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Mississippi - Canton: George Washington Interviewee [Part 1]
Dent, Thomas C.
Tom Dent interviews George Washington Sr. in Canton, Mississippi. Dent asks if Canton was considered a rough place for Blacks during Civil Rights and Washington states it was only difficult for some who fought back but was a "pretty nice place" in general. Washington worked at the local saw mill, Canton Lumber, for about 20 years until about 1948 when the mill stopped operating. He then bought some land. He served in the army for 2 years after 1943. He did his basic training in Petersburg, VA then shipped out to California, New Guinea and the Philippines. Dent asks about the Civil Rights efforts before George Raymond came to the area and Washington states they had a movement, meeting often at the local store that Washington owned and several houses and churches in the area. Washington states that several local figures and authorities asked Washington to stop his Civil Rights meeting but that they never threatened him or his property. They discuss a man named Chin who was active in Canton, starting a boycott and was arrested treated harshly by the police. Washington recounts when he helped bail people out of jail. He also recalls a woman named Miss. Divine who also helped the Civil Rights activists and Robert Smith. Washington discusses the difficulty in acquiring groceries for his store and his family as a Black man during Civil Rights. His store was bombed at one point and Washington was accused of setting the bomb himself. He was no longer allowed to buy on credit because of his activism. Washington said he had a special relationship with sheriff and managed to rebound due to this relationship. Washington states that Whites are affable and happy to help if you pay your bills to them. If you do not, however, they tell each other and make your life difficult.
The tape cuts out in the very beginning.
African AmericansBusiness peopleCivil rightsPoliceRace relations
Tulane University Digital Library
Box 154, Item 7, Side 1, Tom Dent collection, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
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