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Georgia - Albany: Patricia J. Perry Interviewee
Dent, Thomas C.
Tom Dent interviews Patricia J. Perry in on a drive from Albany through Baker County, Georgia. She talks about middle class people sending their children away for their education. The people who have had the most difficult time in the area have often been the ones who have been able to "escape" and be successful elsewhere. She discusses her family roots in Baker County. She did not participate in the Albany Movement because she lived in the country, at first. She then became involved as a student leader and represented the youth of Baker County. Her parents were in favor of the demonstrations, but repercussions of the activities affected them negatively. Her mother worked as a maid in Albany, and her employer was hit by a stone at a protest. Newton, Georgia has a reputation for violence against African Americans. She suggests Dent speak to Earl Jones about what went on there. He was responsible for her family losing most of their land. She has always been interested in land and the power it provides. It seems to have been a concerted effort to take land away from the Black community. She points out First Bethesda Baptist Church, which her family attended. Dent recalls performing in the area with the Free Southern Theater in 1967. Perry was seventeen at the time and attended. Charles Sherrod and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC] helped organize Baker County; his wife Shirley is from the area. [As they enter Baker County, the rain stops.] They pass pines and live oaks. Perry talks about a store, mobile home park, and supper club she developed in the area before she left in the late 1980s, and points out the location. They are at the location of the former Pineland Plantation. She discusses the other plantations in the area. She describes the house she grew up in. She had no privacy and shared beds with cousins. She points out Colquitt Road and the location where her family land, which has now been lost, started. She talks about the process of raising the money to keep as much of the land as possible. A distant cousin had been located up North who wanted to sell the land, and they did their best to buy her out. Pineland Plantation had wanted the land for years. Her family was able to save ninety acres of the original six hundred. Perry was the only family member to lose money over the deal, and lost about $25,000. She points out the homes of relatives who still live on the land, which is surrounded by the Pineland Plantation. She talks about a family friend who tried to vote in the late 1950s and had his house bombed. Her family had not been voting, but now they are very active voters. They discuss Juanita Cribb. Perry points out plantations. They enter Dougherty County. They discuss Americus, Georgia, which is a small Black community. She points out another church she attended as a child, which was Baptist. Her children attended Catholic Schools: St. Theresa in Georgia and St. Michael in California. The New Communities farm used to be nearby. Many people from the rural area migrated to Albany for work in factories. Perry opened the mobile home park to supply housing for the workers, but the Firestone plant closed around the same time and the venture was ultimately unsuccessful. They discuss the importance of Wednesday night bible study to the community. People also love to eat heavy food at gatherings, which was an adjustment for Perry when she returned from California and made quiche for a group
African AmericansCivil rights demonstrationCivil rightsLand tenureVotingIndustryEconomics
Albany (Ga.)Baker County (Ga.)Newton (Ga.)Americus (Ga.)
Tulane University Digital Library
Box 150, Item 10, Side 1, Tom Dent collection, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Physical rights are retained by the Amistad Research Center. Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. Copyright Laws.