Oral history from the Jackson Civil Rights Sites Project: Lucille Green

Theme and Time Period

Return to When Youth Protest: The Mississippi Civil Rights Movement, 1955-1970


Margaret Walker Alexander Research Center
Jackson State University, Jackson, Mississippi

Interviewee: Lucille Green
Interviewer: Dr. Alferdtine Harrison
August 20, 1998

H: This is 1998 and I'm in the Alexander Research Center interviewing
Mrs. Lucille A. Green. She is a Jackson State alumnus. What year did
you graduate from Jackson State?

G: 1977 and 1981.

H: We're going to be talking a little bit about her life but
specifically about her personal involvement in the Jackson Civil Rights
Movement. Who is Mrs. Lucille Green?

G: I'm a native of Madison County, Mississippi. I was born in
Pocahontas to be exact. I was born November 22, 1940. I really came
from the country. Many people don't believe that when I tell them, but
yes I did work on the farm. I picked the cotton and I chopped cotton,
and did all of those things, slopped the hogs. Most folks don't like to
talk about that but we did it. We really lived off of the farm. I
enrolled in Jackson

State the fall of 1959 after completing high school at Summer Hill High
School of Clinton, Mississippi. In my family of seven and I'm the
second of seven children. I came from a broken home. Many people say
we don't succeed or there are different views about broken homes, but I
am a product of a broken home and I truly can say I'm successful in my
life. We've done well, all seven of the children, along with
encouragement from my mama. I have four children of my own. I have
four grown children and two grandchildren. One completed school here at
Jackson State. My daughter and her husband both graduated from Jackson
State. I'm very proud to say that because they are doing well in
Flintwood, Missouri, two grandchildren; and they're preparing their
daughter. Chiquita and Patrick are preparing their daughter well in the
area of music and we really don't know where she might go because right
now she is so smart in that area. She is in a symphony orchestra and we
are looking at any place she might be, but would love to see Jackson
State, but I can't possibly say that. I graduated from Jackson State
really in 1977. I got married in 1960 and that put a hold on education,
but I never lost the desire to come back to school. I was employed by
Bell South Telecommunications in 1969 and in that process I noticed that
the company had a tuition plan for their employees and I grabbed on that
idea of returning to college and I worked for two years before I did
that. In 1971 I found myself actually back enrolled in college, four
children, having a full-time job and husband and that was a big
challenge for me. But I was determined to do this. It took me a while
because I had to go to school at night and take what subjects were
available in my major, which I was majoring in accounting and decided to
switch to business administration because I saw the possibility of being
able to complete college early with the children. So I continued my
pursuit in education and Bell South played a vital role in that in that
it provided tuition and that helps a lot. I really actually was a
full-time student and working full-time because I took as many as 18
semester hours working full-time.

H: Wow.

G: After completing the B.S. in 1977 I heard a voice to continue and it
was the encouragement of Dr. Oscar Rogers in the School of Business that
encouraged me to continue my education. So I listened at him and in the
Fall of '77 I was enrolled in the MBA program. And it was really not
easy because working full-time, having four children that I had to
answer to, and make sure that their work was done in school, it was real
taxing on my body and especially the last year of my education because I
chose to write a thesis in lieu of just doing a project. That was
really work. I did the research. I continued going to work. There
were many nights that I only slept maybe two hours because I was doing
my research and I would get that little short nap and I never missed a
day from work. I was able to complete my education which I feel real
good about and continued working for Bell South until I retired in
1996. That was really wonderful. And even in that retirement, I still
continued to pursue because I have actually acquired 50 plus hours above
a master's degree. I have gone to school at Mississippi College to
study computer science. Then after I retired from Bell South, I decided
I wanted to learn the real estate market so I took all the classes in
real estate so I could have this reservoir of knowledge. Right now I'm
in the process of preparing myself to enter into the doctoral program in
business. You see that I have been a very busy person.

H: You sure have.

G: And I try to live a full life. I support Jackson State
wholeheartedly because I'm a strong alumnus and believe strongly in
Jackson State and try to encourage alumnus all over to become involved
because this is our school and we really are the ones to determine the
success of our school.

H: Let me talk about another aspect of your life or get you to talk
about it. When you came to Jackson in 1959 this was during the Civil
Rights era. What kind of atmosphere did you experience relative to
Civil Rights?

G: In Jackson in 1959 there were certain places that we could go. Let's
say, for example, if you went downtown on Capitol Street and in one of
the major dress shops you decided to make a purchase, you were not
allowed to try on that garment in the store. You had to take it home
and bring it back if it didn't fit. That was something that I refused
to buy into. I guess growing up as a young child I was determined to
not be that yes person. It was something about the slave mentality that
I didn't like and that was even on the farm when I heard the Black men
saying "Yes sir, captain" to the White owners. I didn't understand
that. I didn't understand why they had to bow when they saw him come
along when they were working in the fields and they were the ones doing
the work. That was something I didn't understand and I didn't like. I
said to myself, "Never me." My mother was so afraid when we would come
downtown in the stores and I never said yes sir and no sir. I said yes
and no. She would hold onto my hand because she was afraid something
was going to happen to me. I said, "But that's proper mother. Yes is
in the English language and no is in the English language and that's
proper. That's what you're supposed to say." So that was the kind of
thing that I observed, even my Mom being afraid; but I just didn't
develop that fear. I just wasn't afraid. I was brave. I felt I needed
to sit wherever I wanted to sit. We had the signs that said White and
Black and I didn't understand. We all are people and why do you have to
determine where I drink my water from and why do you have to determine
where I go get my sandwich from. So those were the kinds of things that
we really had happening in Jackson, Mississippi, during those times. If
you rode the bus, you had to go to the back of the bus. It didn't
matter how many seats on the front were empty, you were to go to the
back of the bus and have a seat. This actually happened in Jackson,
Mississippi. And it was those of us who got ourselves involved in the

H: What was your first involvement? Were you a member of the NAACP?

G: Oh yes. That was something that you had to be. I stopped school and
got married in the '60's. My father-in-law, whose name is Willie Green,
was a devout Civil Rights worker and you just had to belong to the
NAACP. I mean that was important. You carried your NAACP card. So as
long as I can remember I've belonged to the NAACP, because I carry that

H: Was it before '59 that you became a member?

G: No, it was after then. It was really after I got married, after '60
that I became a member and I have been a member of the NAACP ever
since. All of us had to become members of the NAACP that were in the
Green household. We had to be members of the NAACP. And once you got
old enough to register and vote, you had to become a registered voter.
I remember my going to register on my 21st birthday. Back then you
could not register until you were 21.

H: This was '61?

G: 1961. November 22, on the day that I turned 21, I went to the
courthouse to register and vote.

H: What was that experience like?

G: I had interpreted a section of the Constitution because it was told
us that we would have to be able to interpret a section of the
Constitution but it was pouring rain that morning that I got prepared to
go. I left my grandfather's house and I had my little book in my hand
and the section that I had studied so well and I had prayed about it,
because I believe that you can do anything with prayer, and do you know
when I got down to the courthouse to register and vote, all I had to do
was to pay the $2 poll tax and register. They never asked me anything
about the Constitution and I was just shocked.

H: Did you pass?

G: I did because I was ready. I had recited my little saying. All the
way on the bus I had recited this saying to explain my section of the
Constitution and they never asked me. When I got back and I told my
grounded I said, "Oh, they didn't even ask me to do it, Grounded, but I
got registered to vote."

H: And that was the Mississippi Constitution?

G: That was the Mississippi Constitution and I didn't have to say a word
about it. I was so disappointed because I was ready to tell them what I
understood and they didn't want to ask me. That was my brave experience
of becoming a registered voter. And you know I became a registered
voter before my mom did. It's amazing how they were afraid back then
to even go and become registered voters. I was always a registered
voter and lead them to the prospect.

H: Did she have to interpret the Constitution?

G: No, because see during that time they had stopped it because once the
Civil Rights Movement started and voter registration drives got started
then they stopped that. I did pay one more poll tax after that but I
didn't have to pay anymore. And somewhere, I don't know exactly the
year that they stopped us from doing that, but it was in the early '60's
that we didn't have to pay.

H: Did you have to pay them every year?

G: Yes. We had to pay this $2 poll tax. So I remember having to do it
twice and somewhere they stopped it and that was in the early '60's
because really that's when the Civil Rights Movement really got in full

H: Where did you actually go to pay the poll tax?

G: Downtown at the courthouse, the county courthouse.

H: The county courthouse?

G: Yes. That's where we had to go to pay the poll tax. Everybody had
to do that to become a registered voter. That's the reason why so many
people were discouraged from becoming registered voters because of the
fact that they had to interpret this section of the Constitution. And
there was fear and they didn't understand because many of our people
could not read and write. Because of the Civil Rights Movement and the
encouragement of voter registration that's how you really got started in
the process. Thanks to the people coming in who organized it, because
we had people come from the outside come in here and help us. The city
fathers called them outside agitators but it was okay. This is how
things got moving and how we became involved, actually courageous enough
to get up and start doing something for ourselves. There were times
when people worked all day long and they didn't get any money. They
worked for $2 a day. Until the Civil Rights Movement got really moving
and organized and where they organized the domestic workers and
everything and they had to pay them more than $2 a day. But people were
giving away free labor and they thought they were really making money.

H: What kind of organization did they have for the domestic workers?

G: They organized themselves. They changed them from maids to domestic
engineers and this was a group of ladies. I know one lady in
particular. Her name was Lana Benson and she was very much involved in
that. They met. It was kind of like the Movement itself, organizing
and meeting with these employers and encouraging them, demanding really,
wages for the people. They were going into their homes and taking care
of their children and they were not paying them. They actually made
them fix it so that they would not only pay them but they paid them
their bus fare included because they had to ride the bus. They
encouraged them to pay them not only their daily wages but their bus
fares. These are the kinds of things that we watched happen. That was
the early '60's. It was really slave mentality. Lots of times our
people didn't recognize it because they had gotten so accustomed to it.
It became a thing of acceptance. Yes we did have those of us who are
Black that spoke out against the Civil Rights Movement because they were
afraid. They were afraid that some people would lose their jobs,
especially the school teachers. You didn't get anything from the school
teachers because they were threatened. They would lose their jobs.
They couldn't even belong to the NAACP. If they did they couldn't let
anybody know it. There were some terrible times. I remember in 1961,
and also this was when Emmett Till was killed, and I guess that was
something that had a great impact on me, I remember very well when he
got drowned and it was on a Sunday when they actually discovered the
body. The reason why I can remember it was on a Sunday, I was really at
a funeral and I remember them saying that they had discovered his body
and I remember having seen a Jet magazine later on when they showed the
picture how his head was swollen and everything. And that was really a
terrible time because it was something hard for me to digest. I was
upset then and I couldn't understand how people could be so mean and
kill someone just simply because they said that he whispered at a young
White lady. And I couldn't understand that--why does the young man have
to lose his life because of the fact that he whispered at a young White
girl? These are the kinds of things that disturbed me to really
motivate me and move me to not allow these things really to happen in my
life and even with my children. I think in growing up our children were
the first on Sidewall Road that actually integrated the schools.

H: When was this?

G: My oldest child was born in '61, so when it was time for her to go to
school Forest Hill was there, and in her second grade year we took her
to Forest Hill. We were the only Black parents at Forest Hill. You
knew we were there because we were the only ones. But we took her and
her brother. We took them. He started first grade at Forest Hill.
This was in 19--well she was born in '61 so when she was 6 years old it
would have been like '67--but we were at Forest Hill. When we enrolled
our children then my father-in-law enrolled his children. We were the
Green family with our children at Forest Hill. And we went to PTA
meetings so you know we were there because we were the only Black
parents sitting in the audience at PTA, but we went. Every PTA meeting
we were present. It was not easy. Our children got called all kinds of
names. Well it was okay. I told them that they know who they were and
that their name was not Nigger, they were Greens, and they knew that; so
they went to school to get an education and that's where they were going
to stay. But we went through the struggle of keeping them in school.
When they would get off the bus they would get thrown at and all this
kind of stuff and they let them off at home. But we still sent them to
school. So we've had an experience of the struggle. During the '60's
we had the mass meetings because when things occurred like Emmett Till
for instance getting killed then the leaders would call us together and
they would have us to know about the struggle and what we had to do, how
we had to band together. And we did that. We would meet in mass
meetings in the various churches, the churches who would allow us to
come in. We had those meetings. And those meetings were conducted by
leaders like Medgar Evers, Charles Evers, and Aaron Henry.

H: R. L. T. Smith?

G: R. L. T. Smith was so vital in that he was the preacher for the Civil
Rights Movement. I mean he was our preacher for Civil Rights. He was
so devout in the Movement. These meetings would be called together and
we would meet and we would listen at the motivational speeches and we
would sing together and we would pray together and we never ever left a
meeting without joining our hands and singing "We Shall Overcome."

H: What did these meeting accomplish?

G: They bonded us together. So this type of thing on many occasions it
happened. On the night that Medgar got killed it was one of those such
meetings that we held.

H: Where was the meeting held?

G: I've been going back to the back of my mind and I'm thinking it was
at the Masonic Temple that particular night that this meeting was held
because I've been going back in my mind, because I know we all were at

H: Do you know if there was a meeting after that meeting? A smaller

G: No.

H: Was there ever a meeting at Thelma Sanders' house?

G: I know that she lived there but you know I don't recall one. I never
attended one at her house but I'm not sure. But I know Medgar had left
the meeting and we all went home.

H: What happened at this meeting? Do you know?

G: I was trying to see, this was 1963. There hadn't been anything.

H: The boycott had started?

G: Yes. It was successful too. The boycott worked because we believed
our leaders. When they asked us not to shop in these stores we just
believed them and we did not shop. Like I said my father-in-law was
just so strong if he said don't go to these stores and shop you just
don't go to those stores and shop. So we really honored that. So the
boycott was being effective. Because of that you make the other folks
angry. But Medgar kept encouraging us to continue because this was the
only way that you're going to get what you're looking for. You've got
to stick together. And he was so forceful and then Rev. Smith was
encouragement in that too. So these meetings, when we would come
together, they would encourage us how important it was that we all stood
together. And Medgar was so brave and so courageous that he let nothing
at all deter him in his faith and his belief and it's because of that
that he just wasn't afraid.

H: Can you think of any specific instances when you were with Medgar and
he demonstrated this kind of

G: Well the only time is doing those meetings because as far as getting
really like walking hand-in-hand with him, I never had that. But it was
only in meetings that he was actually present. I was never at a point
where you'd say you were walking directly with him. I was not at that
point. The only thing that I know is that all the meetings that he was
involved in we were there and supporting. After his death I know that
that particular day it was so many people in Jackson and it was at the
Masonic Temple. I could almost go back to the spot where I actually sat
and it was on a little ledge because it was so many people there.

H: You're talking about the day of his funeral?

G: The day of his funeral. After this funeral was over, it was
organized, we did a processional from the Masonic Temple to downtown and
we were going to march all the way down Farish Street.

H: Was the body preceding the march?

G: No.

H: Do you know who led the march?

G: Dr. Martin Luther King was here for the funeral so he lead the
march. We all left the Masonic Temple and we were marching down Farish

H: Can you describe the route that you took?

G: We left the Masonic Temple and we actually went down Lynch Street to
Terry Road and you know how Terry Road goes on down to Pascagoula and
Pascagoula to Farish Street. That's the route that we took. We walked
in the heat from the Masonic Temple downtown. We were downtown along
about the Alamo Theater or Holmes' Dining Room when we just discovered
there were folks on top of buildings and bottles just started flying
from every direction. At that point the crowd dispersed. No one got
injured on that day. But I remember that particularly. And it was just
angry White folks. Because we were peacefully marching and singing. We
were not doing anything to anybody. We were simply marching and

H: Going through the Black community.

G: Yes. And they had problems with that. So anything that the Whites
could try and do to discourage our gathering together they did it but it
did not stop the Movement. And the Movement it continues even today but
in a different perspective because I do know that there are things that
we still are struggling with, and we will struggle with. I know when
Martin was killed in 1968 that was another blow to all of us because
that was like Martin was our leader. Many of us Blacks looked to him
for direction. That particular day when Martin was killed in Memphis--I
can remember everything because I was at work; when it was really
announced that he was dead I was at work--and I remember how the hush
came over everything and everybody, because even this was amazing that
even there were White folks who respected Martin Luther King; so it
wasn't everybody I guess, Martin Luther King and what he stood for. And
I think the reason that they respected him so much is because he was a
non-violent leader. Martin preached peace. He never talked about
violence so he was a different kind of leader for his time. But even in
his death I still could see that there was victory because many of the
things that Martin fought for we saw them come to pass, even after he
left. So I can say the dreamer might be dead but his dreams continue to
live on. Even today we can see that. I hate so bad that he wasn't here
to see the benefits of his fruits that he fought so hard for to see that
Black people and White people have a working relationship. And we may
not have it; it's not perfect but it has come so far from what it was in
the early '60's. I can truly say that. I'm here and I know what it was
in the early '60's. I know that there are positions that our Blacks
hold in various areas that it was unthinkable in the early '60's. So we
have really made much progress as a result of the Civil Rights Movement
and the Civil Rights Acts and all these things and the affirmative
action programs because had not it been for those programs put in place
many of our people would not have had the jobs that paid the salaries
that they pay today. I know that because I am a product of affirmative
action. I was among some of the first people to be hired at Bell
South. I mean really we were some of the first. It was because of the
affirmative action programs that we were hired.

H: You were hired when?

G: In 1969 and I mean I was some of the very first people to get in
there. That particular time the only jobs that they really offered us
were operators jobs. That was what you did. But during that time I was
able to see how we as a people were able to even progress with that
company. So you moved from one area to the other. And because of the
fact that they were not allowed to discriminate in the jobs, if you
qualify you were placed in a position. So I saw a lot of things happen,
even with Bell South for my 27 years of working with them that made a
difference. And all of this came about because we had folks like
Medgar, people like Martin, that stood up and fought for our rights and
we benefited from it.

H: I want to go back to after Medgar's funeral.

G: Okay.

H: What kind of activity were you involved in after the funeral?

G: You know the mass meetings? We continued those. Those mass meetings
really continued.

H: So that was sponsored by the NAACP?

G: Oh yes. That was sponsored by the NAACP. And those meetings
continued. Because it was even more so because Charles came on board to
help keep things going that his brother had started--Charles Evers.
Even today the festival continues because we're determined not to allow
the day to just die out and what Medgar stood for because it's so
important that we keep it alive. The mass meetings don't continue now
like they did. Now that we've sort of--maybe, I don't really--perhaps we
saw where we had accomplished, some of the things that we wanted--we
still do voter registration. And that's the part that I have
participated in a lot because it encourages people to really get out and
vote when it's election time. I really work with that. Still to this
day I manage a precinct in every election. I have to do the
announcements, encouraging people even though we are registered now we
have so many people now that don't vote. And that's the thing that we
are involved with now, getting our people to understand how important it
is that we get out and exercise our vote because if we don't do that
then we can lose some of the gains that we have made. So these are the
kinds of things that I guess are a continuous--I've been called a
political activist and I said yes, perhaps I am--I get involved with the
political process because I truly believe in it. As I see us having our
Black mayor in the city of Jackson for the first time--and this is the
one thing, I got so involved in that. I worked harder in that
campaign. I think that was the first one that I really worked as hard
in and that was volunteer work. But it was wonderful volunteer work
because I saw us moving to another direction, another era, in which


As you continue with the struggle and I know that there are
organizations, and I belong to them all, I'm a member of the NAACP. I'm
a member of SCLC. I believe in those things which strive to move
forward, which try to hold fast to those dreams and things that Medgar
stood for, that Martin stood for, Rev. R. L. T. Smith stood for. These
are the kinds of things that we have to continue to do. And there was
one other figure and I wish that he was alive today so you could
interview him and that was Sam Bailey. That man was so devout in the
Civil Rights Movement. He really was. Those are people that we don't
need to just forget about.

H: Where did he live?

G: I'm not sure exactly where. I've never seen where Mr. Bailey lived.
I just know he worked down on Farish Street. I don't know where he
lived. I remember when he died but I don't know exactly where he
lived. He's one that I think we ought to interview some of his family
anyway and see what they have to say because he played a vital role. He
was a devout Civil Rights worker in the '60's with the NAACP. That is
our organization and all of us should fight to keep it alive. It is
nothing to be ashamed of, and so often times people don't want to
belong. I've heard people say what does the NAACP do. But it was here
when there was nothing else. I mean it really was. They were out there
fighting for us when there was nothing else in Jackson. It was the
NAACP that fought the people and filed a suit and saw to it that you
were treated fairly. It was clear and it was something that is
worthwhile now that we keep alive.

H: Did you ever hold an office in the NAACP in the '60's?

G: No. Never held an office, just was a member. With my schooling and
my children I guess I really didn't find a lot of time to do all of
those kinds of things because being a full-time student and full-time
worker, it took a lot.

H: I know. I'm sure.

G: But I still am a firm supporter.

H: Let me ask you one other question. Between Medgar's death in '63 and
'69--and you need to work this out--can you think of any outstanding
event that you personally were involved in regarding Civil Rights? I
know you went to the mass meetings and worked for the NAACP, but I was
just trying to think if there was anything. You never went to jail?

G: No. I never went to jail. I was not one of those products. I just
have a sister and brother who went to jail and it was really not the
jail; that was when they hauled them off to the Fairgrounds, the
concentration camp was what it was more or less like. There was a Youth
Movement really in the city of Jackson at that particular time. Those
were the demonstrators, those were the sit-ins, and they were the ones
who actually did that.

H: What did you think about the Youth Movement during those days?

G: I think the Youth Movement was very effective in those days. During
those times the Youth Movement was very effective because I think it
took the young people because they were brave and they were unafraid. I
don't believe we could have used anyone else that would have been that
brave and courageous other than young people because these were students
that came from Tougaloo College and truly from all over; because there
were high school students too; because at that particular time my
brother was in high school at Brinkley. They were part of the sit-ins
with the Freedom Riders. Sure they were arrested. Most times they
were. My mom went and got them out of jail.

H: Did she have to pay to get them out or she just went and signed them

G: She went and signed them out. And then as soon as she did that those
kids went right back. That's when they were hauled off in the paddy
wagon down to the Fairgrounds. So these were the experiences that they
had. They went through the fire hoses and all of this stuff. I didn't
have any of those experiences but my sister and brother did. And I
really think that those young people really made a very, very strong
impact because they were brave and courageous and they weren't afraid
and they weren't easy to turn away. But we were real fortunate even in
that we had no violence that took place during that time. Nobody was
killed during that struggle. Just a lot of our children were arrested
and hauled off into the paddy wagons. But as a whole I guess, basically
in Mississippi, it's not really one of those, in Jackson especially, you
couldn't say it was one of those cities that turned into violent crime.
I dare we can say there was a bit of compassion because they really

H: Compassion on whose part?

G: I guess on the part of the White person because really and truly our
children were not hurt. There were even no personal injuries. They
just scared them. I think that was their whole thing was to frighten
them with the tear gas and that kind of thing, but they never ever
really, say, hurt anybody.

H: And that was local people?

G: Yes, local people. Those that they considered outsiders and they
called them outside agitators because there were several people that
came actually to help us in Mississippi that really actually lost their
lives on their way home and that kind of thing. They lost their lives
and they were part of the Civil Rights fighters. They considered them
outside agitators as they called them and I didn't understand why they
wanted to consider them as outside agitators. These were only people
who came in to aid and assist us in what we were doing to try to make
things better for all those citizens in Jackson. All the people, like
Rev. Smith were saying, is "for the future generations to come we want
them to have a better day than what we're experiencing now." And that's
really because many of them did not live to see all of the things that
we're experiencing now, but what they were working for is that we would
absolutely have a better day; that people would be able to ride, sit
where they want to sit, live where they want to live without fear.

H: Now wait a minute. I was just thinking, you're saying there was no
violence but Medgar was killed.

G: Oh yes.

H: Then there was this guy, somebody, Lee, that was shot.

G: Yes. That's what I'm saying. I was saying with the young people.
That's what I'm saying, the young people.

H: There were two students from Jackson State.

G: Oh yes, now that was a really--the students at Jackson State--that
really was like a riot that had really took place. And that was in 1971
that that occurred. As I said to you earlier, the struggle, the Civil
Rights struggle, it hasn't ceased to be because it continues. It's in a
different form. The prejudice that we once openly experienced, it still
exists; it's in a different form.

H: How do you experience it today?

G: When you see what I have observed, and this is really like
downsizing, say for example, in the industry downsizing of jobs, there
are people that are affected the most are Black folks. And they put it
off saying technological changes or whatever they want to call this. It
has nothing to do with it. They are simply dismissing Black folks. I
saw that with Bell South and I see it with other industries because I
look at the number of people that get sent home and I look at who they
are. So what I'm saying is that the prejudice still exists. It's
simply in another form. And they are using it. And they said they've
satisfied affirmative action. This is what industry was saying, "We've
satisfied it." So now we can do whatever we want. Until some of us
really understand what's going on with the system--and that was my
thing, that's what kept me going with Bell South because with Bell South
I kept preparing myself educational wise so that when the time came when
I would go home, I would be prepared to do some other things. And
that's what I tried to encourage many of the ones that were working with
me because the company had the tuition plan, money was there, why not
take advantage of it and let the company prepare you so when you leave
the company. So those are the kinds of things that are happening right
now. It's not only happening in the industries and it's from every walk
really--department stores and all, the same thing is happening. In
industry they lay off folk and then they rehire and what they do is they
bring in folk that they can pay at a lower rate of pay where they say
the company is saving money.

H: You think so?

G: Yes. So this is what we see now.

H: You know, I know that you are a member of Cade Chapel Baptist
Church. What kind of involvement did your church have?

G: Well our church is one of the churches that really opened their doors
for the meetings and there were churches in Jackson that were afraid to
do that.

H: And your pastor was?

G: Well at that particular time in the '60's the pastor was J. D.
Hayden. He was the pastor but he was there for 40 years; but the church
was open door. And I guess the reason why it was such an open door
church was because at that particular time the family that was really
involved in the Movement was the Herrington family and that was husband,
wife, and children.

H: Herrington. What's the full name?

G: J. D. Herrington and Shirley Watson Herrington. She was one of the
daughters. So that family was heavily involved in the Civil Rights
Movement and they were members of Cade Chapel. So the church opened its
doors to allow, and that was for the youth workers to come in and the
mass meetings to be held at Cade Chapel so that's how it was really
involved. And not only that it raised money and gave money. And even
until this very day Cade Chapel is still vital because we have opened
our doors to the fund raisers for the NAACP to have their meetings at
our church.

H: Do you remember your pastor since Hayden?

G: That is Horace L. Buckley and he still has the same attitude about
being supportive in the Movement so anytime that our church is needed
for any special meeting then Cade Chapel is available for that.

H: Has it always been located where it is?

G: It was on the opposite side of the street. It's been in Virden
Addition since it's inception in that part of the city because the
church was founded in 1876. Where I understand the history of our
church, we were founded on a little place called Silent Hill and that
was really off of North State Street over there. But we moved from
there to a location on Ridgeway which is directly across the street from
our present site now. The church grew from a small church to what we
are right now. Even when I went to Cade Chapel in 1975 it was small
compared to what we are now.

H: During the early '60's was it located where it is now?

G: During the early '60's, during the Civil Rights era, it was across
the street on the opposite side of the street and then it moved. I'm
trying to see where we had moved over across on this side of the
street. It was there. It was where it is right now during the Civil
Rights Movement but it was a smaller church, very very small. We
renovated that church. The last one was the third renovation of the
church which was where it is now. So it was there. At that particular
time J. D. Hayden, we rehired him in 1968 and then Horace Buckley was
elected the pastor in 1969 and he's been there ever since.

H: Other than the mass meetings that were held there and the money given
by the church could there be any other kinds of things? Did you have
any Freedom Schools there?

G: No, we didn't have Freedom Schools. We just simply had voter
registration drives; was the only thing they would have. No Freedom

H: Was Rev. Hayden personally involved outside of the church setting?
Did he get arrested or anything like that?

G: He just allowed for it. He was one of those people who was kind of
fearful like a lot of folks. He didn't even get involved.

H: But he allowed

G: He allowed the use of facilities but he didn't want to get involved.

H: Now, tell me about the attitude of your Sorority. I know you said
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.

G: The only thing, and this is what I've learned, the only thing that
the Sorority does is make donations to the NAACP. As far as actual
involvement out there I haven't seen that and from the history of it I
haven't read anything where it has actually been involved.

H: But individual.

G: Right.

H: Mrs. Green I want to thank you for this interview. May we have
permission to use this in working with the city of Jackson and for
educational purposes.

G: You are more than welcome to do that. I'm just real happy to be able
to share.

H: Alright. Thank you for your time and this wonderful interview. I
will be asking you to sign those release forms.

G: Sure.

H: Again, thank you.

G: You're welcome.