Interview with Oscar Fendler
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QUESTION 1
INTERVIEWER:

OK. If you can tell me about the  [ gap: ;reason: unintelligible ] .

OSCAR FENDLER:

This interview has been suggested to me would cover a period from 1933, maybe to 1936, which is probably the most miserable years ever spent in eastern Arkansas. We're in Mississippi County where you are right now in Blytheville. Money, nobody had any money in 1933. That was just before President Roosevelt, you know, took office, March 4th, 1933, and then when he was in there they had the Bank Holiday and they closed all the banks. He, he couldn't, it's hardly even to say they were plural because there were only two banks in the whole county and both of them were owned by R.E. Lee Wilson. He owned control of both of them. One of Blytheville, one in, in, in Wilson. The plantation people, and principally I'm thinking now of Lee Wilson and Company, they just didn't have any currency to speak of and didn't have any silver. So what they did, they used substitute money. Maybe now they would say that money was violating the, you know, the acts of Congress on counterfeiting and stuff, and they'd have coupon books, a dollar, five dollars, ten dollars, and they'd give it to the employees that worked there instead of giving them money, and if they didn't use those they used bronze coins which they called brozines. And that was a substitute for money. And those people could go in. It was not negotiable so they'd have to spend it at the company store. They called them commissary or the main store there at Wilson. And then at the other places where they had stores and they could use it just like cash. At the end of the year, of course, they'd settle up with them, that's true, how much they had earned, and give them, charge them using those coupons.