May Hampton

May Hampton's family moved to Eudora from Kentucky and later moved to East Lawrence. Mrs. Hampton worked as a cook and she and her husband worked on a farm in the Depression. She discusses segregated movie theaters.

May Hampton
June 6, 1977
1320 New York
Lawrence, Kansas

Interview by Curtis Nether

MR. NETHER: Mrs. Hampton, first thing, I want to thank you for coming to the interview and let you know what we are doing here is taking oral facts to use to publish later on. And we need your permission in order to use this oral history for that purpose.

MRS. HAMPTON: You can use it. You are welcome to use it.

MR. NETHER: We will start off on the first question with your name.

MRS. HAMPTON: May Hampton.

MR. NETHER: Your marital status?

MRS. HAMPTON: Married.

MR. NETHER: Do you have any children?

MRS. HAMPTON: No children.

MR. NETHER: What are your parents' names?

MRS. HAMPTON: My father's name was Thomas Henry Monroe, and my mother's name was Mildred Anna Monroe.

MR. NETHER: Would you be any kin to Waldo and—

MRS. HAMPTON: Yes, my cousins.

MR. NETHER: Where were your parents born, Mrs. Hampton?

MRS. HAMPTON: My father was born in Charleston, West Virginia, and my mother was born in Covington County, Kentucky.

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

MRS. HAMPTON: I was born in Douglas County.

MR. NETHER: When did your parents come?

MRS. HAMPTON: My father came in 1865 and my mother came in 1870.

MR. NETHER: Do you know why they came?

MRS. HAMPTON: Because they had better schools in Kansas than they had back there.

MR. NETHER: Did they know anyone that was here?

MRS. HAMPTON: Yes. There was a minister, and he had a caravan, people that was coming through at various times, and some of them went clear through to Nicodemus, Kansas, and the others, they stopped in Missouri and here and different places, where they come to some place they liked. But they would have caravans of them going.

MR. NETHER: This most likely was the exodus which was the first major migration of black people when they came to Kansas?


MR. NETHER: Was this what they were part of?


MR. NETHER: Can you remember talking to them and having them tell you what Douglas County was like when they first came here?

MRS. HAMPTON: They settled in Eudora, and Eudora was a German town, and they were very helpful. They helped them.

MR. NETHER: What did it look like? What were some of the houses like? Did they ever tell you?

MRS. HAMPTON: You mean the blacks or the others?

MR. NETHER: Just general now, just how did Douglas County look?

MRS. HAMPTON: It was very nice. The houses were mostly made like they were in Germany in Eudora, and of course they get land, get so much land, and then they would build a house for it. Maybe they would start out with two rooms and then they would get four rooms and so on.

MR. NETHER: What kind of houses did most of the black people live in? Were they different?

MRS. HAMPTON: They were from two- to four-room houses, and they were pretty well built with a foundation and built up so they could add to them.

MR. NETHER: That's always interesting, to find out what the houses were like.


MR. NETHER: Now, this is a general question, and also I should have mentioned, all these questions, I'm sure you know, they won't relate, you can't remember, or you just can't answer, so don't worry about that. That's no problem.

How did whites and blacks relate to one another? Now this is as far back as we can go, maybe something your parents have told you or maybe your own first involvement with the whites. How did blacks and whites mostly relate?

MRS. HAMPTON: They got along very well in Eudora, and then when we moved to Lawrence, that's when I started to school and we lived in the 700 black on New York Street. And there was a big house on the corner that belonged to the Gilmores. It's still there. They tore some of it down. The house we lived in has been torn down about two years, I think. But we got along very, very well. The children in the school fought, like children do. We would have some fights and scrimmages, but they were very helpful, and the people that you worked for, they gave you work and they helped while we had all this prejudice and things here.

MR. NETHER: Were you expected to do certain jobs, though? Did you have any black doctors or black lawyers?

MRS. HAMPTON: Now this is later on. We had Dr. Harvey—he was an old doctor—and Dr. Kenner, and later Dr. Rodgers, and later on, Dr.Cabell. They weren't all here at one time, but we had them at various times. Dr. Cabell was the last one.

MR. NETHER: Did they just treat black patients or treat everybody?

MRS. HAMPTON: Treat everybody.

MR. NETHER: All right. What I will do now is kind of get some of your responses from certain periods of time in history. The first one is the Civil War. Can you remember anything about Douglas County during the time when the Civil War was fought?


MR. NETHER: What about Quantrill's Raid?

MRS. HAMPTON: When Quantrill raided Kansas, my family lived—there's a little bridge down at Eudora, and they lived on the north side of the bridge. And when Quantrill came into Lawrence, they could hear the horses' hoofs, and they wondered what was going on. And then they finally saw this fire, and then they came up later on when they heard them going back, heard the horses. The ground was so hard that they could hear their hoofs. And then they came on up to Lawrence to see what had happened and what was going on. And in this Quantrill Raid there was a family here, black family, by the name of Harpers, Bill Harper. So when Mrs. Harper saw what they were doing, they was going to burn the house, everything, she begged them if she could have this rug. And they said, "Well, let her have the rug." So rolled Mr. Harper up in this rug, and she said she never knew how she carried him out, but she carried Mr. Harper out on her shoulder, rolled up in this rug.

MR. NETHER: That was smart. They were trying to kill every man when they came.

MRS. HAMPTON: Yes, every man. Later on this Harper had a daughter, and she married a man by the name of Miller, and he had a pool hall, Miller's Pool Hall.


MRS. HAMPTON: Good many years.

MR. NETHER: Mrs. Hampton, after the Civil War, you had a period of time where blacks were at least legally equal to whites.


MR. NETHER: This period of time was known as Reconstruction when they were trying to build the South back up. Now, right after Reconstruction came a time when white supremacy again took over. The white slave masters came back into power and lynching took place and so on. Can you remember anything about this period directly following the reconstruction?


MR. NETHER: Anything at all?

MRS. HAMPTON: I don't remember about that. They got in power and everything was going smooth, that I can remember.

MR. NETHER: It generally was a kind of smooth taking over, as you put it. Just laws were passed that made blacks and whites separated. In 1896 Plessy vs. Ferguson was passed, which said it is within the law to have separate but equal facilities, and so on, and I will get back to that. I am a teacher; I go off.

MRS. HAMPTON: You didn't eat in restaurants, and at the depot everybody went in the same restroom and everything, but there was a little restaurant across from the Santa Fe depot—that building is still there—they served everybody. It was two old ladies that run that restaurant, and everybody was served in there. But we had restaurants uptown; we had black restaurants. Stones had a restaurant, and several of them, Mr. Harvey, Mrs. White's father, he had a restaurant, I think, before anybody. I'm not sure about that, but I'm pretty sure about it, but she can tell you because she was real small when they had it. But the thing of it is, this Santa Fe Restaurant, they called it, the blacks ate on one side, the white people ate on the other side. That was our division. They ate on one side.

MR. NETHER: Mrs. Hampton, can you remember what it was like for blacks here in Lawrence during World War I?


MR. NETHER: It was said to be the war where they stood in line to fight. Did blacks also rush out and want to go and fight, fight in the war?

MRS. HAMPTON: There was a lot of volunteers, and then they drafted them.

MR. NETHER: How did they feel when, say, if they were getting drafted, how did most of them feel about going?

MRS. HAMPTON: They felt very bitter about going. They didn't think that they had a right to go.

MR. NETHER: It was a time when lynching was at its highest peak and, as you know, the Jim Crowe Laws and so on, and I have to try to find out despite all this, were blacks still eager—

MRS. HAMPTON: They had the 92nd and I think it was the 93rd, but there was two divisions of blacks that went. They weren't drafted, they went. That's World War I. And after they got over there, there was so much prejudice and so much pressure on them that they got very angry, and some of the officials went over there and kind of cleared things up. And I think it was Pershing, I think he was the guy that really cleared things up over there.

MR. NETHER: Pershing?

MRS. HAMPTON: Pershing, yes. They called him Black Jack.

MR. NETHER: Right. I don't know if you know this, he at one time during the Spanish American War commanded a troop of black soldiers, which is why he got his name Black Jack.


MR. NETHER: Do you remember the Brownsville Affair?

MRS. HAMPTON: Oh, yes. In Topeka?

MR. NETHER: No, this is another one where Teddy Roosevelt gave a dishonorable discharge to a lot of black soldiers in Texas because they went in town one time, shot up the town.

MRS. HAMPTON: Oh. That deal. Yes. Down in Texas they treated them so bad. That's when they went in and got ammunition and just sort of tore it up around down there, but that was the reason why. So many of them was from this section of the country that hadn't been used to being treated that way, and they rebelled, they broke in the armory and thought, "We just as well have a war here as over there."

MR. NETHER: How was it here at home during World War I as far as black people were concerned? How did they feel about having their boys sent overseas?

MRS. HAMPTON: We didn't like it. They didn't like it. We didn't think it was a fair war, and so many of them got sick, and one man, this particular person, couldn't shoot a gun. He could not shoot a gun. He just couldn't shoot it. And they gave him a dishonorable discharge but they kept him in the army all the time. And he was a highly educated man. And we didn't know about this until this man took sick and he couldn't go over to Wadsworth, and we found out he had had a dishonorable discharge simply because he couldn't shoot a gun. Of course, now they would give him an office job. He was under command. "You do what I tell you to do; if you can't do that, you are in trouble." But they didn't kick him out of the army. We couldn't understand that.

MR. NETHER: If he gets a dishonorable discharge, he loses all of his benefits too?

MRS. HAMPTON: He lost benefits and they still kept him away in prison during all that war.

MR. NETHER: Was there still a lot of segregated conditions here in Douglas County when the war was going on?

MRS. HAMPTON: Oh, yes, a lot of it.

MR. NETHER: Here everybody's going to fight for democracy.

MRS. HAMPTON: And we had better have it at home. We had lectures in the churches and we didn't have any real fights or anything like that, but everybody was all upset, and not only the blacks, the whites were too. They didn't approve of that war, many of them.

MR. NETHER: Is there anything about World War I that you might want to bring out or share with us now, anything we might have left out?

MRS. HAMPTON: I don't think so. There wasn't anything. They came back slowly and automatically, and there wasn't any big difference.

MR. NETHER: Now, after the war came a period of time when they said there was a lot of prosperity in the country, where a lot of people were supposedly working, and so on. This was said to be the Roaring '20s. What were the Roaring '20s like for black people here in Douglas County?

MRS. HAMPTON: I don't think we were any different because we worked before and we just got a little more wages than we did, but some of them built homes.

MR. NETHER: Were you living on a farm then, or were you here in town?

MRS. HAMPTON: I was in town.

MR. NETHER: Were you married at that time?


MR. NETHER: What kind of work did you do?


MR. NETHER: What kind of work did most blacks do here in Douglas County?

MRS. HAMPTON: Most of them, if they weren't farmers, they were cooks and worked at the University. And at that time we had janitors at the banks, and up and down Massachusetts Street, there were janitors. They did that sort of work.

MR. NETHER: Did you have any black business men, during the Twenties?

MRS. HAMPTON: We had some restaurants. Blue Davis had a restaurant and—

MR. NETHER: Where were these restaurants located?

MRS. HAMPTON: Blue Davis's was on Vermont Street. And there was another restaurant before Blue was there. We had a hotel, Scott's Hotel, was on Vermont Street. We had a man that was a shoe cobbler. He was on Vermont Street too. And this restaurant was run by Alberta—what's Bert's last name? I know just as well as anything. She later married George Brown, but I can't think of her mother's name. But they had a restaurant on the east side of the street and Scotts and Scott's Hotel with a restaurant on the west side of the street, and at one time we had a horse man did horse shoeing, Mr. Snow, and he did horse shoeing and, oh, different kind of jobs where you worked with metal.

MR. NETHER: Were they pretty prosperous? Did they make a lot of money in their businesses?

MRS. HAMPTON: Not a lot of money. The restaurant business made more money than anything else.

MR. NETHER: Than the blacksmith?

MRS. HAMPTON: At first the blacksmith, he made pretty good money. That's when we had some doctors and we had one educator, he was a McWilliams, and he went to Africa. He died over there. Then we had a Judge Clark. You heard about him, didn't you?

MR. NETHER: Uh-huh.

MRS. HAMPTON: And Leroy Harris, he was an attorney here, and we don't have any more.

MR. NETHER: We were talking about that the other day. Were there any black attorneys here in Lawrence?

MRS. HAMPTON: A long time ago we had one black teacher and she was over the first and second grades, the black children. Then when you got to the third grade, and you went with the other. Then in North Lawrence they had black teachers. They had a black school there. And later on they did do away with the teachers over there. It happened just over there. Mrs. Webster was the last teacher that was there. She was very good. They sent all the bad children over to Mrs. Webster.

MR. NETHER: From any part of town, wherever they were living?

MRS. HAMPTON: Yes. Some children are hard to make obey. Mrs. Webster had a way with children. They obeyed Mrs. Webster. She was very stern. When she said anything, she was positive. She didn't have any trouble with these bad ones, so they all went over there.

MR. NETHER: So it was pretty—we won't say prosperous—but people lived pretty comfortably.

MRS. HAMPTON: Yes. We all lived pretty comfortably until—

MR. NETHER: About 1929?

MRS. HAMPTON: Yeah. I don't know what happened, because in Lawrence we have had this thing; there has always been work if you wanted to work. There was no reason for people not to have work except the Depression. Now, that Depression is what got us.

MR. NETHER: This is a time period after 1929 which ended the so-called Roaring '20s. Then came the Depression years. What were the Depression years like here in Douglas County for black people?

MRS. HAMPTON: It was bad for all poor people. Now, at that time I was married. We were working on Jack Linn's farm, so it didn't bother us. But many people, black and white, they really suffered. And that's when that welfare deal come in. And some people could get work sewing at the sewing room, and some people, they wouldn't give it to them. If I know you, I will get you a job. If I don't know you, you don't get a job. At that time we helped each other. My mother lived in town and the people lived next door to them was white people, and he was a carpenter and he could do odd jobs and his wife could sew. They wouldn't give her a job at the sewing room. And we exchanged stamps. She would have sugar stamps and I would need them, and we would change and could get food. And I found out since then we helped quite a few people because we was out there with plenty of milk and things like that, bring it in, give it to them. But that was a pitiful time.

MR. NETHER: Did people mostly just kind of help one another?

MRS. HAMPTON: We had to help one another.

MR. NETHER: How did most black people—and I know it's hard to kind of find out how people vote—but how did most black people vote during, say, the Twenties and the early part of the Thirties?

MRS. HAMPTON: We was all strictly Republican.

MR. NETHER: Republicans. Then how did you feel when Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected?

MRS. HAMPTON: How did I feel about him? He was all right, but there's some of the things, I know some of them said, "He gave me my bread and butter," and I said, "No, he gave you your bread and oleo, he didn't give you butter." I don't think I exactly approved of him.

MR. NETHER: Would you mind sharing with us why maybe you didn't like Roosevelt?

MRS. HAMPTON: I think he probably is the cause of this welfare deal that got people so they were depending instead of on themselves for doing things for themselves. They began to depend on somebody to give it to them, and I think that's why I didn't care for him. I think we should have had work and not give.

MR. NETHER: The reason I asked is just that I felt that Roosevelt had been one of the most loved and most hated presidents of all time. You find some people that just become overjoyed when they hear Roosevelt's name, and then other people are completely turned off by it.

MRS. HAMPTON: I'm not the only one.


MRS. HAMPTON: No. I think that that's a big mistake that was made then.

MR. NETHER: You don't think that conditions were bad enough during the Depression for black people for him to have started all these programs that he did?

MRS. HAMPTON: I think we needed the programs, but it could have been done differently. These people could have had work, but it you kind of give people dishing out for nothing, then it goes on down.

MR. NETHER: Mrs. Hampton, have you ever been confronted with discrimination, just overt discrimination? Maybe you have seen the Ku Klux Klan or something in action, or something?

MRS. HAMPTON: One time we had a little cousin up here from Ohio, and he saw this plane going over, and it was Klansman's plane all right, and he was so frightened he ran and hid under the bed. I made him come out, and I said, "Now, a Klansman is just a man, just like any other man, he's under a sheet. When you take that sheet off of him, you just got a man." So they had a meeting here and it was on Jackman's farm, and they started boycotting Jackman, so that broke up the Ku Klux Klan.

This is a story that happened. This woman was a clairvoyant, and so the Klansmen paraded down in Pittsburg, and this woman, she could name every one of them. And the mayor was the man that was leading it, but she could really tell things. And she told who it was and she named every one of the men. We had no Ku Klux Klan parades in Kansas. That settled that.

MR. NETHER: All right. So the Ku Klux Klan here wasn't real powerful?

MRS. HAMPTON: No, there wasn't any power. They just had two or three little meetings out in the field, and Jackman had to stop them from that, and then this one parade. They had no more parades.

MR. NETHER: After the Depression, after your favorite president was elected, and we came into World War II, blacks were still virtually facing the same conditions. How did most black people react to World War II now?

MRS. HAMPTON: Very badly.

MR. NETHER: Did they want to go get involved in the fight?

MRS. HAMPTON: Not too many. That's when the draft was really strong. And my husband was drafted and he was out at Minter Field, California, and they did such funny things. Most of the Midwest and the Western men were sent away down south, and the Southern men were sent to California. And up here we have never been able to understand why they did that. It caused a lot of trouble. And California was just as prejudiced as they were down in the South. It was terrible. And they had fights on buses and they just had a lot of trouble, but they shouldn't have sent those white soldiers up there from the South. They should have sent Southerners to the South, but I guess they wanted them to get acquainted. I don't know what else it could have been.

MR. NETHER: I'm sorry, something I want you to clear up for me, where did they send most of the soldiers from Kansas?

MRS. HAMPTON: Most of the soldiers from Kansas was sent south.

MR. NETHER: South?

MRS. HAMPTON: There was a group of them from Lawrence, luckily was sent to California.

MR. NETHER: And no difference in where they were?


MR. NETHER: What was life like for black people here? It was supposedly a prosperous time. People were working, making goods for the war. Were blacks here in Douglas County employed most generally?


MR. NETHER: They were?

MRS. HAMPTON: Many of them was down at the plant. I never went. I stayed on the Hill. Some of us stayed on the Hill. That's what we called the University, on the Hill.

MR. NETHER: And there just wasn't any major difference in this war and World War I?

MRS. HAMPTON: More prosperous, yes, much more prosperous. Then I went to California and when I first went out there it was real rough. There was fighting in the restaurants. Whites, other men would come in there and tell the blacks they couldn't eat in there, and some of the places they went, they would segregate the blacks, and maybe the whites would be together and they would tear up the place—and there was a group of them coming through there once, they had been out on maneuvers, and their uniforms looked just like dust. They was the color of the desert. They were stocky built men, stout men, very stout men. They came in, and I happened to be working in this place, and they came in there, it was a saloon and a restaurant together, and they didn't serve blacks. So they came in and they told them they didn't serve blacks. I am way back looking at them, seeing what's going to happen. They said, "You don't have to, we will serve ourselves." They went and got everything that they wanted, and it was a whole black regiment, and they went on through. When they started back, when they first hit Bakersfield, somebody called up and said, "They are back in town, the soldiers are back in town." They didn't have a bit of trouble, but they got over that before we left.

MR. NETHER: So most blacks didn't accept the idea that they were supposed to do certain things?

MRS. HAMPTON: No. They said, "Well, if you are going to fight, we just as well fight here and get it over with." And the strangest thing happened out there. There was a regiment of soldiers and they knew they were going to go overseas and they was going to tear Bakersfield practically up, but they got them out overnight. I mean they were there today, all these men were there today; the next day, they are all gone. How they got them out of there, we don't know. We never will know how they transferred all that and you didn't hear any rumbling or anything, but they got them out of there.

MR. NETHER: Is there anything else about World War II that you can think of? Rationing, how it affected blacks or—

MRS. HAMPTON: It affected a lot of people. The Chinese people in Bakersfield, they had restaurants, they had hotels. Chinese and Japanese, they had lots of businesses. They took them and they put them up in the mountains. And I stayed at a hotel, and the hotel I stayed at had been owned by a Japanese woman, and they knew that they was going to have trouble. So she went to the bank and transferred this hotel to the maid that worked there and she said, "If I come back, than all right; if not, just go on and pay for it." So her daughter would write to Ida, to this hotel woman, and tell them how they were treating them there in the mountains. Sometimes they didn't have food, they didn't have blankets sometimes, and the last letter she wrote to Ida, she said, "Well, I probably won't be able to write anymore," but she said, "My mother will be dead because she can't stand this cold up here and we don't have heat or blankets like we should have." And there was one place they had built where they had, these people prisoners. Now, these were business people. And my question has been, what did they do with all those people's money? That whole West Coast was either owned or else it was leased by Chinese and Japanese.

MR. NETHER: During World War II?


MR. NETHER: This is a time when they were moving a lot of Japanese off the coast, putting them in camps, so that's kind of strange there.

MRS. HAMPTON: They knew this war was coming in the first place. And there was a soldier here and he said that this war was coming, and they knew it.

MR. NETHER: Were they Japanese that was here?

MRS. HAMPTON: No. This is a white boy.


MRS. HAMPTON: And he knew. He said, "We are going to have a war between the Japanese." And in Seattle they called all of the foreigners off the ships. At one time blacks were all waiters and cooks and all that on the ships, you know. They took the Japanese and Chinese and Philippinos, took that all over, and the blacks was all out. They was scattered all over the country. And all at once they got word, "Get all of the Negroes back. We want all the cooks and waiters." And all these people that had worked formerly, they was to go down and sign up. Just I lived there and you was in Mississippi, I would sign up for you but I would contact you right away to get here. If you didn't have money we would send it. I happened to be in Seattle when that happened. We would send you the money to get there, see, and everybody worked together. And in no time flat they was all there and then all those people was automatically either deported or fired. They deported so many of them.

MR. NETHER: Mrs. Hampton, right after the war in Topeka they had a decision Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education, and this is the one that said that all the Jim Crow facilities are illegal. Can you remember what effect this court decision had on Douglas County now?

MRS. HAMPTON: It didn't have a lot of effect on us. Douglas County had a way of doing things that's very quietly done and when you know, it's done and over with, and you are used to it. When we was going up to fix the dormitories, we had a chancellor here, Chancellor Murphy. First he had a group of boys to live together to see if they got along all right. They did. So then he was going to get this group of girls together. So he called them in his office and he talked to them and he got them together. The next year when we knew anything, buildings were going up and everybody had to stay in a dormitory.

MR. NETHER: Whites and blacks could live in the dormitory?

MRS. HAMPTON: Yes. That was the girls and I guess the boys were that way too.

MR. NETHER: How did it affect the lunch counters and the movie houses? Did they now integrate? Could you now go to a movie house and sit anywhere you wanted?

MRS. HAMPTON: We did some fighting for that. We had a little fuss. You sat over here and the rest of the theater could be open, over there. But if you sat over there, why, then you had to go back over here. So we was up in the theater one afternoon and this boy just came from the army. He had been discharged medically. And he was sitting over here. So a nice little lady came up and asked him what was he doing sitting over there. He didn't say anything. And she said, "I want you to move." And he still didn't say anything. So she came back and I told him, "Don't you say anything, I will talk to her," so when she told him to move, I said, "Why should he?" So she didn't know what to say then, you know, because she had to deal with me instead of dealing with him. So then she said, "Can't you talk for yourself?" I said, "He doesn't have to, I'm talking for him. Why should he move?" She said, "If you don't move, we will call the police." "That's just your next job. Call the police." So when the policemen came, it was a black policeman and a white policeman. So Mr. Smith said, "You was told to move. Why didn't you move?" I said, "Why should he move?" Mr. Smith said, "If he don't move, we will have to go downtown." I said, "All right, we will go downtown." So we went down- town. See, I would have got everybody in jail. So we went downtown and I knew the chief of police, so I asked him why would he have to move" I said, "Empty theater, nobody up there but just the three of us, three of us up there." He said "Well, I don't know why he would but he was told to move." I said, "Are we supposed to do what we are told to do?" Then I told him a few things. We got a letter from a man that was in the army. He said when we come back to Lawrence, the streets of Lawrence is going to run red with blood and it's not going to be just our blood. It's going to be white boys' blood with ours because we don't like the way things are going. So I told him that, and I said, "If you don't believe it," I said, "I can show you the letter." And we just got so there was no use to call the police in if somebody was sitting where they wasn't supposed to sit because they wasn't—

MR. NETHER: Wasn't going to move?

MRS. HAMPTON: But it was getting pretty bad. The boys came back from the army, had been fighting to keep freedom and then you can't sit where you want to even in an empty theater. Pretty rough.

MR. NETHER: What about the schools? Did they integrate then?

MRS. HAMPTON: Oh, our schools was integrated. We just over in north Lawrence was the only one. One time they decided they would send them all over to north Lawrence, but I think the protest was so great that it stopped right there in the middle.

MR. NETHER: Can you remember how the Vietnam War affected blacks here in Douglas County?

MRS. HAMPTON: It was kind of rough too. They made money. Made lots of money.

MR. NETHER: Did most blacks want to go and fight? How would you have felt if your son was on his way to Vietnam?

MRS. HAMPTON: I wouldn't have wanted him to go.

MR. NETHER: Any reason why?

MRS. HAMPTON: In the first place—this is repeating what one soldier said—he was a parachute jumper. He said "I am going to have to go." He said, "I know I am, but," he said, "this is not going to be war. This is going to be slaughter." He said, "In the first place," he said, "they will have booby traps and just like they had them, that's what they said they would be, and he said, "When we go over there," he said, "we will be fighting women, old people, and children. We won't have a battle ground." He said, "We will be fighting everybody." He said, "This war is going to be hell." And he had been in the Korean War.  That's what he said and it was just like he said.

MR. NETHER: Mrs. Hampton, can you see any major changes that has taken place here in Douglas County?

MRS. HAMPTON: Yes. There are quite a few.

MR. NETHER: Could you relate a few of them to us?

MRS. HAMPTON: People have better jobs. They used to just be cooking and dishwashing. And if our children got better jobs, they had to leave Lawrence to get them. And so many of them went different places, some of our very valuable. So then now we probably don't have any doctors or attorneys or anything like that. We do have our teachers and people have good jobs like in the telephone office. Mrs. Cerf is one fighting things, and she tried to get a girl in the bank that was really qualified for it, and she didn't know how they was hiring them. "How do they hire these people?" I said, "Well, one tells someone else, 'there's a job open for you and we are not going to advertise it, so come on up there and get interviewed.'" But, I said, "That left us out." So now we are in banks and our teachers and where we lose one, we pick up another. And I think a teacher is more valuable than even attorney or doctors.

MR. NETHER: I think so too. Any other changes beside when you get those good out-of-town teachers come in? Any other major changes?

MRS. HAMPTON: Let's see. I think all of our teachers are out-of-town teachers.

MR. NETHER: No, Debbie Hicks is Mrs. Harvey's daughter, and she's from here.

MRS. HAMPTON: Yeah, she belongs to our church.

MR. NETHER: I can't think of any others that's from here.

MRS. HAMPTON: My nephew's wife is teaching school. Mrs. Clark. She teaches school, and we have got another girl. Her last name is White. She lives in north Lawrence. She teaches, I think, down at New York.

MR. NETHER: We don't have that many in elementary schools around here. I wonder why.

MRS. HAMPTON: I don't know. Debbie this is, I think, her first year of teaching in Lawrence.

MR. NETHER: Any other major changes here in Douglas County that you can think of?

MRS. HAMPTON: They are buying better homes.

MR. NETHER: A black a long time ago couldn't buy a house anywhere he wanted to?

MRS. HAMPTON: No. Not only black. If you was poor white, you couldn't buy it. There was places where if you was poor, you just didn't get in that neighborhood.

MR. NETHER: Now, do you think it was worse for blacks than poor whites, or was it about the same for both of them?

MRS. HAMPTON: I think it was just about the same. I think if people have work, we used to pick potatoes, the children, they had something for children to do. They didn't pay them $2.00 and something an hour for doing nothing. They had to work for their money, and I think that's one of the biggest mistakes that they are making now, is these people working and working couple, three hours, and getting wages that we took a week to get. I think if they had work, these kids would like to work, really work, and work hard, and I think that would solve a lot of problems.

MR. NETHER: So you say a change now is the fact that people here don't work for their money. A lot of it is just given to them?

MRS. HAMPTON: Yes. Too much give, give, give. And what I haven't been able to understand is why people don't know how to fix food, like some people don't even know how to cook rice, and just common ordinary food. They don't know how to do it. I can't understand why they don't.

MR. NETHER: Go to grocery store and buy it and put it in the oven for five minutes, add water.

MRS. HAMPTON: That's expensive though. And another thing, I can't understand, why these children can't read. I was at a meeting and I was shocked when I found out that children in junior high school can't read.

MR. NETHER: Do you think before in junior high schools that they were reading?

MRS. HAMPTON: Oh, yes. When you are in reading and writing and arithmetic, you started in your first grade a, b, c, d, in fact you knew that when you went to school, but there's something loose somewhere that people are disconnected with their children.

MR. NETHER: Right.

MRS. HAMPTON: When you can't read and you can't write and you just dumbly going through school, stumbling through, and that's pitiful.

MR. NETHER: Did you ever know anyone on welfare? I know you mentioned this program of just giving earlier.

MRS. HAMPTON: Oh, everybody's on welfare. Yes, there's so many of them on welfare. I think that's the worst thing that ever was because some of them was raised on welfare and they still look for that welfare check and the children mostly that had been in trouble, nine of them out of ten are on welfare.

MR. NETHER: Were there any class distinctions between blacks, say, a black that made more money, or that had a fairer complexion, was he looked at higher, held in higher esteem than somebody that was darker complexion and maybe received welfare or did they all just relate to each other?

MRS. HAMPTON: No. We just related to each other. If you was on welfare, if you was our friend, you was still our friend.

MR. NETHER: All right. Mrs. Hampton, what did you do for fun? And I am going to go back to the 1920s again and ask you what did you do for fun here in Douglas County in the '20s?

MRS. HAMPTON: We had parties and dances. We had big bands come in here, those big bands. We had beautiful party dresses.

MR. NETHER: Would they be integrated social functions?


MR. NETHER: All black?

MRS. HAMPTON: They had theirs, we had ours. The blacks, we had certain clubs. Say we had our club and if we wanted to give a party, we would give a party and we could have a big band, even such as Count Basie come in here for six or seven dollars, and we had different halls. For many years we had lots and lots of beautiful parties, and there was three floors that were swinging floors, dances just swung on.

MR. NETHER: Can you remember any of the big-time entertainers that came here? You just mentioned one there, or came close to here? Did you ever go to Kansas City?

MRS. HAMPTON: Oh, yes. We had gone to Kansas City. We would go to Topeka. We have gone as far as Wichita to something that was big.

MR. NETHER: Did any of them come right here to Lawrence?

MRS. HAMPTON: Not unless it was a church affair. Conference or something like that.

MR. NETHER: Did you depend on the church to bring about most of the social functions or could—was it done privately?

MRS. HAMPTON: No. They had more privately. We had our clubs and our churches. We kind of kept them separate while the churches did many things and we did a lot of things through the churches.

MR. NETHER: Do you attend church now, Mrs. Hampton?


MR. NETHER: How long have you been a member of the church or how long have you participated in church?

MRS. HAMPTON: Member of the church, I think sixty-five years anyway.

MR. NETHER: What were some of the major changes that you could see that has taken place in church now?

MRS. HAMPTON: People don't go to church like they used to. Every Sunday, that was a must, you must go to church. And the young people, I don't think they go to church like we do, regardless of what they put out for them. We had to go to Sunday School. Now if a child don't want to go to Sunday School, they don't have to go. But I think this one thing: I think that young people that are working in the church just are really a little more sincere than what we were, maybe, because they are doing it because they want to do it.

MR. NETHER: What about some of the ceremonial aspects of the church, say, a funeral? Is there any changes in the way funerals were conducted as far as in the past to now or are they still basically the same?

MRS. HAMPTON: I really don't know because I can't go to funerals. I am allergic to embalming fluid. I get bombed. I don't think though there's a lot of changes in them. I don't believe there is. They are more expensive, I know. It costs you a lot of money to die now.

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