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Doris Reddick


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Doris Reddick
Series Title:
Otis R. Anthony African Americans in Florida oral history project
Physical Description:
1 sound file (62 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;
Reddick, Doris
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
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Subjects / Keywords:
African American nurses -- Interviews   ( lcsh )
African Americans -- Florida   ( lcsh )
African Americans -- History -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Oral history   ( local )
Online audio   ( local )
Oral history.   ( local )
Online audio.   ( local )
interview   ( marcgt )


Doris Reddick describes her training as a nurse, and discusses health care for African Americans in segregated hospitals. Reddick was a nurse at several hospitals in Tampa, including Clara Frye Hospital.
Interview conducted August 14, 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
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 020800305
oclc - 436229641
usfldc doi - A31-00043
usfldc handle - a31.43
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Reddick, Doris.
Doris Reddick
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 (62 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 August 14, 1978.
Doris Reddick describes her training as a nurse, and discusses health care for African Americans in segregated hospitals. Reddick was a nurse at several hospitals in Tampa, including Clara Frye Hospital.
Reddick, Doris.
African American nurses
v Interviews.
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 O ral H istory P roject Oral History Program Florida Studies Center University of South Florida, Tampa Library Digital Object Identifier: A31 00043 Interviewee: Doris Reddick (DR) Interview by: Otis Anthony ( OA) Interview date: August 14, 1978 Interview location: Unknown Transcribed by: Unknown Transcription date: Unknown Interview Changes by: Kimberly Nordon Interview Changes date: January 13, 2009 Final Edit by: Mary Beth Isaacson Final Edit date: Feb ruary 18, 2009 Doris Reddick : I am Doris Elizabeth McGlothlin Reddick, and I was born in Palatka, Florida. And I came to Tampa when I was two years old, my grandmother brought me here, due to the fact that my father and mother travel ed quite a bit. They t ravel ed very extensively when I was small and they settled in Tampa. And I've been here ever since I went to school here. O tis A nthony : What type of traveling did they do? DR: Oh he was a chef cook ; he use d to travel for all the big hotel s. H e use d to go to the hotel in the north in the summer, and in the winter he would come south. And they eventually came to Tampa not to Tampa really ; it was Clearwater. And then after leaving Clearwater then they came back to Tampa. And the first school I went to wa s Harlem [Elementary School] and I stayed there about two days and they sent me home because I was too small they said. But it wasn't because I wasn't old enough I was just small, so they sent me back home. And the next year that I w ent to school it wa s at Christi n a Meacham [Elementary School] over o n India Street. I went to school there and I finished there. And from there I went to Booker T. Washington [Junior High School] which was the school then, there was no other ; as far as Blacks were concerned it was the school. It was the junior high school and a senior high school. And during a course of time in 1935, they build the first [high school] Middleton, which was really not big enough to house all of us, but it was more than what we had previously ha d. And they had maybe about nine or ten classrooms and then there was all the other rooms that we had. I think we had a library ; we didn't have a assembly, the library was used as an assembly. And we were the first graduates to graduate in 1935 from Midd leton, I was one among those. I think we had about fifty five students in our class. We had some who reached I


2 w o n t named them, because they may not want everybody to know that they finished in that class. Course there's a lot of them don't mind like Fra nk Rodriguez [Junior], he does n't mind; Rano Sloan all those fellow they finished in that class. Dr. White, A.J. White he finished in that class. Okay now you wanted to know something about me as far as my training was concerned. OA: Yes. DR: Well when I first went to school, I went there and I stayed there eighteen months ; during those days it was three years to go to school. My mama sent me to the best hospital there was ; that was Meharry [Medical] College ; she sent me there. And I stayed eighteen months, and not having been away from my mother and father so long knowing must do me but I must come home and I did, I came home. But I regretted it I was home about one week and I wished I was back. But I had a sister that's was seven years younger tha n me, but she was very smart, she finished when sh e was sixteen. And I felt that M ama had given me my opportunity, so it's up to me to create my next opportunity, which I did eventually. So in 1943 I went to Brewster H ospital in Jacksonville where I stayed until I finished. And I came back to Tampa in forty six [1946] of course I married my husband while I was there, secretly ; we went to Folkston, Georgia. OA: Across the Georgia line. DR: Yes, we went over there and we were married, and of course we are still together. And as I said I finished and I stayed at the hospital about three months, or maybe not quite three months, and I worked in the lab, because at that time I was interested in and I had in my mind that I would like to work with two doctors, a s a scrub nurse. Because operating room technique was really my love maternity was next and these are the things that I excelled in when I was there. And I had no such luck, but I was fortunate enough to work with Dr. [Reche Reden] Williams who I had kn own through my childhood, cause that was our family doctor. And I worked with him until 1948, and then I went to work to Clara Frye [Hospital], where I worked until I had a maternity leave this is when my son was born ; he was born in 1949. And I had a mate rnity leave and when I went back, I went back as charge nurse of a wing, and after a few weeks or months or so Ms. Williams who you no, you talked to Ms. Flora Williams, but Lilly Bell Williams she w as then in charge of Clara Frye and I stayed there until 1954 when Mr. Callahan came on. A t that time M r. C aesar was manager, and I stayed o n until Mr. Callahan come on. D uring that time that I was there, it was a hard struggle in order to get the hospital to be a hospital. It was more or less a care place, a s far as hospital was concerned. During this time needles were sterilized in a little sterilizer that we had ; they were not like they should have been. But luckily I guess God, as the old saying go es, always take care of a fool s baby so we took care of us and all the kids I mean all the people that we had. But eventually through the aid of one of the White nurses who worked over in Tampa


3 General by the way I was a member of the district, which I will discuss with you later. She was able to help me star t up a central supply room, which bloomed out a huge thing. And we started taking containers where we could find them and we scrub them up. And we would take them over to we would send them over rather in a truck by a man name d Tom Faleado, who was the mai ntenance man and he picked up all the supplies. We never had anything over there; everything we got was from Tampa General and it the best thing th at we had in the whole hospital was things that was in the operating room which was second rated even at that time, but they were the best things in the whole hospital A nd through my pushing and through Miss Cooke was the way that w e begin to help make Clara Frye improve. And we kept un til we did have a big central supply and they closed that hospital. They had a huge central supply room, I mean; well it wasn't a great big thing, like they have in other hospitals. But it was big enough; they had supplies there I f they needed anything they didn't have to run to the telephone and to tell them to send them so mething from Tampa General, which is what they did before. I t was nice working there. And they began to improve and do a lot of things, and then I stopped working there and I was home for a while and eventually I went to the Sanatorium and I worked there for quite some time. Which was a different hospital altogether and as far as the relationship and everything there it was much much better than Clara Frye. Because they had everything ; you didn't have to want for nothing. Of course this was an integrate d hospital as far as nurses were concerned. The nurses work on the White wards, the Blacks worked on the White wards and the Whites worked on the Black wards. The wards themselves were segregated. OA: As far as the patients? DR: As far as the patients we re concerned, but as far as nursing personnel, it was not. OA: This the Sanatorium? DR: Yeah, out at the TB [tuberculosis] Sanatorium. And I worked there until 1947 and then no, I didn't, I worked there until forty eight [1948] not forty eight [19 48 ] fi fty eight [19 58 ] I t was from fifty four [19 54 ] to fifty eight [19 58 ] I worked there. And then I came n o, it was fifty nine [19 59 ]; I'm getting mixed up in my days sometimes. But anyway to make a long story short, I moved out here in fifty nine [19 59 ] A nd when we came out here boy it was nothing, but anyway I stayed home until sixty one [19 61 ], c ause my husband wasn't interested in me working anymore. And because while oh that's right I'm ahead of my story W hile I was out there at the Sanatorium wor king in tuberculosis, I had a shadow o n my lungs which they really couldn't it didn't make no hole or nothing like this, but I did have a positive PPD 1 I never had any positive symptoms or anything like that, but this shadow came, so naturally they were a fraid for me being out there. So now nobody believes that I actually had anything, cause my lungs 1 A Purified Protein Derivative test, or Mantoux test, is a test for tuberculosis that involves injecting TB antigens into the skin.


4 now today is very clear, course you can believe that. Anyway that was one reason why he didn't want me to work any place. So in sixty one [1961] I went to the Health Department to relieve three months, and three months turned out to be fifteen years. OA: At the Health Department? DR: Uh huh, and I worked there in many capacities. I worked as general more or less what you would classify as a general duty nu rse. And then from there it was staff advisor, you know an d what not like this I was in charge of the clinics and different things that. I was there as the clinic began to change T hat was Neimanus first year when I was there, and he was the one who took the signs off the doors saying this is White and this Black and you couldn't do this and that and the other. But he was the one who did it and it was going through change when I fir st went there. And it was becoming totally integrated at this particular time. And it was a pleasant place to work, and the people were nice and all this, and we became totally integrated. OA: What were the conditions of say Blacks in Tampa during the 1940s or the later part of the fifties [1950s]; what were the conditions? DR: Now you really want to know the truth? The conditions as far as Negroes were concerned let's say you go back even a little bit further than that. Let's say go back to the twenties [1920s] when I was a kid. You take like people are having relief a nd all these things and welfare; we had poor people then but they weren't like they are now. You had more people who were trying to do something for themselves And as far as I'm c oncerned, I think relief is fine, and before I die I don't know maybe I will h ave, but I hope not. But maybe I will have to have some kind of subsidy given to me. Course on the other hand when you can think about relief speaking of subsidy it makes me thi nk about the big corporation s, they get the same thing ; theirs is a subsidy an d our s is relief. And you think about it and think about the words and how they are use. They are subsided and we are given relief. Which is all the same thing ; it's coming out of the same jar. But I mean even though they were more independent during th ose days, and Negroes as such they are just begin to improve our neighborhoods. We have in spots they were nice neighborhoods, but they just began to improve it as such, and I think do to the fact that people have, I say when you give them you speak up as relief I think that in some instances it takes all of our willpower, it kind of puts us down, unconsciously. So we have many problems here and there, but we had more independent stores, Negroes use d to own their own stores. We have one or two. OA: When wa s this? DR: In the early years.


5 OA: Can you remember? DR: Well take for instance you have Robert Williams use d to own a dry goods store an Scott Street ; he was one of the pioneers and his home was up over his store. OA: That was about when? DR: Oh God I don't know ; that was in the earlier twenties [1920s], I know, that he had it. Because I OA: Williams Dry Good s DR: Yeah, and they had black dolls ; that's where my mother use to get my dolls. It was over there in front of Allen Temple Church o n Scott Street. And you remember Miss Talley who owned the flora l shop over there o n Twenty Second [Street] she's dead now well that was her father that owne d that business. And then over o n Central [Avenue] you had a fruit stan d that was owned by Mr. Hen drix; he's dead now, but I was trying to think of his daughter name ; she still live s here. OA: (inaudible) DR: N o, she's married; she's Jackson You remember Miss Helen Jackson th at use to work with the Central? Y eah she use to work with the Central man y years ago. And then you had Mr. Nabbe who had a tailor shop James Nabbe who sings, Edith Nabbe OA: Was this o n Central though? DR: Well it was in that general facility ; everything that was it either o n Scott Street or it was o n the intersection of S cott and Central, and everything that existed was between Nebraska [Avenue] and what you would say Jefferson [Street] Because at one time it was a man until later years I don't know too much about this, but you take Mr. Hadley he's dead now, and his secon d wife just died not too long ago. But he had a barber shop downtown ; it was known as the White Wit and then after downtown began to move, he had to move to Central Avenue. And then they use to have more of what you said Negro owned stores, than what we h ave now. I don't think you can hardly find a Negro store that's owned now. Very few places. We had more Negro owned stores, we had more Negro cafes, because we were segregated and we had to make our own. OA: Go back to the nursing profession. How would y ou compare the nurses and the doctors, back there as opposed to now, particularly the Black doctors and Black nurses? DR: Well today the younger nurses are seeking which I advise, to get degrees and you take nursing itself looking back o n it from the t ime when I first started out to now. When I finished in forty six [1946] they had began to branch out nursing itself T here are so many facets in it; it has branched out so till really you couldn't began to name the things that nursing is doing today. Beca use [a nurse] can be al most anything S ee there's


6 teaching, she can work in a lab, she can work in the operating room, you know what I mean course they were working in a operating room probably and teaching some. But it's more o n wider spect e r now and th ere are many things she can do S he can go into x rays, she can just work in the lab ; there are many parts in there which you can just pick up and do just that. It is a broad broad field today, it isn't a narrow one as it use d to be. And as to nurses toda y, you take Blacks are enter ing in more fields than they use d to. They were just confined to floor duty and not doing too m uch; they were supervisors maybe and then charge nurse. In most places, small places if it was a Negro hospital you had a White s upervisor, a superintendent of nurses, which they eventually did, one replaced me was White, o ne that went over to Clara Frye And far as doctors are concerned, we only had general practitioners and back there Re che well I should say Dr. Williams, but we were reared up, so I knew him as Re che Although I worked for him, Dr. Williams went to school and he specialized ; he was GYN, OB which was very l ucrative for him. Because there he was t he only one in town at the time. B ut doctors like Dr. Williams, Dr. W i lliams S enio r, Dr. Lewis, Dr. Johnson we had two Dr. Johnson s many years ago. Course I guess hear about Dr. Sam Johnson, you heard about him. But anyway they were although with all his rudeness I still give him credit for it, there were many doctors that he saw that went to school. Cause I met a doctor when I was in Meha rry, that if it wasn't for him he wouldn't have been able to be at school, he came for Trinidad. And saw that Doctor went to school and he school a lot of them, cause all you heard of him was kind of rude and rough but he was still, he had his faults, but he was still good. But now ba ck to the other doctors coming o n up, they were general practitioners and they deal in any field, but as times begin to go and other younger doctors came ba ck, they stepped aside. And they didn't take an surgery go and they also let deliveries go, you know they stop doing all of this. Cause you take Dr. Andrews, Dr. Sheahigh they don't do things like they use to do. They have let all this go ; they to the man who's a surgeon like Dr. W. W. Andrews now he's a surgeon and Dr. Smith 's a surgeon and they let this go to them. And we have them beginning to specialize more th an they previously did, because and then we have more Blacks that are turning to Black doct ors A nd then we have more people who are becoming more conscious of the type of services that are offered and they are using them regardless to rather they are Black or White. Now this is the thing to that probably helps out. Which also helps us ; we can go a s our people began learn to use these services, it also means that it open the doors for Blacks, for the simple reason okay. Well I become conscious that I need to go to hematology to something, okay maybe one of you guys will decide, "W ell this is a lucrative field ; maybe I can go. Like it s facets that have open up in the US. Another thing that you need to know as you go down in history, since this is supposed to be a document. Back in about 1950 I think it was until that time we had the Nurse s Association which a Black was formed, which I enjoyed in 1946. And then in fifty [1950] they merged, the first convention was held in Panama City which I attend ed We held


7 meeting s together, but it was still s egregated. You know what I mean as far as th e entertainment and all that ; in fact it stayed like that for quite some time. OA: So that was for the s tate of Florida the Black Nurses Association or that was n ational? DR: Ye ah, yeah; it was a n ational thing. OA: It was n ational in Florida chapter ? DR: Yeah, F lorida c hapter, I belong to the Florida c hapter. And they began to emerge and when they did, Florida was one among the first ones, they all didn't do it all at once. It was a thing that gradually, just like they did when they came into the Un ion. It was done on that basi s but Florida was among the ones. It was in integrated in fifty [1950] and as I told you we went to Panama City and it was still segregated, they eventually began to elect officers among the Negroes, it gradually integrated in to it. And now it's still a big thing, they have a lot Negroes will not a lot of them either, but they have them who hole a office, haven't been associated with them since I retired, I haven't been a member, I still keep my license current, but I haven't j ust say actually done anything. Because my thing now is I am retired and I intend to enjoy myself, and I didn't want wait until I got so old, I couldn't put one foot before the other one. OA: Okay going back a little bite and little far back, can you tell us about this hospital you were talking about that was in existence. DR: Oh yeah, this other hospital that was there it was on what use d to be Mitchell [Avenue] I think it still is Mitchell and it was locate d there I t was between Estelle [Street] and Henderson [Avenue] what is called Henderson now, but it was Sixth Avenue and that was owned by Ms. Venezuela Small I t was a very small hospital; it wasn't as big as the one that was owned by Ms. Clara Frye on Lamar [Avenue] But it was a very small hospi tal and they lived up over it, because she eventually left her. But was the reason why she stopped with it. But it had about ten or twelve beds in it. OA: Ten or twelve beds. Okay around what year this was? DR: Oh my God I can't even tell you that I think it was in the thirties [1930s] OA: This was before Clara Frye or during Clara Frye? DR: Oh, no, Clara Frye has been there as long as I can remember. I remember my father had a broken leg in thirty [1930] twenty three [1923] And this is where he w ent to Clara Frye Hospital and it existed before then. It was the only hospital th ere was, as far as Negroes were concerned. OA: On my interview they said that Clara Frye was a three room hospital.


8 DR: Three room, maybe it might have been three rooms w hen it started out. But when I knew it have any of you ever been in that old building ? I think it's still is it still standing now ? B ut it was all up stairs, all those rooms upstairs. They had a operating room down stairs and whatever they had was up stairs. And I think they had one or two maybe where the three room they had three private rooms do wnstairs. This is what they had. N ow she was a nurse and she started that hospital for Negroes, but it was OA: Venezuela was a nurse? DR: Yeah, Venezuela Small w as a nurse, and also Clara Frye was a nurse. They were nurses, but they started their own hospital. Now whether Ms. Small lived here I don't I mean where she come from I don't know, cause that happen quite sometimes ago when I was young. And ah but where t he three rooms in, maybe it started out as a three room thing. I think that was Ms. Young who had a maternity over there o n Thirty Fourth [Street] many years ago ; she was a nurse who had a maternity hospital. OA: Okay, do you know Ms. Young's full name, cause see we are trying to [get] all this. DR: Honestly I can't tell, Ms. [Mary] Cas e would be able to tell you. OA: Okay now, Ms. Young, she just had a particular DR: She just had a maternity home see she was a midwife, but she was a nurse. OA: And this is in the thirties [1930s] or forties [1940s] or what? DR: N o, honey that was back in the twenties [1920s]; that was back in the twenties [1920s], something way back there. Because she was suppose to deliver my sister in the home. And my mother was so that she couldn't do so, so they had to get let me see what was this doctor 's name ? I can't think of his name now. Anyway that's all beside the point. Dr. Williams I think came, but he didn't like to do things like that, but he did come, because he was mama real well. And we all belong to the s ame church, but anyway she did that back there in twenty two [1922] and maybe even before then. OA: Where there any attempts by the county to close any of your hospitals? DR: Any attempt? Oh yeah, nationally after they build Tampa Clara Frye which Ms. Case probably told you they later change the name to Tampa Negro, because it was known for a long time Clara Frye, even up on the plaq ue. Now just the exact time and date when this was, when it was irradiated, I couldn't tell you that. But it has been there for quite some time well after they closed I think Ms. Frye died or something hap pen, and they put this hospital for a time if I'm not misstating I think they had a small segregated wing to the county, to t he County Hospital for Negroes. And that I'm not clear on I think they did have a segregated wing there and naturally you know they are going to close it. When they build the other one it was closed and named after her.


9 OA: When talking to Ms. Cas e and Ms. [Flora] Williams we found at that some of the Black doctors that were her e like you said [they] were general practitioners D id they do any type of work outside the ram, was this gen eral practitioners like surgery? DR: I mean I he a r you, but I don't q uite understand you. OA: In other words, they were specialized in just general pr actitioner. DR: Right. OA: But did they do anything like surgery? DR: Oh yeah, they did the word itself Side 1 ends; side 2 begins. DR: Let's get this cleared up firs t. Al l right general practitioners I told you as far as medicine is concerned, meant that they did everything. They operated o n you, they took out your appendix, they operations period, they did T&A's, they delivered babies, they did everything, you name it and they did it, that's what I mean by general practitioner. Now back to as far as not being trained, as far as I can remember there were only two Black colleges for Negroes, that was Meh a rry and Fr e edm e n 's [Hospital] in Washington [D.C.] at Howard [Uni versity]; they were the only ones. And they had surgery as far as I can remember. Every doctor who went to Meh a rry he had surgery, cause they had Dr. Hill there, although he was White. But they had surgery and I do know cause when I was there in the thir ties [1930s] OA: You went there? DR: Yeah, they had surgery A nd another thing I can truthfully say, I don't regret doing anything that I did as far as nursing is concerned. My experience that I got at Brewster I wouldn't give anything for it, cause my book learning at Meh a rry far surpassed Brewster. But it was more of a n informal thing ; we only had twelve in our class. OA: Twelve what? DR: Nurses at Brewster. OA: Brewster was White? DR: Well n o, Brewster is a Black it was a Black hospital. I t was sponsored by the Methodist church, and that was the church not the A.M.E. [African Methodist Episcopal], but the Methodist church, which mean that there were Black s and White s And everybody in the department were White, but all of the teachers you only h ad a few teachers that was White. And then we had doctors o n our staff that were Black and some were White.


10 But back to what I st arted to say about going to Meha rry. The book learning part was very good, but where I got actuality was at Brewster. There i t was during the time of the war and there were very few doctors and interns around and the nurse had to play doctor ; she assist the doctor which is a very good learning experience. At M e h a rry the only thing you got to see was up in the mirror Y ou know this light that they have over there it's a mirror up in that light, which it reflects down and the only thing you could see is to look the light and they were crowded around with all the young doctors. And the only thing you got to do was stick a n i nstru ment up underneath there cause you were standing at the instrument table. And he ll [the doctor] say "N urse I want thus and so ," and you just stuck it under there, because all the doctors were peering over Y ou never got a chance to deliver a baby, you got a chance to stay there and tell the doctor when she was ready, yes. But he took the pressures he did everything. But by Brewster being a small hospital you got a chance to do a lot of things. You delivered babies, you assisted the doctor, you did a lo t things and you see, book learning is good in it s place, but to know how to experience it doing it is what count s I would give nothing for my experience that I've had at coming along as a nurse. I will give nothing for it. OA: What inspired you to go in to nursing? DR: Well as a child, I'm gonna tell you, I always wanted to be a dancer, and I had three thing that I wanted do. I either wanted to go for the stage which incidentally a long time ago, I guess it was seven or eight ago oh rather not seven o r eight years ago I was about seven or eight years old M y mother use to send me to the store and they use to have these things I know you don't know anything about them, but maybe you heard your grandparents talk about them what they called the Quaker sta mp and they use to sell medicine in them M y mama would send me to the store [but] instead of me going to the store like she send me, I'd get up there and do the Charleston ; she tore me down many days for that. But this was always my desire to be a danc er and any chance that I had I would dance. And my mother was surprised when I told her that instead of going to the stage I though t that I wanted to be a nurse. And the next thing was in terior decorating and designing. I use d to design all of my clothin g ; I made everything I wore, except a few things. But I don't know just all of sudden I decided, "W ell I want to go into nursing." What actually happen don't think I decided really and truly until my senior year in talking they didn't have counselors li ke they have now ; we had class sponsors. And I was talking to Ms. Rolf, Pansy Rolf she was our class sponsor, and her brother was at M e h a rry, so she was telling why didn't I go into nursing. Since she say you are good cause she was home ec teacher, and she say "Y ou are good in those other fields, why don't you do that ? I think you would like this and I think you would make a better nurse doing this. And then to during those days the opportunity for the type of things that I wanted to do was very poor for Negroes. OA: Yeah, tha t's what I was going to ask you. Y ou know you said you had a lot of ideas about things and was the opportunit y really there for like being a dancer?


11 DR: See you ever heard of people being way ahead of their time? I am one of them You know what I mean my ideas and things I wanted to do w ere way ahead of my time, I came in the wrong time for this. But anyway it was good. OA: But most of your other friends were they motivated to like be a nurse or be anything else or up to date like field, like oh well everything segregated I never be nothing. What was the attitude? DR: No, we had fifty five in our class E verybody didn't go to school, but nobody was a bum. Everybody in some way was something, you either had a independent busine ss or he we had some who went to th e railroad, they start working o n the railroad W e had quite a few who went to school they went to Tallahassee and we had lawyers, doctors, nurses of course. And al l right you take Ms. Harris, she has had her own busi ness, and she was a very outgoing and she is still today she is a very attractive young lady, a young lady yes. And I'll tell you another one that was in our class, course she didn't finish with us but that was Ms. Rita she was in our class she didn't f inish in there and then you have Ms. Reddy ; you know Ms. Reddy lives over o n Thirty Fourth; she teache s. We had quite a few people in there who, I'm trying to think of oh you know Melba Street? Okay I know you've talk ed to her, because her mother I wish her mother was living now ; she real ly could give you some history o n Tampa. I use d to love to talk to her. S he was so interesting ; she use to tell about Lomax [Elementary School] and all of that and how it came about. OA: That's the Armwood family is n't it? DR: Yeah, she's a portion of the Armwo od family. But I could just go o n and o n and on B ut none of them as far as I could think back, even those who were common ladies they owned their own homes ; they were independents people. OA: Was it the teache rs mostly motivating the students at Middleton or was it your parents behind who was doing the motivating? DR: Well I really couldn't say exactly who was doing the motivating. This I couldn't really say truthfully, for the simple reason is this, general ly speaking I will say this W e did have a teacher, her name was Ms. Alice Davis Y ou remember Mr. Davis there at Atlanta Life he resigned not too long ago Central Life, which ever one it was. Okay well he had a wife ; I never will forget her, she was a m otivator if there ever was one. Now Ms. Davis talk to us and she was a beautiful lady; she was beautiful and I never will for get her as long as the day I live. And she could have been some of our incentives. Then we had a Mr. James Stevens who is in Bar tow now I think he still is he was also a motivator. And you have Mr. Howard [H.] Harris who was a motivator, I'll say he was to o Because they taught us that we weren't coming to school to have fun, we were coming to learn. And then we had principals li ke I know who you have heard of Howard


12 Harris no. Mr. Blake ; not Howard Harris, Mr. Blake. You heard of him ; he was big, mean, lean, and tall. And then we had oh what's this man 's name ? I can't think of his name right now, but he was another one that was real mean. We use d to have assembly and you went in there and you studied O f course there's always some that are going to be mischievous and I happen to be one of them. So therefore I got punished a lot. OA: You were dancing huh? DR: N o, I wasn't dan cing, I was cuttin' up. N o, usually the latter part of my high school days, it wasn't in dancing. Usually where the dancing was we use to have recreation, just as they have it now and we had a lady who was our I don't know, I guess you could say play groun d supervisor. She was Negro and she came here from New York S he taught us now this is where I go another lot of dancing, you know what I mean, what I had in me she brought it out. Now any kind of dancing that you could do like these different foreign dan cers, different countries well we represented each country in these dances, and she left ; we just didn't have that any more. And she taught us how to do a lot of things with our hands : how to make baskets, how to make flowers, how to take pine cones and p ine needles and make baskets. She really taught us a lot ; it's not like it is today, just go out t here and play, play, play, play. W e didn't play, we were given something to do; we did something. And Tampa furnished that ; that was through the Recreation Department A nd then und er that it was a big tree over o n Scott and Nebraska where now I think it's Mt. Church, cause it wasn't anything there then. There was a big empty lot and it was a lot of trees there two big oak trees somewhere. And they use d to Mr Simpson I think that was his name they use d to have band music ; this was a motivator to o You have band music now and you aren't clapping your hands and it wasn't no finger popping either, it was regular band music. And people use d to come there and get under the trees and listen to it. Course Tampa was smaller, it wasn't as wides pread as it is now, so it makes a lot of differen ce, too. OA: Mrs. Reddick just before we close, there's just one more question I've got to ask you and I have one more. How d id the nurses deal with the segregation in the hospital, were what I mean by that The Black nurses they couldn't wait o n the White patients or the White nurses couldn't wait o n the Black patients or how was that done? DR: Well, they didn't have them t o wait on. No, yo u were over at Clara Frye and all you had over there were Blacks. And then when they took them over to Tampa General oh it was a different story then O h no, no, no ; you were in that bed you were just another patient in the bed. And as I told you out to the sanatorium they were integrated long before the city hospital was. Cause what they did, they took all the patients out of now at the county it was like that, it was definitely segregated. The Whites waited o n the Whites and the Black s waited o n the Blacks. B ut eventually it got to the place w h ere they all were in the beds now. It was another one that integrated early t o o; out at the county they start integrated out there.


13 OA: Having lived through both segregation and integration, wha t progress have in your explanation B lacks have made in Tampa? DR: Progress they have made, you mean as far as nursing is concerned? OA: As far as nursing or the DR: Well as far as nursing is concerned we have a lot to advance. What were you asking me ? Oh you were asking me about the progress that there has been made. As far as nursing is concerned it has been quite a bite of progress, because even though this thing about separate but equal that's a bunch of junk. You don't get ha lf of what you are supposed to get being separate. You're separate that's not true; no way Jose you don't get as much. Because when you and then the nurses have gone into many fields and many things and doing many things that previously they hadn't been able to do. So a s far as nursing and medical profession are concern ed I think they have improved quite a bite. I think it's has been as far as Negroes them concerned i n general and living in, I think it ended us. We integrated and we are not during anything for ourselves We don't have any stores; we only have I think it's about one or two drug stores that are own ed it's two drug stores to my knowing that's own ed by Blacks. And outside of that you name it and I don't think you can find anything ; only here and there you w ill find a small store. Now what has happen ed here, we had a group of people to get together and open up this black market over here yeah Tampa Park Plaza A nd we went in there, I went in there and I continued to go, but a lot of them stopped going beca use they felt that you know the old saying about the White man's ice is cooler than the Black man 's I think this is the thing that actually happen, that they didn't realize like the Jews N ow you take a Jew, he ll go from here to Plant City if another Jew got a store. He's gonna go from here to Plant City to buy from that Jew store, because he's a Jew. But we don't realize that the more we patronized our own the better A nd we can cut [prices] down, but if you don't come and b u y our good s we gotta put it h igh ; it's not going to be fresh and you're not going to buy it And naturally we got to hold o n to it as long as we can and when we get it we say this old stale meat. Now you take Betty around there that owns this place, what is this place around there ? OA: Cafeteria? DR: N o Betty what owns Penny Savers W hen she first started out her meat was just a s stale and no good as any. What happen? They started going in, she started selling them five pounds of neck bones in a bag; they went and bought them, p ig tails five pounds. B ut you can't buy that anymore ; you can't buy it like you use to buy it. You can go there now it's just like any other supermarket. Well why was she able to do that? Because when she started out small people went to her that went a nd they would do the same thing if


14 they would do the same thing to us we too could advance. But we can't advance because we will not you take if I was to open a shop right now selling f ine clothes like any the other b outique shops, I wouldn't last ten min utes f or the s imple reason they wouldn't come. T hey'll tell me my clothes are higher and that wouldn't be tr ue. But we just don't patronize each other, because of i ntegration and we feel like we are able to now to do this place and go the other pl ace. It is still now a bit of segregation with all our once want to believe that it's not, it is. OA: We want to think that it's not, and this is not done where nobody is standing in the door, they'll let you come in. DR: Okay, you take for instance how many p rogram that you have that have as many Blacks in it as you have in this one? Name one. OA: How many programs? DR: Yeah, that's o n the top echelon, you know what I mean O kay you are rending, that's rending a service. How many of them? OA: Very few at th e top. DR: Al l right it's very few at the top. But how can the man at the top relate to us when w e do n't know what we want ourselves? When I don't know what we want, I have to keep the common touch, with my people in order to know what they want. They do n't know what we want, cause I don't know myself. How can I give an account to somebody else and this is one of the hindrance that we are having now. And as far as Model City is concerned, I wish they would take it and dump it in the (inaudible). It has hinder ed more people than it has helped. It has made people think they were going to do a lot of things for them. It has done nothing T ake that building over there o n Twenty Sixth and Twenty Second. T he money they spent to put that junk up there, they cou ld have gotten a n old building and went in there and put an air condition er in it, and divided off into some offices and did the same thing that they are doing there. The thousands of dollars that they threw away in that place, it's a disgrace to Moses [Wh ite]. T hat why I say they need to (inaudible). And he made the money it wasn't a Black contractor, what was he? OA: White. DR: Al l right. So, this is why I say it isn't doing us any good, it hindering us more than it's helping us. Now here and there we h ave a few Black contractors and architects and what not who's coming along. Al l right you take Bunch for instance, he's about as good of a cabinet maker as you can find. He did all of my work ; he does all my cabinet work that I have, and I have quite a fe w cabinets. Well that [indicates cabinet] he didn't make, but he put all that around that ; at least he took that portion out, cause he put that in when we first moved out here.


15 But you take him he has to put his prices high, why ? I found out recently t hey are not really as high as you think they are. A lady wants some work done and she had to go to she went to Bunch to get it but Bunch was so slow about it, but she wanted, you know some work you want done yesterday S o she went and to ask a man for it and he charge three times as much as Bunch did to do the same thing. But what Bunch's problem is, he hasn't found a place where they will loan him enough money for him to go o n and do his work and then collect from his people later. Or either who will ta ke l oan, so people can pay on time o n their things, so therefore it makes it bad. But they're see this again, this is what I mean about segregation, he can't get this type of thing, he can't get no bank to finance him, no you know to OA: To let him offe r and extend credit ; that's the main thing is to be able to extend credit, if you can't extend credit you're out. DR: Okay, but he also have to have him a place S uppose I can't afford to pay cash for I get done H e got to have him a place who would buy h is contracts, then he would set up with me to buy my contract, and I can go there and pay it, but he hasn't found that. They have the small business loan, but what good is that going to do him for somebody who need to have something to buy his contracts. O h I'm doing all the talking. OA: That's interesting, that's very interesting, because that's where we are right now, as the people and that's just something we DR: You know another thing don't get me wrong, I think we need something and I encourage it I have work public health there are many people who need aid and they get it and I've had women who have had babies and needed that aid And as soon as they got so they could go back to work they tell them I 'm through I'm ready to go back to work ," and thank you and no thanks, and they go back. Now this I feel like it is a way of life and we all at sometime or other need some kind of help and this I think is what relief should be B ut I don't think t he whole family should come up o n relief T hen it' s a vicious cycle : the c hild comes up o n it and when she has babies her children come up o n it T his I don't go for ; I think this is the thing that keep us down. And as far as multiple housing is concerned, I don't go for that ; got to o much harder togeth er, t o o much of a kind I f you have it spread out in nice homes low housing, yeah this is fine You take some kids in the project they never leave the house. And you 'd be surprised I'm a B ig S ister 2 and I have a l ittle sister and they live in the projec t. And when they come to my house, [they say] "Y ou got a big old house, who stays in that room? Nobody "Y ou mean you got a room and nobody stays in it ?" I say "W ell when my son and my company comes they sleep in there. S ome of the kids they talk li ke it's a novelty to live in a house. One kid said t hat they were going to move up o n Thirty Fourth they were going to [live] here in where is this project over here in Sulfur Springs and the little kid looked at her you know I take them 2 F or Big Brothers Big Sisters.


16 to different plac es and they were talking and she said "Y ou mean to tell me that you're going to move out of a house in the project, all them people ?" Now min d, she lives in the project herself ; she say I wish my mama could move in a house, but her mama can't afford it And you have some people who get out. Okay now you wanted to ask me some more questions I get to talking I'll forget. OA: Well maybe Fred has, I had got off into what you were saying. Okay did you want to come back to Tampa after you [went] to sc hool in Brewster, cause it was home? DR: Well one thing, while I was there I had in my min d one time that I would like to go to Canada A s I told you I was very adventurous I could think of all kind of things ; that's why I don't bother my son in his tho ughts now. Because I was one of those people to and my idea was to one of the two things n o, one, cause the other one was when I w as in training but that was to go to Canada during the summer and come back south in the winter, and you know that sort of thi ng. I thought about that and then the traveling is one thing I like to do anyway, but after I got married then I changed my plans o n that one S o I didn't do that one. But living in Tampa, I like Tampa out of all the places I've been I like Tampa. Tampa is home and I love it. With all its good faults and its bad ones, I still love it. And I get a long great, cause if they step o n me I'm going to get them off. And I belong to quite a few organizations where I'm the only one in there you know my kind. And I don't have any problems, cause I don't go looking for any, you know what I mean? OA: Yeah. DR: And I have friends among the others t o o, but they are made on my terms our terms ; we are friends o n our terms you know. So it's just one of tho se thing, I t hink the whole bit about integration is, if each individual will keep their prejudice to themselves and instead of airing it out and ridicule other people, because they want to make some (inaudible). I think it would be much better cause a doctor told m e many years ago in Clara Frye he said that he don't see why they keep talking about integration because water will seek it s level, regardless. He say people think when you talk about integration that they got to go in slums a nd integrate and talk to peo ple; he say there just as many trashy Whites as there are trashy Negroes. And he said they are the ones who will seek their level together and middle income will seek their level together A nd the people who have money he say they are already together A mong the Blacks and the Whites those who have money, they are already together. And I think that this is it I think that one shouldn't if you don't like certain things, I don't think that you should prejudice people min ds against it, because you don't li ke it. I think you should let that individual have his own, because he is an individual, let him. . end of interview