The John Novak Oral History Archive

The John Novak Oral History Archive

Interviews

Dorothea Anagnostopoulos

Dorothea Anagnostopoulos

Dorothea Anagnostopoulos speaks about her home in Greece where she, her parents and two siblings lived in a small house without electricity and everyone slept in one bedroom. Her father came from a large family with 9 brothers and all the brothers worked picking apples on their apple farm. Her father had a party store, but business was not good and he decided to move to the United States. His wife's sister lived in the United States and she helped her father to immigrate. The aunt introduced her father to people in Greektown. Her father washed dishes in Greektown restaurants in the nighttime and after obtaining a bicycle he sold ice cream on the street from his bicycle in the daytime. The rest of the family was able to immigrate after an investigation was made which included asking their neighbors in Greece if they were a good family. When Ms. Anagnostopoulos was eleven, she came by boat to New York and then by train to Detroit. Her father eventually opened a bakery in Greektown and then a grocery store. Her father and mother did not become citizens because they could not pass the written test. Other members of the family immigrated to Canada.

  • Date Interviewed: Thursday, 01 March 2012
  • Interviewer: Dorothea Pehrson
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #28

Keith Arnold

Keith Arnold

Keith Arnold was born April 5, 1943. He was raised in Buffalo, New York. In this interview, Keith Arnold revisits living in the state of New York as a child and young adult. He recounts his experience as a child with his friends and what it was like to grow up in Buffalo. Then he goes on to tell how and when he migrated to Michigan, and what life was like when he arrived to Detroit.

 

  • Date Interviewed: Wednesday, 22 February 2012
  • Interviewer: Ashley Turner
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #33

Joe Ann Baker

Joe Ann Baker grew up a small town in Eastman Georgia where she did not notice prejudices (white doll). But life was quite different when she moved north. After moving north she encountered racism and white flight in Michigan. She also discusses the Highland Park riots and the mayor at that time Coleman A Young.

  • Date Interviewed: Sunday, 23 March 2008
  • Interviewer: Ge’Vonda Marrie Baker
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #15

LaDonna Byrd

LaDonna Byrd is a single mother of five children living in Detroit, MI. This interview recounts her younger years living in Detroit and the difficulty of dealing with the early loss of her parents. Also, how moving back to Detroit, Michigan from a safer Burlington, Vermont has changed her life.

  • Date Interviewed: Thursday, 27 March 2008
  • Interviewer: Karmen Byrd
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #16

Pao-yu Chou

Pao-yu Chou

Dr. Pao-yu Ching Chou was born in Beijing, China, the oldest of three children. Though of royal descent (Qing dynasty), her father grew up an impoverished orphan; her mother was a very wealthy member of the Han majority. Dr. Chou's early life was influenced by the 1911 and 1949 revolutions in China, by the tension over finances between her parents, and by the rise of communism. After graduating first in her class with an economics degree, she received a scholarship to attend graduate school at Bryn Mawr. There she was struck by the gap between her expectations of the United States (as an ideal, democratic country of equality) and the realities exposed by the civil rights movement. Dr. Chou married, and continued to work while completing her PhD dissertation on inequities in milk production and government subsidies. For a long period, China's importance in her life was minimal, but now China and the rest of the world have become a major interest. She says, "I think I’ve become a Marxist. I have to throw away everything I learned in graduate school...The hardest thing is to clean up bourgeois economics. Clean it up and relearn."

  • Date Interviewed: Monday, 28 June 2010
  • Interviewer: Dr. Dena Scher
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #26
 
 

Sally Chung

Sally Chung was born in Taipei, Taiwan. Her parents immigrated first and worked to bring Sally (age 3) and her siblings. She did not see her parents for nine years while she lived in Taiwan with her grandfather. When she came to the US, she struggled with the language and making friends. She worked in family restaurants. She met her husband when he was a customer at the restaurant in Dearborn. He returned to Taiwan after his student visa expired and they had a long distance relationship for three years. Eventually she and her husband opened their own restaurant.

  • Date Interviewed: Wednesday, 29 February 2012
  • Interviewer: Karlee Derrick
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #34
 

Violet Douglas

Violet Douglas was born and raised as a blind child in Mecca, Indiana before getting married and relocating to Detroit, Michigan to look for work and a place to live. While raising her family through WWII and the depression, she held jobs at Kresge’s, Woolworth’s, an airplane factory, and Michigan Book Bindery. They needed “small women” to work in the military aircraft. She compares the difference between farm life and city life.

  • Date Interviewed: Monday, 03 March 2014
  • Interviewer: Lisa Funk
  • Marygrove Archives ARC SP-0100 File #37

Maxine Early

Maxine Early is interviewed by Marygrove student Crystal Christian about her family's migration to Detroit in the early 1940s. Ms. Early's father moved to Detroit to find a job so he could support his family. About a year later he sent train tickets to his wife and children in Mississippi and they joined him in Detroit. Growing up, Ms. Early's house was a hub for extended family members who used it as a temporary residence after coming from the south to Detroit. In the south, the migrants said, people are "warmer" and friendlier; in the north, teachers assumed the children were behind in their work because they were from the "country" and held them back a grade.

  • Date Interviewed: Thursday, 23 February 2012
  • Interviewer: Crystal Christian
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #29

Mercedes Echevaria

Mercedes Echevaria

Marygrove College professor Dena Scher interviews Mercedes Echevaria about her experiences coming to the United States from Cuba. Mercedes came to the United States via Mexico in 1968 when she was around ten years old with her mother and siblings. Mercedes' father came to the United States a few years before to find work earn enough money to bring his family.

 

  • Date Interviewed: Tuesday, 04 March 2008
  • Interviewer: Dr. Dena Scher
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #12

Patricia Flemings

Patricia Flemings recalls her life growing up in Detroit. She also recounts the history of her parents and grandparent migrations to Detroit. She compares the past Detroit, particularly before the riots, to modern day Detroit. She talks of how drugs and fear of corrupt police officers, called the “Big Four” ruined the sense of safety in the neighborhoods. Later in the interview, Ms. Flemings talks about her great grandmother’s recollections of being a house slave. There are also suggestions as to how Detroit can be fixed over time.  

  • Date Interviewed: Saturday, 08 March 2014
  • Interviewer: Amber Flemings
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File # 36
 

Edith Floyd

Edith Floyd is interviewed by her granddaughter and Marygrove student Cheyenne Monday about her experiences in the South and moving to Detroit in the 1960s. Ms. Floyd grew up on a farm in South Carolina with her parents and eight siblings. She remembers getting up at 5 am each morning to wash before breakfast. After eating she would do her chores and then play games like the "gladiator race." She loved school, especially singing and learning songs for an hour each day and playing all kinds of sports. Her father made a living by share-cropping, hunting, digging wells, and hauling lumber. Her mother canned fruits and vegetables so they could eat well year-round. When Ms. Floyd was sixteen, her sister convinced her parents to let her move to Detroit, where she enrolled in private Catholic school and worked at her sister's store. Ms. Floyd had little time for homework during the day so she used a flashlight under the covers to get it done at night. After finishing the eleventh grade, she met her husband-to-be, Henry. They explored downtown Detroit in his car on the weekends, and he walked her to and from school every day. When they were married they moved into a house on St. Clair Street and had the first of their four children. A few years later they moved to a house on Mt. Olive Street; not long after, Ms. Floyd remembers their mostly white neighbors putting up for-sale signs. She also remembers having to rush to get her children out of the house when their garage caught fire on Devil's Night. Today Ms. Floyd is a "farmer in the city" who sells her vegetables and fruit at Eastern Market.

  • Date Interviewed: Tuesday, 02 October 2012
  • Interviewer: Cheyenne Monday
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #30

Sandra A. Foote

Marygrove College student Crystal Avant interviews her mother, Sandra Foote, about her experiences moving to Detroit. Sandra Foote grew up in New Orleans and lived a sheltered life with a close-knit Creole community. Foote did not feel much racial prejudice until she moved to Detroit. Foote moved to Detroit with her mother when she was five years old.

  • Date Interviewed: Monday, 13 March 2006
  • Interviewer: Crystal Avant
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #3
 

Lenolia Gaddy

Lenolia Gaddy

Migration to Detroit:  Lenolia “Na-Na” Gaddy migrated to Detroit as a young girl. She recounts her life from her migration from Armory, Mississippi and the racial tension known there to the booming city of Detroit where she experienced a different lifestyle. She lived through two historical points in Detroit’s history and gave accounts of both the 1943 Race Riot and the Detroit Riot of 1967. Ms. Gaddy has resided in Detroit for over 80 years.  

 

  • Date Interviewed: Thursday, 06 March 2014
  • Interviewer: Sherry McClendon
  • Marygrove Archives ARC SP 0100 File #38

Daisy Gary

Daisy Gary

Marygrove College student Danielle Washington interviews her great-grandmother, Daisy Gary, about her experiences moving to Detroit. Daisy Gary was born in Arkansas, later moved to Houston, Texas, and finally arrived in Detroit in 1945. Gary then details her life since the migration.

 

 

  • Date Interviewed: Tuesday, 14 March 2006
  • Interviewer: Danielle Washington
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #4

Lula Bell Hudnall

Lula Bell Hudnall was born July 7, 1931 in Blackwater, Mississippi. A recollection of the 1967 Riots, a long nursing career, and country girl living are discussed during this interview. Lula Bell was 27 years old when she left Detroit and she came here for work. When her parents died a cousin took her and her brother in a raised them like they were hers. Her “sister” had moved up to Detroit already and she was looking for more opportunity.

  • Date Interviewed: Friday, 12 October 2012
  • Interviewer: Gevonchai Hudnall
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #35
 

Andrew Johnson

Marygrove College student LeAndre Johnson interviews his father, Andrew Johnson, about his experiences moving to Detroit. Andrew Johnson came to Detroit in 1962 with his mother and siblings. Johnson's mother came to Detroit looking for work. Johnson talks about racism in the South and in Detroit and his perceived differences between the Black Panther party and Dr. Martin Luther King's approach.

  • Date Interviewed: Sunday, 26 February 2006
  • Interviewer: LeAndre Johnson
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #2
 

Izzat Khapoya

Izzat Khapoya

Izzat Khapoya was born in Tanzania and raised in Mombasa, Kenya. She was the seventh of eight children born of Indian parents who were members of a small Muslim sect called Ismailis. She enjoyed a privileged childhood thanks to her father's successful scrap metal business. In 1965, a few years after Kenya gained independence, Ms. Khapoya's father moved the family to London. From there she enrolled at Foothill College in Los Altos, California, and then Oregon State University. She met her future husband Vincent at Oregon State. Because her husband was African he was not accepted by everyone in her family; her father was especially opposed to the marriage. She and Vincent eventually moved to Detroit so he could take a job at Oakland University; it was from OU that Ms. Khapoya earned her clinical psychology degree.

  • Date Interviewed: Tuesday, 22 June 2010
  • Interviewer: Dr. Dena Scher
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #24

Vincent Khapoya

Vincent Khapoya

Dr. Khapoya talks about his early schooling, initiation rites and circumcision when he was a 14 year old boy in Kenya. In the interview, he recounts his father’s dedication to achieving an education for his children, including his sister who was not his sister, but his cousin. The continuity of tradition is noted in Dr. Khapoya’s building a house for his mother, which is not his mother’s house but his own house.

  • Date Interviewed: Monday, 23 October 2006
  • Interviewer: Dr. Dena Scher
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #7

Herbie Kirn

Herbie Kirn grew up in a small town as a homosexual male. As Herbie grew older he joined a band, and traveled around the country with the band. He later joined the Church of Scientology where he met his wife Lorrie Kirn. The couple stayed married for while and had 2 children. Herbie eventually divorced Lorrie, because he was still a homosexual male.

  • Date Interviewed: Thursday, 06 March 2008
  • Interviewer: Mara Kirn
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #13

Nulca Lerebours

Marygrove College professor Dena Scher interviews Nulca Lerebours about her experiences coming to the United States from Haiti. Nulca came to the United States in 1968 at age 26 with her husband. Nulca speaks about her journey from New York to Florida with her children, her involvement with the church and community, and how Haitians are living in Florida.

  • Date Interviewed: Wednesday, 05 March 2008
  • Interviewer: Dr. Dena Scher
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #11

Frances Herbin Lewis

Frances Herbin Lewis was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1942. Greensboro at the time was segregated, with separate school, church, and recreational facilities for blacks and whites. Black people had separate bathrooms and water fountains, and they could buy food at a lunch counter but couldn't sit down to eat it. Ms. Lewis recalls that from an early age she was encouraged by her teachers to study government, to recognize the injustice of black people's daily lives, and to become an active, informed citizen of Greensboro.

  • Date Interviewed: Sunday, 01 August 2010
  • Interviewer: Dr. Dena Scher
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #25

Mildred Matlock

Mildred Matlock

Mildred Matlock speaks about her mother, Myrtle Lois Gilford, and her mother's move to Detroit. Myrtle Gilford came to Detroit from Beloit, Alabama in search of better job opportunities and a better life. Mildred Matlock is a member of the Detroit Association of Black Storytellers (DABS). The speech was given during the "History Telling Concert" at Marygrove College on May 7, 2006.

  • Interviewer: History Telling Concert
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #6

Sam Moore

Sam Moore

Sam Moore was born April 1, 1932. He was raised in a small town outside of Texarkana, TX. In this interview, Sam Moore revisits living in poverty during his childhood which led to his migration to Detroit. He also recounts living in poverty in Detroit as a result of migrating to the region during “the turn over” (when automotive plants lay workers off for two weeks).

  • Date Interviewed: Thursday, 06 March 2008
  • Interviewer: Keena Arrington
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #18

Chukwunyere Okezie

Marygrove College professor Dr. Chukwunyere Okezie was one of 10 siblings in his family's compound in Nigeria. After Zaira University in Nigeria was closed, he moved at the age of 22 to the United States to earn his undergraduate and Ph.D. degrees. Dr. Okezie married in 2001 and describes his growing family and academic life at Marygrove College.

  • Date Interviewed: Saturday, 21 November 2009
  • Interviewer: Virginia Ashworth
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #19
 

Cosmae Perez

Cosmae Perez

Marygrove College professor Dena Scher interviews Cosmae Perez about his experiences working the United States as a migrant. Cosmae was born in Mexico from Mexican American parents. After he quit school at the age of sixteen, Cosmae began to work - first locally and then as a migrant worker.

  • Date Interviewed: Wednesday, 05 March 2008
  • Interviewer: Dr. Dena Scher
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #10

Esperanza Perez

Esperanza Perez

Marygrove College professor Dena Scher interviews Esperanza Perez about her experiences coming to the United States from Mexico. Esperanza's mother crossed into Texas while pregnant and gave birth so that Esperanza would be registered as an American citizen. Esperanza lived in Mexico and immigrated to the Unites States when she was nine. Esperanza talks about migrant work and how she met her husband, Cosmae, and their family.

  • Date Interviewed: Tuesday, 04 March 2008
  • Interviewer: Dr. Dena Scher
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #9

 

 


 
 
Frank Rashid

Frank Rashid

Dr. Frank D. Rashid, Professor of English at Marygrove College, is interviewed by Marygrove student Lauryn Pennington about growing up in Detroit and his experience of the 1967 riots. His father's family emigrated from Lebanon to Illinois in the late 1800s and eventually established Rashid's Quality Market on Linwood Street in Detroit. His mother, a writer, was of German and Northern Irish descent. Dr. Rashid grew up in a racially and ethnically diverse part of Detroit and attended Catholic schools throughout his education. He also attended a year of seminary school with the intention of becoming a priest, but during a year's leave at the University of Detroit (now the University of Detroit, Mercy) he decided to become a teacher instead. The progressive faculty at the university, as well as Dr. Rashid's own observations of Detroit's escalating racial tensions, led him to a growing awareness of race, class, and his own privilege. On July 23, 1967, the day the riots began, Dr. Rashid and his father received a phone call that the family store was being looted. What happened next sparked the 16-year-old’s lifelong commitment to Detroit and to social justice, and shaped his conviction that the riots were not the beginning of Detroit's problems but rather symptomatic of pre-existing inequalities.

  • Date Interviewed: Wednesday, 03 October 2012
  • Interviewer: Lauryn Pennington
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #31

Henry Revell, Jr. Part 1

Henry Revell, Jr. Part 1

Henry Revell grew up the oldest of 12 brothers and sisters on a farm near Selma, North Carolina. Their grandfather was a former slave who had been given the farm and property as payment from his former master. Mr. Revell describes his early experiences playing baseball, winning public speaking contests, and participating in a 4-H group. He explains what it was like to play baseball while in college, in the military service, and for the Negro League, travelling up and down the coast for exhibition games. He majored in agriculture at North Carolina A & T, spent the next two years stationed in Fort Lewis, Washington, where he was the only black player on a white baseball team, and eventually made his way back to North Carolina to marry and work as an agriculture agent.

  • Date Interviewed: Thursday, 14 January 2010
  • Interviewer: Dr. Dena Scher
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #22

Henry Revell, Jr. Part 2

Henry Revell, Jr. Part 2

Henry Revell began playing baseball with his family at age 9 and loved it "more than food to eat." He learned how to pitch from his father, and used to play three innings during his lunch break from farm work. During his four years of high school, the only person to hit a home run off of one of his pitches was George Altman, who became the first black player for the Chicago Cubs. Mr. Revell hadn't seriously considered attending college, but after a day-long try-out with a North Carolina A & T coach, he was awarded a baseball scholarship to A & T, where he majored in agriculture. He entered the service after graduation and played ball there as well, doing his best to focus on his technique while facing discrimination as the team's only black player. He says, "It’s just been a beautiful experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything."

  • Date Interviewed: Sunday, 01 August 2010
  • Interviewer: Noah Purcell
  • Marygrove Archives ARC-SP 0100 File #22

 

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Detroit Journeys Collection

Detroit Journeys Collection

The Detroit Journeys Collection features interviews focusing on the experiences of individuals migrating within the U.S. or from outside the U.S. to Detroit, Michigan.

Experiences Collection

Experiences Collection

The Experiences Collection features two sections. The first section includes interviews with women from Bennett College who participated in the Woolworth's Lunch Counter civil rights demonstration in Greensboro, North Carolina. The second section includes interviews with migrant workers from Homestead, Florida.

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