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Interview with Joanne Phinazee, January 18, 2017

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:12 - Introduction / Childhood, Family

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Partial Transcript: It’s Wednesday January the 18th, 2017 and I’m John Cruickshank and with me today are a couple of other interviewers.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Joanne discusses her early childhood and her family roots in Waverly Hall, Georgia and North Augusta, South Carolina. She talks about growing up in Griffin, Georgia and learning to cook at the age of three.

Keywords: Frog Bottom; Georgia; Griffin; Harris County; North Augusta; South Carolina; Spalding County; Waverly Hall

00:05:29 - School Years

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Partial Transcript: Just … tell us a little bit about your … the beginnings of your schooling. Where you went … just, experiences early on.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment Joanne talks about her early years in school in Waverly Hall, Georgia, her family’s move to Griffin and her experiences in grade school at Annie Shockley and Fairmont High School. She discusses living in a neighborhood that was not segregated, and being considered rich because her family "had plenty of food and a car and a truck to drive.

Keywords: Annie Shockley Grade School; Edgewood; Fairmont High School; Hawkes Free Children's Library; Hawkes Library; Negro Vocational High School; Rosenwald School

00:24:26 - Experiences Studying at the Hawkes Library

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Partial Transcript: Was Hawkes a desegregated library for all of the children? Was it public for whites only?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Joanne talks about her experiences studying in the segregated, all-white Hawkes Free Children’s Library in Griffin. She recounts how she was able to defy the societal norms of the time and the differences between the all-white library and the African-American library most of her classmates used. She says that she did not know that there were two different libraries in Griffin until her teacher pointed out that she was using books for her reports that could not be found in the African American library in Griffin.

Keywords: African-American libraries; Fairmont High School; Hawkes Free Children's Library; Hawkes Library; Segregation

00:34:21 - Resisting segregation in Griffin

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Partial Transcript: Were there any other places in Griffin that you found interesting that you went when others of your complexion were not allowed to go?

Segment Synopsis: Phinazee discusses her lack of understanding about segregation going to eat in white restaurants and convincing them to serve her. She also talks about her lack of understanding of segregation as a child, saying that she didn't see the true extent of it until she noticed that the white school and much better books than she did.

Keywords: McClendon's drug store; Woolworth's Lunch Counter; segregated schools; separate but equal; sit-ins

00:44:20 - Work at the Pomona Products Company

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Partial Transcript: You mean you had white water while the rest of us had colored water?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Joanne discusses her time working for the Pomona Products Company in Griffin. She details the working conditions faced by African American women in the plant and recounts the story of a confrontation with a white supervisor.

Keywords: KKK; Ku Klux Klan; Labor Rights; Pompna Products Company; sexual harassment; working conditions

00:54:10 - Family incident with the Ku Klux Klan

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Partial Transcript: Had you or your family had previous experience with the KKK as to why you would think they were coming from you?

Segment Synopsis: Phinazee talks about her families experience with the Ku Klux Klan, and says that they came to her house after her uncle became romantically involved with the richest woman in town and the KKK found out.

Keywords: Berta Shell; KKK; Ku Klux Klan; caddy; gambling; golf; integrated neighborhoods