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Jessie Jolliff


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Jessie Jolliff
Series Title:
Otis R. Anthony African Americans in Florida oral history project
Physical Description:
1 sound file (38 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;
Jolliff, Jessie
Anthony, Otis R
Black History Research Project of Tampa
University of South Florida Libraries -- Florida Studies Center. -- Oral History Program
University of South Florida -- Tampa Library
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
African Americans -- Florida   ( lcsh )
African Americans -- History -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Oral history   ( local )
Online audio   ( local )
Oral history.   ( local )
Online audio.   ( local )
interview   ( marcgt )


Jessie Jolliff discusses her childhood in Tampa during the 1920s and 1930s. Particular emphasis is given to the schools she attended and to playing baseball. Also mentioned are politics and the Clara Frye Hospital.
Interview conducted March 23, 1978.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Otis R. Anthony and members of the Black History Research Project of Tampa.
General Note:
Other interviewers for the Black History Research Project of Tampa were Fred Beaton, Joyce Dyer, Herbert Jones, and Shirley Smith.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 020800886
oclc - 436231215
usfldc doi - A31-00032
usfldc handle - a31.32
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Full Text
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Jolliff, Jessie.
Jessie Jolliff
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Otis R. Anthony and members of the Black History Research Project of Tampa.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (38 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (digital, PDF file)
Otis R. Anthony African Americans in Florida oral history project
Other interviewers for the Black History Research Project of Tampa were Fred Beaton, Joyce Dyer, Herbert Jones, and Shirley Smith.
Interview conducted March 23, 1978.
Jessie Jolliff discusses her childhood in Tampa during the 1920s and 1930s. Particular emphasis is given to the schools she attended and to playing baseball. Also mentioned are politics and the Clara Frye Hospital.
Jolliff, Jessie.
African Americans
z Florida.
African Americans
x History.
7 655
Oral history.
2 local
Online audio.
Anthony, Otis R.
Black History Research Project of Tampa.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
Tampa Library.
4 856


COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 2009, University of South Florida. All rights, reserved This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrig hted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fo wler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.


1 Otis R. Anthony African Americans in Florida Oral History Project Oral History Program Florida Studies Center University of South Florida, Tampa Library Digital Object Identifier: A31 00032 Interviewee: Mrs. Jessie Jolliff (JJ) Interviewer: Two unknown men (Interviewers 1 and 3; one of those is Fred Beaton), one unknown woman (Interviewer 2) Interview date: March 23, 1978 Interview location: Unknown Transcribed by: Unknown Transcription date: Unknown Interview changes by: Mary Beth Isaacson Interv iew changes date: December 9, 20008 Final Edit by: Maria Kreiser Final Edit date: February 11, 2009 Interviewer 1: Can you give us a little background information about yourself, like where you was born, what school you attended, how long you've been in Tampa, etc? Mrs. J essie J olliff : I was born in Woodbine, Geo rgia. And I come to Tampa in twenty one 1921. What else you want to know? Interviewer 1: What were the conditions of blacks in Tampa when you came here? How do you you know, how did h ow wer e you living? How were most of the black people living, working wise and stuff like that? JJ: Um w ell, we wasn't j obs was kinda pretty hard to find up there in Georgia and he co me down here on account of the boom. There was a boom down in here. Interview er 1: Now, what's the boom? JJ: They called it "the boom, "boom" in 1921 and twenty two [1922]. There was a boom goin' on plenty money, everywhere. Interviewer 1: Oh. Oh. JJ: I know that Tampa started to "boom" and my auntie sent the money and we come here to Tampa. Interviewer 1: So did you have trouble in finding a job? JJ: I wasn't old enough.


2 Interviewer 1: Right. JJ: No. But my daddy, he used to cut cross tie. And, see, along then the womens didn't work. They stayed and kept children. They d id n't work period if they had a house full of children. The women just started workin' here lately. Because if a woman had a house full of children and (inaudible) comin' home, she stayed home and kept children if there wasn't but nothin' but bread and meat there and raised 'em. Interviewer 1: So what kind of things did you do as a child in Tampa? You know, like those children out there now, what sort of things did y' a ll like to do? JJ: Well, pulled up weeds. We pulled up grass and washed it the dirt out th e grass roots and then we pleat it and make dolls, out of 'em and make grass dolls. Interviewer 1: How would ya'll do that? JJ: We pulled the grass out the ground, washed the root, (the sand out the root) then we would take that and pleat it and dress er up. And make a grass dolls. We used to have 'em. We'd take stockings and make balls to play with. We'd take stockin' and fill it full of rags. That was our ball. We even had (inaudible) We'd get us a needle and sew it up. And that's all we played ball with. Interviewer 1: What would you use for a bat? JJ: Any kind of board we could find. Just a piece of wood. Heh heh heh Interviewer 1: What about the boys, what type things did the boys do during that ? JJ: They want to spin tops and shoot marbles. Interviewer 1: So, when was it that you all started this baseball team? JJ: During 1930. During the thirties [19 30s ] the first of the thirties [19 30s ] Interviewer 1: And how was it organized? JJ: There was a man here b y the name of Mr. Howe and he ( inaudible). Let's see, one, two, three there was five black elementary schools here. And he used to go from one to the other and he had a special day out the week that he would be there. Like, he would be to West Tampa, then to Hyde Park and then Harlem an d then back to Meacham. And he got a bunch of us girls and started us playin' against the boys, because there wasn't enough boys and there wasn't enough girls. And so the girls started to playin' ball against the boys. And well, then he wanted to go into s oftball, for the schools, see, he had the recreation for after school. And this colored policeman, he seen he wanted to play baseball, the women wanted to play baseball right on and we didn't have no way.


3 Interviewer 1: Can you think of his name? JJ: Wh at, the policeman? Interviewer 1: Yes. JJ: Yeah, never hear (inaudible). And then he started us off playin' baseball, somethin' around about the thirties [1930s]. And then he had five let me see there was one, two, three five different districts that we played baseball in. Down in the Garrison they a team. They had a team in the Scrugg. And one in Belmont Heights. And one right here. And one in (inaudible) And they used to call us the "bloomer girls" because we couldn't play in nothin' but bloomers. And they had to be below the knees, see. Interviewer 1: Uh huh. JJ: Heh We couldn't play in shorts, not like that there. We had black bloomers and a white middy blouse. And you had them bloomers, they had to be below your knees too. You couldn't wear 'em up above your knees. And so then, there's this colored police, he got us all and made a baseball team out of us. Got all the stars out of the teams, see. Put one together. And then he started carryin' us all over Florida. Interviewer 1: Did y a ll ever win an y championships or ? JJ: Well Interviewer 1: anything like that? JJ: Win forty one games and lost one game one year. We used to kind of every year Do he If you know of the man what got robbed here, he used to be our announcer. But they called him "Mr Democrat." But the man's name Dewey Richardson. Everybody here in Tampa knew him. He'd been to the county down to the county courthouse all his life. And he used to be our announcer. He got a picture of us somewhere, if they didn't take it when they robb ed him and beat him down. Interviewer 1: Can you tell us anything else about the team? JJ: About our team? Interviewer 1: Yes. How was it ? JJ: We started playin' on on the corner that's where our practicin' job right on the corner of Nebraska [Avenue ] and Scott [Street] where Mt. Moriah Church is now. That was our field. But then we started hittin' the ball so hard 'til they we had to go over to another place called the white sand. But we didn't have nowhere to play, you know big enough. You started h ittin' the ball too hard. As being matured, see, we started h ittin' the ball and it be goin' on Nebraska. And so then they had to move us cross over on that


4 side of the railroad tracks, over there, a place they called white sands. That's where we used to p ractice. But we used to play out here to Plant Field. Interviewer 2 : What year was this? JJ: From almost all of the thirties [1930s] mostly. Well, I'd say from thirty [19 30 ] to about thirty eight [19 38 ] something like that. Interviewer 1: And so how old were you when you stopped playin' with the team? JJ: Grown, a full grown woman. I st arted when I was around about thirteen and I played until after I was a woman. Interviewer 1: Would a lot of people come out to see this ? JJ: Yeah. Interviewer 2: see y a ll play? JJ: Sure. Interviewer 1: Because you said you played every May twenti eth in Plant City, what was this? Why was this done? JJ: There was But see a long t ime ago, before we knew anything about it we used to celebrate the twenti eth of M ay, Emancipation Day. Interviewer 1: Uh huh. JJ: And I think they done changed it now. I don't know or not, but we used to celebrate the twenti eth of May just like everybody celeb The coloreds used to celebrate the twenti eth of May like probably like whi te folk celebrate the 4th of July now. Interviewer 1: Oh. JJ: That used to be a regular colored holiday that everybody celebrated and we would meet at Plant City and play ball every twenti eth of May, the boys and the women. The mens and the women. Inter viewer 1: A lot of food would be out there and just everything. JJ: Yeah. Interviewer 1: Yeah, just a big time. JJ: Yeah, a lot of people. Um h m. All the food and everything else.


5 Interviewer 2: You played in the thirties [1930s] right? JJ: Yeah. I nterviewer 2: The Depression was goin' on during this period. JJ: Yeah. Interviewer 2: How was it like with the team, with you being a black woman? How was it here in Tampa? JJ: They o ne thing, they didn't have nowhere else to go but to our game. See i t what made it That's what unless they went to the jug. They don't They called the bars, then, jugs. And they would be glad for an outin' in an open field 'cause we didn't have nowhere. And we would have a big crowd all the time. And then we moved down to Port Tampa. They stayed up to the mens, they moved to Port Tampa, we still played out here. But they'd be glad to get a chance to go to Port Tampa. Because, see, we didn't have all this excitemen t, parks and things, like that there to go around to. And w hen somethin' like we say, The Tampa All Stars are gonna play today, would everybody in Tampa would go what could get there. Did you see what I mean, 'cause that was the main attraction for that day. But now th ere's so many things happenin' til l you can't get to just one thing. And they'll You pick out what you want to go. But there wasn't but that one thing to go Interviewer 1: Okay. Also, like, during the Depression and y' a ll would have this festivity on the twenti eth of May, would that put a bind on y ou as far as gettin' food as far as havin' food, did that Depression hinder that any? JJ: No. Interviewer 1: They still had a lot of food. JJ: They didn't care about no thin' old Depression, there was gonna be a plenty food there, and plenty moonshine. Those two things was gonna be there. Interviewer 1: Were they? So how did the Depression affect you? Say, just you, single. Like, you and your family? JJ: Like me and my family, well Interviewer 1: Was it hard or ? JJ: Yeah. Well, we moved every w eek. And well sometimes we moved out of one house and move back in it the next. We would skip week and move back in the next


6 week. But my mama, she carried us down on the muck in November and she would bring us back and it was the last of April. That's wh at kept us here in the summertime. We didn't have nothin' to do. We'd work in the work winter and come back here in the summertime. We didn't have nothin' to do that's why we played ball, you know, and like that there. Interviewer 1: What was "the muck?" JJ: Down on the farm. Interviewer 1: Why did they call it "the muck?" JJ: For it s black muck. Interviewer 3 : (inaudible) JJ: Yeah. Not Belle Glade, (inaudible) city. Interviewer 1: (inaudible), I forgot. Well, so in other words the Depression did affect you a great deal, both mon etarily, and affect your housin'. JJ: Yeah, and then w hen I first come to Tampa we didn't have y ou know what there was w e didn't have no water. Wasn't nothin' but a pump. And we didn't have no flushin' toilets. We went ou t in the yard. And then they had wagons used to come around and pick up your stuff. Out your y ou go out there in the house and do your job in a bucket. And then they had a truck, a city truck, woul d come around, down the alleys, that's why they got alleys now, and pick up that bucket out the alley. And he didn't have no waterin' thing and that didn't picked it but a that's one thing they got during the thirtie s was that, sewers through h ere because they weren't not first come here there wasn't no such thing as no sewers. There wasn't nothin' but a pump. Interviewer 1: What did you do for entertainment other than the baseball games, per se? JJ: Well, they had a a Por ter Hall, it's there on the corne r of Central Avenue 'n Harrison [Street], they used to give dances there, for a dollar apiece, once a month. Interviewer 1: Can you think of any other businesses on Central? JJ: No, because that's the only time I've been over there was when they had a dance. Any other businesses on Central? Let me see. (inaudibl e) Joe Nash's (inaudible) right next door to the Elks. And, let me see, we used to go to the Central Theater. Interviewer 1: Okay, now, it was two theaters on Central, right? JJ: No. When I came here there wasn't but one.


7 Interviewer 1: One. The Lincol n Theater? JJ: No. Cent Interviewer 1: Central Theater. Okay. JJ: But we couldn't go much. See, I had Interviewer 1: Right. JJ: There was seven of us children and we could go two for a nickel. Go to the show, two for a nickel. Interviewer 1: What kind of movies were they showin' then the silent movies? JJ: When I first started to goin' they was they was showin' silent and then they went to talkin'. But they didn't show nothin' but cowboys. I kn ow what every cowboy in Tampa, in town. That's all th ey showed were cowboy pictures. Later on they started showin' funny pictures and things like that, but mostly they didn't show but shoot 'em ups. Interviewer 1: Well, pertaining to politics, did you ever come in contact with the voting procedure? Was you ever allowed to vote or JJ: No. This same man, Dewey r emember I tell you about him, was our ann ouncer for the ball teams? Interviewer 2: Um h m. JJ: Way back there in th e fiftie s [1950s] I went to courthouse for somethin' and he carried me in there and made me register as a Democrat. And he used to do that. Everybody he could catch e very colored person he could catch down there, he would make 'em register. But we didn't have no privilege to vote. He didn't think I think the first president I got interest ed in votin' about was in when Kennedy was elected president. Interviewer 1: So, what you're sayin' that the reason why you didn't vote was because you couldn't or you just didn't want to? What? JJ: Just like a lot of people think today, because I got a sister right down the street thinks the same way, I thought it didn't matter. Interviewer 1: But there was blacks voting then in Tampa? JJ: I don't know. I couldn't say t hat because I didn't hear 'em y ou know, it wasn't like it is now. They wouldn't brin g it to you in your neighborhood. They didn't care about the black votes along in there. They didn't care if you go vote or not. But see, now, I'd say along in the sixties [19 60s ] they started bringin' it to you them fish fries to the


8 neighborhoods, see, and gettin' interested in in the votes after they passed a law that everybody could vote. Then they got interested in the vote. But other than that I don't think nobody voted. It might have been one or two. But I know Dewey used to hang around that coun ty courthouse and he wanted everybody to be all col colored folks to be Democrats. He didn't want no (inaudible) He'd get you by the hand and carry you on in here and then register you as a Democrat. He said "N ow when they as k you what you want to be y ou say Democrat. And I said Democrat. Interviewer 1: So was Dewey Dewey is a he was the was he a, some type of leader (inaudible) back then? JJ: They just called him "Mr. Democrat." I wish you'd get his history caught before he die. 'Cause let me te ll you somethin' I don't even know how to Dewey lived. He ain't never done He wasn't on no payroll down there. Interviewer 1: Ha ha ha JJ: He just hung around there and in front of that county courthouse. And Interviewer 2: He still hang around now? Interviewer 3: Yeah, he got robb JJ: No, h e got robbed and they beat him. Interviewer 1: They beat him? JJ: Um h m. Interviewer 3: They beat him blind I think. JJ: But I wish you would get his history because he ain't never had a job there. He just was interested in colored folks votin'. And as many as he could get to put on their name down there, he know'd where to carry you, he would be around down there and he'd carry you on. But I never know'd him to work. Somebody robbed him. They don't know who ever done it. They never catch him. Interviewer 2: After you got old enough to work, what type of work did you do? JJ: In a laundry. I been in a laundry for almost forth five years now. Interviewer 2: What laundry was this? JJ: Whiteway. The first one I think, was The Whiteway.


9 Interviewer 1: And what was the salary? Starting salary? JJ: Fifteen cent. But I worked for a two hours for a quarter after another one. I left that and went to Hyde Park. I went to Vogue and I was makin' they was payin' twel ve and a half cent an hour quarter for two hours. Interviewer 1: Okay. What year was that Mrs. Jolliff? Mrs. Jessie Jolliff: I don't know. I can't tell you exactly 'cause if I was 'round about I'd say 'round about fifteen years old. And I was born in se venteen [1917] About what year would that be? Interviewer 1: What, you was fifteen ? JJ: Yeah. Interviewer 1: And you were born in seventeen? About thirty, about thirty one [1931] something like that. JJ: But you wasn't makin' nothin'. Interviewer 3 : My mom was born in seventeen [1917] Interviewer 1: What were some of the occupations of other blacks that was in the same area? JJ: They didn't do nothin' but work for white people. They had a busboys down to them cafeterias and the women worked in th e kitchen because the men did the busin' of the dishes. And the women used to wash the dishes. And the mens used to do the cleaning up. And then they had the hotel; the women used to be maids in them, clean up the rooms in the hotel. Let me see what else w as there but most of it was domestic work workin' in the white people's house s. And my mama used to cook to (inaudible) down to a little Quicketeria. She got her a job cookin'. Interviewer 1: Who were some of the black people that you all would look up to ? L ike today you have Alton White and stuff, you know, that most people are lookin' up to. Who were some of the blacks during that time that blacks looked up to that, say, would have money or had, you know, powers or something like this? JJ: Well, now, let me see I have to think. I know l et me see I can't think of a soul. Interviewer 1: Lee Davis? Was he looked upon as a man ? JJ: Um hm If I could think. No. He just come into power. U m Interviewer 3: Like (inaudible)


10 JJ: No. See, them was bolita people. And they And I'll try I'm tryin' to think of, you know, somebody who was a decent leader. Interviewer 1: What about Blythe Andrews? JJ: No, he wasn't in our ti me. That would come later on, in later years. But now, Dr. Johnson Interviewer 1: W hat about Dr. [Edward O.] Archie? Was he here then? JJ: Yeah, Dr. Archie, Dr. Johnson, Dr. Williams. Old Dr. Williams. And Dr. Johnson. There was two Dr. Johnsons. The people used to look up to them, but that's all we had to look to. Just them one or two doctors. Dr. Archie, yeah. Interviewer 2: Did you ever go to Dr. Archie as a patient? JJ: Yeah. I ain't gonna never forget that. Interviewer 2: Tell us about it. JJ: Ha ha ha No, I'll make ya'll laugh. Ha ha ha Interviewer 2: Please tell us. JJ: W ell, I went there with my head all swolled up about that big and he give me a shot back here [indicates her buttocks] And I wanted to know what he was doin' shootin' me back there with my head all swolled. Ha ha ha Interviewer 1: Did it help you any? JJ: I don't know. Ha ha Interviewer 1: Yeah, we just interviewed him. JJ: Who? Interviewer 1: Dr. Archie. J J: Yeah. Ha Interviewer 2: Did you attend public schools here in Tampa? JJ: Yeah. Interviewer 2: What school did you attend?


11 JJ: Harlem Interviewer 2: Tell me something about Harlem. JJ: Dobeyville. And Dunbar before it was built, because Dunbar was in a little shack, in a little one room shack. Dobeyville was in a two little room shack. And then I went to Harlem. Interviewer 1: Can y ou tell us about all these schools you went to, kind of describe 'em, if you could remember that far, especially Dobeyville because I haven't ever heard of that one before. Interviewer 2: I've heard of Dobey JJ: Yeah. That's Dobeyville, it was Inter viewer 3: Dobeyville, not Dobey. Interviewer 1: Well they had Dobe JJ: It was right on this i t's o n Azeele and South Dakota. 'Bout two wooden room house and it carried from the first through the sixth grade. Interviewer 1: Can you remember the teache r there? JJ: Miss Miss Jessie Smith, the principal. Interviewer 1: A nd now about what year was this? JJ: I can't re member that now heh ha t hat's been a long time ago. Interviewer 2: Sure, because I can't remember when I was in first and second grade, I can't remember that JJ: But I can remember everyone of my teachers there, from my first grade teacher on through. I can remember Miss Flinanson because she taught me from the first through the third. Miss Jones taught me in the fourth. Miss Martin tau ght me in the fifth. And Miss Smith got a hold of me in the sixth. Interviewer 1: You want to tell us about the other schools? JJ: Over at Harlem? Interviewer 2: Yeah.


12 JJ: See they sent me from Dobeyville to Harlem in the sixth grade. See, when you g ot in the sixth, you know, they keep you over there a year and then they send you over there in the sixth because you didn't i f you didn't pass you didn't go nowhere. They keep you right there. And see when you went to sixth you didn't go to Booker Washi ngton until you got into 7A. They had 7B and 7A. Interviewer 1: Okay. Now, Dobeyville, was that a elementary school? JJ: Yeah. Interviewer 1: And they were w ere there any other elementary schools beside that one during this time? JJ: There was one down right down there on the corner, Green [Street] and Oregon [Avenue] Interviewer 1: What was Harlem like? What was the school actually like? The school like What did you all do? You know, how was ? JJ: Play basketball and that's all. Interviewer 1: Oka y, what was the school like? You know, what did you do in the classrooms and, you kn ow, just regular little things, things that children do today, you know, just relating some of the things like that that you all would do. JJ: When you went there f rom t he t ime we got there we had reading and then she'd start off with arithmetic in the morning and then she would go to readin', then she'd go to history and then sometime the only recreation we'd have in, that r oom would be to a spellin' bee. (inaudible) lik e that there. Every evenin' she would have a spellin' bee. But you didn't play in that room, you got to listen. And every week you had to learn a poem. I mean, that was your weekend lesson, to learn a I'd say about a five verse poem, you had to learn it be fore you come back that Monday morning. So that would keep you out the street on the weekend. Keep you there studyin'. And you sit up in that classroom and look out the window and then she'll come around there and she'll stand right up behind you and she said "W e got y' a ll we can't move no further ," we got to wait on her ti ll she gets back 'cause she's gone out the room. She's not gonna say a word 'til you get back either so you could get it too. Interviewer 1: How was the dating things? You know, how did how were you dating during those days? JJ: Well, there weren't no datin'. We didn't know datin' 'til you got grown. Interviewer 1: There was no datin's like between eleventh and twelf th graders then?


13 JJ: No sir. Um h m. No, your mama beat you to death if you come home talkin' about a boy. Heh, heh ha ha ha You'd better not even mention that. Heh heh heh ha ha Interviewer 1: Ha ha JJ: And no boy better not call and say I'm comin' down there ," or my daddy m y daddy had six girls and that whole block, no boys couldn't come down there. That whole block where we stayed at, they didn't come down there. Interviewer 1: So once you got grown and started dating it was all right JJ: Yeah. Interviewer 1: but you had to be grown before you could do a nything. JJ: Yeah, I stayed with My mama didn't consider me grown after I got grown. Interviewer 1: She didn't? JJ: Nope. 'Cause I got married and and I thought me and my husband were gonna stay there that night and so when I been on ther e I said, "Mam a we ain't got nowhere to stay," I said, "B ut can we stay here tonight?" She said, "Sure, you can stay her e tonight." When we got ready to go to bed she said, "Send Charlie in there with your daddy and you get into bed with me." Interviewer 1: Oh, oh JJ : Heh heh heh She said, "You ain't grow n enough to sleep together in my house, not yet." Say, "You have to get you a house of your own before you can sleep together." So when he went to work the next day he borrowed some money so could we get heh heh In terviewer 1: Ha ha ha That's somethin' else. Interviewer 2: Did you have any kids? JJ: Um hm. I had a baby but it died Two when he got two, he had (inaudible). Interviewer 1: Is your husband living? JJ: Um h m. First husband dead. I got a husband back there. He blind. I don't k now why he ain't been out here. (inaudible) hear anybody talkin' he (inaudible) done been out here. But he come from Mississippi, he didn't come from here. (inaudible) he could tell you somethin' about Mississippi though. 'Cause he come from way back yonder. He could tell you about how his people were sold into slavery and all that. How his mama


14 cried when they were carryin' his sisters and brothers and watchin' walk down the road to sell 'em puttin' on the sellin' block and all of that. Interviewer 1: Did you get d id y' a ll have any harassments from white people during those days? JJ: You know what, that's what I've often wondered, but they say with segregation. Now, I stayed right over in there. And I was goin' to school. And t here was some white children used to stay over there. And they used to come in our house and sleep with us. Their mama leave 'em there and sleep with us. And we was kids. We moved over there on Palm and we used to meet them white children comin' from schoo l. They were comin' from their school and we would be comin' from Harlem. Yeah, I don't know what school they were goin' to up there, but we'd fight every evening. But they didn't never Doesn't nobody ever bother us. You know, have no riots and things like that there. We'd beat them white children's tail and go on 'bout our business. But, you know what I mean, like I don't where all this here come from 'cause a I ain't never had no trouble with no white folks before. And I s ometime I wonder about it 'caus e I know I was raised right up here with these Italians. But a long time ago, see, some white folks used think a 'T ali was a nigger too. Interviewer 2: Um h m. JJ: And see the just got up so that they are recognized as white folks now. 'Ca use these here a cracker wouldn't even much let them Italians marry their girls. They called 'em they just say um "nigger" They said, (inaudible) 'Cause they used to sleep in the house with us. Stayed next door to us and all that. And they just got up here and got so t hey think theyself better than others. And now I wonder where it come from too since I got grown because we didn't have it when we was children. Interviewer 1: What about the churches here? When you came here how was the church activities here? JJ: Fine Interviewer 1: Are you a member of the church? JJ: Um h m. Another Interviewer 1: What church is that? JJ: I belong to the church of Christ. I belong to a mixed church, colored and white. But I have When I came here I belonged to the New Salem Missio nary Baptist Church. I first I joined that church in 1929 because my mama was there. Interviewer 1: We hate to keep jumpin' around, but we was talkin' about the schools and


15 you say it was two elementary schools? JJ: No, there's more than that. Intervie wer 1: I'm talking about during that time. JJ: No, there's more Interviewer 3 : (inaudible) JJ: It wasn't Harlem was op Side 1 ends; side 2 begins JJ: blind he but he could tell to get 'round in (inaudible) no more. He's totally blind. Interviewe r 2: Reverend Anderson (inaudible) that's the only question. Interviewer 1: Okay. You say that Interviewer 2: Tell 'im that's okay. Unknown Woman : (to someone in the other room) He said that's all right. Interviewer 1: You say eventually, though (in audible) came into being, right? JJ: Yeah. Interviewer 1: Okay. JJ: Yeah. Interviewer 1: And that was located down by where the old jail is? JJ: Yeah. Interviewer 1: Right. JJ: Um h m. The old big old building there sittin' up doin' nothin' so they give it to 'em for a school. It wasn't no school. It was just a old big buildin' they give 'em, and they made it out of that school. They didn't build 'em their school. The only high school they ever built 'em was a Blake and Booker Washington and Middlet on. And they built three. Booker Washington was first, then Middleton, then Blake. But they That wasn't no school. That wasn't nothin' but a great buildin'. Interviewer 1: Okay. And during this time in sports, like, at Booker T. and Middleton and


16 everythi ng, they had men and women's basketball teams also. Right? JJ: Yeah. Um h m. Interviewer 1: All right. JJ: Yeah, women been playing basketball, that ain't nothin' new. Interviewer 1: Right. Interviewer 2: Who were some of the girls that played on the t eam? JJ : (inaudible) the names. Interviewer 2: (inaudible) JJ: I'm about to We wasn't but two girls thre e girls the rest of 'em was (inaudible) mostly. Interviewer 1: And you say some of them are still livin' now? JJ: Yeah, my sister stays right dow n there, Miss Allie Green, she stay in Hyde Park. Interviewer 1: Can you just give us the name of the members? JJ: Miss Allie Green, Celestine Gucci, D.C. and Chi, I don't know what their last name There's a woman named Bea, she was the pitcher. Buda, s he was a pitcher. And Liz Patterson, she was a catcher. And I was a shortstop. My sis Ruby was the leftfielder. My sister, Blanche, was the second baseman. Heh I've forgotten now Interviewer 1: Mrs. Jolliff, do you think it would be possible the it would be possible that we could get together, you know, you say your sister's livin' and there's how many other ladies are livin' from that was on the team? JJ: I know Ms. Allie Green. And I think Liz is livin'. Liz is married and I don't know what her last na me is. I don't See she Liz Me and Liz and a girl next C el e stine Gucci, was the onl the youngest three, we wasn't married. Interviewer 1: Um h m. JJ: And her name was Patterson then, but what She married since then and I don't know what her name is now. Interviewer 1: But you think we can get a picture of this group? JJ: And one girl name Patsy. She was our first baseman. We had Co nchita Wazeel. She


17 stayed right down there too. Interviewer 1: Um h m. JJ: On Green and Al (inaudible) She's old and blind now too. Interviewer 2: Okay, I'm fixin' to jump around a little bit. Do you remember anything about Clara Frye Hospital? JJ: Yeah. Interviewer 2: Can you tell me something about it? JJ: When I first needed the Clara Frye it was over on, was it Lamar it was (inaudible) G overnor Lamar I think it's Lamar. I know it was down in there.. Interviewer 1: (inaudible) JJ: H m? Interviewer 1: Yes, you're right. JJ: On Lamar? Yeah, I think. I know because my sister went there to have her baby and they did n' t have enough nurses there to get the afterbirth. My mama had to go there to get the afterbirth. And where it went from there It went down there I don't know I don't know much about the hospital. I remember it down in there too. Interviewer 1: Okay. The o riginal site, was it it wasn't a big building was it? JJ: No. Just a little long l ooked like it was about eighteen rooms. Long white a wood building. Interviewer 1: Now that's when it was up there on Lamar and Lamar JJ: Lamar, back here. Interviewe r 1: Okay. And then they moved down fur JJ: Right down in there. Interviewer 1: Yeah, toward the river. JJ: Right down there. Interviewer 1: Right.


18 Interviewer 2: Um h m. It be had a nice hospital down there too. Interviewer 1: They did. JJ: U m h m. It was real nice. That Ms. Cass s he was a be a nurse in that (inaudible) I think she was the head nurse at (inaudible). I don't know. They didn't have many doctors. They didn't allow the doctors to go over there and operate on people, nobody but Napachi ne and Dr. Johnson. They would let him operate every once in a while on somebody over there to Tampa General [Hospital] But I don't think they had anyone over there to operate on no colored people It's come a long ways. Interviewer 1: (inaudible) Okay, Ms. end of interview