, when your own color who has been cold just like you or worse than you, and God give them a chance to get a good job, stick a pencil behind the ear. You can't go nowhere and talk to them either. And so I don't see it that way, you know. Ah, I know what talk, my parent's didn't teach me what my Black brother and sister would do to me. They taught me the other way that what some mean White people would do to me. They never did sit down and tell me that Ethel Mae, your Black brother, your sister, would do this to you, do that. Because they, but they would tell me, say, "Now, some mean White folk like the Ku Klux Klans and all of that, they will do it to you." You see. I would rather for this young man to spit in my face and for you or him to spit in my face, because I was taught. That's how I was taught. But see, it's just a up-hill struggle, if you are poor and if you're working with poor peoples and trying make a testament for poor people. It's a up-hill struggle. I don't care who you are, you know. If you're poor, you're just poor, you know. And, and, ah, I don't work for just one race of peoples. I work for all poor peoples, regardless of race, creed or color. I would like to see a change for everybody. And a lot of us, you know, who go around and say, "Oh, it's nobody hungry." Yes it is. And somebody who God done blessed, get up and say, "Oh, I done made it. I done made it." But, you know what I say? "Ain't none of us made it till everybody done made it. When everybody be made it, we, all of us, you know, we made it then."