Oral History Assignment - Essay Example

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Interview with an African American Executive My interview was with an African American woman. She is currently 67 years old and has had some remarkable life experiences. She was born in rural Georgia about fifty miles from the city of Macon. She moved to New York City as a young bride and earned a degree in Business from NYU…
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Download file to see previous pages Her family home sat right out against the fields. There was lots of red clay in the soil that gave a distinctive smell. She remembers that smell with fondness because that was the only time she and her sisters were allowed to play in the fields. They would gout and make mud pies and houses for corn dolls out of mud. The sun would bake the soil hard like a brick after a few days, but then the rain would melt the houses and mud pies. She remembers her early childhood as a time of poverty but also freedom and love provided by her parents. One of the biggest events of her life was travelling up north when she was fourteen to visit an aunt and uncle in New York City. She was raised in the Church, meaning her entire social life revolved around choir practice, bible classes and Sunday attendance. But when she spent the summer in New York City, she met all kinds of people that sere not raised in the Church. One of these was a fine looking boy in her uncle’s apartment building. She said he was a member of a gang, but she just couldn’t stay away from him. When time came for her to return to Georgia at the end of the summer, she refused to go. She stayed with her uncle for another three months until she was fifteen. Then she got married to her sweetheart the gangster. She reports growing up fast. By the time she was twenty she had graduated high school, managed a small grocery store and had two children. Her husband the gangster never came around to getting into the Church, but he turned out to be hard working and a loving father. He worked in a warehouse unloading and loading trucks. Between their two jobs they made a living. Their big gamble came when she decided to quit work and get a college degree. She says she still is not sure how they did it, but remembers it as being a happy, busy time in her life. After graduation, she got a job with a major bank. She was one of the few black women that had a degree in business. Affirmative action programs were just starting so she says they “snapped me right up”. She says she is proud of her working career. She ended as Director of Human Resources for the credit card division at her bank. She reports that along the way there were many times racism was a problem in her life. She said that living in Georgia was difficult. Unfortunately, she can only remember a few interactions with white people in Georgia that were not tinged by racism in some way. She says that to this day, she will never return to Georgia or any of the southern states. She went to her father’s funeral 23 years ago and has not returned since. She often invites and pays for family members to visit her, but she does not have any desire to return to the south. As far as racism in New York City goes, she said that things have come a long way since she arrived all of those years ago. She said that her feeling about divisions in a cosmopolitan city like New York are not so much based on race as they are on economics. She said that there are times when she feels slighted because of her race but she chooses not to dwell on it. She says that battling breast cancer three times has helped her gain a perspective that makes forgiving other’s weaknesses easy. She feels humbled by this disease and just doesn’t have any desire to buy into the drama other people want to create. Currently, she is enjoying being a grandmother and travelling with her husband. They both are retired now, so they are free to visit their ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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