Albert Delaney Salisbury

Albert Delaney Salisbury's family moved to Lawrence from Topeka in 1905. Mr. Salisbury discusses the role of blacks in World War I, jobs open to blacks, racial barriers, all-black social clubs and activities, and black businesses.

Interview of Albert Delaney Salisbury
June 15, 1977

Interview by Curtis Nether

MR. NETHER: To start off with, would you give us your name?

MR. DELANEY: Albert Delaney Salisbury.

MR. NETHER: What's your age?

MR. DELANEY: Seventy-six. Born in 1900.

MR. NETHER: You would never know it. What's your marital status?

MR. DELANEY: My wife, she's living. You want her age too?


MR. DELANEY: She's sixty-seven. And I have three daughters. They are all married, but one is getting a divorce.

MR. NETHER: How old are your children?

MR. DELANEY: The oldest girl is forty-two. The second girl is thirty-seven, and the youngest girl is thirty-two. There are five years difference between each one of them's age.

MR. NETHER: How did you do that?

MR. DELANEY: I don't know how.

MR. NETHER: What were your parents' names?

MR. DELANEY: My parents' names was Albert Salisbury, and you want my mother's maiden name?


MR. DELANEY: Her maiden name is Lulabelle Clay.

MR. NETHER: Where were they born? Where was your father born?

MR. DELANEY: My father was born in Salisbury, Missouri, and I think my mother was born in Columbia, Missouri.

MR. NETHER: When did they come to Douglas County?

MR. DELANEY: We moved to Douglas County from Topeka in 1905.

MR. NETHER: And you were five years old at this time?

MR. DELANEY: Let's see. 1905. I guess that would be about right.

MR. NETHER: Approximately five.

MR. DELANEY: Five, yeah.

MR. NETHER: Why did your family come to Douglas County?

MR. DELANEY: My father's father was custodian at this school and he became ill and he came down here to take his job.

MR. NETHER: Your father's father?

MR. DELANEY: Grandfather. He worked there.

MR. NETHER: When did your grandfather come to Douglas County?

MR. DELANEY: I just really don't know the date on it. I couldn't set the date.

MR. NETHER: Do you know, was he born here also?

MR. DELANEY: No. I don't know where he was born. I don't know whether he was a slave or he got out of the slavery. He ran off and went to Missouri, I think. I never did get the straight on that.

MR. NETHER: Did you have an acquaintance here besides your grandfather when your father decided to come to Lawrence?

MR. DELANEY: Not outside of his relatives. He had brothers and sisters here.

MR. NETHER: Now, I want you to think back as far as you can about Douglas County. What was it like? What were the physical characteristics like? What were the buildings like, and so on?

MR. DELANEY: They didn't build the buildings, just mostly two-story. They weren't as tall as some of them they build now. It wasn't as large as it is now.

MR. NETHER: Was the [old] west side populated as it is now? Did they have people living there?

MR. DELANEY: Yes. [Old] West Lawrence was pretty well populated.

MR. NETHER: What about south Lawrence?

MR. DELANEY: South Lawrence, well, they went out as far as Breezedale. Just beginning to build up out there, Twenty-third Street.

MR. NETHER: What about east Lawrence, now, what did it look like?

MR. DELANEY: We had a park in east Lawrence, and I think there was a stockyard in east Lawrence.

MR. NETHER: What were the houses like?

MR. DELANEY: They were small houses. Of course, they weren't the type of houses we have today, just poor class of people.

MR. NETHER: Did black people live in a majority in any certain area, as far back as you can remember?

MR. DELANEY: You take New York, New Jersey, and those streets were pretty well populated with blacks and Mexicans also.

MR. NETHER: How did blacks and whites relate to one another? Could they intermingle pretty freely or was it a separation? This again is thinking as far back in history as you can.

MR. DELANEY: As far as I know, they did fairly well, but of course you couldn't go—we would have placed you had to sit at the shows. Couldn't go to restaurants, and the schools were just about like they are now. We had one black teacher who taught at Pinckney School. She had all black and we at one time had an all-black school in north Lawrence, Lincoln School. That was all black.

MR. NETHER: What was the teacher that had all-black schools at Pinckney? What was her name? Can you remember?

MR. DELANEY: There was one by the name of Mrs. Stone and others named Florence Kiser and Mrs. Dillard.

MR. NETHER: And the only people they taught were black students?

MR. DELANEY: Black, that's right. Yeah.

MR. NETHER: Did you go to school here?

MR. DELANEY: I went to Central School.

MR. NETHER: Did you go to elementary school here?

MR. DELANEY: Yes, elementary school and Central and the high school.

MR. NETHER: Oh. So you went elementary and central.

MR. DELANEY: High school.

MR. NETHER: What was it like there? Did they have black teachers?

MR. DELANEY: No. There was no black teachers in the central or high school. The only school that were black were the ones I told you at Pinckney and over at the Lincoln School.

MR. NETHER: Were you in a class that was integrated with whites or did you have your own—

MR. DELANEY: We integrated, yeah.

MR. NETHER: Did you learn anything about black history? Did they teach you about Booker T. Washington or Du Bois or—


MR. NETHER: Douglas?


MR. NETHER: They didn't teach any black studies whatsoever?


MR. NETHER: What were the types of subjects you did learn now when you were in grade school?

MR. DELANEY: Reading and writing and arithmetic, music, things like that.

MR. NETHER: Pretty general things?

MR. DELANEY: Yeah, same things.

MR. NETHER: All right. And you also went to central for your junior high grades?

MR. DELANEY: That's right.

MR. NETHER: How was the school system numbered? Was it like now, first grade, second grade, third grade?

MR. DELANEY: That's right.

MR. NETHER: All the way up to what grade?

MR. DELANEY: The ninth, and then you went to high school.

MR. NETHER: When you got to high school, what was it like for you there? Was it also integrated?

MR. DELANEY: Yes, it was integrated at high school. Outside of athletics.

MR. NETHER: Tell us something about the athletics. Could you play football or basketball?

MR. DELANEY: No. Couldn't play anything like that. We had our own basketball team.

MR. NETHER: They had black basketball and white basketball teams?


MR. NETHER: Can you remember any good black basketball teams? How did they do? How were their records?

MR. DELANEY: Just fair. Not too good.

MR. NETHER: Who did they play against?

MR. DELANEY: We played against a team in St. Joe, Missouri, and a team in Kansas City, black teams, and a YMCA team in Kansas City.

MR. NETHER: But you wouldn't play any whites from other schools?


MR. NETHER: What about girls? How could they participate in athletics?

MR. DELANEY: There were no athletics for girls. I think they did have a basketball team in one of those pictures. May not be in one of those books. I think they had a basketball team. I think they did at one time.

MR. NETHER: This is an all-black girls basketball team?

MR. DELANEY: No, I think it's just organization team. School club is what I should say, what it is.

MR. NETHER: Were blacks involved in other activities of the school? Could they get in things like Student Council?

MR. DELANEY: None that I know of. I will take that back to 19—there's one of those books there we had one black, in fact there's two blacks on the track team. I think it's that book there in 19—that one there, young man by the name of William Wright. He's the only black that's on that team as a running mate. His picture isn't in there. That was way back there. We never had anything in between from the time them two was on the team up until the present day.

MR. NETHER: How successful were they?

MR. DELANEY: They were quite successful. They were good.

MR. NETHER: How did you feel in high school with the majority of whites? If you were having a problem with a certain class, did they offer special attention to you or help you with your subjects that you were learning?

MR. DELANEY: Yes, the teachers were very fair. They would help me.

MR. NETHER: That's good. All right. What I want to ask you now, I have a chronology, maybe you remember it, on the questions that I gave you here, and I am going to ask you things—I won't ask you dates, but I will ask you what you can remember about a certain period in history, as it related to Douglas County.


MR. NETHER: Some of these you won't be able to answer, so don't even worry about it.


MR. NETHER: Mr. Salisbury, can you remember anything that related to black history here in Douglas County during the Civil War? What was it like for blacks here?

MR. DELANEY: During the Civil War? I don't believe I could tell you anything about the Civil War.


MR. DELANEY: I know there were the old soldiers were here from the Civil War, lived here, there was a few of them, but I couldn't tell you anything about them. I used to hear them talk about it.

MR. NETHER: That's a good point.

MR. DELANEY: Used to be three or four of them here.

MR. NETHER: Lot of them that went and fought in the war came here and retired?

MR. DELANEY: Yes, several of them lived here. Also the Spanish American War. Judge Clark, he was in the Spanish American War, officer also.

MR. NETHER: Can you remember anything about Quantrill's raid as it related to black people here in Douglas County?

MR. DELANEY: No. I couldn't tell you a thing about it.

MR. NETHER: All right. There was a mass migration here to Kansas, and by the way, the book here that I am reading is the Exodusters, and this was the first place that blacks after the old order, the white supremacy idea, started over again in the South, Kansas was the first place they migrated.


MR. NETHER: And this is something that they are just now becoming aware of.

MR. DELANEY: Is that right?

MR. NETHER: Yes. They always say when they talk about black migration, they think it was all to the north. Kansas was north. They had been inspired by John Brown and so on. Many blacks during this exodus came here. Can you recall anything about this period as maybe why we had such a rush of blacks coming here or maybe some blacks that came here and set up businesses or something during that time lot of black families here that came with that migration? Mrs. Moore's father came with that migration is why—

MR. DELANEY: Had quite a settlement out here at Bloomington. You have heard of that. And there was quite a settlement of blacks out there. Large families of them. In fact, they had schools and stores and everything out there.

MR. NETHER: It was just completely black-owned?

MR. DELANEY: Yeah, all black. That's right.

MR. NETHER: Whatever happened to Bloomington?

MR. DELANEY: The younger people left the farm, you know how it is when they leave the farm, the older people can't continue. They have to sell the farm because they get too old to work. Go to the cities to get better work, better opportunity.

MR. NETHER: Eventually it just became kind of a ghost town?

MR. DELANEY: That's right.

MR. NETHER: Early in the 1900's, okay, it was one of the most atrocious times for blacks. They were being lynched. Ku Klux Klan was running rampant. It was hard times in the history of black people. In 1914 we got involved in World War I. It was said to be the war that they stood in line to fight. Everybody was so patriotic and everything, wanting to fight. Despite the feelings for the conditions that blacks were suffering, do you think blacks were still anxious and willing to go fight in the war? Do you think that blacks during World War I were anxious to enlist and go fight for their country?

MR. DELANEY: No, I don't think they were.

MR. NETHER: Do you know why not?

MR. DELANEY: The way things were here in this county, treatment that they received here, they didn't know what they would be fighting for.

MR. NETHER: All right.

MR. DELANEY: I take it that would be that way. You think so?

MR. NETHER: They said fight for democracy and you didn't have democracy. Did many blacks despite what was happening go to the war?

MR. DELANEY: Quite a few, yes, that's right. Quite a few.

MR. NETHER: What kind of units did they have? Were the units segregated?

MR. DELANEY: Yeah, pretty much of a segregated army. Mostly work battalion is what I understand in World War I.

MR. NETHER: Do you know where most of the black soldiers went to take their basic training?

MR. DELANEY: I think most of them went to Ft. Riley.

MR. NETHER: The ones here from Lawrence?

MR. DELANEY: Yeah, Ft. Riley. Of course, the folks that went into officer's training, they went different places. They were assigned different places.

MR. NETHER: Could black people go to officer's training?

MR. DELANEY: Yes, but they would have to be recommended just like that letter I showed you, have to be recommended to go.

MR. NETHER: Did your father-in-law get his chance to fight in World War I, get a chance to serve?

MR. DELANEY: No, he didn't.

MR. NETHER: What was it like here on the home front during World War I? What was it like for blacks? Was segregation still—

MR. DELANEY: Yes, it still existed and of course now there was a scarcity of people to work around because a lot of these fellows were drafted and went to the army. Fact of the matter, I got a job from the fellow I used to have went to the army, and things began to open up a little bit more. Each war was getting better for the blacks in regards to economy, jobs.

MR. NETHER: What kind of jobs did blacks mostly have before the war?

MR. DELANEY: This is quite an agricultural area here too, and lot of them worked around what most of those industries, man had down on the river, paper plant.

MR. NETHER: Bowersock?

MR. DELANEY: Ice plant, a lot of blacks worked at the ice plant. By the way, my grandfather in the early days, before they had machinery to make ice, used to cut ice on the river, used to drive this team and break ice up on the river and pack it in sawdust and sell it in warm weather.

MR. NETHER: Did you have any black doctors or lawyers during World War I?

MR. DELANEY: During World War I, let's see. We did have. I think we had about two doctors here, Dr. Kenner and Dr. Frederick Harvey, and later on we had a couple more.

MR. NETHER: Did they treat just black people or did they treat white and blacks?

MR. DELANEY: White and black, that's right.

MR. NETHER: Were they able to make a comfortable living?

MR. DELANEY: They did quite well, that's right. They did pretty good.

MR. NETHER: Is there anything else about World War I that you would want to point out as far as how it related to black people here in Douglas County? How did women feel about their sons and brothers and loved ones going over to fight?

MR. DELANEY: Didn't like it too well, no.

MR. NETHER: Did you still during that time, during the war when the war had been fought, did you ever read or hear about lynchings or outright discrimination against blacks?

MR. DELANEY: I didn't hear too much about it, but there was some that was going on just the same, but you didn't hear it like you did before the war. Kind of keep it hushed up a little.

MR. NETHER: Had you heard that at any time?


MR. NETHER: What were some of the things you heard about?

MR. DELANEY: You mean about the lynching and things like that?


MR. DELANEY: Some of the things, it contended but they tried to stop it in lots of places, it began—areas they begin to cut it out. Especially this Ku Klux Klan business.

MR. NETHER: Why would they lynch blacks, for what reasons?

MR. DELANEY: I guess they thought that was the alternative in the law, you know taking it in their own hands, instead of letting the courts and judges. Go right in the jails and take them out. I understand in the early days they had one or two lynchings on the bridge down here, horse thieves.

MR. NETHER: Do you know any reason besides horse stealing that blacks were lynched most times for the same things that whites were lynched for?

MR. DELANEY: I think so, practically the same thing.

MR. NETHER: Did you know what you could and could not do? Did you know what racial barriers that you could cross and which ones you could not cross during the time around World War I? Did you know that say if you whistled at a white lady that maybe you would be lynched?

MR. DELANEY: After World War I?

MR. NETHER: During or before now.

MR. DELANEY: Probably before, something like that, you would get in trouble, yeah.

MR. NETHER: Did you know that maybe if you went and tried to eat at a restaurant where you were not allowed that maybe you would be lynched?

MR. DELANEY: I didn't think it got that bad, but I tell you experience I had during World War I. Had one severe winter here and we was running out of coal and the city set up a wood yard, and a bunch of fellows that worked around different garages, I had worked in a garage, got these fellows that worked in the garage and went to Leavenworth to bring back some trucks, and they all went to a white restaurant and I couldn't go in there, so they told me they would give me mine in a sack.

MR. NETHER: Mr. Salisbury, I knew we would get a story out of you. I have been sitting here trying to think how could I get a story.

MR. DELANEY: Yeah. So I couldn't eat in there.

MR. NETHER: After the war many of the people came home and you had a period of time when they felt that it was a prosperous time for the United States, during the 1920s.


MR. NETHER: What did you do for fun during the 1920s? How did you socialize?

MR. DELANEY: Let's see here. I belonged to Masonics and I just happened to find this book here. Here's a social club that we had around here. Several social clubs. Look at that.

MR. NETHER: Is this an all-black social club?

MR. DELANEY: All-black social clubs. There were black social clubs here and in the spring they would give parties. By the way, my dad used to belong to an orchestra, used to have band and orchestra here, and my dad belonged to the orchestra, and these orchestras would play for the parties. We had two good dance halls here in town over stores here, and we would have social deals like that.

MR. NETHER: What other organizations that were all black did they have?

MR. DELANEY: They had what they call Elks here and out at the park the Elks would give a picnic in the summertime, and we had several people that had pretty good horses that could run and we had races out there, which was a great thing. People all around would come into this big celebration we would have, just like you would go to a fair. Then after the races that evening they would have concession. Sell food and that night we would have a big dance, like you probably heard of Benny Moten, band out of Kansas City, jazz band.

MR. NETHER: Benny Moten?

MR. DELANEY: Anyway, used to be band out of Kansas City, bring them out here. Big dancing pavilion and they would have dances out there. That would be a big—and summer fair. Elks would give celebration in August. That was a great thing that Elks picnic in the summers.

MR. NETHER: Did anybody go? Did you just have to be black to go?

MR. DELANEY: Anybody. Be a lot of white there to see the races, take part in the fair. It was really a nice affair.

MR. NETHER: That's good. What kind of jobs were available during the 1920s for blacks? Did we have black professionals? I am asking you two questions here. Did we have black professionals? If so, who were they, or did we not have black professionals, and what did most blacks do for jobs?

MR. DELANEY: We had a few professionals here. At the university, before they had the dormitories, fraternities and sororities, employed blacks in those, cooks and maids, and most all of them had blacks, and the students that would come here, black students would come here, could stay in those fraternities and sororities in the basement. They done all the table waiting, and the local people they did the cooking and taking care of the houses.

MR. NETHER: So most of the work the blacks did during the 1920s was mostly domestic work?

MR. DELANEY: Mostly domestic work, yes, university too.

MR. NETHER: Were there any black businesses here during that time?

MR. DELANEY: Yes. We had a business here. They called it Bird's Tannery. They tanned hides, furs, and things like that. It was a very prosperous business. And we also had a pantatorium here about the middle of the 1920s. It was the first one in Lawence. W. C. Brown Pantatorium, cleaning and pressing.

MR. NETHER: And these were owned by black people?

MR. DELANEY: By black people. And he had a couple or three women there that altered clothes. The clothing stores on Massachusetts Street, you would buy a suit of clothes and didn't fit you, they would send them down there and alter them, cut the trousers off any size you want. Did a big business like that.

MR. NETHER: Everybody's clothes?

MR. DELANEY: Yes, everybody's clothes. About three ladies there that did the altering of the clothes. I think we had a couple of taxis here at that time, fellows that ran taxis.

MR. NETHER: Do you know the names of any of these people that owned these businesses? Maybe some of those women, do you know their names?

MR. DELANEY: Dr. Cabell's wife used to be here and she was a good seamstress. She worked at this place. And another lady living here in town by the name of Mrs. Edith McPike. She altered clothes there too. But I think that's the only people I know. Of course, Mrs. Cabell, she's gone too. The only lady that's living in town now is Mrs. Edith McPike. She used to work there. People have to be up in age.

MR. NETHER: About how old is Edith McPike now?

MR. DELANEY: Oh, she must be close to 80, in her 80s, early 80s.


MR. DELANEY: She has a daughter here by the name of Miller that has quite a few children. I think they go to Lawrence High School.

MR. NETHER: Is there anything now about the 1920s as far as you can remember that we may want to know for our data?

MR. DELANEY: In the '20s?

MR. NETHER: Yes. Talked about social activities, talked about jobs, talked about education in the 1920s. Is there anything else about the '20s that you can remember that you would like to relate to us?

MR. DELANEY: When was this jail they have torn down here? When was it built, do you know?

MR. NETHER: No, I am completely lost when it comes to history—

MR. DELANEY: My wife's grandfather was a turnkey, used to call them turnkey. Used to be a jail—you ever seen that in the park?


MR. DELANEY: Used to be a jail there. That's where the city jail was. Tore that down and built this jail they tore down. He was the first one that went in this jail up here. He was a turnkey. Most of the sheriffs were politicians and he practically run the jail. His name was Jack Johnson. He did all the book-keeping and did everything that they do in the jail. He was the turnkey.

MR. NETHER: I have this picture here which we haven't found a date on. I haven't found a date on it yet. Mrs. Stanfield brought it. This man here is her grandfather.

MR. DELANEY: Yeah, I have heard of him.

MR. NETHER: And you have Sam Jones here.


MR. NETHER: And he was assistant chief of police right here in Lawrence.

MR. DELANEY: Yeah, that's right.

MR. NETHER: So, you see, we are getting something down here to remember. Okay. Mr. Salisbury, after the 1920s—

MR. DELANEY: In the 1930s then.

MR. NETHER: Yeah, in 1929 you had the stock market crash.

MR. DELANEY: That's right.

MR. NETHER: A third of the country was out of work. How did this stock market crash that brought on what is know as the Depression, how did this affect blacks here in Douglas County?

MR. DELANEY: You talking about the Depression now?

MR. NETHER: Uh-huh.

MR. DELANEY: It was pretty rough here. The bank holiday was in 1933. Roosevelt closed up all the banks, and if I am not mistaken, the only people that had any money was people at the university. Didn't anybody else have any money.

MR. NETHER: What did they do to survive? How did they survive?

MR. DELANEY: They came up here to the courthouse and I think they issued out food and clothing, things like that, some kind of a script deal, I think. It was pretty tough along through there. Then they set up a camp out here. They built this Lone Star Lake out here. They set up that camp out there. You have heard about that, haven't you? It's like an army camp. Boys that didn't have jobs and things like that, WPA.

MR. NETHER: How do you or how did you feel about Franklin Roosevelt?

MR. DELANEY: I thought he was okay. We were married on the 12th of November, 1932. I thought he was a great man. He kind of brought the country out of it. See, how many times was he elected, three times or four times? He was in there twelve years.

MR. NETHER: Yeah. He was elected again in 1944 but died in '45.

MR. DELANEY: He kind of turned the country around because we were under the Republicans, under Hoover, and things were pretty tough.

MR. NETHER: The reason I ask that is that the country was dominated by Republicans. We had Harding, Coolidge, then Hoover, and Kansas theoretically is a Republican state.

MR. DELANEY: That's right.

MR. NETHER: And when all this welfare and spending that we have today is because of Roosevelt, right?


MR. NETHER: Did you remember some of the programs that Roosevelt started, like the WPA, the TVA, CCC?


MR. NETHER: Did they have any of these facilities here in Lawrence?

MR. DELANEY: Yeah, they had them here.

MR. NETHER: Did they have a CCC camp?

MR. DELANEY: Yeah, CCC camp, WPA. They had all those facilities.

MR. NETHER: Did many blacks join the CCC?

MR. DELANEY: Yeah, quite a few. Nothing else for them. No other alternative. No other jobs or anything.

MR. NETHER: Did many of these men that joined the CCC here in Lawrence, did they help alleviate their problems? Were they able to make a living and kind of—

MR. DELANEY: Just about survive is about all, just survive. Couldn't do much with it.

MR. NETHER: Mr. Salisbury, did you or do you know anyone on welfare?

MR. DELANEY: Do I know anyone on welfare?

MR. NETHER: Right now, or have you ever known anyone on welfare?


MR. NETHER: When did most people get on welfare here in Douglas County, the ones that you can recall, maybe? When did most of them get on welfare?

MR. DELANEY: I couldn't quote the date or anything. This lady got on welfare after she lost her husband. She had a home and children. She had no other alternatives. Had no other way to make a living.

MR. NETHER: Was there a certain period of time when most blacks had to get on welfare?

MR. DELANEY: Yes, I think so. There was an area there right after the Depression when there wasn't no jobs opened up. They had to get on it. Wasn't anything else for them to do, wasn't no jobs available.

MR. NETHER: Is there anything about the 1930s that you can remember that maybe I didn't ask you that you would like for us to get down? Judge Clark died in 1930, didn't he?

MR. DELANEY: I just don't remember now when he did.

MR. NETHER: Anything at all? Did you have any businesses get started during the 1930s?

MR. DELANEY: The 1930s. I am just wondering whether we had any. The business was practically on the way out about the middle of the '30s. Things were pretty rough.

MR. NETHER: Because of the Depression?

MR. DELANEY: Because of the Depression, yes. People didn't have no money, no jobs.

MR. NETHER: Mr. Salisbury, in December of 1941, prior to December of '41, blacks still were living under the same conditions that they had been living under since Reconstruction.


MR. NETHER: In December you had the bombing of Pearl Harbor. What was your initial reaction here when you heard about the bombing of Pearl Harbor?

MR. DELANEY: I am just trying to think. People just didn't know what to think, what had happened.

MR. NETHER: Did it make you angry?

MR. DELANEY: I just don't remember now. Didn't anybody want anything to happen to the country because you are part of the country, we the people.

MR. NETHER: Did many blacks go and enlist as you can recall?

MR. DELANEY: There were a few. I am pretty sure there were a few went out.

MR. NETHER: Do you know where these men were predominantly stationed?

MR. DELANEY: As far as I know, joined the navy, and I don't know too much about it. Of course, the navy, they are gone everywhere. Most of them left here and went to San Diego or Great Lakes, naval station up there, and the boys that joined the army, I think most of them went south. Of course the regular army is at Ft. Riley, but I think the ones that joined transferred from the southern camps.

MR. NETHER: This is something, because Pearl Harbor, it wasn't people weren't as enthusiastic to go as they were in World War I. I am being a history teacher again. I am telling the overall deal, but I think blacks would have been more eager to fight or even more reluctant to fight if they had of known about Dori Miller, you know.

MR. DELANEY: Yeah, that's right.

MR. NETHER: And he was the black, and he was the first one to die.

MR. DELANEY: Yeah, that's right.

MR. NETHER: Not die, the first one to be decorated.

MR. DELANEY: That's right.

MR. NETHER: For his involvement in Pearl Harbor.

MR. DELANEY: Didn't they name an airport after him?

MR. NETHER: A ship they named after him. This is why I was asking you earlier, did you ever learn any black history?

What effect did World War II have here in Douglas County? You mentioned before during the Depression a lot of people weren't working, lot of people had to get on welfare.

MR. DELANEY: Meant a lot of prosperity here because a big plant opened up down here. People were anxious to go down and work and make money. I think people had money on the mind more than the war. People wanted to get rich.

MR. NETHER: Did a lot of people get the jobs?

MR. DELANEY: Yes, lot of blacks got jobs there. Everybody in town. I had a call several times to go down there, but I didn't go.

MR. NETHER: What year did you graduate?

MR. DELANEY: I didn't quite. I should have graduated in the class of 20. I quit there in 1919. Didn't have too much time—less than a semester to finish.

MR. NETHER: Do you know--this may be off the record—did you know many other people that quit school when you did?

MR. DELANEY: Yeah. There were quite a few, yeah.

MR. NETHER: Were they black?

MR. DELANEY: Yeah. Blacks, and then some whites too.


MR. DELANEY: Where there was large families. Isn't like it is now, man and wife both working. Just one person in the family working to take care of six or seven kids, it's quite a chore.

MR. NETHER: Do you think your father would have minded if your mother worked?

MR. DELANEY: My mother did work after we got up to fairly good size. She was a seamstress. She would go around to these well-to-do white people's homes and sew where they had kids. She was good on the sewing machine, repairs thinks like that.


MR. DELANEY: But they didn't do that until after we got to where we could take care of ourselves pretty well.

MR. NETHER: That's a talent. Anybody that can sew, that's another—

MR. DELANEY: She made all of our own shirts and things like that.

MR. NETHER: People were going down to the plant mainly getting jobs and so on. What was it like after the war was over? Was there hope or promise for better things for black people, or did you still know just how far you could go?

MR. DELANEY: Yeah, they done quite well during the war. They got good jobs down there too. Things were opening up for them. They got good jobs.

MR. NETHER: Can you recall anything that happened here in Douglas County against somebody black for maybe speaking up about the fact that they couldn't eat in the restaurants or were there any demonstrations here, racial demonstrations here, say in 1940 or in the '50s?

MR. DELANEY: No, I don't think there were, not until this late deal here. Of course, the university had it up there. You couldn't eat there in the cafeteria too. You had to have certain places to eat.

MR. NETHER: Did most blacks just accept that condition?

MR. DELANEY: Yeah, they accepted that. Of course we had restaurants here too. Blacks had their own restaurant too. Had a few of them here.

MR. NETHER: These black restaurants, were whites allowed to eat there?

MR. DELANEY: Yeah, same way with black barber shops. I have seen whites go in black barber shops, get their hair cut.

MR. NETHER: About how many black barber shops did we have then?

MR. DELANEY: We had two there then.

MR. NETHER: How many do we have now?

MR. DELANEY: Just one is all I know. I think Mr. Williams—do you know Mr. Williams?

MR. NETHER: Tyke Williams?

MR. DELANEY: I don't know his first name. He lives down on New Jersey Street.

MR. NETHER: Some guy I went to school with in Emporia, he's cutting here. He's going to this barber school here and he cuts I think it's free just to practice, so we may have two or three soon.

World War II is over, soldiers come back. In 1954 now you had a decision which took place in Topeka.

MR. DELANEY: The Brown case?

MR. NETHER: Yes, Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education. What this did was say that it's illegal to have separate facilities, facilities for whites and blacks. How did this affect Douglas County for whites and blacks? Did restaurants, did movies, did they integrate willingly at this time, or did they just kind of hold it off?

MR. DELANEY: Trying to think now. When did they change that around here? I just don't remember now when this restaurant business started, and the movie houses, sometime before that changed, I think, too.

MR. NETHER: Did this decision have any impact here on Douglas County?

MR. DELANEY: In schools?

MR. NETHER: Did people talk about it?

MR. DELANEY: They talked about it, but I don't think it affected us because we had already had schools.

MR. NETHER: This had no immediate impact on Douglas County?

MR. DELANEY: None whatever that I know of.

MR. NETHER: Can you remember anything about the Vietnam War, Mr. Salisbury? Maybe you recall somebody that went to fight in the Vietnam War.

MR. DELANEY: I had a nephew who went, and he was from Chicago, and he thought it was pretty bad because it lost so many boys and friends in his neighborhood, and the Vietnam War they thought at first there was a lot more blacks going than there was white, because the blacks didn't have no jobs, no other alternative for them to do but go to the army.

MR. NETHER: Do you think that most blacks went because they were patriotic or because they didn't have a job?

MR. DELANEY: I think more or less the job situation. I don't think they know what the score was over there. I don't think anybody knew until they got over there.

MR. NETHER: Mr. Salisbury, can you remember early in the 1970s there were protest movements here?


MR. NETHER: Can you tell us something about these protest movements? What exactly did black people want all of a sudden? They had been accepting what had been going on throughout our history as we have been talking. Why, now, in the 1970s do you think they became frustrated and mad and wanted to fight for equal rights?

MR. DELANEY: Been through these wars, one thing and another, and lot of foreign people were coming in here and getting more recognition than the blacks and I guess that's what started some of it.

MR. NETHER: Do you know any other people that were involved? Maybe you know some stories, could tell us something about what was happening during that time.

MR. DELANEY: There was so much happened during that time. I guess you have heard about this Dowdell deal, didn't you?

MR. NETHER: About Tiger?

MR. DELANEY: Getting shot?

MR. NETHER: Yes. Why was he shot?

MR. DELANEY: I think he was supposed to have stopped, and he didn't, and that brought it about.

MR. NETHER: What were blacks trying to do during this period of time? Do you know some of the demands that they wanted?

MR. DELANEY: That's something that's very simple and it hasn't been too long either. Yeah, they were wanting a lot of demands, rights and things in the schools. I think a lot of it started out here in the high schools, didn't it? Started out in the high schools. They weren't getting in a lot of the programs that was going on in school, athletics as well as debating, and lots of activities at school weren't called on to participate in any of those things. Just thought it was time they should get in on those things.

MR. NETHER: Such as when you were telling us about when you were in school, how you just had the black basketball team.

MR. DELANEY: That's right.

MR. NETHER: In the 1970s they wanted to be able to participate in all sports?

MR. DELANEY: The professionals broke the ice on all that stuff. When Jackie Robinson started out, and Chamberlain and all these professionals, then the schools integrated. The kids wanted to do likewise.


MR. DELANEY: That was their future.

MR. NETHER: Do you think they accomplished anything?

MR. DELANEY: I think in a way they did, because they have got jobs and things now they didn't have before.

MR. NETHER: Mr. Salisbury, do you attend church?

MR. DELANEY: Yes, sir.

MR. NETHER: What church do you attend?

MR. DELANEY: Ninth Street Baptist Church.

MR. NETHER: How long have you attended this church?

MR. DELANEY: Since I retired in 1970.

MR. NETHER: Did you attend any church prior to that time throughout your—

MR. DELANEY: Not regular. I did attend church, different ones, something like that, but not regular all the time.

MR. NETHER: Can you see any major changes in the church here in Douglas County?

MR. DELANEY: Yes, I can see a few changes.

MR. NETHER: What type of changes are there?

MR. DELANEY: They are taking more interest in the youth now than they used to, I think. They are wanting to get the youth on the right track. They have taken a lot of interest in the youth, and I think the youth is beginning to see that the church is the place for them, too.

MR. NETHER: Would you want your children to live here in Douglas County?

MR. DELANEY: It would be all right for them to get their education here. Be left up to them where they want to go. They thought they could make a living here, it would be all right. If they could get a job, I think perfectly all right.

MR. NETHER: That's one question I get mixed answers for.

MR. DELANEY: I had a daughter that came back here from Denver. She lost her husband, and of course she's pretty much up in the air and she decided she wanted to come back here. After she was here a year, she went on back to Denver. She didn't like it.

MR. NETHER: Mr. Salisbury, can you see any major changes that have taken place here in Douglas County?

MR. DELANEY: I think there's a little bit better feeling here with blacks and whites than there used to be, and I think more around the university, if some of the blacks are qualified, they can get jobs. Up to the individual. I think they can.

MR. NETHER: Were there any basic changes made up on KU's campus, and, if so, who was the chancellor who helped to make changes up there at KU?

MR. DELANEY: I think one of the chancellors that helped the situation was Franklin Murphy, but the one man that made the biggest changes here was Governor Huxton. He was a Democrat. And we had in our school of medicine here no blacks could go to Kansas City and finish, and he and Chancellor Lindley went around and around and around. And he broke the ice and paved the way. There was black, if he was qualified, could go to the University of Kansas Medical School and get a diploma, but before that none of them could do it. They could go two years on this side and couldn't go to Kansas City. Had to go to some other school. Because we had two here that did that, the Rodgers brothers. They finished here at KU and went to Northwestern to get the degree. Riley Rodgers and Fred Rodgers.

MR. NETHER: Where were they from?

MR. DELANEY: Lawrence, Kansas.

MR. NETHER: Do you know where they are practicing at now?

MR. DELANEY: Both of them passed. One practiced here and the other practiced in Chicago. In fact, both of them practiced in Chicago for a while.

MR. NETHER: That's the one I talked to you about. Did you know Langston Hughes?

MR. DELANEY: Yes. I didn't know him personally, but I knew him, yeah.

MR. NETHER: Did you hear some things about him or know some things about him? What was he like?

MR. DELANEY: I am not sure now. My wife's father knows the family real well, but I am not sure, not mistaken, was it his father or uncle was a private secretary to Bowersock when he was back in Washington, DC. I think. Ed Harvey who played on the KU football team and graduated in 1894, went to Washington, D.C. at the turn of the century as secretary for the Lawrence Republican Congressman J.D. Bowersock. Don't take that as the truth. But it's some kind of relation like that, some of his folks were. But he was a pretty smart youngster when he was here in town. I just have a faint memory of him.

MR. NETHER: Do you remember W.E.B. Du Bois?

MR. DELANEY: Yeah. He was head of the NAACP, wasn't he?


MR. DELANEY: Yes. We used to have a book he put out. What was the name of that book? Do you remember?

MR. NETHER: Soul of Black Folk is one.

MR. DELANEY: Yeah. I remember. We used to get a copy of it all the time.

MR. NETHER: It was this paper he was writing. Emancipated, or something?

MR. DELANEY: Oh, The Crisis.

MR. NETHER: Okay. Right.

MR. DELANEY: He put out The Crisis. We used to take that all the time.

MR. NETHER: Did you ever hear of Booker T. Washington?

MR. DELANEY: Oh, yes.

MR. NETHER: I am going back here again. Here I got this far, now I am going back. What were some of your reactions to Booker T. Washington? Was he a great man? Did you feel about him as much as you did about Martin Luther King?

MR. DELANEY: Yes. I think he was a great man.

MR. NETHER: How would you compare Du Bois and Washington?

MR. DELANEY: Du Bois and who?

MR. NETHER: Booker T. Washington?

MR. DELANEY: No, I don't think so. He was a great man, but I don't think Booker T. Washington—

MR. NETHER: Okay. Mr. Salisbury, —

MR. DELANEY: George Washington Carver came here. I went to see on of his lectures once. He went to the white Methodist Church over here on Vermont Street.

MR. NETHER: What was he like?

MR. DELANEY: Kind of a shy sort of fellow, but he would give a lecture, he put out lots of things, but just to meet him, he was a little bit shy.

MR. NETHER: I bet he was. Great man. George Washington Carver is one of the few blacks that you learn about all the time in school. Mr. Salisbury, I don't have any other questions. Anything about Douglas County that you would like to share with us?

MR. DELANEY: The Rodgers, their father was a pretty smart man. He worked in the courthouse. He was a huckster in town. He ran a huckster place here and he was the first person in town that had irrigation. I told you some other fellows have irrigation now and they said they was the first, but their dad was the first one that had irrigation here in north Lawrence. He would irrigate his vegetables and put them on the wagon and bring them over here to the stores and he would get off his wagon and come here in the courthouse and do business. I don't know whether he worked for the register of deeds office or not, but he had a pretty good job here in the courthouse. He was kind of a key man here in the courthouse. That was before World War I.

MR. NETHER: So he was the first to set up a major system of irrigation?

MR. DELANEY: Yeah, that I know of here. Only one I know of. I am pretty sure he was before these other people.

MR. NETHER: What was justice like for blacks? Was it pretty equal? If they went to court, could they get a fair trial, fair equal trial, do you think?

MR. DELANEY: I think they could. They could get a fair trial.

MR. NETHER: That's good.

MR. DELANEY: They had some pretty good lawyers around here, pretty fair.

MR. NETHER: Lawrence has a lot of—

MR. DELANEY: Another thing about work around here, we had a number of fellows here that was railroad men. We had about three guys that was railway mail clerks and train porters here in them early days before World War I, and right after World War I. Those were awful good jobs.

MR. NETHER: Right. Pullman porters?

MR. DELANEY: Yeah. Lot of college guys got jobs like that. That's when the railroads were at their height just before World War I. Nationally, it was a black man's job in the railroads. Sixty-five, seventy thousand employed in the railroads.

MR. NETHER: MR. DELANEY: Phillip Randolph organized it.

MR. DELANEY: That's right.

MR. NETHER: It was a good job because you could travel, you could meet people, you could take the food home that was not eaten, so you got choice pieces of meat and so on, and you made more money than others, so a Pullman porter was a good job for somebody black. Prestigious job.

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