Oral History Benchmark- JT

Mr. Roy my recording isn't able to show up but I believe you have it in your mail from when Tsion sent it to you.


Miriam Rodriguez, reflects on her experiences of being a young girl around the specific times of 1960-1975. During the time frame of the interview, she talks about how much protection was given to her from her family. Which consisted of a Mother, Father, and 9 children that were older than her. Miriam believes that because of this constant protection she was shielded from most of the segregation and discrimination that was going on around her. She also begins to talk about how she believes, most of segregation was happening because of the fear of the unknown and differences of others. She talks about how people chose to hate the things that they don’t understand and that she believes most people that didn’t fear them (African Americans ), probably grow up in a rather prejudices environment. Lastly she speaks about gangs and how her mother feared for her safety, from young black girls that were running up behind other girls ( whites and hispanics ) and cutting off their hair. She then concludes the interview by saying she would have never changed her races if given the changes to and that she loves her life the way it is.


In my research, I found that most white people discriminated against black people just because they were different from them. And that this wasn’t a valid reason for discrimination against other races. Also because for many generations, white people were taught that black people are barley or not-human.


Subject- Miriam Rodriguez, born February 2, 1960. Relation to interviewer is grandmother.

JC: Hello my name is Jose Colon and I’m here with..

MR: Miriam Rodriguez.

JC: And it’s, the data is um March 15, I mean May 16, 2014. It’s about five forty five pm. And I’m  just going to ask you um about ten questions, a series of questions.

MR: Okay

JC: Um first question, how do you believe race has changed over the years and what does race mean to you?

MR: Well race is different naxalites, to me and as far as um. When you say race I guess people also think of prejudices, and I think it’s gotten some what better but, we still have a ways to go.

JC: hm, and um. Do you believe race has an effect on modern day society?

MR: Well that’s um, well a little bit I guess, I think I think it um, people are still holding grudges and some people are still afraid of differences and, well like I said I think it’s there to better it’s just. I dont know what to say haahaaaaaa.

JC: Um what do you recall from the civil rights movement or the effects from it.

MR: What I recall is that is um. What’s that President the tall skinny one.

JC/MR: Abraham Lincoln.

MR: Haahaaaahaaahaa Ahh, it was around the time he was president, and I think it was about freeing the slaves but I think it was, also about um other politics I can’t recall what they are right now.

JC: mm. Did you um, ever hear of like talk of Martin Luther king.

MR: Um sure.

JC: mm was it all like, was it negative or was it positive.

MR: No I just remember seeing, um he did a lot um marches and, a lot of speeches and I, I was young at the time I've heard it through more like history. Even tho it was in my history, you know in my time I was to young to be part of the march or anything but. He used to live around um Allegheny actually, he had a house around there. Around Stetson the high school. I don’t know if you remember that school or not. Back in the old neighborhood. But um, yeah.

JC: So what if any are your experiences with discrimination?

MR: I don’t believe I ever been discriminated against. Um, I was more in a time of like gangs there were a lot of gangs in my time. Zoloe gang, Waloed gang I’m sure their were other gangs but, but um.

JC: Were the gangs ever race related? Was it like a….

MR: They were probably were, I was never in a gang but they probably were race related. I was sheltered, I’m the youngest of eight children so, I was pretty much sheltered.

JC: And ah what are some of your educational experiences?

MR: Well I love school but um, I was very shy because, probably because of my speech impediment. But um I think the teachers just didn’t understand me and I camped, they camped passing me to the next grade level. So I didn’t learn how to read well and I taught myself to read actually. When I was older I think I was um, I forget how old I was but I was teaching myself how to read and I read a lot of books and thats how I learned how to read. Picking up things here and there.

JC: Have you ever felt as tho your education was being affected by your race.

MR: By what?

JC: By your race.

MR: No I think my education was affected more with my speech impediment and um being passed through grades. I don’t know if had to do with race or anything? There was a short period there where I want to a speech therapist. I enjoyed that a lot.

JC: Um has your race ever stop, wait has your race ever stopped you from doing something.

MR: No

JC: No

MR: My parents were very ahh, what do you call it um they encouraged me that, they were trying to get me out of my shell so they encouraged me a lot.

JC: When you were a child do you recall black people being tried differently or them doing anything differently at all.

MR: I don’t um, like I said I was really young, I was the youngest of eight. Um I’m sheltered. So um, I do remember ah around the time I was a young teenager there were black girls um cutting hair of people who had long hair. They would sneak up behind them and cut their hair. Um that was in the news a lot I think or in the neighborhood conversions that, that was going on. I remember my mom being scared and ah putting my hair up and all.

JC: Why do you believe some people were tried unfair?

MR: That was fear. Um I think it had to do with um fear of the not knowing and being raised by people who are pragides and it got passed on. And instead of trying to get to know someone, they um they let their fear take over I guess.

JC: If you had the option to would you change your race? And If you did would it for the better or the worse.

MR: I wouldn’t change my race.

JC: ahah

MR: I mean I enjoyed my life my parents and eight kids old then you I had a great time.

JC: Thank you.