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Amber Anderson & Mae Morrow clip 1

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Amber Anderson & Mae Morrow clip 1


Courtesy Amber Anderson. This item is under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)






Oral History



Amber Anderson




00:00 [Mae]
I don’t know what it is, and this is something that has … while I think about it. And I’ve never been able to figure it out, how it is that… I don’t remember my mom, and my dad died when I was 9, almost 10. So, I don’t remember him talking too much about the racists. And after Mama T had to raise me by herself, and I don’t remember her talking too much about it either. So, I don’t know when it is you realize that your life is different than their lives. You know, when it is that you realize that you can’t use the White bathroom. You can’t drink from the White fountain, and mind you, they had signs over them. That’s how you knew they were White. That’s how you knew they were Black. They were literally painted. They had a White sign and a Black sign, colored or whatever. They didn’t call it black; they called it colored. But the colored bathroom… In most cases, the colored bathroom would probably be outside.

The colored fountain would be outside, and even the bus stations, interstate travel, buses. The White folks waited inside. You could get a hamburger and a drink and sit at the counter. If you wanted a drink and a hamburger, and you were catching a bus, you had a bench outside the building. You had to go to this window to get your little drink and food. I don’t recall what would happen if it rained and if it was cold. I guess it was the same thing. I’ve ridden that bus, and I waited outside even as late as when Monica was born, which was 1962. But what I learned to do, because it would be dark and if the bus station was closed, and the bus brought you there, they would just leave you back there. And you’d have to wait until the next bus come, and the time was starting to get kind of dangerous. So, what I would always do before I left San Antonio was to call Mama T, and they would meet me in … . That way I didn’t have to wait on the next bus to take me all the way up to College Station. They would usually be there when they got there, and if they weren’t there, it wouldn’t take but a few minutes for them to be there. So, I didn’t ever have to wait back there by myself. So, I don’t really know how it would turn out, but that’s kind of scary to think that you even would have to do that. I’m sure there were thousands of people who did that.

I still don’t understand how we… I don’t even know what age you are when you become aware of the differences in the races. You’re always aware of the color of the skin and the texture of your hair and all of that, and so many of us Black folks wanted our hair to be good hair. We considered somebody with light skin, they were… Even us, ourselves, we had this class, and I think we still have it. You got this class distinction amongst ourselves, where a person with light skin and good hair, we kind of, somehow or another, think that they’re better than a person with kinky hair and dark skin. I don’t know where we… I don’t know who instilled that in us, but we do have it. It stems from way back, and there’s still people who think that way, Black people who think that way.

Now, I don’t know. We sometimes used to think if a person was dark-skinned that they were up to no good, that they were evil, blah blah blah. Of course, that’s bullshit, but I just don’t know where we came about some of the things we think about. But again, I don’t know how we came to be the kind of people we are. How we accepted, at such a young age, I remember when I was little, when I’d go to town, I don’t remember my mama having to pull me away from no White water fountain or come and keep me from going into no White bathroom. It’s just something that you just instinctively knew, or maybe being a Black parent, during Segregation when it was just so out there, they were just so good at protecting the children until… Like even today, I can’t see. I don’t have no feelings about it. Now, she probably had to do a whole lot of side-stepping and kissing ass to make sure my feelings weren’t hurt. But I was too stupid to even pay any attention. I was just like… I don’t know, and I haven’t talked to any of my other friends to see how they felt about it because my friend Francis lived in town. […] lived in town, and their experience might have been a little bit different from mine. But I don’t understand how it is that something… You just realize that you’re Black, or that you’re a negro, a colored like they used to call us, and just you don’t do things certain ways. And I, to this day, don’t know when it actually happened.

I was looking at the newspaper in there today, and they’ve got these dots…

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