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Interview with Hattie Heflin, July 28, 2015

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:11 - Early life

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Partial Transcript: Could you introduce yourself, please, and say when and where you were born?

Segment Synopsis: Heflin chronicles her early childhood, from her birth in Oglethorpe County to living in Chicago and Comer, Georgia. She describes her family farm in Comer as being self-sufficient and somewhat isolated, and she mentions rare outings to clothing shops, Piney Grove Baptist Church, and picnics with her extended family.

Keywords: Comer; Oglethorpe County; childhood; family

00:08:07 - The family farm

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Partial Transcript: I went to school, I guess, around, of course six.

Segment Synopsis: Heflin speaks briefly about starting school, describes the functions and atmosphere of her family's farm, and discusses conflicts with her siblings as well as her admiration for her mother.

Keywords: Oglethorpe Elementary School; family; farm; parents; siblings

00:19:08 - Elementary school / Family history

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Partial Transcript: After I started school- and that was in 1960, roughly...

Segment Synopsis: Heflin talks about her love for learning, her disdain for the school bus, and her father's views on education--that boys should become farmers or manual laborers, but that girls should pursue schooling. Heflin also describes her ancestry, her family's life in Chicago, and her conservative upbringing in the countryside.

Keywords: bus; education; school; upbringing; values

00:29:29 - A mother's legacy

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Partial Transcript: I'm curious about your- you mentioned, particularly, your mother instilling a sense of pride in you and your siblings. What do you mean by that, or how did she do that?

Segment Synopsis: Heflin talks about her mother's pride, positivity, and confidence. Heflin says that because of her sheltered lifestyle and her mother's attitude, she was unaware that race mattered in the Jim Crow South until she was six years old. Heflin further describes how her mother's influence impacted her own self-presentation throughout her schooling and career.

Keywords: discrimination; mother; parenting; presentation

00:36:39 - Integrating the Athens school system

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Partial Transcript: I was fourth- excuse me- I had just entered fourth- so after- finished fourth.

Segment Synopsis: Heflin describes attending a segregated middle school, an integrated high school, and a joint enrollment program at Athens Tech. Heflin also discusses her family life in the early 1970s.

Keywords: Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School; Clarke Central High School; Jim Crow; education

00:48:52 - Experience at Clarke Central High School

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Partial Transcript: Can I go back to the desegregation of Clarke Central a little bit?

Segment Synopsis: Heflin talks about a black power walkout from Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School, her favorite teachers in middle and high school, and how being in an integrated environment affected her attitude toward education.

Keywords: education; integration; school

00:57:30 - Financial struggles / Pageant / Class reunions

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Partial Transcript: So, even though we no longer lived on the farm, our responsibilities did not change.

Segment Synopsis: Heflin recalls various jobs her mother took on after her father's death, and she describes the family's financial struggles and their life in public housing. Heflin also talks about experiencing discrimination in the Miss Clarke Central pageant and attending segregated reunions for the class of 1973.

Keywords: Bethel Church Homes

01:07:41 - College and careers

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Partial Transcript: Uh, so you graduated from Clarke Central in 1973?

Segment Synopsis: Heflin talks about volunteer efforts as well as her post-secondary education, which included an online accounting program and a business education program at Athens Tech. She also discusses past jobs with McDonald's and the Northeast Health District, pondering the impact of race on employment.

Keywords: Action Boys and Girls Club; Athens Technical College; discrimination; health department

01:18:55 - Perspective on the Athens community

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Partial Transcript: I'm just the type person that wants to be involved, and I want to make a difference.

Segment Synopsis: Heflin discusses community involvement, her mother's exemplary work ethic, and changes Athens has undergone in her lifetime.

Keywords: business; economics; government; volunteering