Thelma Scott Bryant

Duration: 1hr: 25mins
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Uncorrected Transcript

Interview with: Thelma Scott Bryant
Interviewed by: Patricia Smith Prather
Date: August 3, 2007


PSP: I am here today with Thelma Scott Bryant to do an interview for the Mayor's project. My name is Patricia Smith Prather. I am the director of the Texas Trailblazer Association. Mrs. Bryant, I would like for you to start this interview by going back to the beginning. When were you born? Where were you born? And a little bit about how you were born in your house.

TSB: I am Thelma Scott Brown. I was born September 26, 1905, which means that I am 101 years old at the present time. My parents were Walter E. Scott and Ella B. Walls Scott. They were pioneers of old Freedman Town which was a part of Fourth Ward but after being married two years and living in the Freedman Town area, they bought a home in the Third Ward area which was, at that time, very much like the country or rural area with a lot of vacant land, many trees and a house every now and then. This house which my parents bought was at 3003 Live Oaks Street, two blocks from Emancipation Park. They paid $1,500 for it, paid $15 a month until it was paid out.

PSP: Was it a new house?

TSB: Oh, yes. It was a brand new house and all the houses of that particular time were built on the same general pattern. It had 3 rooms on one side - living room, dining room, kitchen, a hall, you entered a hall with a bedroom on the far side, and we had a wraparound porch that went all the way around. Of course, after that, we had to add on to the house but that was the way it looked when I was born.

PSP: Now, tell me a little bit about your delivery.

TSB: All right. At that time, I was attended by a physician by the name of Dr. Farrell. All babies were born in their parents' homes because at that time, the black people did not have a hospital and the white people would not service at any of their hospitals, so no matter how sick you were, your physician had to come to your home and do the best he could for you at that time. Now, Dr. Farrell arrived at my home -- I was born at night -- and he parked his horse and buggy in front of our house and went back to the kitchen and sterilized his instruments on a wood burning stove, and then came into the bedroom where one relative was holding the lamp lights so he could see and the others were standing around in order to assist him. So, that is where I was born.

PSP: Now, that was before electric lights?

TSB: That was before electric lights. No running water in that area. No electric lights. Dirt roads, that would become muddy when it rained.

PSP: And you did not have any brothers or sisters? You were the only child?

TSB: No, I did not. I am an only child.

PSP: O.K., so let's talk about when you went to elementary school.

TSB: All right. Well, let's not skip to that part because there is one more little item that I want to talk about. When I was 6 months old, I was christened in Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church. That was a church which was downtown at the time. I was christened in the church where my grandfather had been a founder, he was a founder of the first black church in Houston which was on Bell and Travis at that time, downtown. It has since moved to Third Ward but that is where it was when I was christened.

PSP: Now, we are in Third Ward now. You live in Third Ward.

TSB: Oh, yes. I am in deep Third Ward now.

PSP: And Trinity Church is the oldest black church in Houston?

TSB: That is right.

PSP: And it was the most prestigious for a long time?

TSB: I guess they still think they are!

PSP: Are you ready to move to elementary school?

TSB: Yes. Well, when I was 6 years old, I enrolled at Douglas Elementary School which is located in about the 2800 block of McGowan. It was later occupied by the YWCA branch, Blue Triangle branch. But now, the school has moved over 3 or 4 blocks and that building is owned by the Blue Triangle Center.

PSP: How did you get to school?

TSB: Well, walked. I was just about 8 or 10 blocks from the school. We all walked.

PSP: You all walked to school. And, at that time, you went from 1 to 7 grades?

TSB: One to seven grades, that is right.

cue point

PSP: Who was the principal at that time, do you remember?

TSB: W.S. Francis. He was a west Indian and a very cultured man.

PSP: Right. O.K. Now, can you remember any other things? You told me that you can still remember going to Fourth Ward during your elementary school years because so many of your people were in the Fourth Ward, so tell me a little bit about that.

TSB: Yes, well, my godparents always had me to come out in the summer time and spend 3 weeks with them. And then, I still had relatives. My great uncle lived in the Fourth Ward with his family, so I was continually going back to the Fourth Ward, so I know as much about the Fourth Ward then as Third Ward.

PSP: Now, Fourth Ward being just west of downtown Houston?

TSB: That's right.

PSP: And also known as Freedman Town?

TSB: Freedman Town. That part of it, of Fourth Ward which was designated for the ex-slaves to live and buy property.

PSP: O.K., now, how did you get to the Fourth Ward from the Third Ward?

TSB: Oh, we rode the street car which was before the buses. Everybody rode the street car. And in order to get from the Third Ward to the Fourth Ward, you had to transfer in midtown. We took one street car out of the Third War that went to downtown, and then you transferred to another street car that went to the Fourth Ward.

PSP: Now, that transport area was in the middle of downtown?

TSB: In the middle of downtown. The main point was around Congress and Main at that time.

PSP: O.K. What was the name of the street car going from Third Ward to downtown?

TSB: This was called the Dowling street car.

PSP: It was called the Dowling street car?

TSB: Because Dowling Street is the main thoroughfare of the Third Ward area.

PSP: So, you took the Dowling Street car down to this transfer center and then you got on the . . .

TSB: San Felipe. You see, San Felipe Street now is further out but at that time, it started down there in the vicinity of Smith and Louisiana. And in recent years, it was changed from . . . that part of San Felipe was changed to West Dallas, but we knew it as 303 West San Felipe. That was where the school was located.

PSP: O.K. Now, we are getting ahead of ourselves. Is that where the Colored High School was?

TSB: Oh, yes, the Colored High School. It was called Colored High School. In all of the southern states, more or less, you had one high school for the whites and naturally, it was named after the city - Houston High School. And then, the black school was called Colored High School. You see, at that time, we were known as either Negroes or colored and later on, I learned to say black because that got to be popular. And so, you have to excuse me if I jump from Negro to colored to black.

PSP: Right, and that Colored High School was a really big deal in Houston because it was the only place that people of color could go and get a high school education?

TSB: That is right. It was built in 1893 and Charles Atherton was the principal, the first principal.

PSP: O.K., and when you went there, you entered into the 8th grade?

TSB: I entered into the 8th grade but I entered there about 1918, and by that time, Atherton had moved out and Mr. Ryan, who had been a teacher during the whole duration of the school. He had moved up to the principalship. He became principal in 1912 and he was my principal and my father's and mother's teacher. He had been there that long.

PSP: That long? Now, 1918 was one year after the riot of 1917, so we were right in the middle of World War I when you went to high school.
TSB: At the end of it.

PSP: At the end of it. That is right.

TSB: So far as the United States was concerned, we must remember that World War I began in 1914 but it involved mostly Germany against the European nations. But we were always friendly with France and England, so we were involved to the extent we were constantly supplying them with ammunition and whatever they needed. But it got to the point where the Germans started sinking our ships, so we had to enter the war. We did not want to. Woodrow Wilson was elected, saying that he was going to keep the United States out of war. But when they began to sink our ships . . . the submarines, you see, would be under water, they would sneak up on the United States ships and torpedo them and sink them.

PSP: Right. O.K. So, the so-called riot of 1917, you were just getting ready to go to high school and you can remember it a little bit. Tell us what you remember about the riot.

TSB: I can remember a little bit. Well, of course, Camp Logan which is out in the Memorial area now, was a camp where the white soldiers were and the black soldiers were just sent in here to guard the ammunition and guard the soldiers but sending these black soldiers from New York and Chicago where they had not been accustomed to segregation was maybe a mistake because they would not observe the rules of segregation, see? They would get on the street cars and there was a little sign that said "For Colored" on one side and "For Whites" on the other side. They would take the sign, snatch it down and throw it out the window. And so, they were accustomed to getting into things with more than one. The white more than one would try to abuse some black person on there for not doing what he wanted him to do, well, they would take up a fight. So, I do not know just what started the fight. There were many things that related to it. But anyway, it ended up that these black soldiers got so angry, that they went back to the camp and took out all this ammunition and said they were going to shoot up the town. They came back with ammunition, shooting at citizens as well as military and policemen - anybody was a victim of their wrath.

cue point

PSP: Right. And the aftermath of that riot, what happened in the black community?

TSB: I do not quite understand.

PSP: You know, after that riot, weren't you really afraid? Didn't you get really afraid after that?

TSB: Well, yes, it was a bad feeling, naturally, between the whites and the blacks after that happened. And, of course, as you would go to a store downtown, you would sense something was wrong.

PSP: O.K., it left a tension in the town.
TSB: Yes, that is right.

PSP: Tell me how you got to high school. Where was the high school located and what was around the high school?

TSB: The high school was just a few blocks from the town. In fact, many times, we walked from school to town. We would transfer, would use that first conveyance. We would walk there because we liked to walk with our little woes, you know, carrying our books and we did not have far to go into town. But anyway, we had a lot of fun at that time. I forgot my point.

PSP: Yes, with walking to town, I think you were trying to say to save money and to be with your friends.

TSB: That is right.

PSP: O.K., so you were having a lot of fun in high school. We are just talking about kind of what was . . . well, we have already talked a little bit about the significance of having a high school but we have not talked anything about what was around that high school. Give me a feel for what was there.

TSB: Well, there were many thriving businesses around the high school. I remember we had an ice cream factory right next door where we liked to go and buy ice cream cones. There was a dry goods store, restaurants, barbecue stands, funeral parlor - every kind of business that the Negro had, it was more or less contained in that area.

PSP: So, this was a thriving, mostly African American Negro community?

TSB: That is right.

PSP: You had your high school, you had an Antioch church over there. Tell us a little bit about the library.

TSB: The library was right around the corner. It was really between Antioch Church and the high school but, of course, it has since been destroyed. But it was a beautiful building and I would like to tell you a little bit about the history of it.


TSB: My uncle, Emmett J. Scott, was at Tuskegee at that time. He had joined Booker T. Washington and Booker T. Washington was getting Carnegie to give them a library, and my uncle said to Carnegie, "Would you mind giving a library to my hometown, Houston?" And he said, "Yes, I will. I will give you the building but you must provide the site and also provide for the maintenance." So, my Uncle Emmett elicited the help of his good friend, J.B. Bell, who was a realtor and what we would call a philanthropist in this day. He did not have a lot of money but what little he had, he was spreading it around.

PSP: He had more than most black folks?

TSB: Right. So, J.B. Bell headed a committee to raise money so that they could get this site and all the money that they did not raise, he gave himself and he went to the mayor and had the mayor promise a certain amount of money for the maintenance of the library for, I have forgotten how much it was, maybe $1,500 or something like that, a year. But it was a beautiful building and Carnegie is the one that gave us that building.

PSP: And, again, there were two Carnegie libraries in Houston - one for the colored . . .

TSB: I do not think the other one was called Carnegie.

PSP: Oh, it wasn't? O.K. It was just a library?

TSB: But later on after the Colored branch was destroyed, the Carnegie name took on somewhere else. Here is a Carnegie library.

PSP: That is what I thought. There is a Carnegie library.

TSB: It only came later. But the other libraries were known by different names.
PSP: And that was the only library they say west of the Mississippi for black people to be able to go in to get books.

TSB: Is that right?

PSP: So, it was a huge historic moment for us to have a library for coloreds here in Houston.

TSB: That is right.

PSP: And also nearby was Antioch Baptist Church. You might want to tell us a little bit about Antioch and what its role was back then.

TSB: All right. Antioch Church naturally got its start on the banks of the bayou under a brush of arbor (?) and later on, they were able to build a church where they are today. They perhaps had more foresight than the Trinity Methodist Church because they built a brick church from the beginning but, you see, the Trinity Church had a framed building and it was burned down and that is when they moved to the Third Ward area. But they built a brick building from the beginning. My godparents owned property adjoining the church and they sold that property to Antioch Church. That part that is like a little park right next to the church, that is where my godparents had their home and rent property.

PSP: What were their names, your godparents?
TSB: Sam Wilson and Rosie Wilson. A street in Houston is named for them now.

PSP: For Sam Wilson, because he was a big barber.

TSB: A barber. He had a 7 chair barber shop on Main and Congress, right down where we spoke about the street car transfer place was. But they were in the basement of the Union National Bank and it was for wealthy whites. At that time, the white people loved to have the black barbers. They loved to go there and get their massages and their hair cuts and their steam baths and everything. So, you had two or three of these barber shops downtown for that purpose. So, that is how my godparents accumulated so much money.

PSP: Now by the time you got to high school, we also had a colored theater downtown. Tell us a little bit about the theater.

TSB: Lincoln Theater. Well, there was a man by the name of O.P. Dewald who first was just operating the theater which was owned by whites but he was just managing it, but he did such a good job that they turned it loose for him and he became the owner of the theater -- not the owner of the land particularly but the owner of the theater.

cue point

PSP: O.K. Now, I guess this is a good place to start talking about activities. In high school, we know that after the Civil War, Juneteenth was our holiday. That is, June 19. Every year, even in my day, we celebrated Juneteenth. It was a very big deal. Tell me about Juneteenth in your day, starting with elementary school and then going through high school.

TSB: All right. Juneteenth was very dear to us because it represented a time when we had a parade coming out of downtown and the person who was the valedictorian of a high school was the queen of the parade. This particular person/girl, was on a float and she had all of her attendants and the ladies labored long making artificial flowers for this float -- something like they do for the Rose Parade.

PSP: What were they covering up? There were no cars, or were there a few cars?

TSB: Oh, no. I guess in my day, they had some kind of old trucks by that time.

PSP: Oh, O.K. So, they decorated these trucks and they paraded . . .

TSB: Yes, that is right.

PSP: That is the first time I have heard that the queen of high school was the queen of the float.

TSB: The queen of high school.

PSP: And where would they typically meet? After the parade, what happened after that?

TSB: Oh, well, it was a day when you had all day festivities. You had a band -- the famous band of that day was Sirals (sp?). He was from Brazoria area. He played . . . you had an open air pavilion and they danced by Sirals' music. I was a little girl just kind of peeping in, wanting to be in there but I could not, you know. But it was a great day. And in the evening, they would have some rabble rousing black person to come from out of town to give a lecture and I remember one time, they had a man by the name of Roscoe Conquering Sam. I think he came out of Chicago or something. He would just get you all worked up, you know. And then you would have all through this Emancipation Park, you would have various little food stands. You would have a barbecue stand, a watermelon stand, fine fish. You would just eat yourself to death on that day.

PSP: Now, did you have to buy the food?

TSB: Oh, yes, you would buy the food at that time. They were not giving it away.

PSP: It was not like in the first old days where everybody came and had a big feast and everybody brought something and they ate from each other?

TSB: No, you just would buy . . . these folks were there to make money and you would have a little money in your pocket that you saved up just for that occasion.
PSP: Yes, so you could go spend it. Now, what did you all wear? Did you all dress up like on a Sunday -- picnic kind of stuff?

TSB: Oh, yes, we dressed up in our Sunday best at that day.

PSP: O.K., so that was Juneteenth. Now, tell me what kind of other social activities you all participate in, in high school and even during the summers when you came home from college. You are a young woman now. You are, what, maybe 18?

TSB: Yes, well, I will start about sports. In the elementary school, we only had baseball because you did not have to have anything but a bat and a ball, so we played out in the prairie, played baseball, and you had a team for Douglas. Douglas played some other teams.

PSP: Oh, that is amazing.

TSB: Yes, but then when we got to high school, we did not have organized sports then. We tried to have football but it was not a part of the district. The principal, Mr. Ryan, had little sock hops and dances to make money to buy things that they needed for the football team, and the boys themselves contributed towards sometimes buying their own uniform. And he hired an outside person along with some teacher at the school who happened to know a little something about football. They trained these boys and we played football with Beaumont, Galveston, Port Arthur maybe, but it was not because the district was giving us any money, they just had to really just save and do everything to get this money to make the football go over. And then, the football games were played right around the corner at West End Park which was a baseball park. It just had wooden bleachers and was not very beautiful, we will say. I remember I was almost afraid I would fall down on some of those rotten benches.

PSP: Oh, that is right. There was a West End Park over in Fourth Ward not far from the school.

TSB: That is it. It was where the whites played all the time but we, I guess, really did not use it when we had a football game.

PSP: I see. O.K. Now, what about house parties?

TSB: Well, in the elementary days, the late elementary days and early high school days, that is about all we had for our social activities - little house parties on Friday and Saturday night. We would go to somebody's house -- not at my house, of course, because my folks were very strict. They did not believe in the boys and girls mixing very much. But in some families where there was a sister and a brother, those parents were a little _______ and they would allow the children to have a little party. There were always 2 or 3 in the gang who could play the piano and dance and just have a good time.

PSP: Did you have any kind of phonograph?

TSB: Oh, yes, we had a Victrola. In my very earliest days, they had the old-fashioned phonograph that had the big horn to it. And then, later on, we had the Victrola that you would wind up. I grew up on the blues, now, and all the time that I was growing up, I was trying to sing the blues. We had Mamie Smith, Bessie Smith, Sippie Wallace, and several of them -- they could really belt out those blues. We were trying to say the same thing that they were saying.

PSP: So, some of the kids' houses had phonographs and records but your house did not?

TSB: Oh, yes, we had a Victrola. I cannot remember . . . the phonograph . . . the lady next door had a phonograph. That is the only time I saw one. But we bought any kind of music box . . . we got the Victrola but you had to wind it up.

cue point

PSP: What type of music did you play, that your parents allowed in your house? Not the blues?

TSB: Oh, they did not mind playing the blues but it was they reared me in a sheltered fashion and did not want me to associate with the boys. That is the main thing, to be dancing with the boys. But they did not mind you singing the blues, trying to sing what you heard on the Victrola.

PSP: Some things don't change!

TSB: That's right.

PSP: You told me you all had dances at the American Mutual Insurance Company. Was this in the 1920s, too? This was when you came home from college or when you were in high school?

TSB: This was as soon as I came home from college. I finished high school in 1922 and when I came back from college, this was the first time I knew about having a dance in a public place, you see. So, on the corner of Milam and Prairie across from where the Lincoln Theater was downtown, you had the American Mutual Insurance on the second floor and they would allow us to have dances and they would push all the desks and chairs back and just have dances in the middle floor. You would decorate it so you thought you were in a dance hall.

PSP: You thought you were in a dance hall. Now, did you have live music then?

TSB: Oh, yes, you had some kind of little orchestra.

PSP: Some kind of little band? These were all black people including the owners of the American Mutual Insurance Company?

TSB: Yes.

PSP: Because when you were growing up, it was basically an all black world?

TSB: That is right.

PSP: You did not have to go out of the black world to get into the white world unless you went to work for them?

TSB: That is right. It was self-contained. We had everything we needed for our entertainment.

PSP: So, everything we are talking about in this interview has to do with your moving around in a black owned, black world?

TSB: Yes, and we want to remember, too, that the lodges played a big part in furnishing the social life. The lodges like the masons and the UBF and the Oddfellows, and _________. You had many of those lodges. Most of them have gone under now. You do not hear anything about any other except, I think, the _________ and masons are still going. But, at that time you had just worlds of lodges and even though they were established for the purpose of furnishing burial money for you when you died -- like give you some money for when you were sick, what they called sick benefits, they also had this social side. And so, they would give dances, too. I can remember going, when I was a little girl, to a square dance, and this lodge had it at the lodge hall.

PSP: O.K., you know, the 1920s, as we look over it, was a pretty impressive time for blacks because they had only been out of slavery for a little over 50 years and they had built these fraternal halls and so forth and so on. I know that in about 1926, they built the Pilgrim Building. Can you tell us a little bit about the Pilgrim Building and the importance of that?

TSB: Yes, well, before the Pilgrim Building, see, the first doctors offices and businesses were in one of these large buildings called the United Brothers of Friendship. That is what we refer to as the UBF. That was on Milam and Prairie. But many of these tenants moved from that building about 1924 or 1925 into the Oddfellows building which was on Prairie and Louisiana. And then, in 1926, the next year or two, that is when we had the Pilgrim and some of these same people moved from the Oddfellows Building out to the Pilgrim building.

PSP: It was quite a building. Tell us a little bit about that building.

TSB: Well, the Pilgrim Building was a 4 story building located on the corner right across from the high school on the corner of West Dallas and Bagby. It was like in a triangle, you might as well say, and you had businesses downstairs and you had the Pilgrim Lodge which Mr. Ryan had a great deal to do with, occupying most of the space on the second floor. You had the Franklin Beauty School there. They are the ones who moved from one building to the other and then on the third floor, you had mostly the doctors offices and other professionals and on the fourth floor was the dance hall. And that is where the big bands played like Cab Calloway and Jimmie Lunsford and all.

PSP: O.K., and there were some social clubs, too? Other than fraternal organizations, there were some social clubs like the Married Ladies Clubs, like the . . . what was the club of the women who worked as housekeepers? I cannot think of the name of it.

TSB: I cannot think of it. I know Sally Vaughn was a . . .

PSP: The Working Girls Club.

TSB: Fantastic events.

PSP: Yes.

cue point

TSB: Not only there but other places. I have some pictures of them having their little teas and things on Sundays. Teas were a big deal even when I came along. I do not know what was about teas but I guess it was just another way to socialize and make money.

PSP: Yes, I think Carter Wesley had a great deal to do with all those working girls because at that time, you were trying to raise money for various charitable causes, you see, so he organized them knowing that they could get money from the boat that they worked for and they raised a lot of money, along from other clubs who were liberated to raise money.

TSB: And these were the women who mostly worked for the River Oaks, the well-to-do.

PSP: That's right. Mrs. Imma Hogg, Gertrude Vaughn worked for her.

TSB: They say Gertrude Vaughn ran Imma Hogg's place. She did not just work for her, she was like the manager of everybody, kids included.

PSP: That's right. I remember going into that home when Mrs. Imma Hogg was out of town because we knew Gertrude Vaughn. We went out there just to see the house and the grounds which you never would have gotten in if we had not snuck in there while he was out of town.

TSB: But, you know, the 1920s were really something. We got a hospital, we got the Negro Hospital. Tell us a little bit about that.

PSP Well, in 1926 - I remember the year so well because that was the year I was finishing college - and my mother had written me telling me all these events that were taking place. She said, "We have a new hospital being built 3 or 4 blocks from our house," and "We have a new Jack Yates High School 1 block from our house," and our church, which is not big Trinity but little Trinity that I had joined, they were building their first brick building. We had had a little framed building before that. So, so much was going on at that time. But particularly do I want to tell you about this Houston Negro Hospital which we call Riverside Hospital now. I guess some of these folks wanted to take that Negro name out of everything now, they are changing it. But in those days, we were proud to be called Negro, you see. But this man J.S. Cullinan, was a great philanthropist and his son had gotten killed in the first world war. And before he died, when he was wounded, the black soldiers gook excellent care of him. Culinan was very grateful. He said he wanted to do something for the black people because they had taken care of his son. So, he is the one who bought up this property on the corner of Innis and Elgin all the way over to Holman. And he had the nursing home on one end and the hospital on the other.

PSP: Nursing school?

TSB: Nursing school.

PSP: Yes, to have a school, because they had to have nurses to assist the doctors so they set up their own school to train nurses there. What else was going on around that time? Oh, you were telling me the story about Mr. Oberholzer and his idea of getting a higher education in the city of Houston.

TSB: Yes, but in 1924, Dr. E.E. Oberholzer came to town and he was the most progressive superintendent that we have ever had in the schools. His first requirement was that every teacher in Houston had to have a degree. Now, the teachers that we had up to that time were all good, dedicated teachers but they only had a certificate because most of them were graduates of Prairie View and Prairie View did not give degrees in those days. They gave a certificate and you would keep going back in the summer extending your certificate so you could teach some more. So now, he is saying that the teachers must have a degree. Now, these teachers do not want to stop teaching and go back to school. So, they came up with the idea that they would have . . . first they had on the constituent school . . . Mr. Ryan, Mr. _______, Ms. ______ Isaacs and Blunt Watson, W.L. Davis - there were a number of them who had these certificates and they contacted Wally and that is why Wally . . . if they would accept the credits of in this school -- they had the classes first in the old high school. And then later on, it was extended into what we called a junior college in 1927. Now, that is when they had J.T. Fox to come here, I think he came from Cairo, Illinois. He was a graduate of Howard. He did a very good job organizing the old junior college. But he did not live very long. He lived about 5 years and he died. And so, then it was necessary . . . they had several holding the school together until they could get a permanent dean. See, he was called a dean because it was a junior college, and that is when they brought in Dean Rafael O. Lanier to head the dean and then he expanded it into a 4 year college.

PSP: Well now, once again, this junior college system was set up separate. There was one junior college situation for the colored and there was a similar junior college situation set up for . . .

TSB: Yes, since it was a city college, Oberholzer was over it all, so after we had this college going, he saw to it that one was set up over here at the University of Houston.

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PSP: Right. O.K. Now, the other thing that was going on in the 1920s was the Wheatley/Yates football games. Let's talk about that a little bit.

TSB: Well now, we spoke about Yates being taken away from old Colored High School in 1926 for the Third Ward pupils, so in 1927, the Fifth Ward students got their own school. It was interesting that E.L. Smith who had really been a principal of one of the elementary schools elevated to the Wheatley High School and John Cartwell was just coming out of Howard, he was one year behind me and he was becoming the coach. And Mr. Sanderson who was a teacher at Bruce became the assistant principal. So, Wheatley fast took the lead I will say almost of the high schools in Houston. Yates and Wheatley were the rivals. Washington and _______ had to take a back seat because they were in Fourth Ward and the community got growing very much. You see, they are bordered by the whites, they cannot expand, so it is a small school. A few were coming in from the Heights and the Sixth Ward but that is not enough. Third Ward is growing out here, Fifth Ward is growing, too. So, that became the classic of the year -- the Thanksgiving game at the stadium which is about 3 blocks from here. Now, it has become Robertson Stadium. But at that time, they named it Jefferson Stadium because Jefferson was the man on the board who was doing so much. But you always had a parade. We called it Armistice Day. They call it Veterans Day now. But we called it Armistice Day. You had the big parade downtown and then everybody left the parade to come on out here for this big game [end of side 1]

PSP: People would come from all over for the game. Now, let me make sure the tape knows this well. So, in 1893, we had one high school for colored?

TSB: Yes.

PSP: And by 1927, we had 3 high schools?

TSB: That is right.

PSP: So, that tells us that the population of Negroes was really growing ...

TSB: Burgeoning.

PSP: . . . in the city so that we could support 3 high schools.

TSB: And for about 30 years, those were the 3 schools in competition. Then, you had Cashmere coming on the scene and then Worthing, and their own integration took over but that added just two more and made 5 black schools, predominantly black schools.

PSP: Yes, in the 1950s and 1960s. Now, the other thing that was going on at the Yates game was the festivities. As you said, they would leave the parade, they would come to Jefferson Stadium, they would play the game. Half time was a very, very big deal because, remember, we would have the rivalries of the Wheatley queen and the Yates queen and who could dress better and who could come in with shows?

TSB: Yes, it was always kind of a money making thing. The one who raised the highest amount of money became the queen. But anyway, that made them want to vie for queen even more, I guess.

PSP: Yes, and I remember they dressed to the nines, came in on fancy cars. And then, I think when I left, they started coming in on helicopters.

TSB: I never heard of that.

PSP: Yes, it continued to be a big deal until about the 1970s, and then it started to die. O.K., now we are going to move to the 1930s. We are going to talk about the 1930s now. We know that in the 1930s -- in 1929, we know that the stock market crashed, and so then after that, we had the 1930s in America. Tell us about your experience in the 1930s in Houston.

TSB: All right. Well, in 1929, we had the great crash and all the 1930s, everything was . . . well, we will say in the 1920s, everybody had come out from the first world war and started making a lot of money, buying a lot of homes and cars. Now, they cannot pay for them, see? And so, they are losing their homes and losing everything they had, more or less. So, that is what brought about the Depression. But it was only Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, that brought us out of it because when he came in as president, he immediately started all these ABCs, organizing the FIDC and NYA and so forth and so on. He got us all organized and brought us out of there. He did bring us out of the Depression. Then, the second world war was coming along, so that helps us. The war has always helped us, you see.

My husband and I married in the beginning of the Depression. That was 1932 -- we built this house and it was a job getting it built because we were making $80 per month. No summer money, just $80 a month teaching school now. Some of the folks who were in domestic work were making more than that, but we would make $80 a month. We were able to save a little bit. My husband was a very frugal man. He would save a penny - I don't care what he had to buy, he was going to save some of that money. So, we were able to build this house for $3,000. We had paid a little more than $600 for the lot. And then, we went to a lumber company that loaned us $2,500. The man told us, "Yes, things are hard and they stopped loaning money for houses but I am going to trust you two young people because you are both young, you both have jobs but the house cannot cost any more than $2,500." And so, we made the house fit into that schedule.

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PSP: And who built this house?

TSB: James Carroll. He was a man who had not had a job for a long time, so he almost cut his throat trying to get this job.

PSP: He was one of the black builders?

TSB: Great black builder.

PSP: And the other thing that people should know is that during segregation, we were the builders, the architects, the contractors because the Anglos did not come into our communities and build for us.

TSB: No.

PSP: We either had to pay a contractor to build it or, like in Frenchtown, they came together and they bartered, you know, like they would build each other's houses. But I wanted to make sure that whoever is listening to this tape understands that white people did not come and build this house.

TSB: No.

PSP: Or any other house during that time; that these houses were all built by artisans from our own community.

TSB: That is right.

PSP: Now also, you said during the 1930s, they were the glory days of the NAACP. Tell us a little bit about that.

TSB: Yes. Well, of course, the NAACP was organized about 1909. I think it came to Houston around 1911. But it was a struggling organization -- did not have any members. But in the 1930s, it took on new life because Reverend A.A. Lukers had come to Houston to be pastor of the Good Hope Baptist Church and he was a rabble-rouser. He saw to it that all the churches. He organized it more or less from the standpoint of the churches. He saw to it that every minister got his members to join, so we had more members at that time than they had ever had before.

PSP: Interesting. And also during that time, we had the Negro Chamber of Commerce.

TSB: Yes, they came along about the same time, 1935, and O.K. Manning was the director of that and Mrs. Spivey, Ellie Spivey, was the president.

PSP: Do you have any idea why they came during that time because that was kind of a Depression time, people did not have a lot? Do you have any idea why those kind of organizations got more active around that time?

TSB: Well, I think the Negro was just kind of awakening at that time, you know? He had kind of "been asleep," so to speak. And he is waking up. And he wants some of these privileges that he sees other folk with, see? That is my idea.

PSP: So, do you think the Depression had as bad an effect on blacks as it did on others or about the same?

TSB: About the same, I guess.

PSP: Because, you know, we were already depressed.

TSB: That is right.

PSP: I can't think of what he said but someone said, if you are down, you can't go down too much lower.

TSB: That is right.

PSP: I am just wondering if you thought that the black community was able to survive because they were already in kind of a depressed state, but you do not have a lot of thoughts on that?

TSB: Well, I think a lot of our men had served in the Army at that time and they had been up in the North and they found out how they had so many more privileges than we had down here, so they would come back home - 'we want some of those privileges, too, down here,' see? And they just went to work on it, trying to see . . . well, of course, politics was one thing that was holding us down because even though during the 1800s, late 1800s, Negroes were controlling the Republican party but at the turn of the century, the Democrats took over and they said the Democrats were a private club and they did not want the blacks in there at all. So, that meant we had to fight to get back into the Democratic party.

PSP: And that is when it started, in the 1930s?

TSB: Yes, that is right. It started with that and had some kind of effect on it.

PSP: Which takes us into the 1940s. I guess we will start with World War II. Talk about World War II and some of the things that were going on in Houston and surroundings that affected our community.

TSB: Well, of course, the soldiers are down here at Ellington Field and, I mean, I am going to kind of digress and go back to something else that I want to tell you about. At the time that my Uncle Emmett was at Tuskegee, Booker T. Washington died. But it was just about that time, about 1915, there was a great cry from the leadership of the NAACP. We know that W.E.B. DuBois was editor of The Crisis which was their magazine. And there was a cry for the black folk, black soldiers, to become combat soldiers. Up to that time, we had just been cooks in the Army and ditch diggers, laboring men, so to speak. But now, they wanted to be combat soldiers. They wanted to fight like the others. So, they asked that a Negro be appointed to the government to tell them how to treat these black soldiers that were being drafted into the first world war. So, my Uncle Emmett was the person who went to Washington to be the assistant to Newton Baker who was the Secretary of War, and he was responsible for their hurrying up to get soldiers ready to fight. They went to Des Moines, Iowa, and there they were trained, and among those trained were some of our local men like Carter Wesley and Frank Lane and Aaron Day and many of them - were officers in the Army. And they were trained early enough to go over to France and help the French defeat the Germans.

PSP: That was during World War I.

TSB: That was during World War I, but I had to go back and tell you about my Uncle Emmett and the part he played because he was responsible for putting ROTC into the schools and a lot of other things. And they were mistreating our black folks, you see? And the draft boards were taking them in whether they had dependents or not. But, you see, all of that, he was able to do something about and he has written that book about the Negro in the first world war and it tells you all about the correspondence that he had with the higher-ups and made them treat the black people better.

PSP: O.K., now what we are going to do is we are going to start -- since we have got the background as to how World War I really prepared black soldiers to have better positions, now we want to talk about what their role was in our community, what role did we in the African American community play in World War II, both as military people and as civilian people.

TSB: I don't quite get it.

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PSP: O.K., talk about World War II. Yesterday, we talked about savings bonds. What are some of the things that were going on in the city of Houston during the 1940s when the war was going on?

TSB: All right. Well, as I remember it, of course, the second world war started in 1941 but it seems as if there must have been kind of a preparation period before that because I know my husband was drafted earlier than that and he was an older man to be drafted. But finally, they found out he had a little diabetes and that kept him from going. Otherwise, they would have grabbed him up and sent him. I mean, he was too old to be out there fighting, see? But in 1941, we had all these soldiers being trained and they were seeking places of entertainment. We had the Eldorado Club to be built by that time. Mr. and Mrs. Dupree who had a little extra money, built a nice club on the corner of Elgin and Dowling and the big bands came there. They had been going to Pilgrim Temple but now, they more or less were coming out this way.

PSP: ______.

TSB: That is right. They just packed them in, these soldiers, and a lot of the girls got these soldier husbands, or they were trying to get one. So, it was a time of revelry, we will say, in the 1940s.

PSP: Now, what were they doing here? Do you remember? The military, what were they doing here in Houston?

TSB: Well, they were in training camps around here. I think they were down at Ellington Field in Hitchcock and all around.

PSP: O.K., so they were training here. Were they building ships or that had nothing to do with the military?

TSB: Well, not so much around Houston. I guess they were building them somewhere. I recall that in Pennsylvania . . . see, my Uncle Emmett had gone from the government to Howard University and by this time, he was retiring from Howard University and you had a black shipbuilding company called the Sun Building. They built ships. He was the personnel man. Anyhow, he was hired as the personnel man, I remember that. He got this job when he was an old man but, you know, he was wanting to wait until the very last. But I do remember they built cargo ships but it was in Pennsylvania.

PSP: Well, also, there was a big push to buy savings bonds.

TSB: Oh, yes. Well, we were all trying to buy savings bonds. They would have pictures of Uncle Sam downtown saying, "I Want You To Join The Army," "I Want You To Buy Savings Bonds," or something like that. All these things were just to motivate you, you know, about being patriotic, we will say.

PSP: Now, one of the sort of good things about the war was that the government decided that they wanted to build a little bit of housing so that when the military people would come home, they would have a little bit of housing. So, we got the Cutie (sp?) Homes. Do you remember when the Cutie Homes went up?

TSB: Well, yes. The Cutie Home, of course, the first had the Allen Parkway homes but they did not call it Allen Parkway - I do not know what they called it at that time, but it was in the Fourth Ward and it was for the whites. And then, while they were talking so much about that, the black leaders got together and said, "We want better housing for the blacks." And that is when they built the Cutie Homes and the Cutie Courts.

PSP: And also during the 1940s, we finally started having some success in breaking the crack of the Democratic party.

TSB: Yes.

PSP: We had Lonnie Smith and that crew.

TSB: Yes, well, Lonnie Smith was more or less the guinea pig because, you see, you could not have a teacher out there because they would make him lose his job but, you see, Lonnie Smith was a dentist and his wife was nurse and they could not hurt him, so he got on our there and allowed them to use his name. They already had many suits coming up to that point . . . we will say, way back there at the turn of the century, you had a man by the name of Nixon from El Paso, and later on, you had Mr. Love to have a case here in Texas and Grover and various ones. Finally, you had old Julius White. And I think when he won his case, they said, yes, you can vote but it is not what you call a class action case so therefore, it was necessary to put Lonnie Smith out there to win a class action, which means he could vote and all others similarly this franchise, see? So that was 1944. Then after we got the right to vote, then they said, we are going after getting into the white colleges. And so, therefore, Heman Sweatt was used as a guinea pig. He was a mail carrier but he quit his job to say he wanted to go to law at the University of Texas. And they said, well, no, we don't want you at the University of Texas. We will put a law school at Texas Southern and you can go there. But he would not accept that arrangement and that is how the law school got over there at Texas Southern but he would not go. He went on to University of Texas because they flunked him out but it was the NAACP which was furnishing the money for him to take care of his family while he was going to school. Then, they used that excess money to send him to Ohio to become a social worker. And then, he became the person who was over the Urban League ______ following Jesse O. Thomas who was, by the way, a Texan and retiring.

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PSP: Now, the name of the lawsuit that turned it around for the blacks and the Democratic party was called what? Do you remember? It was the Smith v. Alright?

TSB: Smith v. Alright.

PSP: And they said it was a very, very important case. Of course, it went all the way to the Supreme Court and now, we have a library named in honor of Lonnie Smith.

TSB: That is right.

PSP: He was the man who agreed to be the guinea pig to give us all the right to vote because before 1944, I do not care how much money we had, we could not vote.

TSB: We could not vote. And aren't they doing something about his home out there at Fifth Ward? Have they done anything about it?

PSP: Well, they have renovated it but they sold it to a private person. We were not able to save it as an historical landmark, you know, we did not have the money. So, we came through the 1940s with a major lawsuit and we were becoming more political. I think the Harris County Council of Organizations came along around that time.

TSB: Around that time in 1940s, I believe.

PSP: Right. Late 1940s. And then, the next big push for integration was on the education situation. So, tell us a little bit about what you remember in Houston and our involvement, if any, in the whole effort to try to integrate ourselves into the schools here.

TSB: Yes. I remember they were having several meetings. They were having meetings over at the Cutie Homes and every teacher gave so much money and they employed F.S.K. Whittaker who was really a lawyer but also a teacher at Prairie View. And they were really getting ready to fight this thing but the board of education saw what was happening in all the other places that the lawsuits were coming to help them. So, they went on and gave in without a suit.

PSP: Do you mean Houston?

TSB: Houston did.

PSP: But wasn't Thurgood Marshall here a lot . . . oh no, that was during the Smith v. Alright.

TSB: Yes, that is right.

PSP: Right, so the suit that changed the whole education for public education was called what, do you remember? The Brown v. Board of Education.

TSB: Board of education.

PSP: So, you are saying that in Houston, rather than having our own Brown. v. Board or whatever, we decided to go along with some of the other cases?

TSB: I think that was 1954.

PSP: Right, that was in 1954 when the Brown v. Board of Education went to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court said that we shall desegregate with all deliberate speed.

TSB: That is right.

PSP: So now, what happened in Houston after 1954 as far as education?

TSB: Well, it began to integrate slowly. They sent some of our very best teachers into the white schools and sent us some of the poorer white teachers, into our schools and _____ our children would suffer. These teachers were not dedicated and did not know how to motivate our students as much as the others. I do not know how it is now but I know . . .

PSP: So, it was not all that we thought it was going to be because what we thought was we were going to get better schools and better books and all those things that we thought were going to be better but in reality, another little trick was played.

TSB: Always, they were full of tricks!

PSP: Another trick - here, take these bad teachers over there. So then, when we desegregated our library facilities and other things . . . but in the middle of 1950, two things happened. They really were not Houston-based but they had a major effect on, I would say, all of us, and one was, they murdered a young boy in Mississippi named Emmett Till, and then Rosa Parks refused to take her seat in Montgomery. So, did that affect all of us?

TSB: I think it did.

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PSP: Those were just two like defining moments. Now, tell us a little bit about when your husband, when they were getting ready to open up Cashmere School and what happened.

TSB: Well, the Cashmere School, Cashmere Gardens it was called at first, was built for whites and we always know that when they were building a school for whites, they built it better and gave them more equipment than they did the blacks. So, by the time the school was completed, you see, it was just beyond Fifth Ward and these Fifth Ward people that moved out there surrounded the school so that they had to give it to blacks then. And then, my husband had been principal of Booker Washington. He had been over to Washington for 19 years. They said to him, "Well, do you want to stay at Booker Washington until we build the new schools in the Heights or would you like to go to the new school, Cashmere?" So, he chose to open up the new school. However, when he went out there, it was just overnight more or less it was done like that. They were moving out all of this equipment. They did not mean for us to have 25 typewriters. We only were supposed to have 3 or 4. And machines and various things. So, we went out there to see what the school was like and it happened that we got out there just in time to see them moving out. And my husband was always an outspoken black, that is why they tried to punish him in the last go around, because he told them, "Not one bit of equipment is going to be moved out of this school. Put it right back in there." And that made them mad from the beginning, see, because they had been beaten at their own game.

So now, after he is there for about 9 years and they are going to separate the junior and the senior high school, they decided, well, we are going to punish this smart edict - we are going to let him stay at the junior high school and we are going to send his assistant to the high school. Of course, we knew what was happening because this assistant that my husband had trained well and put him in this job, he was going around whispering to everybody, telling them what was going to happen. So, my husband had his resignation letter in his pocket - he carried it every day, waiting for the time that they would tell him he was not going. So, when they called him and said he was not going, he was going to stay at the junior high school, he said, "You will have my resignation on your desk at 3:00, before 3:00 this evening." So, he sent it down there and then they had him to come down and they gave him a big front page cover about he was resigning. They did not say why, you know. But then, after that scam did not work, then they decided, well, we will punish him somewhere else. We cannot embarrass him that way. So, we will steal all of the books out of his book room and say he was short on books and we will take all of his sick leave pay which amounted to $1,200. All right?

So, my husband had left Houston, had gone to work in New Orleans because he knew he could go somewhere else and work. And during that time, we had hired our lawyer who was named Attorney Whitcliff. And we won the case because there were those in the school, the janitors told, that they helped the other janitors take the books out of the book room. So, we won the case but instead of putting it on the front page, they had a tiny little article on the back page saying "Ira Brown will finally get his sick leave pay," and that was the end of that.
PSP: Now, what year was that?

TSB: That was 1969 because he left in 1968 and he was in New Orleans at this time when the case was won. That was 1969. Then, after he worked over there 2 years, he came back here and worked at Texas Southern as a part-time instructor, only teaching one class because he had resigned so far as Texas was concerned and that was all he could teach. But he worked there 2 more years, rounding out about 40 years as an adjunct professor at the college level.

PSP: So, this was after the Hattie Mae White . . .

TSB: That is right.

PSP: Do you remember what happened when Hattie Mae White became the first black to sit on the HISD school board?

TSB: Yes, and she was right in the midst of that fight. You see, when my husband wrote his doctorate, dissertation at the University of Southern California, his subject was vocational education in the Negro schools of Texas. And when he sent out his questionnaires to all the schools in Texas, the information came back that they are not giving the black vote any skills to get jobs where they can be trained and get money. So now, he also showed that the prisons where the Negroes are in prison, they learn more skills than they do in the high schools. So, see, all these things were brought out about the Houston schools. So, there was this great lecture to be at Rice Institute and my husband was invited to be on the panel. And so, at that time, he was just telling them what his dissertation said. Well, that is when Hattie Mae White got into it because they had a lot of discussion on the board about it. This made them very, very mad because they were exposing the Houston system, see? So, that was another fight that they had against him that made them want to get rid of him.

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PSP: Well, I heard when she went to her first board meeting, all the board members turned their back on her at the table. Is that true?

TSB: Well, it could be but she was a tough lady. She was like that old tough grandma.

PSP: "I am one tough grandma!"

TSB: Yes.

PSP: I think that is the end of really . . . we have come through the 1950s. We kind of know what happened after that. But you got us through the most stressful time of growing up in Houston in segregation.

TSB: That is right.

PSP: But there are some stories that we know because we tell them about, you know, just some vignette stories to kind of illustrate what was really going on and how mean-spirited people were. For instance, you told me about going to shop downtown. What was the experience of going downtown to try to shop at Foley's or whatever?

TSB: Well, as I say, most of the stores did not appreciate our patronage but Foley Brothers, I think, were a little bit better than ______ Brothers and some of the others. So, they did furnish some kind of a restroom. But most of the stores did not even give you a restroom. When you needed a restroom, you had to go way down in the black section on Milam and Prairie. And then, they would not let you try on hats because your hair was greasy. So, they would just take a hat and show you, "How do you like this hat? I think it would look nice on you," and you just had to buy the hat. So, we had a black lady by the name of Annabel Robinson who open a hat shop so that you could try on hats.

PSP: Well, some of our businesses were outgrowths of that service could not happen if we did not provide it, like selling hats.

TSB: Yes.

PSP: And selling ice cream, because we could not sit at the ice cream counters, so somebody decided to manufacture ice cream. My dad went to school to learn how to wire up lights because before him, there wasn't anybody that had a license to do it.

TSB: That is right.

PSP: So, some of these businesses came out of . . . well, one of the businesses that really came out of that was the funeral business.

TSB: Oh, yes.

PSP: Because in the old days, tell us about . . . how far back can you remember were funerals and how they were handled?

TSB: Well, I do not remember too much about the first one but I know the first one was named Fryson. He had a funeral parlor one block east of where the school was. And I think the next one was Jackson. Then Daniel Phillips and all. But before that, I guess they did have white undertakers. But they were the first black ones.

PSP: Right. I do not even think the white undertakers started - what is the big one here that started just before the blacks did? It was somewhere just around the turn of the century. So, that has not really been a business that has been around for a long time. I think the carpenters would build the coffins before that and then they would just bury people. But that certainly was a business that came up because the white funeral homes would not take . . .

TSB: Did not want to take the black folks.

PSP: Right, because when I was interviewing Mrs. Stevenson from the Telles Stevenson Ranch, they said they wanted to have her mother cremated, and they would not cremate a Negro in Texas.

TSB: Is that right? At that time?

PSP: At that time. So, that was another example. You also said you wanted to expand a little bit on the role of the churches.

TSB: Yes.

PSP: What can you tell us about the role of the churches?

TSB: Well, I wanted to go back and tell you about the slave church. I am a Methodist, of course. I know more about Methodist than I do about Baptist and the other creeds. But anyway, the Methodist slave owners allowed their slaves to sit in the balcony and listen in on their services. But finally, there got to be so many slaves up in the balcony that they wanted to get rid of them and they decided to build a little slave church on the back of their property. At that time, First Methodist was located downtown on Texas Avenue and Travis where the Chronicle building now stands. So, the front of it was on Travis and the back of it was on Milam. So, this church was built in 1851 and it was called the slave church. Now, when the war was over, the Civil War was over, they said, you can have this building but you must move it off our property. And that is when they went down about 10 blocks which is now downtown but at that time, it was going out of town. And you had a few free born blacks who had money and some of the ex-slaves had started making money, so they were able to buy this property on Bell and Travis. And the same man who had been the pastor of the slave church who was Ely Dibble, we called him Father Dibble, well, he had been the pastor. He was a free man. He was not a slave. He became the pastor of that church and that is what is called Big Trinity now. And then, my church, I joined that little church in my area which had been organized in 1908. You see, at that time, I was just 3 years old but I joined this little church or joined the Sunday school, I will say, when I was about 9 years old because I followed the neighborhood children to Sunday school and I liked this little struggling church. My mother and father did not want to join then. They wanted to stay over to the big church which they called the Silk Stocking Church. They did not join until after I joined. I really joined the church in 1920 and I was 14 years old. The big church was built in 1925 and they came after that. And most of the folk came after that. But they were struggling, struggling, struggling with their little, tiny wood frame church. So, that is the story of my church. Now, do you want to talk about any other church?

PSP: Well, I wanted to talk about Big Trinity and how so many of the parishioners there were the leaders in the city. Most of the principals of the schools went there. I just want you to talk a little bit about Trinity.

TSB: Well, it was the first church, as I said. It was downtown. It had the big pipe organ. It had so many things to lure them into that church, see? So, all the teachers and lawyers and doctors joined that church, see? Now, our little church was always more or less hard-working, laboring people. We might have a few school teachers but we did not have a lot of doctors and lawyers at our church.

PSP: You had mentioned the Queen Esther Circle.

TSB: Yes, well, all the Methodist churches had little organizations for the children called the Queen Esther Circle and they met every week, I believe it was, and you had some adult who had nice little lectures for the little girls who came.

PSP: O.K., so that was the Methodist church . . .

TSB: It was a Methodist church organization. And, of course, at the time that I was attending Queen Esther Circle, we had a pastor named Reverend Scott - no kin to me - but his wife was a teacher, a former teacher, Bertha Bell Scally. She was just a beautiful person who just knew how to handle children and we just loved her to death.

PSP: One more thing and then I think we will wrap it up. Were you ever very involved in the YWCA?

TSB: Yes, I was.

PSP: Tell me a little bit about the Y?

TSB: Well, they were trying to get a YWCA branch for the black people here and they first had to prove themselves that they were equal to a branch, so we had what they called a pilot program that was carried on at the old Mason building on Clay Street, right behind where Trinity Church was, and every day, some group of girls had to go there. Mr. Ryan, our principal, made us go and that is where we learned calisthenics and little folk dances and the like. And so, we went there for a couple of years. I was a part of that after they proved themselves organized in 1921. But I was going there around 1919 and 1920, before it was a branch.

PSP: That is amazing to think about, you going in 1920! That is a long time ago. And I know you well. When I hear 1920, it takes me like, oh my God, 1920! Anyway, Thelma Scott Bryant, I thank you so much for this wonderful interview. Does anything come to mind that you want to tell Houstonians before we end this interview?

TSB: Well, we have come a long way, baby! As I said, we have got a long way to go.

PSP: That is a wrap, as they say.