Interview with Albert Wilson
QUESTION 10
JUDY RICHARDSON:

If you can ge--start with leaving out of your back door and the sense you're sneaking so you're neighbors and your mother doesn't see you. Just start from there.

ALBERT WILSON:

All right, I, well, I, snuck out the back door after being, after being asked not to go off the front porch or out of the house. I went into the house just to find that there's no one there, you know. No one in there. Everyone's outside.

JUDY RICHARDSON:

OK, we can actually take it, because we're going to take the beginning off.



JUDY RICHARDSON:

OK you can start leaving out the back door and going through the alley so folks wouldn't see you.

ALBERT WILSON:

I did. I snuck out the back door. I went through the alley very inconspicuously in the opposite direction of the houses around the next street to 12th street.

JUDY RICHARDSON:

Sorry, if you could say I did this so that my neighbors and my mother--

ALBERT WILSON:

And I did this--

JUDY RICHARDSON:

Just start, the whole thing at the back door.

ALBERT WILSON:

OK. After I, I went out the back door and I snuck through the alley in the opposite direction so that none of the neighbors would see me going here because they were all outside and they would sure stop me. So I went the other way to end up on 12th Street where quite a few stores had been broken into. I think there was only one, there was one restaurant, Howard's restaurant was open. Black-owned restaurant, and, ah, everyone was in there, all the prostitutes, and early morning pimps were in there discussing the matter of how this occurred and everything. And everybody, everyone congregated right there. I saw all my neighbors there. And I moved further on down the street to the jewelry shop, the loan, the savings and loan, the jewelry shop, where I saw a huge man carrying safes out and this was all hilarious to us because we never thought those things could be moved. They sat in the middle of the store. No one ever thought they would be able to pick them up, but they did. And I entered a couple of the places to see what was going on there. Not to take anything out of there though. But I went up there. I watched them. Places caught on fire actually while I was in there. And, ah, I think I was actually trapped in one place for a while with the fire. I think there was a, a loan office, and I was trapped in there for a while. I had to come down a ladder or, ah, there was part of a wall that was left and I got out of there and I went home and I went back around the back and came back out and went back up on 12th Street, again, where I saw my neighbors again and this time we were going towards the five and dime. And, ah, I was kind of skeptical about going because I knew that I could be seen from that corner. So I had to go around another corner and come through the side which is the side they opened the side of the store. And I went in. To get in there and find that clocks were being taken off the walls and things that you had always wished you could have next door, you could get. OK, so, um, I went to the back to see what was going on back there. And at that time I saw a roll of carpet back there. And, ah, this roll of carpet I looked at and there were my neighbors hiding down behind this carpet. And why they were hiding was, I didn't know. Ah, they told me to come lay down there, hide there, get, "Come here Alvin, and, ah, stay here." At that time I told them, "No, I'm going out!" You know, "I'm going back out." I remember standing up, ah, to go towards the door. I remember seeing the, the officer standing there with a gun pointing towards me and I remember his exact words. I didn't, ah, I didn't listen to him. I went to turn around and lay back down and at that time, ah, I don't know what happened. I kind of Blacked out. I don't remember, I don't every remember being hit by a bullet. I can tell you that. I don't know if anybody understands that, being shot like that and not being able to explain, ah, the feeling. Does it hurt? I don't know. I couldn't tell you. How did I feel? I don't know. I felt like I was asleep. I don't remember, I vaguely remember being taken out of that store. I don't remember too much after that. I remember waking up in the hospital with no one there. I remember a nurse who asked me if I knew who I was. Do I know, she asked me, did I know where I came from? Where I was at? "Sure I know. I was in the five and ten cents store." I, I told them my address, told them the church that I belonged to. She asked me things of, ah, home oriented relationships, like, "Do you know who your mother is?" "Sure I do." "Do you know your phone number?" That's how they contacted by mother, I believe. Because she asked me if I remembered my address. And I told her, "Yes." And at that time they told them to send a telegram because they were probably looking for me. And they was right. They had been looking for me, not knowing where I was. And, ah, I remember the heaviness in my legs and the burning sensation, and, ah, I asked her, "Why were my legs on fire?" And they never, they didn't tell me I couldn't walk or I wasn't going to walk. They said, "You were shot in the spine, in the side, and the bullet damaged your spine." OK, well that was fine with me. I was never in any pain. I was just there in a daze and, ah, the only thing that was ver--any important to me was the weight, the weight in my legs. I felt something leave, ah, spirit or soul. It actually got up and left the lower portion of my body. And I felt that. I don't know if people believe that or if they understand that but I explained that to the doctor. I said, "Well I felt something," you know. He asked me how did I feel? I said, "Well, I felt something leave." And he asked me to try to move my toes and everything and I don't remember if I did it or not. I was in some, he had me in iron shoes or something that I never seen before. And, ah, I think I, I must have slept for days. It just seemed like I slept for days. However, I remember waking up to see my mother, my neighbors, my sisters and my brother. This is in Intensive Care. I don't think they thought I was going to live. They let, where they usually just let one or two people into Intensive Care Unit, here I had six and seven people around, you know, crying and, and, and rubbing my head and I could hear them asking the doctor, "Was he going to live?" And at that time I remember the doctor telling them, "Yes, I think he might live. It's a 50/50 chance but he won't walk." That's the first inkling that I had that I wouldn't walk. Ah, I, I didn't know that. Ah, I remember being transferred from Intensive Care to the wards, ah, where I, I was in still in pretty serious condition at that time. I remember having dreams at that time of being right back there on 12th at the riot. It seems like I never left. I actually went back. I left that hospital room, I don't know how that happens, I, I was there. I never left. I never left. That's the strange thing and I don't tell too many people this because they say, "There's something wrong with this kid," you know. But it's the truth. Things that happened there while I was in this condition, ah, critical condition actually happened. And, ah, I told my mother about these things. And she said, "Well, yeah, it did happen. I don't know how you know." But, ah, I remember wanting my mother to come. And I remember going home, which seemed like I went home. I know I never left that room. But, and getting there, talking with my mother and asking her to come and see me and she would come. I think the doctor said that was all in my imagination, in my mind, possibly due to the drugs that they were, had me one and very--