Partial Transcript: I’m Beatrice Cunningham, and today we’ll be speaking with Gail Reid Hackbart, the daughter of Gary Reid. We’re at the UGA Griffin Campus in the Center for Urban Agriculture Conference Room.
Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Reid opens by discussing her family history and her early life in Griffin. She details her family’s move to Detroit, MI, her uncle and father’s military service, and the influence her grandmother Vera had on her as a child. Reid also discusses her father Gary’s passion for public service and her early memories of the Civil Rights Movement.
Keywords: 82nd Airborne Division; A&P Grocery; Gary Reid; Georgia Institute of Technology; Georgia Tech; Glen Reid; Non-Violent Protest; Non-violent direct action; Peaceful Protest; Pickett Line; United States Army; Vera Reid; Woolworth's
Partial Transcript: ahhh …. Lets see, what else can I tell you guys. Oh! You were talking about … they were talking about my father’s involvement with the PTA …
Segment Synopsis: Reid discusses her father, Gary Reid, and his passion for public service, saying that he was the first African American County Commissioner in Griffin and the President of the NAACP Griffin Chapter.
Keywords: American Federation of Government Employees; Labor Rights; Labor Union; National Federation of Federal Employees; Plurality-At-Large Voting; Single-Member District; Spalding County Board of Commissioners
Partial Transcript: You grew up in Griffin as a segregated community.
Segment Synopsis: Reid recalls the two segregated swimming pools that existed in Griffin during her childhood, saying that they were both filled with cement to prevent the integration of the pools. She also recounts her experiences attending an integrated school for the first time when she was ten years old, and her experience being one of the only fifty African-American women who were students at Georgia Tech.
Keywords: Georiga Tech; Northside Elementary School; integration; segregation; separate-but-equal
Partial Transcript: Do you remember … since your dad had a business down town … do you remember any of the other black businesses that were there other than the … I know HHH …
Segment Synopsis: Reid recalls some of the businesses owned by African Americans in Griffin while she was growing up. She talks about a sandwich shop owned by Otis, Raymond, and Phillip Head and a barber shop owned by Ralph and Mary Stenson.
Keywords: A.C Touchstone; Atlanta Life Insurance Company; Solomon Street; funeral homes; post office; pressing club
Partial Transcript: Obviously you’re very accomplished. You went to GA TECH, you had that mission from 13 and you seem like you were very focused on that. Tell us about … in your household was there sibling rivalry?
Segment Synopsis: Reid talks about her relationship with her brother who is 13 years younger than her. She says that they didn't fight a lot because she was his "built in babysitter", but she recalls fighting with her cousins who were closer in age.
Keywords: Georgia Tech; exploring; family; outdoors; rocks
Partial Transcript: You’re dad was also kind of an entrepreneur.
Segment Synopsis: Reid discusses her father's liquor store, and says that he also had a day job with a large trucking company in Atlanta where he did not have to worry about his civil rights activism causing problems with his work. She also discusses attending strategy meetings in the basement of the 8th Street Baptist Church when she was ten years old.
Keywords: Bourbon Street; Civil Rights Movement; Georgia Tech; Hill Street; Ku Klux Klan; package store; peaceful protests; protests
Partial Transcript: Can you talk a little bit about your family? You mentioned your son.
Segment Synopsis: Reid talks about moving to California while she was working for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and getting married to a white man. They had a son and moved back to Griffin, Georgia. She recalls being concerned about how her son would be treated because he looked white but had a black mother. She says that her son passed away in a dirt bike accident when he was fourteen, but she later adopted a little girl because she felt like she wasn't done being a mother.
Keywords: Daytona, Florida; Foster to Adopt Program; Georgia Power Company; Griffin High School; SoCal; machete
Partial Transcript: Oh by the way, when we were at Georgia Tech we were protesting.
Segment Synopsis: Reid talks about some of her accomplishments during her time as a Georgia Tech student. She recalls participating in sit-ins on the president's lawn and protesting professors who did not want to teach minority students. She also discusses founding the Alpha Kappa Alpha Georgia Tech chapter and becoming the president of that chapter. Reid also says that she believes the current student body at Georgia Tech is not as connected with the history of the school and the Civil Rights Movement.
Keywords: Hidden Figures; Black House; GTAAA; Georgia Tech Afro-American Association; Office of Minority Educational Development; Omega Grad Chapter; Rosa Parks; Spellman College
Partial Transcript: So before we wrap up today is there anything else that you would like to share with us that you have not talked about?
Segment Synopsis: Reid talks about her relationship with her father, and says she was always "daddys little girl." She says that her son and her father were her support system and she goes to visit their graves often.
Keywords: Isaiah Miller; VFW; Westwood Gardens Cemetery
BE-ATRICE CUNNINGHAM:I'm Be-Atrice Cunningham and today we'll be speaking withGail Reid Hackbart, the daughter of Gary Reid. And we're at the University of Georgia Griffin Campus in the Center for Urban Agriculture conference room. So today we'll be conducting an interview as part of the Griffin African American Oral History Project. And today with us is --
JEWEL WALKER-HARPS:Jewel Walker-Harps as president of the Griffin Branch NAACP.
ART CAIN:Art Cain, University of Georgia Office of Continuing Education.
ELLEN BAUSKE:And Ellen Bauske, University of Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture.
CUNNINGHAM:All right, well thank you so much for joining us today Gail, and ifyou can just start off by telling us a little bit about your history -- your family history.
GAIL REID HACKBART: My family history, there is so much. Hopefully I canremember enough that this interview is read for a while. My father, Gary Reid, had a twin brother, Glenn Reid. They were children of a family of 12 00:01:00children living here in Griffin, Georgia. They were born and raised here in Griffin, Georgia. When I was two and a half, my parents moved to Detroit and so did my uncle. He moved there also for a while. Apparently the job situation was better there, so they moved there and when it got better they moved back. So that was when I was five and a half. I recently had to do some paperwork for my mom about VA benefits and things. And I knew that my father had been in the Army. He and his twin brother both had been in the Army and they were part of the 82nd Airborne. What I didn't realize is that my dad had signed up for the Army two times. Not just once, he was in twice. Then it was -- he was a Korean veteran, Korean wartime veteran. And so why that happened I don't know that. I guess that my mom would have the details on that. But that was a 00:02:00surprise to me. But growing up with my father and my uncle, the Civil Rights Movement for me started at the age of 10. My awareness of the Civil Rights Movement started at the age of 10 because they had me out working picket lines. And these were places like -- A&P, Woolworths -- A&P being a grocery store -- because of their hiring practices and the way they treated the African American customers that came in to their stores. And then by the time I was 12 I was working boycott lines, and I remember specifically working a boycott line in front of Woolworths department store in downtown Griffin. And we were of course walking back and forth in front of the store and encouraging African 00:03:00Americans not to go in and shop. And I remember having someone come up and say, "I want to go into the store because they've got that picture of Martin Luther King there in the window. And I want to go get that picture of Martin Luther King." And I looked at him and I said, "Go." (laughs) It's like if that is really that important to you that you'll fall for that just because they have that picture of him in their window but you can't go in and sit down at the counter and eat lunch, that's on you. That's not on me. My father and my uncle -- my father, Gary, and my uncle, Glenn, their thing was to make things better for the next generation. So in my life that's always been what I think about too is what do you do to make things better for the next generation. Like I said, they grew up in a family of 12 kids. My father had a scar on his 00:04:00cheek because when they were growing up and you've got 12 kids around the table trying to eat, you better be fast (laughter) getting to the food. So the scar on his face was from a burn mark he got because he was trying to grab a sweet potato off the table before anybody else got it and it was hot. (laughter) And he was funny too. He and my uncle, if you ever got them in the room together with another person they would cut them to ribbons. I would just sit there and just laugh because they were just -- they were awful. But my father believed in everybody's rights. It didn't matter whether they were black or white or Asian or even what their sexual orientation was. He fought for everybody's 00:05:00rights. He was in court for all kinds of stuff. And he just never -- he just didn't look at it as, "Oh I'm --" and when he became president of NAACP, he didn't look at it as just, "Oh they're not black. They're not African American so I'm not going to help them." It wasn't like that. It was like anybody who needed help, he wanted to stand up for and help them. Yes.
CAIN:Can I interject a question?
CAIN:Okay. You know, one of the things that I read in an article about you wasyou gave your grandmother a lot of credit for influencing you.
CAIN:And I assume influencing her children.
CAIN:Could you also talk about that as you move for-- as a part of the narrative?
HACKBART:Her influence on me?
HACKBART:My grandmother, from what I understood, was an educator,00:06:00which probably came in handy with the 12 kids. But as I was growing up and I was learning how to do different things, like my father was an excellent tailor. He could sew very well.
WALKER-HARPS:I didn't know that.
WALKER-HARPS:I did not know that.
HACKBART:You didn't know? He had an alteration shop downtown for a number ofyears up on Eighth Street right across from the (Head's?) businesses up there. And so when I was seven I started sewing things and I would sew by hand. And so I would come up with my own patterns and I would sew different things. So when I turned 12 he had the shop downtown. So he would let me come in and there was somebody that was working in there with him and they were helping him do the alterations and stuff because he was still -- he still had a day job. 00:07:00So they would be in there while he was at work and then after work he'd come in and he worked there too. And then on the weekends he would be there the whole time. And I'd walk from our house downtown and go hang out at the alteration shop with them.
CAIN:Was it -- was your father's shop patronized by everybody in the communityor just primarily African Americans?
HACKBART:It's hard to remember, but I think it was patronized by a lot ofdifferent groups. But that particular area of Griffin was primarily black businesses, so it's hard to remember right now. There wouldn't have been a problem with anybody else being in there, but I don't -- there's not anything in my mind that says that it was only African Americans that patronized that business.
WALKER-HARPS:Probably not since the Heads had a business and they werepatronized by both.
HACKBART:Yeah, so it's possible. I wasn't necessarily taught to look00:08:00at color when I was a child. And my brother who's also named Gary but his name is Gary Wesley, and so he wasn't Gary Jr. Everybody thinks he's Gary Jr. but he's not. His name is Gary Wesley, Gary Wesley Reid. I remember when he went to kindergarten and he got a culture shock because he actually ran into people who were little five year olds who were discriminating against him because he was African American, because he was black. And it was a shock because he had not been raised to look at color and that was the first time that he'd ever experienced that there was something different about people. That they just -- it wasn't -- they didn't think of themselves as just being people. 00:09:00And I wasn't raised that way either. But of course I did become aware as I got older, especially working in the picket lines and the boycott lines. But getting back to being 7, being a little girl, another one of the things I liked to do was I liked to draw a lot. And I was pretty good and I could just -- you know those little matchbox things that says draw this picture. I used to do those things. And my grandmother would see -- my Grandma Vera, she would see me doing all the drawing and stuff and she said, "I don't want you to be -- to grow up to be a starving artist. So I want you to look at becoming an architect." I said, "Okay." Of course I didn't know what that was. So at some point I said okay let me research this. So I started going to the library and looking it up and seeing what exactly is an architect, what do they do, how much money do they 00:10:00make. (laughter) So I found out what they did and it was a thing of being creative and you could make a decent salary. And I also found out that Georgia Tech was a school that I could go to to get a degree in architecture. And it was right up the road. And at the time that I made the decision on Georgia Tech I was probably 12. And at that time I think they had probably just started accepting women into their college. So I started looking at what I needed to do in order to get there. And what I had to do was do a whole lot better on my grades than I was doing because I wasn't doing that great. I mean I was average. I was like okay I got to step this game up. So I just went from 0 to 60 (laughs) in a years' time. And from that point on it was on. It was 00:11:00on. So that when I got to high school I was in the Beta Club. And when I graduated, I graduated 11th in my class and I had a grade point average of 3.92. And I'd already been accepted at Georgia Tech during my junior year. As a matter of fact, they had told me that if I wanted to I could just go ahead and come early right after my junior year and not have to do -- not do my senior year in high school. But I wanted to have fun so I stayed in Griffin to enjoy my senior year in high school because I knew it was going to be a breeze. (laughter) And I knew once I got to Georgia Tech I was not going to have that breeze anymore. Did you want to hear any more about that part or you want to get back to --
CAIN:Well, I -- just for documentation purposes, I always like to00:12:00know kind of when your father was born, when your mother -- when your grandmother was born. That kind of syncs up the eras.
BAUSKE:And your mother too because we (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) as well.
CAIN:Yeah and your mother. We want to hear about your mother.
HACKBART:Okay, okay. When my grandmother was born, that one's going to be kindof hard to backtrack to. My father was born in 1932, in January of 1932. He was one of the three youngest children. He, his twin brother, and my Uncle Sam were the three youngest. And by the time they came along, the older kids were old enough to take care of the younger kids. So the sister that took care 00:13:00of my brother was my Aunt Christine. No that took care of my father was Aunt Christine. Aunt Stell took care of Glenn. (laughter) So, wow, I'm trying to figure out when she was born. I don't know. It has to have been around the 1900s or something. I'm just not sure.
CAIN:But that gives us an idea. If we know when the children were born you cankind of figure out -- you can kind of go back and figure out in and around where their mother was born.
CUNNINGHAM:Did your parents -- go ahead. I was going to say did your parentstell you anything about what their life was like growing up?
HACKBART:Let me see, I have to think about that one. Well for my mother it wasnot hard at all. (laughs) She was the oldest of four children. She 00:14:00was born in April 1935. And they lived right down on Solomon Street down the street from where my dad and his family lived. But my grandfather worked for -- he was really good friends and worked with the Cheathams. As a matter of fact I'm named -- my first name is Ashley Elizabeth, I'm named after Elizabeth Cheatham. So he worked for them in their house. He was their chauffer and he was a great cook and everything. But he also worked in some of their mills. And the house he had down on Solomon Street, they helped him buy that house. So I remember doing an interview with my grandmother about -- my mother's mother, about what they did during the Depression, how the Depression 00:15:00affected them. And it was -- I'm just sitting there looking at her going, "What?" She had a job. My grandmother who as I was growing up I never knew her to work. But during the Depression, she had a job. But what they did with her money was she'd go out and buy a new dress every week or they'd go to the movies. It wasn't oh yeah we had to use that money to buy food or pay for this or pay for that. No, they went to the movies or she bought a new dress okay? So my grandmother's parents were -- her father was a methodist minister. And people would just give them food and stuff. They just really didn't have it that hard. I don't remember talking to my father's mother about what happened 00:16:00with them during the Depression, but I know that they weren't that well off. They were kind of poor. But I don't remember my dad sa-- other than the thing about them having to fight for the food at the table and some little antics that he and my uncles would get into, you know going down the street messing with people or whatever. My grandmother apparently ran a tight ship. None of them were in trouble. None of them went to jail.
CAIN:Did they all go to Fairmont?
HACKBART:Yes they did. My mother included went to Fairmont, yes Fairmont High School.
WALKER-HARPS:Your mom was a majorette.
HACKBART:Yes she was a drum major. She was -- yeah, she was a lead majorette. Wehave old pictures of her in her uniform with her baton yes. 00:17:00
WALKER-HARPS:And your dad had followed along on the sidelines to protect her.
HACKBART:Oh okay. (laughter) Are you sure it was to protect her? Because as Irecall, in his earlier years he had a bit of a jealous streak, yes.
HACKBART:(laughs) He was protecting what was his.
WALKER-HARPS:Now your family, your mom's family I believe or which one was it,your mom or your dad who was almost a part of the Cheatham family?
HACKBART:It had to be mama's family.
WALKER-HARPS:Okay, mama's side.
CAIN:And when you say a part of the Cheatham family?
WALKER-HARPS:They were -- the Cheathams were --
HACKBART:They were very close.
WALKER-HARPS:-- very, very close yeah.
BAUSKE:Who were the Cheathams?
HACKBART:Yeah, my grandfather and --
WALKER-HARPS:The Cheathams was a prominent white family in Griffin.
HACKBART:Right, right. My grandfather and Elizabeth they were friends. Andthat's why he named me after her. And her son, Jackson, is still in 00:18:00contact with us, with the family.
WALKER-HARPS:I remember when somebody died then they stepped in and offeredtheir services and kind of took over.
HACKBART:Right, right. But he lives in San Diego now but he's still in contactwith the family. She passed away a few years back.
CUNNINGHAM:Earlier you mentioned that your father was in the military. Can youshare with us any of your recollection of his remem-- anything that happened during the military?
HACKBART:That they told us about?
CUNNINGHAM:Sure, (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) share.
HACKBART:Well stuff like they were both in the 82nd Airborne. If one of them hadKP duty and needed to go somewhere, the other one took his place.
BAUSKE:And no one knew?
BAUSKE:Good job. (laughter)
HACKBART:As a matter of fact, I guess I can tell this now too. Even when theywere here in Griffin and they were working in the Civil Rights 00:19:00Movement, if one of them had a meeting and couldn't get there because they had to go to work or someplace else the other one took his place.
BAUSKE:That's how he got around so well.
HACKBART:Because there were two of them.
HACKBART:Shane used to say that all the time. My son Shane, when he was aboutthree -- because my uncle had left and moved to North Carolina. And when -- then -- and we were living in California and we moved back when my son was one. When he was about three my uncle moved back from North Carolina so my son would see the two of them, the two twins together. And he would say, "That's two grandaddies." (laughter) He couldn't tell the difference and they didn't care. (laughs) Let's see, what else could I tell you guys? Oh you were 00:20:00talking about my father's involvement with the PTA.
CAIN:Well and also just his passion for public service. He apparently -- he wasNAACP president, he was a commissioner.
HACKBART:He was the first African American county commissioner yes.
WALKER-HARPS:Not only was he that, but he worked very hard to make thatpossible. It didn't just happen that he was elected. There was a court case and we're going to bring somebody in who hopefully will talk about that. That came as a result of Gary, myself, and -- matter of fact they're all dead now -- but who worked awfully hard to get away from at-large voting to single-member districts. And that allowed Gary to be elected (inaudible).
HACKBART:I think there are some things in the scrapbook on the00:21:00newspaper articles about that.
WALKER-HARPS:Probably so because that changed a phase of political life in Griffin.
CAIN:But it took courage --
CAIN:It took courage.
WALKER-HARPS:Our lives were threatened many times.
CAIN:And so just that passion, that courage, where it came from, how you viewed it.
HACKBART:Well you know what, it's hard sometimes. I guess it's hard for me tosay where it came from because it was just there. Because even though they left here and went to Detroit and stayed there for a few years and then came back, I can't tell you what the catalyst was for what they did. Maybe it was the idea that they had to make things better for their children. My Uncle Glenn had five children and we grew up living next door to each other. And it was 00:22:00like we were living in each other's' houses because we were just back and forth between each other's houses. But I can't tell you what it was. I don't think he ever even said to me what it was. But I know that the idea in his head was you have to make things better for the next generation. And I also think that it was a sense of what is right. You have to do what is right. And that affected me even years later because I was for many years when I was working for the federal government, which is what I -- I just retired from working with them about a month or so ago. I was a union rep and one of the main reasons I did it was because of the way I grew up. With my father is it's just when things are not right you can't just sit there and just look. You need to move out 00:23:00and do something about it. Now granted at some point in time I got tired of that battle.
WALKER-HARPS:Well they were (firing?). Let me tell you that they were (firing?).They did not back off from a fight. If you were to see (the sparks?) and put Gary and Glenn at the table, and they always had my back. So I was the (meek?) one but the power was really behind me in them.
HACKBART:And they knew what you had to do to get something done. When I startedworking -- when I graduated with my second degree and went to work for Georgia Power Company and I was down at Plant Vogtle in Augusta and I was just -- they were just giving me a hard time because I was a woman. And so I called Daddy and I was like, "They're doing dut, dut, dut, dut, dut, dut, dut, dut, dah." And he says, "Write it down. Whatever they do document it, write it down." 00:24:00He says, "If you don't write it down, it didn't happen. But if you write it down and you have to go before a judge you can hand them the paper saying this is what they did. And that counts."
WALKER-HARPS:You grew up -- go ahead.
WALKER-HARPS:You grew up in Griffin as a segregated community. You were aroundat the time swimming pools were closed right?
HACKBART:Oh yeah, oh yeah. I never did learn how to swim. (laughs) I ended uptaking drown proofing in college but I never did learn how to swim. Yeah that was interesting because we had a swimming pool at Fairmont, which was at Fairmont Recreation Center, which was the swimming pool that was primarily used by African Americans, black people, in Griffin. And we would go over and get in the swimming pool and splash around. And then they had the swimming pool over at City Park, which we didn't go to because that's where all the white 00:25:00people went to swim. And I don't think I was even thinking about going over there to swim with them. But apparently somewhere along the line when we started doing desegregation, somebody realized that we were going to all end up swimming in the same pool together. And the next thing I knew we had no swimming pool because they filled them both up with cement.
CAIN:Both at Fairmont and at City Park?
HACKBART:Both at Fairmont and City Park.
BAUSKE:Got rid of the problem.
HACKBART:Yeah, well yeah they took the apple away. Nobody could get a bite ofthat. (laughs)
CAIN:How did that get resolved ultimately?
HACKBART:Ultimately there is one public swimming pool and it gets very crowded. (laughs)
CAIN:But what brought folks to their senses? Was it just over a span00:26:00of time where there were civil rights --
HACKBART:Yeah I think over a span of time people just decided that it justdidn't make any sense that there was no public swimming pool in the city. Do you --
WALKER-HARPS:They (unpacked?) around -- what is it? Brown v. Board of Educationof Topeka, Kansas. The fallout from that really started (to boil over?). And that was the period -- the beginning of the period of integration of the schools and what have you.
HACKBART:That would've been when I was 10 because that was my first -- that wasthe first year that they had integrated schools and that was the first, and I went. In the fifth grade I went to an integrated school.
CAIN:That brings up another issue.
WALKER-HARPS:(May not know that one?)
CAIN:So you went into integrated settings for the first time at 10. Could youtalk about some of those experiences and where the school was, which 00:27:00school you went to, et cetera?
HACKBART:I went to Northside Elementary School. And it is -- while the buildingis still there, it's on Hill Street. It's on Hill Street and Cherry. It's right there in that area. And when they did it, it was not -- it was never a question for me of whether or not I would go, whether or not I would do it. It was like it's here, we're doing it. We're doing it. It was my duty to do this, to step out and do this. And it was -- everything was pretty (cool?). I had really good teachers. I didn't have teachers that were going, "Oh well you're this, you're that. We're not going to work with you." My teachers were pretty good. The only really negative experience I can remember was one day on the playground where another kid said to me, "Oh you're just a piece of burnt bacon." And 00:28:00I said to him, "I'm the prettiest piece of burnt bacon you ever saw." (laughter) We weren't really taught to back down. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. It could be a bad thing in some situations. But at that point in our lives we were kind of taught to tackle it, taught to tackle whatever the issue was.
CAIN:Were there other African Americans who entered that school at that timewith you?
HACKBART:Yes. Now I can't tell you -- right now I can't tell you who they werebut yeah there were. There were a few of us there. There were quite a few of us there.
CAIN:That had to be a decision your parents made.
HACKBART:No. (laughs) It wasn't really. It was never -- they never looked at meand said, "So we're going to make this decision. You're going to go 00:29:00here." But they also didn't look at me and say, "Where do you want to go?" It was, I -- it was like -- for me it was like I was in the fight, so this was just a next step in the fight. I was going. There was not a question. It was not them forcing me to go because they didn't -- because Vernell, my uncle's oldest daughter, she refused to go. She refused to go to Griffin High School. But I mean I have to understand that because if I was going to the 5th grade that meant she would've been in the 10th grade. She wanted to stick with the kids she'd gone to school with all her life and graduate with them. So she didn't go. She didn't go to Griffin High School. She stayed at Fairmont High. But like I said, for me it was like I was in the fight. And I didn't really have this thing of yeah I've been with these kids since the first grade because I'd already moved from Moore Elementary to Atkinson. This was just another school 00:30:00for me.
CUNNINGHAM:So after you entered the integrated school were there any noticeabledifferences between the integrated school versus (these segregated?) schools?
HACKBART:What was still being talked about was still the inequalities ineducational material. I don't -- I can't give you specifics on what I may have noticed when I was going to Atkinson as opposed to when I went to Northside Elementary. But I know that there was still some controversy about the materials that were being provided.
WALKER-HARPS:And Northside was located pretty close to a mill, so I can imaginethat that school even though there were whites and blacks, the 00:31:00quality and the atmosphere would probably have been different from what would've happened on the south side of town because of the mills, the proximity to the mills in that area, (Thomas Doug Collin?).
BAUSKE:Would the mill schools not be as good as say the south side? Is that what(overlapping dialogue; inaudible).
WALKER-HARPS:I'm thinking that.
HACKBART:Yeah it's possible.
BAUSKE:Then you hit Georgia Tech as a black person and as a woman.
HACKBART:Oh yes. Yes, there were --
BAUSKE:Talk about that please.
HACKBART:There were probably 50 black women on campus at that time. And weprobably apparently all knew each other because there weren't that many of us there. And the ones that were there they brought us in. They took us 00:32:00under their wings. They helped us to get around and try to understand the culture of things. And yes there were a lot of professors -- white professors there who didn't want us there. But we basically had the mindset was, "We don't really care what you want. We're here and we're going to do this. So do what you will. We will be doing our thing and we will get through it." Because I had a faculty advisor who was very questionable as far as I'm concerned. I mean of course they don't say anything but they are not encouraging. And for 00:33:00me he was very discouraging. Like I said, I knew going from high school and having easy street and going to Georgia Tech, it was not going to be easy at Georgia Tech. So occasionally I got grades that I would've preferred not to have, but hey it happened. I wasn't stopping. As my dad would tell me -- as Daddy would tell me, "If you don't get it the first time do it again. Keep going until you get it." Mama on the other hand was like, (inaudible). (laughter) So two totally different personalities as far as that was concerned. But once this guy who was my advisor.
CUNNINGHAM:We need to stop for just a second.
BAUSKE:Until they get done (buzzing?).
CAIN:I'm going to go tell this man to hold off on -- going whenever you're ready.
HACKBART:Okay. I'm ready.
CAIN:Ask the question about business.
BAUSKE:You were asking about --
WALKER-HARPS:(overlapping dialogue; inaudible) Do you remember, (inaudible)says your dad had a business downtown. Do you remember any of the 00:34:00other black businesses that were there other than the Heads. I know Triple H and -- the Triple H Sandwich Shop rather. And (Watson Drycleaners?) there and it was a pressing club.
HACKBART:Yeah there was a pressing club and the -- wasn't there a restaurantdown near their restaurant? Wasn't there a restaurant that belonged to the -- wasn't that the Head's restaurant too?
WALKER-HARPS:Yeah they had a restaurant.
HACKBART:Okay and then that was where the original Eighth Street Baptist Churchwas down -- was right down the street.
WALKER-HARPS:Across the street from Triple H Sandwich Shop --
WALKER-HARPS:-- competing with them for -- at that time the church did food andpeddled it out for the meals. And it was a booming business which competed with Triple H. And finally had to stop because Triple H could not allow 00:35:00them to undersell the restaurant.
HACKBART:Yeah and I guess that must've been where -- because I know Daddy's shopwas there. I'm tr-- well after Daddy's shop left there, it was a taxi stand. It was -- that building down there now on the corner, it's a restaurant. I think it's a Japanese restaurant or something?
HACKBART:His building was next to that one.
HACKBART:Right between where the post office driveway is and that buildingstarts or something or that business starts. It was in there.
WALKER-HARPS:And there was Atlanta Life Insurance company there too. But thatsection, that block, apparently belonged to the Heads and the Touchstones across the street from where the post office is now.
HACKBART:Right, yes. Yes, and I'm trying to remember what was directly acrossthe street from the shop and I don't remember. But I remember the 00:36:00restaurant was kind of up like where the post office is. And then the pressing club was across the street from that. And then Ms. Stinson had her hairdressers around the corner from the --
WALKER-HARPS:On Slaton Avenue.
HACKBART:-- from the pressing -- from the pressing club.
WALKER-HARPS:The mecca -- really that area was the mecca of black business.We're going to bring somebody in who's going to -- who can remember and talk about those businesses that were there.
HACKBART:Right, but when you -- if you were African American and you were goingout to eat, you were going to that restaurant. (laughs)
WALKER-HARPS:Triple H. Otis Head, Raymond Head, and Phillip Head, the Triple Hfrom Tuskegee, Alabama. They were in school at Tuskegee I understand.
HACKBART:Right, yeah. Who else was down there?
WALKER-HARPS:I was interested because somebody was telling a story that thepressing clubs were called pressing clubs because of the fact that 00:37:00you could -- the men could walk in and have their clothes pressed while they waited. Take their pants off and sit around and talk and have their pants pressed and then put them back on.
HACKBART:Okay, well I didn't have to experience that part of it. (laughter)
WALKER-HARPS:They declared that that (inaudible) and that I do not know. Butthat's how the name came about of pressing club.
CAIN:Well I know there was a barbershop someplace.
CAIN:When you mentioned coming in and talking and then you just mentioned -- butthere definitely was a barbershop.
HACKBART:I think the beauty shop and the barbershop were in the same place.
WALKER-HARPS:The Stinsons, yes.
HABCKBART:Yeah Ralph and Mary Stinson.
WALKER-HARPS:Ralph was the barber and Mary was the beautician.
HACKBART:And I think it was Mary's brother Milt that -- he was the one that gotmy brother into cutting hair yeah.
WALKER-HARPS:And there were a few others down, (Snow Callaway?) further down.
HACKBART:Yeah he was further down on -- well I remember him having00:38:00one on Solomon Street. Did he ever have one up on Eighth Street?
WALKER-HARPS:I don't know. And funeral homes, there were the funeral homes. Andnaturally there had to be funeral homes because block folks didn't get to go to white funeral homes at that time unless it was in the middle of the night and through the back door.
HACKBART:Yeah I think the only one I remember from way back then was probably McDowell's.
WALKER-HARPS:I don't remember. I remember McDowell's. I don't remember othersbut somebody's coming in who does remember the Crocketts and a few others. Okay we can move on. Go ahead Art.
CAIN:Well I was just thinking, obviously you're very accomplished. You went toGeorgia Tech. You had that mission from 13. And you seem like you were very focused on that. Tell us about in your household was there sibling 00:39:00rivalries? Tell us about --
HACKBART:No, my brother is 13 years younger than I am. He was born about a monthand a half before my 13th birthday. So I was the built-in babysitter. And for him it was like having two mothers. So no we never -- we didn't fight. He would go hang out with me. And as a matter of fact, he was kind of our class mascot when we had our graduation. We have pictures somewhere. But when I graduated, he was with me. He had his little graduation thing on because everybody thought he was so cute. No we didn't fight. We didn't fight. I fought with my cousins, with my uncle's kids.
CAIN:Cousin rivalry. (laughter)
BAUSKE:(overlapping dialogue; inaudible) looked alike.
HACKBART: But I fought with them like they were my brother and sisters00:40:00yeah because we spent a lot of time together. And we went romping through the woods together and exploring because we moved -- when we moved down there on Bourbon Street there wasn't a whole lot of development around the area.
WALKER-HARPS:Rocks, a lot of rocks though.
HACKBART:A lot of rocks. We found this huge rock that had an indentation in themiddle of it. And the moisture would get in there and it was like moss growing inside of it. It was really beautiful. And we'd just go romping through and picking plums and berries and muscadine and crabapples. And there was a stream down further from where we lived. We'd go trumping down through there and looking at the stream and stuff. We didn't get in it. We were just looking at it because that's where we got our water from that stream at that time. 00:41:00We didn't have -- they didn't have running water out there so it was pumped up from the stream, yeah.
WALKER-HARPS:Your dad was also kind of an entrepreneur. You talked about hisability to sew, but if I remember correctly he also had another business during his lifetime --
HACKBART:Oh yeah, oh yeah.
WALKER-HARPS:-- which proved to be quite a challenge.
HACKBART:Yes. My parents owned -- initially they owned a package store sellingbeer right on the corner of Bourbon Street and Hill Street. And my mom would probably have to give you more of the details on it but I'm sure they didn't have an easy time getting a license for that store. But they -- I don't remember how long they were there but they stayed at a building that was on that corner. Well that building is gone by the way. But they worked and they rented that building out and they worked that package store. And then after a few 00:42:00years they bought property just a few yards up the street and they built a liquor store. So they had beer, wine, liquor, they had all of it. And they had in the back -- the extra property in the back -- they planted corn on the extra property in the back. So it was kind of weird for me I guess because it seemed like they were just doing very well, you know, which they -- for the most part they were. My dad would still work his day job and in the evenings he'd come home and work at the liquor store. And my mom would be there primarily when he wasn't there. At some point, he did stop working the regular job and worked there -- just worked there at the liquor store. And when I would come 00:43:00home from breaks from college I would work in the liquor store. So it was easy money.
WALKER-HARPS:That was also a challenge though. His work was really a challengebecause most of his jobs were out of town.
HACKBART:Yeah they -- he and my uncle worked for many years with a companycalled -- can I say the company name? I don't even know if they're still in business anymore. But it was a company that did repairs on trucks, on tractor-trailer trucks. And this was -- they were with a particular trucking company and it was in Atlanta. It was over by Atlanta University, over by Spelman and Clark, all those places over. And when I was -- so when I was at Georgia Tech I would take MAADA and go over to where he worked. And he would give me money and tell me, "Don't tell your mother." (laughter) Okay, 00:44:00so yeah they -- and it was around that time I think everybody was -- a lot of people were doing that because there were -- the jobs here just weren't paying that much. The jobs in Griffin weren't paying that much. So they would take that drive. They would carpool and take that drive up to Atlanta so they could make the extra money.
WALKER-HARPS:And if they were paying they weren't hiring civil rights workers.They weren't hiring anybody who was as (fiery?) as --
HACKBART:Right, and at that time you know they'd go to south -- this is Griffin.They'd go to south Atlanta and down in south Atlanta. Down in south Atlanta they don't know who they are. At Griffin everybody knew who they were, but in south Atlanta they didn't know. So he and my uncle both worked there.
CAIN:And you don't want to say what the trucking company's name was?
HACKBART:I can. It was (Few Hoff?).
WALKER-HARPS:You would've thought that they would've had booming businesseshere. But that was not the case. Because they were civil rights 00:45:00workers and they had done favors and gone out on a limb for many, many, many of us. You would've thought that any business, any self su-- any personal business or whatever that was established here that they would've had the full support of the black community. But that was not the case. That was one of the challenges and I don't know why. And we used to say, "Well the beer's not as cold as the beer down the street," or whatever. But for some reason -- and I guess it was a mental thing.
HACKBART:But that also probably just made it easier for them to do what they didbecause by working there they didn't have to worry about whose toes they were stepping on in Griffin because the influence wasn't going to reach them (where they worked?).
WALKER-HARPS:And they did not worry about whose toes they stepped on. I knowGary didn't worry about whose toes they stepped on. The sacrifice was 00:46:00great because I can remember when we were having a program at Eighth Street Baptist Church, and the night before the program the news came out that there had been threats on two of our lives. And so we had to halt the program and get -- I don't remember if it was FBI, some law enforcement agency out of Atlanta to come down. And there was a -- Earl Shinholster was the person coming to speak at that time. He said, "Well they don't need to come down and walk through there just to look and say it's okay because they're going to have to (bring the door up?) and do an extensive search of the church before we decide to go on. But that's just one of the examples of the challenges and the way of life that I knew -- I am aware of that happened to Gary (inaudible) as president. He had many other threats. And there were many deals offered to him that 00:47:00would have been beneficial to him had he been that kind of person. But he wasn't. You didn't hand him anything under the table. You didn't set him up. He's, "What the heck? (inaudible)." Well we used to call it mother wit but wisdom in terms of being able to read people. So there were many times when he was set up. He was invited to go places, somebody else would go -- would be out investigating or looking around to find out exactly what it was so that we did not walk into a trap. So I'm saying that to say there were many, many challenges that faced him and the rest of us during that period of time.
HACKBART:And he was -- he would be a peacemaker in some cases because -- theremay be even a story in here about a situation where something was going on or some program or something was going on and the Klan showed up and 00:48:00they were marching and protesting. And he just went out and just had a face-to-face conversation with whoever their leader was that day and they went on their way. And it wasn't threatening or anything, it was just a very peaceful conversation and they parted ways.
CAIN:I would be curious -- I know when you look at sort of the national CivilRights Movement and student involvement and folks at leaderships involvement, there was a lot of planning that went on so things would come off the way it was intended. Was there that kind of planning, that kind of strategy 00:49:00among folks here in Griffin when you kind of had identified a goal of what you were going to do?
HACKBART:Now that I wouldn't know.
WALKER-HARPS:In the basement of (Hicks?) Chapel Church yes there was. People whowere mostly active are no longer around, but yes there was. And most of it happened in the basement of Hicks Chapel because I believe Reverend Shropshire was here at that time. And he was -- he was very hated. But Mary Stinson, Reverend Shropshire. Oh gosh, a lady who was a hairdresser, many others were there that are no longer with us now would meet and plan, strategize, yes. And that was a little bit before my time too. I was -- I might have been here working here but I was not living here. And if you were living here and you were a teacher you didn't do it anyway. I was just crazy that it did not matter to me that I worked for the school system that I also worked with NAACP but 00:50:00you just did not -- you did not do that. But somehow or another I hooked up with Gary and went to work. But you didn't do that. And that was where Reverend Shropshire was from. He was also an educator and president of NAACP, so I guess that's probably why he had to leave. He had to go too. But yes, the answer to your question is yes there were strategy sessions.
HACKBART:And I was a soldier, so basically it was like, "Okay this is what we'regoing to do. This is what I need you to do. These are your instructions." So yeah, because, like I said, when I started I was 10. So I wasn't really in on the planning part of it.
WALKER-HARPS:Were you out there with Linda Weems is all I can remember who wereout there on the streets and they were getting beaten and whatever. And their daddy standing on the sideline saying -- 00:51:00
WALKER-HARPS:-- "That's my daughter and you hurt my daughter," or whatever.
HACKBART:No, I was shielded from that. I did -- I never experienced the thing ofbeing beaten or having to watch people being beaten.
BAUSKE:That happened in Griffin?
WALKER-HARPS:When I say beaten maybe that's too strong a word but lawenforcement pulling you out of the way or trying to (calm you?).
BAUSKE:Ms. Jewel when you said you were afraid you were going to be set up, didyou mean --
WALKER-HARPS:People were always coming to you call-- about this meeting and comehere and do that and whatever.
BAUSKE:And then were you afraid physically to go to those meetings?
WALKER-HARPS:Oh yeah, you were afraid physically to go. You made sure that --yeah, you --
BAUSKE:Did they try to set you up legally or politically like, "Here have this."And then if you take it, come down with the law. Did that sort of thing happen?
WALKER-HARPS:We were always aware of that. We didn't take things. We didn't takefavors. And that's another thing that I can give Gary credit for. 00:52:00Don't do favors and we don't take gifts because then there's always that obligation. So there was -- and hopefully somebody will come in who can talk about the human relations committee. It wasn't called human relations but it was an integrated group of women. Ms. Crossfield and Ms. Cheatham are -- were two that I can remember who helped to bridge the gap during the civil rights period so that it was no more violent than it was because of this group. And it wasn't called human relations but that's the kind of work that they were doing. And (Raymond had?) to have a meeting of the minds so to speak so that they could work -- peacefully work out conditions that would've been otherwise much more violent.
CUNNINGHAM:So is there anybody around from that period that --00:53:00
WALKER-HARPS:No, nobody that I know. No, they -- as far as I can remember theyall gone. So it would be secondary information that we would get. And there are probably some people around who would know. Phillip Head may know because his brother was (a part?).
HACKBART:But you can't talk to him.
WALKER-HARPS:He won't talk. His brother was a part of it but he won't talk. AndFrank Touchstone perhaps would know also because of his uncle who was -- whose income came from the black community. And as a result of that he was able to funnel money into the Civil Rights Movement when people went to jail or whatever or to be a lot more active than those persons who worked for the system. And he would -- he probably would remember but he's not talking yet either.
WALKER-HARPS: Well he's physically unable.00:54:00
CAIN:Now I was just going to ask her since her father was in such a high profilerole in Griffin, do you remember specific threats like Klan threats to him? I know there were Klan threats but do you recall any of that?
WALKER-HARPS:Were you all ever afraid?
HACKBART:I don't recall being afraid.
WALKER-HARPS:I guess that was your question in essence.
CAIN:Well you know we've had folks come in and say there was a cross burn on alot or something like that. And again, anytime you have change it -- you can get a reaction to that. And if he's a high profile person initiating some change, and I know he was kind of a peacemaker too and that kind of thing. But I just wondered if there was any kind of threat or any -- any kind of 00:55:00reaction from a group like the Klan during that time that you can recall?
HACKBART:I can't really recall that there being any such thing. We -- it waswhen we first moved back to Griffin from Detroit we lived on Chapel Street. And the Heads lived across the street from us. And I think they had an incident at their house while we were there.
WALKER-HARPS:They did, they did.
HACKBART:But I don't recall when we moved out on Bourbon Street there being anyincident with anything near. What my -- my dad and my uncle were very -- how do I put this? You didn't mess with them okay? They weren't opposed to 00:56:00beating you up if you caused a problem. (laughs) I mean they believed in protecting themselves and protecting their own, so if that was known by groups like the Klan or something they may not have bothered us because of that. I don't know but I don't recall anything ever happening or him saying that we needed to watch out for something or that anybody was threatening him.
BAUSKE:Can you talk a little bit about your family? You mentioned your son?
HACKBART:Okay. My family, my son okay. So after I had finished my second degreeand I went to work for Georgia Power Company. And I worked for them at their nuclear power construction in Augusta and wasn't real happy with 00:57:00being down there. I was able to get a job working with the federal government working with FAA. So my first assignment with them was in Daytona Beach during spring break. (laughter) So I worked for them in the southern region, which -- the southeastern part of the United States for three years. And then they moved me from being in Florida to being in Alabama and I was wanting to do something different anyway. And I had a cousin who was living in southern California, (Bev?), Uncle Glenn's youngest daughter. She was living in San Diego at the time. And I went out to visit her and I decided I wanted to move to California. Luckily I was able to transfer there with the FAA to a job out there. 00:58:00And progression was much faster out there than it was here as far as moving up into different positions. Because here I was in the field, I was in the field, I was in the field. And people that were in the field with me were moving into the office. It's like, "How are you guys moving into the office?" Because they would know about jobs that I didn't -- they weren't telling me about. But once I moved to California, I was like -- I was there a few months and I was in an office job. Because there they told you what was going on. And here it was still that good old boy system, they're picking and choosing who they're going to tell that this job exists. And so I was able -- out there I was able to move up more quickly in the organization. I even was in a management position for a while while I was there. Well I got married while I was living in California. And my husband was white and I had my son while I was still out 00:59:00there. And his name was Shane because his father's -- he liked that movie --
CAIN:Oh Shane. (laughter)
HACKBART:Yeah, yeah. So his father was on a (tie rug?) team so he really wasn'treally home that much. He was different places and so I was basically there with my son by myself. I mean although I had friends who would come over and my husband's mother would come and help us out and things like that. I decided I wanted to come back home and be closer to my family here and so we moved back here when my son was about a year old. And we stayed with my parents for a couple years and then we built the house over in Carriage Hills. And my son and I moved into the house and my husband was still travelling 01:00:00around. And at some point I decided the marriage was not working for me and so we ended up getting a divorce. When my son was probably about five we got divorced. And he and I still stayed over in the house in Carriage Hills. And he -- my son, he was just a sweet, special, little blonde-head, blue-eyed, angel face kid. And he just attracted attention everywhere he went and it was just a very interesting thing to be with him here in Griffin. Because my husband was here with us for a while and we would be riding around in the car and I just had to learn just look straight ahead. Because if I looked to my right or to my left there were people like going -- (laughs) "Wow." And I would take 01:01:00Shane we'd go -- I'd go to the grocery store and he'd be in the little car seat and the little kids, little white kids especially, would come up and just stare at him, look at me and look at him. And they'd say, "Is that your baby?" (laughter) "Yes." Of course their parents would just be going, "I'm not touching that." So yeah that part was interesting. After a few years of he and I being here -- of Shane and I being here people kind of backed off on that. Of course I was still concerned about him because he did look like a little white boy, and you know a little white boy with a black mom. And I didn't know all the time when we went places how people would react to that. And he went once without me to a -- to one of those -- those parties they used to have, those 01:02:00block party kind of things they used to have. I forget what they called them now.
WALKER-HARPS:I'm older than you. I really forget.
HACKBART:They had -- they used to have --
CAIN:Is it outside?
HACKBART:They used to have these community parties where the community wouldjust get together and have a party because they just wanted people --
WALKER-HARPS:Mm-hmm I remember but I don't know what they called them.
HACKBART:-- in the community to get to know each other. So they went to one overby Aunt Stell's house. I wasn't with them. I was traveling or something. So he went with I guess Gwen had sent some of them. And when I got back from wherever I was they said, "Oh well he was over there and he got into a fight." I said, "What?" So basically it was like here's this little white boy in this black neighborhood and you know little bad boys are going, "Why you in our neighborhood? Why you in our neighborhood?" He's like, "Man what you 01:03:00talking about?" So he was probably eight or nine or something at the time. Was he that or was he a little bit younger? I think he was eight or nine. So they decided they were going to beat up on him so they went after him. And after that I put him in karate classes. But he had -- he had a lot of his grandfather in him. They said, "We don't know what you're complaining about. He was giving it to them just as bad as they were giving it to him." (laughter) But he, like I said, was a special little boy. I had him in private school for a few years and then I decided we could probably just save that money for college. So for his freshmen year he went to Griffin High School. And it was during the fall of that year that he -- well he had this dirt bike. And when I bought him the 01:04:00dirt bike I wanted to buy him something that was going to hold up for a while and be a good thing for him to have. And where we were we were in the city so it wasn't a whole lot of room for him to really ride around on it. So I took it to Mama's house, to Mama and Daddy's house, because they were outside the city and he could ride the bike up and down the street and nobody would care. So he'd been given certain restrictions of you can't do this, you can't do -- you can't cross the street, you can't do this, whatever. And he had the helmet and the breast thing and all the pads and everything and the gloves. And he told me that when he was at her house if he put that stuff on that -- and he was 01:05:00riding wherever. He said the kids said, "You look like something out of Star Wars." So he got to a point where he wasn't wear-- he wouldn't wear that. But I forgot to tell them about the -- let me tell you about the machete story first. One of the private schools he went to they only went to school four days a week. They went to school Monday through Thursday. Fridays were reserved for field trips but he didn't do a field trip every Friday. So the Fridays that he didn't do a field trip he would go and stay at Mama's house because I had to work so he'd be at Mama's house. Well he was old enough that he could be by himself and she'd have something to do like she'd have to go to the hairdressers, which that particular day she had a hairdressers appointment and she went to the hairdressers. And I'm in my office working and I get a call from him on my cell phone. And he's like, "I'm dying." "What? What is wrong with you?" 01:06:00"My foot is bleeding. I'm dying. I'm dying." "Did you call 9-1-1?" "Yes I called 9-1-1 but I'm dying. There's blood on my foot. I'm dying." And one of the guys in the office was hearing this because of course he's telling me this and my voice is getting elevated there in the office you know? And so I was like, "Okay just call 9-1-1 and I'll call Mama and we'll get them there." And so I called her and she's like, "What?" -- called my mom like, "What?" because she's got to get from wherever she's doing back home to see what was going on with this kid. So one of the guys in the office heard me with the elevated voice and he came over and he says, "Okay I hear what's going on." He said, "When they get there, when your mother gets there tell her to take him not to the emergency room tell her to take him to his doctor's office." I said, "Okay, okay." So I 01:07:00call the doctor's office and I tell them. And the reason he said that was because if you go to the emergency room he was just going to sit there and wait as opposed to going to the doctor's office and they say, "Okay let's get him in here and do this right away," which is exactly what happened. Well what happened was we had this machete at my parent's house that I played with when I was growing up, okay. I had gotten it from one of my uncles, one of my great uncles. And it was not -- it wasn't sharp, so I would just mess with it, just play with it. Well after I left home Daddy got hold of it and he sharpened it up and he'd use it to chop down things. Well after Daddy was gone it was still there at the house and Shane found it, okay? So what he had done was he had gone down into the woods and he was chopping at trees and everything. And he was doing these karate moves and chopping at the trees and kicking the trees and 01:08:00stuff. Well he made a mistake and kicked and chopped at the same time. And so the point of this machete hit a seam -- and he was wearing boots too -- hit a seam on the boot just right that it cut through the seam and went into the boot into the top of his foot. So he was bleeding out from this. But I think the fact that the boot was on there was kind of helping it contain itself a little bit. And that's what had happened, why he thought he was dying because he was bleeding out on the boot. So when he called 9-1-1 they sent the sheriff's department out there. And my mom's fussing at him about being down to the woods with the machete and stuff and they said, "Ma'am, you see those kids down the street in the flat hanging out?" They said, "You should be grateful 01:09:00he's out in the woods playing instead of hanging on the corner with these kids down here trying to do drugs."
WALKER-HARPS:Very good point.
HACKBART:So yeah and he was -- that was the kind of antics and stuff he wouldget into. But he got to a point where he didn't want to wear the helmet and all that stuff with the dirt bike because the kids in the neighborhood were making fun of him. And he went out one day, and I saw him and it just didn't dawn on him that I was at Mama's house. And I was sitting there at the kitchen table and I saw him go with the bike out to the street and drive off. And I didn't -- just really didn't think about it until he didn't come back. And so I'm calling him on his cell phone and he's not answering and I said, "Let me go find him." And when I went to go find him I found that he'd been hit by an SUV riding the dirt bike. And he did not pass away instantly. It was later on that night 01:10:00at one of the hospitals -- children hospitals in Atlanta that he passed away later that evening. He was 14-1/2. So one of the things that he loved to do was he loved to play soccer. And we knew that there -- at the time, I don't know how it is now, but at the time that there weren't a lot of scholarships for kids playing soccer. So we do a scholarship fund. We did a -- what is it, 50C-3?
HACKBART:Yeah 503(c)(3), the nonprofits. And we do a scholarship fund annuallyin his memory.
WALKER-HARPS:(overlapping dialogue; inaudible) planted a tree.
HACKBART:Sunday was his 23rd birthday.
WALKER-HARPS:Somebody planted a tree in his memory. Was that -- where was that?
HACKBART:At Griffin High School they have a memorial garden where they plant --they put trees and plants out for the children. So we planted a tree 01:11:00there in the garden for him.
CAIN:And after you told that story I almost feel like I need to say I express mycondolences even now.
HACKBART:Okay. But behind that I wasn't through being a mother so I got into thefoster-to-adopt program. And in 2010 my little girl, Sharah, came to me. She was three days old. So she's in school now today.
CUNNINGHAM:Seven year old?
HACKBART:She's six. She was born late in the year. It was August 30, 2010. Oh bythe way, when we were at Georgia Tech we were protesting. We were 01:12:00doing sit-ins on the president's lawn and that good stuff, all that good stuff.
CAIN:Now that's always interesting to me. I'm not too far from your era incollege. I'm a little older than you. But students protest a lot of times for a lot of reasons: conditions on campus and injustices on campus and things out in the community that's going on and things that are going on nationally. Tell us maybe a little bit about your protests.
HACKBART:It was a lot of the same things. Like I said, we did have professorsthat didn't want us there. So we were protesting those things. We were protesting the dropout rate for the minority people, the minority students. And we recognized the fact that a lot of the minority students were 01:13:00coming there already behind the curve because we didn't come from high schools that had the same level of education, the advanced levels of knowledge that a lot of the other kids had. And there were gaps there. Because we were -- so we were facing the discrimination of teachers and (both?) in the class and then you were facing that gap of trying to catch up. So out of that they did develop having an office called Office of Minority Educational Development, OMEN, that started the same year that we chartered the sorority there. So they're still going with that, and that program was to help fill that gap. That if students came in and found that they were not able to keep up because they 01:14:00didn't know that much about calculus or whatever then they could go to that office to get help to be able to catch up and to fill the gap in.
BAUSKE:Can you tell us a little bit about the sorority? Your mother spoke awhile back with great pride.
HACKBART:Okay. So at Georgia Tech there were a lot of sororities andfraternities, traditionally white sororities and fraternities. And I think timing is a really interesting thing because if I had taken them up on going to Georgia Tech a year earlier I may not have run into the people that I ran into. So when I got to Georgia Tech I met two people who became really good friends of mine at the time. They were just very opposite people, and they still 01:15:00are very opposite people, but they were good friends of mine. And they both were legacies in that their mothers were AKAs. And it was not really something I had really thought about, but when I met them and we would talk we said -- the three of us said, "We're going to do this. We're going to do this." So since they were legacies they had the contacts. And they were able to talk to their mothers and find out about the grad chapters and we were able to get on the radar for Kappa Omega, which was one of the grad chapters for Alpha Kappa Alpha in Atlanta. And us with 70 young ladies from Spelman, because they didn't have a chapter either at the time, ubiquitous 73 became that line that was the seed for the chapters at Georgia Tech and at Spelman. 01:16:00
WALKER-HARPS:So Kappa Omega now has a rich history.
WALKER-HARPS:Did they recognize it I don't know.
HACKBART:Yeah, well they -- it seemed to be pretty rich at the time anyway. Sothen there were the three of us there on campus. And we said, "Okay, we've got some work to do," because you needed a certain amount, you needed a minimum of 20 members in order to have a chapter. So we started recruiting and I think it may have been -- I don't know if it was the first or second line. It must've been the first line that we recruited to get to our minimum of 20. Now -- I won't tell you guys all that. (laughter)
BAUSKE:Oh come on.
WALKER-HARPS:You can tell us.
HACKBART:You know when you put a bunch of people in a room together01:17:00and they make a decision, I don't know why you put the same people in the room together and expect to make a different decision. (laughs) And I say that because when we started working in -- actually it must've been the second group that we had that actually made enough for us to do a charter. But when we started working we did the first group. For some reason they told me that they wanted me to be in charge. I'm the leader of this thing here. Okay, so that's why all the articles because they put it all on me. It's like, "Okay, now we want you to be the foot soldier." So I was the one going to the meetings and doing this and doing that and making applications and finding people and all that other stuff. And then when we had our chartering, the ladies from Kappa Omega said, "Okay now you guys need officers. We want you guys to go over here. We want you to pick this, this, this." And one of those of course was 01:18:00for the president. And so we walked into the room and they're like, "Why do we waste a vote on a president? It's you." And so everybody said, "Yeah it's you." So that's how I got to be -- (laughs) the first basileus for the chapter because it was like they just all agreed it was just going to be me. So I was like, "Okay, I've been doing it this far. I may as well take it the rest of the way."
CAIN:You know on many white campuses during that era, there was a movement tohave what I'm going to call "black student unions." And they kind of evolved during that time. What was the case at Georgia Tech?
HACKBART:We had the Black House. And we did -- and they still have it. They havethe -- oh man, it's called the GTAAA. I guess that must -- I think it's the African American Association. 01:19:00
HACKBART:Yeah, so yeah we had that. And like I said, we had the Black House. Sowe had -- every week we'd have meetings. And at the Black House we'd have parties. So was that supposed to be our substitute for a sorority -- fraternity/sorority thing? It didn't work. (laughs) It didn't work. But I mean we had fun. We definitely had fun. And we had a support system.
CAIN:But it was a place where folks could congregate and talk about issues inaddition to having a social outlet.
HACKBART:Right, we knew what was going on. And that was where most of -- thestuff about us doing our protesting, that's where it came from. That's where we would get together to talk about what's going on and what we need to do about it. And that's why we end up sitting on the steps outside the 01:20:00president's office and stuff like that. Because we were there together communicating, talking about what was going on and what needed to go on. If they created that for us as a fraternity/sorority substitute, they just shot themselves in the foot. Because we used that as a platform to figure out what we needed and to go after what we needed.
WALKER-HARPS:Is there still a need today for such? Do you know whether wecontinue to have such new groups?
HACKBART:I hear stories about what that group is like these days and what thestudents are like. And the students just they're not connected to the past on what's gone on at that school. They don't get it. They think it's 01:21:00all about them right here and now. They don't get that it wasn't always as easy to get into that school as it is right now or I mean to even be considered to get into the school. They don't get that it's a big deal to actually get your degree and go out into the world. So many of them fail because they don't seem to have the drive to succeed and they don't seem to be able -- they don't understand that they need to help each other.
WALKER-HARPS:But isn't that a carryover from what -- from their home life?You see the same thing here in your local community. So would they 01:22:00not take that to college and it would have the same meaning to them?
HACKBART:Yeah maybe so.
WALKER-HARPS:Yeah this is the same practice. This is what we were talking aboutearlier Art. There's a subtle -- or a disconnect.
HACKBART:But I -- but the thing is, is it because they didn't see it happen? Idon't -- but you're saying though that their parents are like that though. Well yeah, and it -- there were even, back when I was growing up I'm sure, a lot of people who were just so disengaged that they wouldn't know.
WALKER-HARPS:Somewhere along the line we failed to teach our children. We havenot taught them well and there's this break in the chain. And they either don't know or have an appreciation for it.
HACKBART:It's -- they have -- it's an apathy. They don't recognize01:23:00it. They don't know it. It doesn't relate to them. It's got nothing to do with them. And it still actually has a lot to do with them because whether they realize it or not they're still facing a lot of discrimination. They're not thinking about the fact that even though they don't remember it, some of their professors do and they -- the professors may be okay with them flunking out. Some of them actually may be glad that they're flunking out.
HACKBART:Right, right. It's unfortunate but it's like you can't seem to getthrough the wall to say, "Hey, you have something that you need to guard. You don't need to be taking it for granted." I don't -- maybe it's that we didn't -- we haven't taught them that they should value this -- these things. I 01:24:00hope that with my son that I was at least teaching him -- I know that he was a little bit political. He didn't like it when he went to school and they would sit there and they'd talk about President Bush and how wonderful he was. And he'd be sitting there going, "No he's not and stop talking about it. I don't want to hear it." (laughter) Of course they're probably looking at him going, "Why is this child talking to us." And that was when he was in private school.
CAIN:But he came home and told you.
CAIN:He came home and told you.
HACKBART:He came home and told me yeah. And I never heard anything from themabout it so I guess they figured that if he knew enough to say that to them that they were not going to say anything to me about it. And I hope that 01:25:00with Sharah I can get her a sense of what's going on. But it's been interesting because she likes that movie Hidden Figures. I had to buy the movie because she wanted to see the movie again. I took her to see it the first time. And she's a hyper little thing and I was actually really surprised that she sat there to see it. And she fidgeted a little bit but she likes that movie. And she would tell me about parts of the movie, so she got it. And she read the little storybook on the Rosa Parks story. And so she's got that this stuff happened, that these were things that happened in the past, that things weren't always as nice as she sees them right now, that they were different. And it doesn't make her hate anybody because she'll tell me about little friends at school. And it's not 01:26:00-- it's never this little black girl or this little white girl or anything. It's just people. So she gets it. She gets that this is something that happened in the past but things for the most part are different now. I don't know if she gets that she still has to watch out for what might happen. But she is very much aware of what happened in the past.
CAIN:How old is she?
CAIN:Wow. That's truly amazing.
WALKER-HARPS:Apparently she's getting the same teaching and training that youreceived, which allowed you to go to California. And your daddy -- you come home and your daddy wonder why would you marry a white person. Well because of the way you were raised and because of what you were taught. And I had to --
HACKBART:He never -- he never -- that was never even a question.
WALKER-HARPS:I never -- (Hackbart laughs) I never understood until01:27:00today. We would wonder well why would -- they came out of a family a part of the struggle and they would go and marry of the opposite race.
HACKBART:Because they told us even as children they didn't care. They didn'tcare what color the person was that we married.
WALKER-HARPS:I see now. I hear you now. (Hackbart laughs) But I'm saying thatthere were many blacks who wondered --
HACKBART:Why, yeah, yeah.
HACKBART:Yeah, what she's speaking of is that there are -- we do have a fewinterracial marriages in our family yeah.
WALKER-HARPS:Yeah well all of the families (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) inyour family.
CAIN:In many families, African American families, I think that was the messagefolks got that folks were kind of human first. And that this whole thing about racial division, you deal with people how they deal with you and so forth. 01:28:00
HACKBART:Right, right, right. Exactly, how they deal with you, you feel them outto see whether they're on your team or they're just going to be just total opposite all the way down the line. And that's how you deal with them yeah. So my dad was not one to give people a whole lot of chances in that area. Once he figured out where you were coming from, that's the way he reacted to you. And he was not one to -- if you were going to mess up and continue to go in that direction, he was going to be sure to cut it off quick. (laughs)
WALKER-HARPS:That's how he looked at it. He did not look at it in terms ofcolor, but he did look at it in terms of whether it was good for you. 01:29:00
HACKBART:So I picked up a lot of things from my dad in that respect. Mama tendsto give people that two or three different chances, so does my brother. And I was just one -- I am just one if I see that it's just not -- it's just going to go the wrong way or it's just you're going to be somebody that's going to always be tripping me up, I'm going to cut that off, shut that down as quick as I can. So the one thing that slowed me down on that was I went to a training class with FAA. And they taught me that if you were dealing with a person and you only had to deal with that person for that day that moment and you'd probably never see them again for the rest of your life, just let it go. (laughs) Let it go. If you don't have to get into -- if you can get your issue resolved 01:30:00without having to get into really going to battle with them, let it go. Don't waste your energy. Save your energy for the battles that really matter.
BAUSKE:That was good advice.
WALKER-HARPS:Yeah that's kind of my philosophy too.
CUNNINGHAM:So before we wrap up today, is there anything else that you'd like toshare with us that we haven't talked about?
HACKBART:Well there's probably a whole bunch of stuff. (laughter) My -- I wasalways daddy's little girl. And he was always the support system for me. Like I said, from being in college and the different classes and things that I had and the issues I had and even going into the workplace, if I had a problem I was going to call him and say this is what's going on what should I 01:31:00do? And, like I said, he was the one who told me, "If the class -- if you're failing the class don't worry about it. Just do it again. Just do it until you can -- until you get it. Don't quit." He was my serious support system. And whenever I go to visit his grave and Shane's grave, that's the thing that just gets me every time I go there is that two people -- the two men in my life who were my support system are gone, (crying) I'm sorry.
WALKER-HARPS:Yeah he was my support system too. He was like a brother to me. Hewas always there (had my back?).
CAIN:Would you like to say where they were laid to rest?
HACKBART:They're in -- over on Everee Inn Road, that's Westwood01:32:00Gardens. Yeah I was just there a couple days ago. And he liked that idea too because when I bought the plots for -- I bought four plots, two of them for him and my mom. And at the time there weren't a whole lot of white -- a whole lot of black people buried over there. So when I did that he liked that. (laughter)
WALKER-HARPS:And I remember you pointed -- you pointed that out me at that time.Yeah I remember now you doing that. Well I can remember when we had the fair for him when we were recognizing him. And we had an envelope and we were going to give him a donation because that was our tribute. So I took it to him. "No, what are you doing?" (laughter) "No." He would not accept it. He wouldn't 01:33:00accept anything.
HACKBART:That's what this one -- this -- when I did this one, --
WALKER-HARPS:Okay, oh (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) oh okay.
HACKBART:-- this scrapbook, that was the one that was at -- we had that at -- inthat program. Growing up the way I did with him, with my uncle, with my mom, that's what made me the person that I am. And I thank God that he put me where I was with the people that I was with and the way that I grew up. Yeah, I have accomplished a lot in my life. But it's because of the way they raised me and the things that they taught me and that you move forward, that you made things better, that you fight for other peoples' rights, and you try to do the right thing. 01:34:00
CUNNINGHAM:Thank you so much for being with us today and sharing your dad andyour mom's story and your story as well.
HACKBART:Thank you. Thank you for letting me do it. Sorry about the tears. But,like I said, I was at the cemetery a couple days ago and it was my son's birthday so --
CAIN:We can all relate to the emotion of losing folks and what they meant.
WALKER-HARPS:And he was loyal to friends. I don't think he ever got over thedeath of Isaiah.
HACKBART:No. Yeah that was -- I don't think -- I wasn't here then. I think I wasstill in California.
WALKER-HARPS:Yeah you were.
HACKBART:He -- I think they had stopped -- they stopped working the store for awhile or something.
HACKBART:But he -- when he finally fully retired and he was working01:35:00in the liquor store, he had a best friend. I can't remember Isaiah's last name.
HACKBART:Okay yeah. And Daddy would be at the store closing up -- getting readyto close up the store. And Isaiah was working at the -- was he at the American Legion or the VFW?
HACKBART:Okay. He'd be working -- he was working at the -- would work the bar atthe VFW. And he would leave earlier than Daddy was finishing up at the store so he would leave there and go over to the store and keep my dad company until my dad closed up the store. And one night they were in there and they were -- my dad was getting ready to close up. And three young men walked in with guns and they were wanting to rob the place. And my dad had -- he had a gun in 01:36:00the store of course. You know back then businesses, you keep guns in there. But he was not going to reach for the gun because Isaiah was standing out in the front of the counter so he was fully exposed to these three guys. And so my dad just went in the register and he gave them the money. And as they were leaving one of them turned around and just started shooting, so he shot my dad's best friend. And he lingered in a coma for a week or two and then passed away. And my dad could never go back into the store again.
CAIN:When was that?
WALKER-HARPS:About 30 years ago, 20 years anyway.
HACKBART:Yeah maybe 20 because I was still in California. So it01:37:00could've been 30 but maybe 25.
WALKER-HARPS:Perhaps. Perhaps because I don't think I was president at thattime. I think we were in the process of transitioning at the time that that happened. So it was pretty close, about 25 years. Your mama said to me, "Okay," at Jimmy Holland's funeral, "Okay, then have you thought about the fact that all of your little group is gone? You're the last one here." (laughs) I think about that all the time. "They're all gone, all except you." I said, "Yeah, 01:38:00I hadn't thought about it but you're right. Don't want to think about it either but you're right." Isaiah, Jimmy, Blake, Glenn, Richard.
HACKBART:And Richard was a cousin of mine too.
BAUSKE:Thank you very much.
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