Oral Benchmark Project - Elizabeth Cauvin

​Abstract - 
In this interview, Ms.Jones remembers her back when she was living throughout the Civil Rights Movement. Ms.Jones retraces her life and answering my questions about what she had to face back in the day. This interview that I did made me have a better understanding of the Civil Right Movement. 

Research - 
In my opinion, Ms.Jones talked about being discriminated by other people. Some research that I did :
  •  is action that denies social participation or human rights to categories of people based on prejudice
  • Nearly 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, African Americans in Southern states still inhabited a starkly unequal world of disenfranchisement, segregation and various forms of oppression, including race-inspired violence. 
  • The modern period of civil rights reform can be divided into several phases, each beginning with isolated, small-scale protests and ultimately resulting in the emergence of new, more militant movements, leaders, and organizations.
Sources :

EC - Hello how are ?  

Ms.Jones - Im fine

EC - Ok so um The first question is What do you know about The Civil Rights Movement?

Ms.Jones - Um I lived on the part of the civil Rights movement, and um I know that it was a time where that is was a time where minority, preferably blacks was uh outworldly demonstrating for equal rights and even our famous leader was Martin Luther king , and he um broke a lot of barriers by even uh uh um making some blacks schools in the south accept some white schools accept black students dealt with something with Rosa Parks, where she didn’t have to sit in the back of the bus, and I know in Philadelphia I uh um joined in the marches from my high school Dobbins to city hall where we uh marched into civil rights. So I kind of experienced it.

EC - Ok um What was your conceptualization of race and how it has changed?

Ms.Jones- ok Um well race is just happy dance , I mean you were born of the race of your mother and father , you don’t choose it. But basically except for the skin color , were all the same its just in the minds of people the feel that the lighter fair of skin tones are better than the darker tones. I think it ih ignorance , i think its uh prejudice , but then ever race is prejudice in some way or another even dark skin people are prejudice against the light skins. The light skins against the dark skins, and it has always been and I fill it always will be.  

EC - ok so um how did you see the role of race in society?

Ms.jones- Um I think that society now don’t really fight for anything, and I feel the racist in society now has set the civil uh the the , all of the- the uh um fight that we did for the civil right back 50 years. Um they claim that people are more acceptance now, but I feel that um racism has its own ugly face, in everything worse than it did before. And one evidence is to want to be reversed the um informative action - ok , and once they reversed that you could no longer go into court, and be heard, in the matter of race.  

EC -Hmm Ok so What do you remember from the Civil Rights Movement ?

Ms.Jones- I can remember um the the the the killing of Martin Luther King. Um I can remember the riots in Philadelphia. Uh I can remember um as as a child when they uh did the riots in my neighborhood, uh where the police liked bashed in our store door because we wouldn’t go inside. I can remember the neighbors breaking in their own store and their own neighborhoods , and stealing the products. I can remember day Martin Luther King was dead , and how silent it was that morning and uh how everybody rode in the cars and the lights on. Um I can remember breaking out of my school at Dobbins, and um with the other student body , and uh marching and singing the songs like  “we shall overcome”. Um I can remember marching around uh Girard college because it didn’t accept any blacks. Um I can remember the bombing of the churches in Atlanta where the kids got killed, so its all through by bringing them.  

EC - that’s crazy  

EC - Um, ok , so  Were you ever discriminated as a child going to school ? If so how did you deal with it ?

Ms.Jones- Absolutely I have being a dark skin of a black women, um y-your discriminated against, like I said the fairer skin of blacks  I can remember , like even when we saw blacks on t.v it was like fairer skin women , were the stars , and the darker women only got um parts as maids or nannies and things. And I can remember when they had um toys and cartoons of like “pick-a-mutant” , “blackface” , and um “Ain’t ya momma on the pancake box” (laughter) - Ok . And um it’s still here because they just had the case with the um the sports owner. Just because people don’t speak about it in public , don’t mean that they don’t feel it and speak about it within their own group. Its alive , and living in America and every other country.

EC -  Um How old were you during the Civil Rights Movement ?

Ms.Jones- um I still feel were in the civil rights movement, so i’ve been in the civil rights movement from birth- okay (laughter) - and it never stopped. I can remember my first trip going with my family to South Carolina to visit my grandmother, and I’ve must’ve been eight and I was suprised how we couldn’t go to the bathrooms , to the restaurants, um I was surprised of how some of  the Blacks lives versus the ones who wasn’t . And they stood there, they definitely had signs in places “White Only” - okay - Um I can remember  first time on my job where , and I wore a uh African type hair due , and my boss was caucasian - (The time had ran out , so I started a new one )

EC - okay were going to start off - ( still on the other question which is : Um How old were you during the Civil Rights Movement ? )

Ms.Jones- In my early twenties, was my first job when um the African hair due became popular. The first day I went to work with it, my boss just happened to be caucasian uh joke to me was “ what did you do ? Stick you finger in electric socket - Okay ( laughter) -  which ( laughter ) I didn’t find very funny - Okay ( and more laughter ) - And oh , so thats the new that one.

EC - How was it back in the day, when you were a child?

Ms.Jones- Well like - in fact , back in the day it wasn’t hidden racist. So you were very much aware of it . So um it was just an um acceptance um of a way of life. You didn’t like it , but you were aware. You knew certain neighborhoods you didn’t go in , you knew if you went to certain places, you could not go in and use the uh restrooms or be served in the restaurant.  You knew certain schools were not going to get into , so it was - you you unlike today where it’s hidden it was out there for you to deal with it back when I was a child.  

EC - What's different from today and back in the day ?

Ms.Jones- Well that was one difference is that it was clear , versus hidden. In fact, it was some of that where in the laws , I mean it was just acceptable behavior … okay. And back in the day, like you didn’t learn about black history , it was - I was an adult before I realized that blacks invented things and had a history. So um it was just a uh uh uh regular way of life , that was the reason that excited the um Civil Rights Movement because after a while people just got tired of being treated that kind of way , and that made like great men like Martin Luther king and other Civil Rights leaders um put their life on the line to change these things um because under the guidelines we all made equal.

EC - Do you know about Emmett Till , and how do you feel about his death ?

Ms.Jones- Now I’m not familiar with that name , like I said back then they did not teach us black history.

EC- Okay …

Ms.Jones- So I feel that the kids today know more about black history uh leaders  than we did , we only know the ones that was out there on the television.

EC- well Emmett Till he wasn’t like a leader he was 14 year old that got beaten brutally , and like his face was messed up , like his mom didn’t even know it was him , and she had an open casket funeral.

Ms.Jones- Ok Ok I remember that. Now the way I feel about that is just that was typical of the way they used to victimize uh blacks uh in the South and other places from the beginning in the time. I mean back to when they had uh segregation where they used hang blacks from the trees -

EC - yes they lynched them

Ms.jones- yeah well they lynched them so blacks always been in danger in certain parts of the the world that they go because their black.  And to make it more personal um I have a sister that um went to a party at a friend of her’s house who happened to be caucasian whereas she was the only black at the party , and some point they all jumped on her and uh this was right here in center city about 4 YEARS AGO . So like I said it’s just the way it is , you can’t change what’s in mind , and when they had the uh the guys of wood hoods they had children and the children had children and these are the people that are out um in the workplace now, and you went to school wit ‘em and you wouldn’t think that their attitudes had changed. They-They seem to say when they took off their hood “we’re going in but we’re coming out different

EC - yeah i agree

Ms.Jones-  Its still there because these kids and the kids of the kids are worse than them because they have been feed the stuff from birth .

EC- okay -

Ms.Jones - Alright

EC - Do you have any final thoughts ? Anything else you would like to say ?

Ms.Jones-  It’s just that I had hoped that in my lifetime I would see a change , but um it is - In fact , its coming back again in hard. its just that children of today never experienced it they way we did don’t recognized it. And they were brought up to feel that it’s not there . they don’t see where it touches - okay … because they're not aware. We were aware , so hopefully um I believe in God and I still feel that he has the final say in all this

EC - thank you for answering my questions , have a nice day .

Ms.Jones - You too.