Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. Memoir - Part 1
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University of Illinois at Springfield Norris L Brookens Library Archives/Special Collections Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. Memoir H324. Hayden, Bruce K. Sr. (1889-1977) Interview and memoir 2 tapes, 180 mins., 61 pp. BLACK COMMUNITY PROJECT Hayden, Springfield resident and postal employee, discusses his experiences as a mail carrier in the Springfield community, segregation and discrimination, changes in Springfield and in the conditions for African Americans. He also discusses his experiences during WWI in France, serving in an all-black unit and recalls the influenza epidemic that struck the transport ship en route to Europe. He also mentions Springfield businesses, mob action and lynching in Fullerton, Kentucky, his wife and her family in DuQuoin, and his interest in music and checkers. Interview by Reverend Negil L. McPherson, 1975 OPEN See collateral file: photograph of Harris Archives/Special Collections LIB 144 University of Illinois at Springfield One University Plaza, MS BRK 140 Springfield IL 62703-5407 © 1975 University of Illinois Board of Trustees I --··-··· Preface 'llii.s manuscript is the product of a tape recorded interview conducted by Rei/. Negil M:.Ph.erson for the Oral History Office on Jaruary 31, 1975. Paula Bergschneider transcribed the tapes ani edited the transcript. Bruce Hayden, Sr. TNB.S oom on August 14, 1889 in fulton, Kentucky. Mr. Hayden lived in Tuscola prior to living in Springfield. He ~rked for the post office for 32 years. In this IIE~~Dir Mr. Hayden discusses W:>rld War I, the Depression, segregation in Springfield arrl his hobbies , DDJSic arrl checkers . Readers of the oral history mem::>ir should bear in nd.nd that it is a transcript of the spoken ~rd., ani that the intervie~r, narrator ani editor sought to preserve the informal , conversational style that is inherent in such historical sources. Sangamn State University is not responsible for the factual accuracy of the n:eooir, nor for views expressed therein; these are for the reader to judge. 'Ihe manuscript may be read, quoted ani cited freely. It may not be reproduced in v.hole or in part by any IIEans, electronic or IIEChanical, with::nlt pennission in writing fran the Oral History Office, Sangamon State University, Springfield, Illinois, 62708. Table of Contents Mr. Hayden Ccxles to Springfield . Job Classifications Segregation in Springfield. Mr • Hayden's Experiences as a Mail Carrier. WJrld war I • 'lb.e Depression. casing the Mail . Custaners on the Mail Route . TUscola, Illinois 'Ihe Beach Hotel Dabney Jones . 'lhe M:rve Fran fullerton to I:>uQ.Join. Mr. Hayden's Parents. 'Ihe ~ Setvices. Mrs. Hayden . 1m. Interest in M.lsic. Master Checker Player • Politics. <llanges in Springfield. . 1 . 3 . 5 . 7 .12 .12 .14 .15 .17 .20 .21 .23 .26 .27 .31 .34 .47 .52 .54 Bruce K. Hayden, Sr., Jarruary 31, 1975, Springfield, Illinois. Negil M!Pherson, Intervie~r. Q: ~Mr. Hayden, I un:lerstand that you cane to Springfield in 1944? A: 1944, yes. Q: \here did you live men you cane here? A: I lived at 1118 South Pas field. Q: That 1 s just next door. Vbat was this neighborhocxl like? A: It was nice ani quiet, alx>ut like it is D.OiN, very nice ani quiet. Q: You had people of both races living here? A: Yes, very few Negroes though, very few, about four or five families. Q: W:lat maie you cane to Springfield? A: I had retired on disability on the mail service. At that tilre, ~ I retired the retiranent pay w:~.s $100 a ll'Dt1th. My son was in the secon:l year of high school, and ~had plamed to sen:l him to college. I knew that I couldn't sen:l him to college on $100 a m::mth. ve had a frien:l wer here that was a superinten:lent arrl had a very lovely job, so my wife said, ''-by don 1 t you write to him an:l see if he can get you a job mer in Springfield?" I wrote to him, an:l he replied. So I did get a job. I got a job as a mail clerk in the Department of Finance in 1944. ve came here in August of 1944 and I started to w:>rk for the Finance DepartnEnt. I \\Orked there for a year and a half, and then I transferra.i to the Labor Depart::nBl.t. I w:>rked there about tt~.En.ty-four years. Q: Vllat was you frien:l 1 s rume? A: Inther Black. Q: Vllat was he the superinten:lent of? A: He was the superintement in the office of Nickles. Nickles was the State Superinten:lent, and Mr. Black was superintendent of the teachers . He was mer all the teachers un:ler his jurisdiction. He was originally fran Tuscola. He was the Douglas County Superinten:lent of Schools , that's where I '~:let him. They liva.i on my route, a very lmely man. Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 2 Q: As a mail clerk, Wla.t did that job consist of? A: A mail clerk, that is nessenger clerk was Wla.t we called than then, it was distributing the parcels that would come in, letters to the different office buildings ani the Archives ani any of the office buildings under the supervision of the State. We had those letters to take CNer just like a delivery man. That 18 \obat T£ \\Utlld do in the IIDrning ani then in the aftemoon, just like a regular mailman, just rressages they ~d wmt to send. If they \\UU.ld wmt to send a rressage, a letter to one depart:ment, why they 'W:11J.ld just give it to one of the rressengers instea:i of mailing it. Q: Did you all deliver the regular postage? A: No, not the regular post. A postman canE, but v.e just delivered the messages fran one department to another. Q: How long did you w:>rk at that? A: I worked at that about a year and a half in the Finance Department. Then I transferred fran the Fi..nanace Depart:ment to the Labor Depart:ment, and I worka:l there about oenty-~ years. Q: Did you w:>rk in the AriiDry Building or in the Capital? A: No , I W>rked in the Anoory Building, that is I star ted in the Arrmry Building. I W>rked there the year ani a half that I was with the Finance Department. 'Ihen I transferred to the Labor Department; it was in the State Capital Building. That 1 s where I spent the rest of my tine with the State. Q: VJho was your supervisor, do you ra:nanber? A: Let 1 s see now, the <lrl.ef Clerk they were called. A fellow by the name of M:Bride, Carl M:Bride was my imnediate supervisor. Q: Well, did this cooe under the Secretary of State? A: No, this was under the gcNernor. Q: Vllo was the governor at that time? A: Qwernor Green. Green was the gCNernor at that time. Q: Have you ha:i any opportunity of talking with him personally? A: I have talked to him several times, and each of the g011ernors that I have served under I have ha:i the opportunity to talk to than. Q: Did you go to their offices or Yhat? A: Their offices ~re in the State capital, and you W>Uld see than, you know, and rreet than out :in the hallway and stop and talk to than. Sometirres you 'WOUld see than on the elevator and things like that, and Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 3 they v.ould stop and ask you ''How are you today?" and things like that. If yoo had any personal business ani you wanted to see than to talk about things , 'thy then you ~uld be permitted to go in, being an anployee of the State. (pause) Q: Of all the g0\7emors that you w.:>rked under, is there any one that you favored mre than any of the others? A: I thought Governor Kerner. I liked him so very much. I thought he was one of the nicest tiEl that I have ever knoWl, ani vhen he got in that trouble I said, ''Of all things!" We all liked him. He was such a gentleman ani such a nice fellow, ani he just treated everybody with so mJCh respect, Gov'ernor Kerner did. I was just so surprised, he was a very, very fine man. Fine g0\7ernor, he was nice to other employees that he v.ould n:eet. Q: N:>w, mere you ~rked for twenty-~ years, was this also part of the messenger clerk? A: ~ssenger clerk, yes. I was a Messenger Clerk I for eight or ten years, ani then I was rec lassifie:i ani prom:> too to a Messenger Clerk II, which paid a little mre salary. Q: Is there a reason after you ~rked here for so long that you didn't get any higher prom:>tion? A: Clerk II was as high as they were permitted in an office of that kind. Now you v.ould have to be reclassified if you wanted to get a higher pranotion, they ~ld have to reclassify you and p.lt you into another office. That's what they said they ~d have to do because you take these small offices like I ~rked in there, there's not rocm for any clerks higher than Messenger Clerk II. They had other clerks, just clerks, Yhy you could go to IV or V, but the n:essenger clerks, 'toby they didn't have any classifications higher. Q: Did you have to take an exam if you wante:l to be reclassified? A: Yes, you w:>Uld have to take an examination. I had taken all of the examinations I wantai to take. I knew I ~dn' t be there very nuch longer so I didn't bother with the examinations. Q: Did you n:eet up with mJCh discrimination working? A: No, I did not meet up with any discrind.nation at all. I was very fortunate. I just got along beautifully, not discriminatai against at all. Q: How long did it take before they praooted you to Messenger II? A: About ten years. I was in the Finance Depart::roont, ani when I transferred to the Labor Department, I stayed there about eight years. I w.:>rked as a Messenger Clerk II about ten or twelve years. 'Ihat was t\Enty-four years altogether that I worked at the State. Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 4 Q: Is this the ordinary time that they take to pranote sorrebody? A: Well, saxe offices prcm:>te mre readily than others and that's up to the supervisors. Because I 've lmmn sane to go and that's W"lat the fell~ 'WJ'Uld say. A white fellow 'WJ'Uld go in an::l stay for a year or o.u, some of than not that long , and they w:>uld pranote than right away ahea:l of the colored employees, they would say, rut I 've never care in contact with it. Of course, the offices ~re I w:>rked, there ~re not any colored. Q: 'Ihere -weren't any other colorerl? A: No other colored in the Labor Departlnmt. Q: And this Labor Department still canes urxler the governor? A: lhier the governor, yes. Q: Now, in your :im:l:Ediate neighborhood here in Springfield, did you have a grocery store? A: Store? Yes, there was a store within about ~ blocks this way and about four blocks the other way. Kroger's was about four blocks, that's the largest, that's one of the better stores. Q: 'lhat 's vthere you did mst of your shopping? A: Yes, Kroger's . And the Avenue too, Avenue is about six blocks. Q: VJhat was the situation? Did they hire Blacks in those stores at that time? A: Kroger's used to have Negroes w:>rking there, but they don't have now. But in the Averue Shop, they have one Negro there, an:l that's a m.JCh smaller store. It's on South Grand West and it's a m.JCh smaller store. Q: Yes, but when you first came here they didn't have anybody? A: No, the Avenue didn't have anyone, no Negroes. But Kroger's userl to have than, I don't know \<lily they don't have Negroes there now. Q: \hat about a drugstore? A: A drugstore within tw:> blocks here. 'nley don't anploy Negroes. Q: Ib you know if any has ever tried to get employrrent? A: lb , I don't. I don 1 t know \<lbether they have or not. I don 1 t even know whether any of than have trie:l to get employenent wer at Kroger's. I 1Ve never heard them say anything about it. Q: How WJUld you canpare Springfield, when you came here, to Where you came fran? Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 5 A: tell, there's a vast difference. \e cane fran a tow:t. ~ere V.E did not experience any discrimination at all. Vben ~ cane here, this was one of the m:>st segregated tow:t.s that I think I've ever seen in my life. It was just something terrible. Q: Vbat was segregated? A: Everything, everything in Springfield . You Y.Ere not allowed to go to any of the restaurants, and if you ~t to the picture shows, you l~~Dllld have to sit up in the balcony, and you \\Ere refuse:i service, and they didn't have any employees, ~ept janitors, in the stores. It was just something terrible, one of the w::>rst places I think I 've ever seen in my life. Q: Is there any particular theatre that 'W:>uldn' t serve or all of than? A: All of them, they \\Ere all the same. I didn't go, I was sick at the time. 'Iha.t is, I didn't go out, but my wife and my son vent. '!hey experience:i the difficulty. Q: Vbat kind of difficulty? A: '!hey didn't 'Wallt them to sit in certam places there. '1hey bought same seats domstairs, and they ~t doWJBtairs. '1he usher cane and told them they couldn't sit there and my son said, 'Well, V.E are here, and~ are going to stay." Of course, they tried to get than to tiDV'e, and they 'WOU.ldn' t liDle, so they dido' t try to p.lt them out or anything like that, rut they told them that, '"lhe next tllm you will have to go UpStairs • II And he said, ''Well, V.E w::>n't go upstairs." Boy, it was sanething terrible. Q: Did they try to go back? A: I don't know vhether they want back or not. I doubt very tiDJCh vhether they did go back. (chuckles) Q: Ib you ranember the name of this theatre? A: No, I don't. I don't know what the I1aiie of the theatre was. All of them ha:l the sane policy. Q: Vllat about eating places? A: You couldn't eat in those places. '!here wasn't anyplace you could eat in doWJ.to'Wl. Q: Have you e~er personally been turned aY~B.y? A: No, I haven't. I didn't go to those places. I dido' t go there myself. As I say, vben I came here, I was ill and for one year, I didn't even go to clrurch, just recuperating fran the heart attack. I dido 't go out anyplace. I 'W:)uld just go to v.nrk and then right back hare. So I never experienced any difficulty here in Springfield, rut I knew it v.ns here ani my family had experienced it. Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 6 Q: And you did not encounter any difficulty per se, on your job? A: t-b, none Whatever, none at all. It w:mld be a break in a few years, it didn't last too long, but it was several years after~ came here, a couple of years or IIDre before it did start to break. Q: W:rl.ch school did your son attend Wl.en he cane here? A: Springfield High. He attended there t\oD years. He graduated fran Springfield High. (tape turned off) Q: So yw reo:anber the n.ane of this theatre now you say? A: Orpheum 'llieatre, yes . Q: VJhere was that located, do you ranember? Was that on Sixth Street? A: Fifth Street, yes . W: (Mr. Hayden's wife) Down near there, it seems to tiE it was. Q: Near Fifth and Washington, somewhere. A: Yes, arouni there. W: It W3.S one of the largest theatres in tow:1.. Q: Now What about this incident at the drugstore with your son? A: My son ~nt there for a milkshake or an ice cream cone, it m.J.St have been a milkshake because a cone he could have taken with him, rut he wanted to drink his milkshake there, and they told him he wuld have to take it out. He said he didn't want it, he just left it there with than, he refused to take it. Q: t-bw this is Watt's Drug Store up the street? A: Watt's Drug Store, yes, on South Grand ani Pasfield. W: ve didn't go there for fifteen years after that. \oe just didn't b.ly anything there! Q: Has that kind of attitude been changed now? A: Changed canpletely. 'lliey are just as nice as they can be in there. You've t:le\7er seen people treat you any better than they treat you now. Q: I notice also, you said that Wl.en you cane here, your son attended Springfield High. How was the treatment there? A: Very good, very good. He was awarded, last year, a prize. I think it was five dollars they gave for the outstanding one in each division, and he was awarded that. Ani also he was given the position of assistant band director, was prcm:>te:i When he first cane here fran 'fuscola. lhey Bruce K. Hayden, Sr . 7 ha!ve tw:> banis out there, and he ¥BS in the second band. He played so well, they p.1t him in the first band , and he hadn't played in the band but al:x>ut a IIDnth and they p.1t him in the first chair, the first clarinet in this high school band . Q: That was sort of urrusual , ¥BS it not? A: Very urrusual for a youngster to CCJIIe an:l be prOIIDted an:i given the first chair, you know. Q: "Where did he learn to play the clarinet? A: Mi..lliken University. ve took him aver there. Q: Wla.t about this clarinet that he played at the school? A: \.ell, that's llihat I'm talking about, how he got to be given that award ani be given that position. I '11 tell you that \o\hen we get into IIllSic. Q: Okay, I see. Did he have any unpleasant experience at this school? A: None W.tever, none Ybatever. He ¥BS treated with the greatest respect. Q: You said you came here in 1944 and I believe you said you came from 'fuscola. Now Ybat sort of w:>rk did you do in Tuscola? A: Mlil carrier, thirty-two years. Q: Do you want to tell m sooething about this? A: I took the examination in 1910 or 1911, arouni there somev.here, an:l out of a class of forty-five or fifty, I tn9de the highest grade. At that time civil service ms just beginning there. Those positions had been always just given to \\boever they wante:l to give than to, but they were partisan in power. So they thought it w:>uld be better to have the civil service appoint those fellows and they wouldn't lose their jobs every four years or so. So I took the examination and passed it, forty or fifty, ani I tn9de the highest grade and the postmaster • . . Yhen the fellows arouni town, they knew the grades vhen they were p.lt in the paper. And they said that they founi out that I had taken the examination and made the highest grade. 'lhey asked the postmaster if he ¥BS, "going to appoint that--" SalE of than, you know, not all of than, but just enoogh, you know, how they couldn't appoint a nigger on the post office. And he said, ''Well, you had no business letting a nigger get smarter than you." (laughter) So he appointoo m and gage me the job. I starte:l in as . . . you have to be a sub. So I ¥BB appointed as sub. I got my letter that I ha:l been appointed as sub carrier in the Tuscola Post Office, and, as soon as possible, I ¥BS to report to the office arrl familiarize ~self with the w:>rkings of the post office, how the carriers perforn:e:l their duties. And before I ha::l time to go into the post office to learn about the details , one of the carriers ' wife died, and so he just stopped right then. But I knew he didn't want ne to have the job, Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 8 that's the thing, because he knew that I didn't know anything about the post office. He could of, it wruldn' t have lrurt h:im any, he could have stayed there and put the mail up. You know, he couldn't do anything about it, his wife -was lying there dea:l, how 'WaS it going to lrurt him to cane down there an hour or two and p.1t up the mail so that I could deliver it and just show ne scmathing about it, but he just let the thing go. He didn't show up at the post office. So the postma.ster calle:i IIE, I was the first sub, to cane and w:>rk and carry out the mail. Well, they all knew that I didn't know anything. I hadn't been in back of the post office mere the employees are, they have a place there for just employees, well, I hadn't even been back there. I didn't know anything about casing the mail or anything about it at all. So I sho~ up for vurk that llDming, I didn't know any llDre about sorting or ~t the duties ~re than you Vl>uld about flying an airplane. I don't think you ~u.ld know much about that. (chuckles) So I ~t back there, and that mail was all just pile:i up on the desk there and there this sack 'WaS there and there ~re the keys, and I 'WaS to sort that mail. I was to case that mail and sort that mail and deliver it on a route. I had never been on that route, had never seen how to case the mail. I didn't know where to put the mail. 'Ihey have those cages fixed for streets, each street, you know, they 'WJUJ.d have a place. Just like you are taking this street here or that street, one, tw), three, four or five, many streets you w:ruld have, you w:ruld p.1t the letters in those boxes there. Well, I didn't know one street fran the next. I didn't know tlhere the streets ~re, I didn't know anything. So there I v.as. Really I felt so bad. I knew they ~re not giving ne the right kind of break, but they had a postmaster there, capps Sluss. He was very considerate, he knew \\hat they ~re trying to do, he could see. ~ile v.e sympathized with the fellow, you knoW vtlat I mean, his wife die:i, why v.e knew that, but they knew too that if he had wante:i to he could have cane there and helpe:i me get starte:i. Ani there they -were, I ~t there. I never felt so bad about anything in my life. I didn't know tibat to do. 'Ihe fellow said , "Well , there's the sack, there's the mail , so v.hat." So after sb..llnbling aroun:l there for a day or tw:>, I ~uld go out and people w:ruld be looking through their mail ani they w:ruld say, ''Where' s my paper?" or ''Where's my mail?" I didn't know ~t I was talking about, just reading blinily. I ~t in and told captain Sluss, and he said, ''Well, I will see \\hat I can do." So he had one of the fellows that knew a little IIDre about it than I, Walter Bosley--he was my neighbor there and he wasn't so happy either for ne to have that job, you know. In those days, that 'WaS considered a very fine job, one of the better jobs because it was a steady job and it paid good salary. So he helpe:i a little, and after t~ or three days, or four days, Frank Se'Well ca:na back and relieve:! IIE. 'Ihen I took wery opportunity I ~uld get, every chance I w:ruld get then, I'd go in the post office and I learned then how to sort the mail and \\here the streets v.ere and how to case the mail. But that was the tlDSt horrible experience I think I have ever or one of the IIDst horrible experiences that I have ever had in my life. I wante:i the job so badly, I 'WBll.ted to li.t>rk because I knew it was a good job, I needed to ~rk and I wanted it, so I just had nightmares. And now, even sometimes now, even in later years, when I dream, I will dream of that incident. Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 9 Q: It was such a traumatic experience? A: Yes, I \IUUld dream of how horrible it was. It w:1s one of the IIDSt horrible experiences that I have ever experienced in my life. Just thinking, as I say, I 'WBilted the job and wanted to WJrk and needed to VJOrk. I pinned my ropes on it, I hal w:>rked hard to get ready for the examination and to pass the examination fairly, so I didn 1 t know Yhat to think, you know. No one w:>uld. If he ha:i 'WBilted to have been a rrean guy, he could 1Ve gotten rre out, you know what I rrean, he could have discharged rre, but he didn 1 t do it. He was a very lew ely man, and today I get letters fran his daughter. She 1 s the only one living. Her name is Hattie Sluss. As long as there is a Sluss in the United States, in the w:>rld, I '11 always respect that because he wa.s so nice to rre. lie called him Captain A. H. Sluss and I 111 tell you about that after v.e get the checkers. That goes with the checkers. Q: So that was the name of your ];X)Stmaster. A: Posb:na.ster, yes, at 'fuscola. The one that I served under, and the one that was so nice to rre to give rre an opportunity, you know, to get started. He g<Ne rre the job, he appointed rre. Q: I see. N:::>w, w:>rking as a mail carrier that rrust be very--! 1m sure you have very unusual experiences. A: Ch, yes. Experiences that it w:>uld take fran now through the rest of my life. I couldn't fin.:l enough paper to write all the experiences that I have hal in the thirty-tw:> years with different families, each family is different. Each family is different. You have approximately 400 families to serve twice daily, and you might know that with the experiences that you \IUUld have, you ~d encounter with families, you know. So that was a wide experience, eJJery day, it w:1s aliiDst daily. And I told you about--on the others--about I never bought, in the thirty-t"WJ years that I se:rved on that route after the first year men people got acquainted with rre and began to like rre, I never bought a shirt, a necktie, socks, or any of those things . '!hey was given to rre at Urristmas time. I just had IIDre presents and IIDre things at Christn:as tine than I could carry home. I couldn 1 t carry than. Q: Did you have any custooers that v.ere very unkind? A: Cbly one, and his name was Joe that I was telling you about that got killed. They had a dog, and he wa.s a s~ll head. He didn't like anybody, and he was a little prejudiced, too. He w:1s about the only one that sho\el any discordance, you know. He had an old dog in his yard, and the dog was a police dog. '!he dog was a little p.1ppy, just men he was a little puppy he grew up' and then men he began to grow' he got bad. He'd run after you and it got so that he was just dangerous. I told the postn:aster about it, so he told Coxy. I done told him that he \IUUld have to do sorrething about that dog, and he was ld.nd of a shyster ];X)litician. He just felt like he could do anything he wanted to, so he said he wasn 1 t going to do anything with that dog and I 1d better deliver his mail. Bruce K. Hayden, Sr . 10 Well, everybody was for me, you see, all the people, even the postmaster ani all the people on the route. They said, ''Vby that dog might bite Bruce." They were all truman, they were just lOV'ely. I've neTer seen such people, such lO\Tely people in your life. He was just determined that I was going to deliver that mail there to his house. The banker next door, Mr. Wallace there, he was a big politician, ani he said, "Bruce, you're not going to deliver that mail. ~'11 get an inspector do~ here." So an inspector canE do'if.ll--he had written to the inspector. Any kind of canplaint you w::ruld make, they w::mld send an inspector--an inspector CBJIE doWl.. He and I went on the route. He \\lent on the route with me, and he said , "You don't have to deliver that mail." Well , that made him na:i. He had to get a lock box. He cBJIE into the post office one day, and he was so na:i and shook about it. I heard him tell a fellow that was the assistant postmaster, he said, "If he's not goin2' to deliver my mail, I'm going to get my mail." "lmyway," he said, "t~t-y s a 'ilhite man's job." I heard him say that. Q: Really? (clru.ckles) A: '"'hat's a vhite man's job." So they said, ''Well, it isn't a question of being vhite. Bruce is just--"I never will forget. 'Those boys, there were twelve of them in the office and ~lve of them stood up for ue--and they said, "Bruce is just as v.hite as any of us in here." A crowi of those fellows, "lie's just as Wl.ite as anyb::xly in here." That made him madder than e.~er. After a\J:lile he got all right, rut I told you what happened with him. Q: Yes. :tbw is this picture here a group of the A: All of those anployees. Q: Employees. A: All anployees, post office anployees. Those \\ere the men that I T,\Urked with in the post office. Q: I see. Is the superintendent in here? A: I beg your pardon? Q: 'lhe superintendent or the postmaster? A: Yes, the one in the vhite. Q: Ch, the one in the center in Wl.ite, yes. A: He's the postmaster. (looking at pictures) That's the b.mch of than. Very lO\lely to me, just loyal. Q: Well, did you finish then, did you continue to deliver this fellow Jones' mail later on? A: 12 got a lock box. 'lhen e.~entually they got rid of the dog, and I delivered the mail again. I know he felt asham:rl of himself after he Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 11 found out mw ridiculous he acted, you know, not having people on the side that he thought. You know how it is, you think you have support and you don't get it. He thought he was going to have support but he didn't have it, they \\ere all on my side. Because I w::>rked hard, there was no mistake about it. I 'i.\!Orked hard because I wanted to keep the job, and I knew it w:>Uld be security for ne. I wanted to rear my family and educate my family, and w::>rked hard on the job. I did 'Vttat a lot of the carriers WJUldn' t do. You see, you're not suppose:! to pick up letters given to you to mail without JX>Stage being attache:! to it. But I w::>uld take those letters ani p.1t the pennies :in my pocket, and then vtl.en I w:mld get to the post office--it wasn't against the law, but then you are not supposed to do that--'!Nell, I did the things that you vere not supposed to do, you know. But it paid off, it paid the biggest dividend. The presents I received arrl the l<Ne that people hal for us was just simply amazing, just amazing to think that 'Vtlite people w::>uld have such l011e for Negroes. I'm telling you, I've nE!V'er seen anything like it :in my life. Arrl it's just genuine, it was just alm:>st unbeliE!V'able. (pause) Q: Now did, or after you hal learne:l the route, did any other Black try to get a job there? A: No, no, there wa.sn' t any there. There \\ere not any Negroes, they had all tiVV"ed away. All of them had tiVV"ed because there w:~.sn 't anything for them to do, and their families just--there were a few families there, and they all tiVV"ed away. ve were left there by ourselves. Q: So you w::>rked at this job, about how much did they pay you at that job? A: W:len I first or Wl.en I started to w::>rk as a regular carrier :in the post office, we received fifty dollars a m>nth, six lru.ndred dollars a year, that was the starting salary. That's ~thing, isn't it? (chuckles) Arrl ~ I tell the guys dow:1 there, When we got out here, m>st of the guys are retired and in accordance, and men I tell than, they all just laugn at What salary we got When we first started, fifty dollars a month. Guys that don't know anything ncM make more than that a day. That's something, isn't it, fifty dollars a month. Q: N:>w by the time you retired, about how much a nnnth were you getting? A: I was getting about--let's see--about fourteen or fifteen lru.ndred dollars a year. I think that was the salary at that t:ime. Q: For thirty-tW> years? A: Yes. In those days they didn't--! think that w:~.s about it. That was the top salary, I think, because they were poorly paid, you know, so poorly, poorly paid then, the p:>stal employees were. N:>w they are the highest paid. lbt that's about the salary, around fourteen hunired dollars a year is ~t I got. Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 12 Q: All right. Now, did. you have to go into the anned services? A: Yes, I wmt to the armad services and served in France for a year fran 1918 to 1919. Q: This was right at the erxl of W:>rd War I. A: World War I, yes. I served in the AnErican Expeditionary Forces, AEF. Q: I see. ~re you in an all Negro outfit? A: Yes, an all Negro outfit. The 809 Infantry. Q: Wlere were you stational? A: At Nantes, France. Q: And you stayed there for a year? A: Yes, a year in France, all the time. I enlisted in August, and in Septanber they sent us 0\Terseas. I dirln' t stay in the States a nnnth hardly after they called ue up. Q: All right. N:Jw, v.hen you cane back, T.ohat did. you do? A: I CBIIE back to the post office. I came back and started back to W>rk in the post office, and I've w:>rked there ever since. I started W>rking in the post office about 1911 and then w:>rked for seven years, 1918, then spent that one year in the army and then came back to the post office. Q: Arxl you got your position back? A: Position back, yes. 'Ihey were happy to have ma back, and I was happy to get back. Q: Did the Depression affect you? A: The Depression did. not affect us directly, but indirectly it did.. I had a good job in those days and to see the poor people arOlli'rl you there, out of w:>rk, and we ha:i a car, and we were just ashame:i to drive it. It was an old Ford, but we TNere ashanal to drive it because people v.ere in such destitute condition, lots of them ~re, not all of than, but mst of them ~e, and they TNere hard hit. They just didn't have anything, and to see than in wagons driving up to those places unlocding focxi for people arOlli'rl us there, Where TNe lived in a neighborhood, you knOW', just a camon neighborhood Where people were, and just to see those people suffering for focxi.. But TNe were fortunate, because I did. have a job. It wasn't a big paying job but it 'WaS enough to keep us living, you know, we v.ere not on relief. We have never been on relief and never received a nickel on relief in our lives, but there were so many people that TNere just, I'm telling you, it was certainly very sed, sad, to see oh, so many people unanployed and just destitute. l.Dts of than were ashamed to take the food and things that the people had, but they ha:l to take it or Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 13 starve. It was something, I'm telling you. I hope n.ever to see those days again, it \'IBS sooething terrible. Q: < because of the type of job you had , it didn't directly affect you? A: N:>t directly, I have never been out of work. \-hen I started to work, working for the post office, I've never missed a day's work, only the time that I was sick, you l<now. I retired February lOth, I'll never forget that. I had a heart attack on the route, ani so I was sick then in February up until August during that pericxi . Then I came aver here, arrl I've narer been out of a day's w:>rk, never missed a day's w:>rk in my life. That's something, that is something. Q: It is. A: That's remarkable. Q: Did people cane to you or do you know of any away fran these wagons that \<!ere coming with carm::xiities, ...ere these gaverrmmt supplies? A: They \\ere. Th.ey were the supplies that the government was giving those people, although ...e didn't get than. Q: No. I mean, you saw than? A: Ch, yes, wagons w:>uld cane daily sometimes with different food for the people. Ch, they w:ruld have all kinds of focxi there. 'lliey w:>uld give than SOIDe focxi that they didn't need . Errl of Side Cbe, Tape One Q: This fellow came to the post office to tell the postmaster that it was a White man's job. A: To tell the posttnaster that it was a \<bite man's job that I had. And here's Wla.t happened to him, he ani his wife. His wife died, she was a l011ely WJII&ail. He married another girl there, a Sturgell girl. They had a daughter that was going to school up to Elgin. They went up to get that child, and they had gotten out about four or five miles fran Elgin ani had an accident, both of them ...ere killed. Wasn't that sanathing? Cbxy told IIE that, both of than ~re killed • Q: How did you, after that first experience you ha:i when they didn't smw you mw to case the mail and how to do that, men this fellow came back, you said his nane was Se\\ell? A: Frank Sewell. Q: W:len he came back, did you have to stop working or how did you finally catch on how to do it? Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 14 A: \ell , he came back, Wl.y I was w:>rld.ng at a hotel then and vhen he cane back, I wruld go to the post office. I ha:i to learn all of the routes. Then I 'tVOUld go into the post office and familiarize myself with how to case the mail and how to distribute it and where people lived. So that's the way you have to do, you know. Q: Vbat is casing the rrail? A: t-ell, 'i.Jlen the mail is first brought in the post office . . . they bring the mail and put it on your desk. You take the mail and you put in the cases, you have each pigeon hole for different streets, see, then you put that mail where it belongs in different streets. When you get the mail in the street, then you have a placket, you have cards and things when you tie the mail up like, and those things you tie the mail up and put it in the sack and you take Wl.at' s in the sack and then you put it on your shoulder. ~ used to have to carry our rrail, Vie didn't have any carts like these nen have now. ~ carried Parcel Post \~hen I first started carrying mail. V«:! carried all the Parcel Post. Parcel Post ~ just instituted then and they didn't have any wagons and things like that for Parcel Post. V«:! carried Parcel Post, ~ carried those Sears Roebuck catalogues and all, they W>Uld all cane through the mail. I'm telling you, it was rough. (cl:UJckles) Q: Well, let IJE ask you this. 'lb.e postmaster didn't knowhow to do the casing? A: N:>, he didn't know how to do that. No, the postmaster up there he wruldn' t know ~t the carrier did or any of the clerks. He wruld just sit in his office, he didn't know anything about it. Q: Well, Who was your supervisor? A: \ell, we didn't have Wl.at they call a supervisor in a small office like that. There was no supervisor. In later years they appointed an assistant post:master, then later on, he acted as supervisor wer the carriers, rut that was in later years after I left. See, they didn It have any supervisors, just every man on his own, a small office. It was just getting started, you know, it wasn't big. Q: Well, did somebody quit or die before you became a regular? A: Yes, Frank Se\\Jell quit. 'lb.is rran I was telling you about, he quit. 'lb.en vhen he quit, he was carrying the south side. 'lb.en at one time, I was carrying in the city uptow-1 there, just right aroun:l the business rouses . I was then an auxiliary carrier. I carried there for six or seven mnths. So when he quit, then they gave -re this regular job. They appointed ne to this regular job on the south side, and that's vhere I carried for the rest of the time, that's where I carried for all the years. I'm glad I got that job because the ~althiest people lived there, and I'll tell yw sane thing else. All the time I carried mail, over thirty some years, I got so many presents at Christmas time, I narer had to buy a necktie nor shirts nor socks all the time I was carrying mail. They Bruce K. Hayden, Sr . 15 \\ere given to me. Scmatimes I would cane hare with presents, so many presents at Cltrisbnas time that I \IDU.ld have to have a cart--you know, \\1e didn't have carts--to haul my presents hare. wasn't that sanething? Q: Yes. A: Never bought a necktie, any socks or shirts. ve had a lot of people on bowling leagues, those people ~re on my route. They had stores there, and they \IDU.ld give ne beautiful shirts and beautiful ties and those things, that 'WaS sane thing, for aver thiry years. After wa came here, I had ties and shirts enough to last me for several years. I think I still have sane of them. 'Ihat w:~.s sane thing. Q: \-bat about these custaners now that you delivere:l the mail to? Did you finl any that was urrluly unfriendly to you because of your color? A: :tbt a one. Cb.ly one and that was Porch, a fellow by the name of Porch. But the thing that I think made it so nice 'WaS that I w:>rked hard , you know ~t I nean, and I was pranpt with my mail , I was nice to the people, and I had m:>re friends. R.e\T. M:!Pherson, I'm not saying it was because of me, but I had m:>re frierrls. I guess you saw men those people came CNer here that time when I had my (inaudible). I just invited all th:Jse people. And c»er D.u lurrlre:i cards wa get fran people over there still. So, I ha:i m:>re friends in that toWJ., I still have in the town. 'Ihey cane c»er here, still cane o.Ter here and write and call, so they ware just--! 've never seen anything like it, I've just never seen anything like it. Here's TAhat they offered me. Here's Yhat they w:~.nte:i to do lihen I got to the place where I couldn't VDrk the mail, they said, ''Now, Bruce, here's what ~ can do. 11 'Ihey said, "If you w:~.nt to, we can arrange it so that since Bruce will soon be out of high school, and we will see that he gets the job car~ the mail." I said , ''No, thank you for your kindness . " But I said, 'If I can get as far as I got without the help of a father, I want my son to go just a little bit higher. 11 And I thought I was right in that too, you know \~bat I nean. l'bt that mail carrying was anything, it's a good job. Those are good jobs, but I wanted him to be something different. I wanted him to, you know, go on and finish college. Of course, I didn't have an opportunity to and to do something else. I didn't 'W!IDt him to stop there and becane a carrier. I didn't say anything to him about it. I told his m:>ther, she knew it, ani she said, ''No, we wmt him to go on." But WiSn 't that a lovely gesture for than to cane down and say that? Q: Yes, yes it w:~.s. A: CXte fellow, he wmted ne to, the only fellow that offered me anything there. . . they ware nice but, I nean, anyway, you know, they v.ere nice as they could be. So he v.m1te:i ne to cane to \'IJOrk his store. \Ell, after I ha::i that heart attack, I couldn't have stood on my feet so long. So I thanked him for that. That WiS a kind gesture, wasn't it? I said, ''No, I '11 not do that, because the VDrk \Olld be too hard for n:e VlJrking those hours . " But I appreciate the fact that he had wanted me to do that Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 16 ani had given m the opportunity, you know, but I fOIJIXl it better here, you see, ~ ve cane to Springfield. Everything turne:i out IlllCh better, so IIllCh better . Q: N:Jw, you mentioned the nane of this fellow, Porch. Is there anything particular he said or did? A: He just took his mailbox down one day, you know, ani said he didn't want a Negro carrying his mail. But he only kept it dovn one day ani the next day the kids p.1t it up. Th.e kids said, (chuckles) "Bruce is just as gocxi as anybody, he's going to carry our mail," so he felt asharrai of himself, you know. You know, they do that ¥hen they find out, so he didn't get far with that. They vere just lovely. Q: Well, did he e1er becare frierrlly to you? A: Yes, after that he bee axe frieo:lly. He was sorry, I could tell by his attitude that he \'aS sorry that he did that. But he's the only one, he's the only one that acted any 'WB.Y that \'BSn't nice. The rest of them ~re just, oh, my, never had such beautiful contact with people in all my life. It was so hard on Bruce \<\hen ve cane over here, you know, to care into an emriron:nent like this. le \'aS president of his class the first year. Yes, he was a freslinan, ani they made him president of his class. Q: Here in Springfield? A: N::>, at 'fuscola. Q: Tuscola. Ch, I see. A: Ani so ¥hen he came here ani fourrl out llihat this prejudice here \'aS, oh, it like to have killed him. I didn't think he Vl>Uld ever get 011er it. They ~re so different here. Ch, this Springfield was something terrible. Oh, I've nerer seen--you talk about the heart of the South, (chuckles) W:ty the South couldn't have been as bad as Springfield. So it was such a turn aroun:l for him, you know, to care here ani De segregated and to be discriminated against after having that lCNely contact with those people in 'fuscola. Oh, my, they ware sooething, they ware l011ely, lo.rely people. Q: en the average, about how many families did you say you had to deliver for? A: Three hun:lred fifty, betwaen three hun:lred fifty ani four hun:lred families. Q: A day? A: Yes, that's mat constituted my route. Q: Oh, constitutes your route. It depends on W:tich of than have mail for that day? Bruce K. Hayden, Sr • 17 A: Yes. I was arourrl four lrurrlred , so that was quite an experience over the years, over the thirty sooe years . Q: Now row long have you lived in 'fuscola before you got this job? A: te \\1mt to 'fuscola in 1905, ani it was about six years before I got the mail service. Q: You said that you ~re "WJrking at a hotel? A: A ootel, yes. Q: IX> you remember the nane of this hotel? A: Beach Hotel. I 'W:lrked at the Beach Hotel for $3.50 a T,..Eek. (laughter) I was going to get rich, \\lasn' t I? But before that I had started, before I started w:>rking at this hotel, I had started in as an apprentice tailor . I was learning the tailor traie. Q: Oh, is that right? A: Yes, under an old Gennan by the nane of C. L. Schonle, he Y.Rs a tailor. He took t:J:e in as an apprentice and I started learning the tailoring traie, and I was an expert presser. I'm still an expert presser. (laughter) I press all my wife's clothes. (laughter) I do all the pressing. Oh, yes, I ran a pressing b.lsiness there in 'fuscola for quite a Wri.le. Q: Really? A: Yes. See I would w:>rk at the hotel at night, and then I w:>uld have a place to press clothes, ani '~ben the guests w:ruld come, they w::ruld just lea.re the clothes out. I just had that going so at night I 'W:luld press the clothes, ani I made a lot of mney, you know. Then I had a little store, I had a little shop down there of my own there in Tuscola one tine, a little pressing shop. Oh, I was going to be a tailor. Q: tell, the hotel didn't have a valet system or t:~:eans of pressing people's clothes? A: N:>, they didn't, they didn't have that so I w:>uld just take than down to the little shop I had ani press than for them. Q: How long did you keep this shop? A: Oh, about a year, I stayed there about a year. Q: \-by did you give it up? A: Well, I TNent into the mail service then. Q: <h, I see. \ere there many Negroes living in Tuscola? A: When~ first ~t there, there \4,Ere several Negroes there. I think twenty maybe, fifteen or ~nty. Bruce K. Hayden, Sr • 18 Q: Families or just A: Well, not all families, sOOE of than \'ere. Q: Well, you nean the total nunber was about ~nty? A: Yes, about twmty. I think, maybe not that many. Then a year or tw:> after that, Why they began to dwindle, you know how they dry up, and then when we left there, there Y.Eren' t but one family. Not one family, just one person. 'Ihere' s only one person now in that county, one la:iy. Q: 'What chiefly did they do in Tuscola, the Negroes? A: let's see, let's see, they were barbers there, they ha::l a barber shop there. My aunt's lrusband ha:i a barber shop there, May's Barber Shop it was called. Frank May's Barber Shop and my aunt marrie:l him. Then his son got kille:l, an:i they discontirru.ed the barber shop ani sold it. Then there wasn't anything for them to do. 'Ihere Y.Ere several ladies down there, they ~ld w:>rk out at private families. Then they starte:l IIXJiling to Champaign. 'ThK> or three families IIXJiled to Champaign and are still there, SOOE of than are still in Champaign, so they just all lWVed out. 'Ihere wasn't nothing for than to do, you know. Q: Vllose hair did they cut? Did they cut the vhl.te people's hair as barbers? A: Ch, yes, it was a vbite barber shop. 'Ihey just w:>rked on W:lite people. There Y.Eren't enough colored people there. Oh, yes, it was just all white. Q: Was there no White barber shop there? A: Yes, there Y.Ere vhl.te barber shops there but these Negroes had a white barber shop. Q: Oh, they had white custooers? A: All White custcmers. 'lliere weren't any Negroes there, not enough to support a shop. That was quite a coincidence, wasn't it? Q: Yes. tbw about W:w.t size towl is 'fuscola? A: Oh, about three thousarrl people there now. It was about fifteen hu.n:lred v.hen Y.E went there. It was just a small t:<Thn. Q: lh they have any factories in there or Yilat? A: 'Ihey have D.CJ~N", they have one of the finest factories there. 'Ihey IIDITe:i that million dollar plant there, chanica! plant of sooe kin:i fran New York they just recently built there. It's really scmething. 'Ihey make sooe kin:i of cha:nical there, and they employ several people. There are lots of people there. Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 19 Q: And I imagine that accounts for the increase in the pop.llation? A: For the increase in pop.1lation, yes. If you ever go through there . I'll tell you 'ttlat, Mrs. Ousley's daughter is going to school wer here in Bloomington, arrl she told ne the other day that Lydia--! nean, I know it was a ~te girl that she went with--they went down to Tuscola shopping, so that's a coincidence. If you are ever around that way betwaen here and Decatur, I nean on the other side of Decatur, stop there. It's a beautiful little tow:1, you'd be surprised. Small lives aver there. Q: 'lliat' s east of Decatur? A: East of Decatur betwaen Decatur arrl Indianapolis. That's on Route 36. It's a beautiful little tow:1. I '11 tell you what it is now, when we go to Champaign, we go to 'fuscola because you can catch the new route out of there. Q: 57. A: '!he new highway, yes. So we go through there, of course, naturally it's hcxte, you know. It's beautiful ani oh, the people there are just so lwely. Q: N:>w, did they have churches there? A: I'll tell you, at one ti.Ire they had a 1-:ethodist clru.rch there, that's vhen we joined. we joined the ~tb:xlist clrurch because there were no Baptist clru.rches there, you l<:n.ow", so we just joined the ~thodist clru.rch. Th.ere -were eight or ten people, sanething like that, maybe fifteen at that ti.n:E, and I Y.BS serving in the Sun:lay School over there. That way I met a lot of the Methodist people arrl so that's W\y I rret Brewer. IX> you rema:nber Brewer, Garfield Brewer? He w:~.s presiding elder here. He used to cc:xne here. So he and I rret there, he pastorei that clrurch. That church arrl in Shelbyville, ani so he w:~.s presiding elder in this district, Bre-wer was. He and I were good pals, and he just died recently, bless his heart. So here's what they did. '!hey' d join those clru.rches, Shelbyville and 'fuscola. 'lhere were not enough Negroes, you know vbat I mean, to support a church in either of than so they connected those toWl.S together. So Brewer WJUld preach one Suniay at 'fuscola and preach the next Sunday in Shelbyville. Just a handful of people, you know, lut they kept that church for quite a While and then they finally sold it. Well, he CanE up there arrl we helped h:im to sell it. we helped h:im to find a buyer for it. So he brought, I don't know, a bishop or somebody along and helped hUn continue the deal so that the clrurch WiB sold, so they just . . . I don't know \'hat they have on it up there, on that lot now. But tcxlay, this Mitchell, &i Mitchell and Jolm, their uncle--! knew Jolm l.flhen he was a baby. Jolm Mitchell that 1 S Fd 1 S brother, and they live there. That's how we happene:l to be in 'fuscola. I had, my family, my mother, we were in Ol QJ.oin and my brother and sister died. cne died one day arrl one diei the next, had a double funeral, and that just left my mother and I alone, and my aunt went up there fran 'fuscola to keep house. &i Mitchell's lli.cle Bill was living in 'fuscola, and he was pretty Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 20 well fixed, you know "ibat I rrean. He had a business there, he was a drayer, tall, you know, he could make mney draying. It was a hotel and he w:ruld haul the trunks in and they'd have these salesman. 'lhese salesmen w::ruld caoo on those trains and have these great big trunks. Did you ever see any of than? Q: Yes. A: And they'd haul, maybe sometimes they w::>uld cane there with these great big trunks, maybe eight or ten of than there. Well, he had a truck that had a wagon, and he w::>uld haul those trunks from round and different things. He made saoo TIDiley, that Negro did. So my aunt went there to 'fuscola to keep house for him, his wife had die:l. So vtl.en my aunt found out that my brother and sister had die:l, and mther was there alone, just the b.'u of us, she told rrother, said, "In 'fuscola they are looking for people to w:>rk so if you want to caoo up for a job, you can get a job up here." futher said, '\ell, we will just go to 'fuscola." 'lbat's how I happened to be in 'fuscola. F.d Mitchell's uncle, and I was there l\hen they brought John hJrD;. John was just a baby just about like your baby now. Q: So you left Du Q.loin, went to 'fuscola to find your job? A: Yes. Went to 'fuscola, my mther was w:>rking there. Of course, I \oiaS just little. Q: So your rrother went there. A: Went there for a job, yes, we went there together on the a:ivice of my aunt. Q: So w:>rking at the hotel was the first job that you did? A: First job, yes. (cl'D.lckles) First job I did there, I had a job at the Beach lbtel in 'fuscola. Q: Let rre see nCYN, what did you do, wait tables? A: tb, I did the cleaning up there. Q: Oh, I see, porter. A: Yes, I was the porter there. I mpped the floors and shi.ne:l the cuspidors and just a regular porter, and then I w::ruld maet the train. 'Ihat' s scmething you've probably n.e\7er heard of before either. Vhen the train w::ruld p11l into the station right CNer there, Yhy it was just a half a block fran where the hotel was. toe' d go CNer there, and there was another ootel doWltOYn, the ~chant 1 S Hotel, SO you'd go CNer there and you'd holler "Beach Hotel." If anybody wanted to go Why you'd get their grips, you know, you'd take than CNer to the Beach Hotel or Wc.hever hotel it w::ts. So I'd go there, all the porters w:>uld maet the trains and wanted to get custaoors for the different hotels. (cl'D.lckles) 'lba.t was something else, oh, my. Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 21 Q: \blld they give you tips or anything? A: Oh, sooet:i.nes they WJU!d or you'd just take the grips to the hotel and maybe CNer there, if they w:>Uld stay there if they liked it. That ~ vllat they ....uul.d do, boy that \<IBS sooething. Q: tbw men they w:>Uld get realy to leave, v.ould you have to take care or take the grips back? A: Take the grips back to the station. See all trains, e\Terything toas trains. 'Ihey didn't have any buses in those days. I didn't see any buses, I don't remember any buses. Q: I don't imagine they ~re running as regular and as often as they do now? A: ltl, but I '11 tell you one thing they did have. Vben ~ ~nt there, of course, we stayed wer there in 'fu.scola. 'llien, after a mile, ~ joi.nai that church in Champaign. lhis will be interesting to you. I 'W!mted to get where there T.<iBB a church anyway; the kids hadn't any contact with colorai people, and I wanted than to get out. So we joined the Baptist clurch in iliampaign.. 'Ihe pastor of that church -...es Dabney Jones. I '11 tell you about Dabney Jones. Dalney Jones was, he aspired to be a preacher, but he couldn't preach w:>rth anything, but he T.<~BS the chauffeur for Senator ~Kinley. He w:Ls a senator here, a state senator here. So he like:l Dabney Jones so well , and he said, ''NOYl Dabney, I' 11 build you a church. 11 And I think he built part of Salan Cl:rurch there. Q: Is that right? A: And here's what happened . 1his Negro, this man liked this Negro so well, and Dabney Jones, ~ \Ere just as close together, his wife and I and you know, all of us were just friends. So ~ went to Chicago once to the Vbrld 's Fair, ...t1en the W:>rld 's Fair W!lB in Cbicago--that 's before you was born--so ~ had planned to stay there all night, and we ~nt down to a place and they got to fighting and so forth, and he said, ''Hey, let's go b:xne. 11 So we got in this big car, and we 'V.lent hane. But, he fixed it so, ~Kinley liked Dabney Jones so ~11, he fixed it so When he, on his death, e~ery minister in Cllampaign at Christmas time w:>uld get $60. He left that because he liked this Negro so well, Wlite, black and all the ministers. $50 a nDnth you' 11 get. You go to Champaign to a pastor, $50 you' 11 get off of h:im for Christmas on accOlUlt of this senator liking this Negro. WB.sn' t that SOOEthing? It happened . Q: Well, did he help him build the cl:Ulrch? A: He helped him, yes, he helped him wild that church. He give him mney and things like that, give h:im anything. He W3.S a millionaire you know, so naturally, but that didn't nake any difference--he was just good hearted, just liked this--he \tiS a fine man. Q: And he w:LS a state senator? Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 22 A: No, Unita:i States senator. And all of these roads , they had these t-t!Kinley Lines, these lines that w:ruld run all 01/er the state of Illinois. 'Ihey ~recalled McKinley lines, \JJ.ere they've tom than practically all, ani the little old cars w:ruld run all 01/er ani they "-Ere called M:Kinley Lines. I:e built those, you know, but you don't see any of than anymore. They ~re like streetcars. Q: <h, like streetcars. A: Yes, that Yl)Uld run all aver. Champaign, that's the way they transport people. Q: So, you left 'fuscola and 'i.Ent to church at Champaign? A: Oulnpaign, yes. ve 'i.Ent to church at <ll.ampaign. We didn't leave 'fuscola. Q: No, I rrean you go back ani forth on Suniays. A: Yes, on SUndays, and then during the waek 'i.E Yl)Uld go to choir practice. About seven years v.Je were there and belonged to that cluJ.rch there at Cha:npaign. You know, Salan there. We knew Foxwell. 'Ihey are Lee Careys, that's \~here Lee Carey's stationed , and he was in my &mday School class. He was one of the nicest fellows. 'Ihey \Ere very thrifty. 'Ihey poured IIDre out, you know those southern people. You take those southern people, they are thrifty an:i ~ they cane to Champaign, he v.orke:i as a housenan and she v.orke:l as a housewanan. 'Ihey v.orked there for some family and they accUIDllated quite a bit. Beautiful hcnes they b.lilt there in Champaign. 'Ihey \Ere thrifty. But both of them are dead. Lee was telling rre that she died in Prwidence, Kentllcky just recently I guess. But he was :in my Sunday School class, Foxwell, was , and he was so entlru.sed that ~ w:>rked it up. He was so entluJ.sed 01/er the SUn:lay School, he didn't know very IWCh, wasn't a very 'i.Ell a:iucated man rut he was a gocxi man. So ~ b.lilt that Sunday School class ani 'i.E had thirty rren in that class. Wasn't that something, thirty men! That was beautiful , wasn't it? 'Ihey ~re entluJ.sed ani they just did a v.onderful job an:i they Yl)Uld cane just as regular, ani I '11 tell you that v.G.s something. We built that class up fran nothing. 'Ihirty men, and we ~rked hard and Foxwell was one of the IIDst enthusiastic \IDrkers there, you kn<JTN, ani he had m:ney ani they WJUld contrirute very liberally, you know, to the church. She ~tout and raised, Mrs. Foxwell, she raised a.~er tw:> thousan:i dollars to ruild that new addition to the church. So that's 'Why that new a:ldition is on that cluJ.rch today, on account of Lee Carey's aunt going out and raising 011er t\1D thousand dollars on her mn to do that. I remember that. So we belong to that church until ~ cane here. Q: Now all the time you \Ere there, this Dabney Jones v.G.s pastor there? A: He pastora:i there for several years. Let's see, he pastora:i there for about six or seven years, then he rroved aver to Jacksoll.V'ille. So ~ he dia:i my he was pastoring 01/er there men he quit Champaign. He Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 23 was a nice fellow rut he didn't know anything about preaching. You know how" those fellows are, he Y.B.S really a lovely man. His wife is still living though, in ~tropolis. Q: Ch, I see. l'bw did your mther go to live at 'fuscola too? A: let's see, yes , my IIDther v.ent to 'fuscola too. My IIDther die:i in 'fuscola, that' s right. She want to 'fuscola with us and so that's vhere she y;ag burie:i. She live:i about six or seven years after we n:ove::i to 'fuscola. Q: tbw, you live in D.l~in? A: Yes, that's where I originally came fran. Q: Wla.t kinl of ~rk did you do there? A: I was in school. Q: You ~re in school. A: Yes, I went to school there. ve only stayed there about a couple of years. I Y.B.S in high school. Q: <h, in lllQ..loin? A: In IUQ.loin, yes . Q: All right. 'nley di.dn' t have the fair d01N11 there like they have now? A: No, they didn't have that until just recently. Q: All right, now I urrlerstand that you came fran fullerton to DuQuoin? A: fullerton to fu.Q.roin, yes. My wife wmte::i ~ to tell you that, it would be interesting to know. My father die::i men I was a youngster, I y;ag about eight or nine. I don't remember anything about him. He was quite a drinker they say, you know. I know he drank Yhiskey and that's my they say I an so bitterly against it. So I have never touched a drop, and I said, ''Well, if I get to be a man I '11 rte\Ter touch that stuff." So (claps) that cure::i roo, you know mat I nean. So one night, ~ live::i--that use::i to be the sport then for people to m:>b Negroes in the south, and especially fullerton y;ag a bad place for that. It's not far south either--so one night we ~re in tow:t, my brother-in-law and I. I had another brother, he was younger than I. Arrl we heard screa:ning and all. futher came ani w:mte:i to know ~twas going on and they were dragging a Negro, you knOW", doWJ. the street. Just dragging him, and he was yelling, you know, and carrying on. So they lru.ng him dom there about tw:> blocks fran our house to a tree. Q: \ell, did they have a rope \'ben they v.ere dragging him? Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 24 A: Rope arourrl his neck. Q: No, when they -were dragging him? A: Dragging him dow:1. the street there. 'Ihat 'NaB old drunks, you know what I nean? They 'Were drunk those man, and they Y.Ere just that inhuman. So M:>ther said--I heard her praying, you know, that's sanething you never for?et--she said, ''lord, if I w:mt to take my children a-way fran here, I don t w:mt anything like that to e~er happen to them.'' So in the next tv.o or three days, Y.E Y.Ere on our way. I don't know how w;! got there, I don't know \<\here she got the m:>ney, I don't know ~t happene:l , but w= were on our -way to D.lQ..loin. Before Y~E ~t to DuQ..loin, it w:~.s in the spring, I think it was in May, we stopped at Villa Ridge there. Saneone told m:>ther that's where you could make BODE m:>ney picking strawberries. Of course, -we didn't have anything. I don't know how she got there. But we t~Ent to Villa Ridge. 'Ihat 's right . . . do you know Yhere Villa Ridge is? Well, w= va:1t there and so the kids were big enough, so we picked strawberries there during strawberry season. I don't know how tn.JCh m:>ney we made, mate~er we made my we geNe to M:>ther. 'Ihen we stayed there until the season for strawberries hal finished, picking than. 'Ihen we ha:l enough m:>ney to take us on to D.lQ.loin. ~ had Gilbert Holrres-that 's the one that ~ here, you know, he's a teacher, he's a professor now---he said, wen 'We came there, "Now Bruce, I I 11 ne~er forget that." He said, ''You came, your m:>ther had all the belongings 'We had in a handkerchief." She just had all these things in a handkerchief, just wrapped. 'Ihat ~ all we hal, clothing and all. She just had gotten a few coins and left. Q: Just left, yes. A: Had an uncle there. I uean my m:>ther ha:l a brother there, 01ar les 'Ihanpson. He was pretty well fixed, so he helpe:l us to get starte:l When 'We got there. He got us a house to live in and we got a little furniture, he helpa:l as tn.JCh as he could. 'Ihat's men we wmt to D.lQ..loin. Q: tbw, did you go to school ....ttile you were in Fullerton? A: Yes, yes I went to school until about the sixth or seventh grade, something like that, I think the seventh gra:le there. Q: Did you have any racial incident? A: tb, no. 'Ihis was a colore:l school 'lhhere we went to Fullerton. Q: Ib you rananber anything about Fullerton, because you Y~Ere quite young vilen you left? A: N:>t tll.lCh, not tn.JCh. I net sane boys there. I still have one dear friend, the minister. He lives in St. louis and he just wrote ne a letter the other day. He and I are the only ones left. There were several of the boys, we call ourselves nice boys, -we always wmld attend church. Che of them was a railway ma.il clerk, one of the finest guys you ever saw, ani he was a great clrurch man. He ran from Clarksdale, Mississippi, to sareplace down there. Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 25 But anyway ~n my son geNe a concert, ~en Doc lee took us down there, ~ he 'W3.S teaching in Tallahassee, he gave a concert dom to--he W3.S touring the south, you know, as a violinist. And I called this boy up, Manylani Upchurch, .J:len 'ie got into Knolle, Mississippi, called him an:i told him that my son was giving a concert and he came CNer there. He's the only one. He acctm1.1lata:l quite a bit of property. He ~ quite thrifty, you know, ani then rail way mail clerks in those days, that 1 s a big job doWJ. south there. He had, oh, I don't know how mJCh property down there. So he was really a fine fellow. Wooldridge had starte:l in the mail service l:ut he quit. Now he's a preacher and I want him to cane up here scmetime ani I want you to IIEet him. 'lhey 'lere up here not too long ago. His kids are fine kids. His kids are really doing fine. His daughter in Chicago is hea:l of, she's got one of the biggest administrative jobs in Chicago for Negroes, and she was here not long ago. He ani I are the only ones left of than. Then 'le 'ie!l.t dow:t there not long ago, a few years ago, ani he preached and I sang in the clu.t.rch ~re my nnther \tis, mere my nnther used to attend dom there. Q: there, at DuQ.loin? A: In Fullerton. Q: Ch, you went back to Fullerton? A: \Ent back to Fullerton and lived there, yes sir. He preached at that church and I sang, ani of course, it WiS quite a thing, quite a thing. The thing about fullerton, men \e left there it YBS such a terrible place, terrible place, arrl when we went back dom there, the preacher DEt us and he was the one that made the arrangements for us to appear there. Ani don 1 t yoo. know, he took us to one of the finest mtels there and I neV"er 'WaS so surprised in my life, how they treate:l us in mtels there in Fullerton, Kentucky. W; stayei there, my daughter ani my wife ani this fellow. 'Ihat was quite a thing. Q: \ell, did this fellow that they dragged and hang up on a tree, did they kill him? A: Killed him, oh yes, it killed him. I've seen, let n:e see, I've seen at least four Negroes luJng in Fullerton there. It was just quite a sport for than. It had the rep.1tation of being the ~rst town anyplace, you know, that's Fullerton, Kentucky. 'lhey wmld get drunk, those guys, anything to do and just hang a nigger, Yhoovbee, you know. 'Ihat 1 s v.hen I 'W3.S young I can remE!IIber those things, you know, just pieces, oh, it just pieces you to think about those things. I can hear them now, of course, I 'WB.S too young to bother, being a kid eight or nine years old, you know, old enough to know. tbw your boy ~uld be old enough for things like that, of course, they WJUldn' t bother him but if he ~ there, you know, he could see those things. You'd ne.rer forget those things. &J.t I 1m telling you, I have experienced SCIJE experiences. Q: vell, each of than--these hangings that you saw--each of than occurred about the sane time? Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 26 A: Yes, they ~ld just hang them up by the neck arrl leave them there. 'lhey WJU.ldn't cut than doWJ., just leave than there ani sOOEbody w::mld cane to cut them down. Just brutish, you've ne.rer seen anything like it! Q: Did they use any gunshot on than? A: \-2 didn't pay any attention to that, only ve w:mld know just ... I can see than now, hanging up in the Jockey Yard is where the main place that you w:ruld hang them, just about a block fran vhere ve lived. They cal lei it the Jockey Yard. 'lhe Jockey Yard w::mld be the place where they would c~, they ~uld COOE there ani traie horses, you know, on Saturdays ani they WJUl.d cane fran all arO'LliXi ani traie horses ani they w:ruld call that the Jockey Yard. That used to be the place W:lere they ~uld jockey ani where they w::mld hang Negroes, when they got ready to hang than, you know. At least three or four I 've seen hung out at the Jockey Yard. A gang of old drunken 'itrl.te folks, you knCM, get drunk and ''hang a nigger" they w::mld call it. Ch, how brutish, how brutal, how brutish can people be? Q: So your unther took you and your brother away fran there? A: Yes, ani my sister. I have a sister. Q: Ch, you have a sister? A: Sister, yes. A few days after that happening, you know. <h, my, after that night, see it frightened us so and M::lther didn't know Wta.t effect it w:ruld have on children. She just got us together, Wta.t she had, didn't have nothing, you know, ani p1t it in a sack or scmething, I don't know row she got away. She just took us away. It just upset her so terribly, she said, ''W:ly do my children have to witness sarething like that?" Q: Now tell IIE sanething, now you said your father drank heavily? A: Yes,. yes, he 'WaS ~t they call an alcoholic, you know, v.hat they call than now. He was an alcoholic. Q: Did he make IIOOnshine? A: He lU.lSt have made it, he lU.lSt have made it, and he was a gambler, too. I 'WaS telling my wife, ~ Y<ere talking about it ani raniniscing old times, ani lots of times I've seen him--he was a smart Negro, he could get his way. He'd cooe hane there with just pocketfuls of m:>ney ani put it in a trunk there, ani M:>ther ~uld keep it for him and as long as he 'WaS sober, all right. Then he -w:>uld get drunk, you know, then he w:ruld cane ani take the unney. I'd see him take the m:>ney out and go back out ani lose it. He'd win it fran those fellows, 1'!'1 know. Those things I rem:mber, and your child ~uld renenber those things happening to him now. Q: Yes. Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. 27 A: He "t.«mld ranember than When he got bigger, those impressions narer get away fran him. So I remember him doing that, you know, I can't raiellber all the details but I can ranember. And I remember him drinking, that \tiS so horrible I thought. Guys say, "Sure you w:m't take a nip?" I say, "No , I don't rNa.Ilt no nip. If you had seen mat I 've seen." You know lililat I IOOan. My n:other \>liS a devout Cllristian vn:oan an:l she Yl)U.].d pray at night for her children. She w:>uld walk a mile and a half on Surrlays so that ~ w:ruld get to Surrlay School and clrurch in the heat and all , we never missed. She was just that kin:i of a WJIIIail. And ~ have something here, I '11 get it for you SCXI'etl..Jm an:i let you see it. She was one of the ones that signed up for the starting of that clrurch in lllQuoin. Her I1.Bile is on the list of the original members. Q: Cllarter nenbers. A: Yes, that's something isn't it? My n:other. Q: Ib you have a copy of that? A: Yes, I have a copy of it, I have it here. I '11 have my wife to get it for you. Isn't that saiEthing? Yes, ani we was so happy to get it, you know. Myria Haden, she 1N!ls one of the charter nenbers of the clrurch there in DuQ.toin. Q: \-bat was her name? A: Myria, Myria Hayden. That was sanething. Q: About how long after your father die:i that you all left fullerton? A: Ch, let ~ see, I was about nine. ve left there less than a year after he die:i, about a year after he die:i \'e left there. Q: W:ta.t vas his nane? A: Henry, Henry Hayden. Q: Vbat was your brother's name? A: Tcmny an:l the sister's nmm was Willie. Q: Willie? A: Willie, yes. End of Side Two, Tape llie Q: N:>w, Mr. Hayden, were there any unusual experiences you had in the Anred Services? A: Yes, I had plarmed to cane bane and had been given leave. I ha:ln' t seen my wife since I joine:i the army so I ha:l planned to go to see her,
|Title||Hayden, Bruce K. Sr. - Interview and Memoir|
Influenza Epidemic, 1918
World War, 1914-1918
|Description||Hayden, Springfield resident and postal employee, discusses his experiences as a mail carrier in the Springfield community, segregation and discrimination, changes in Springfield and in the conditions for African Americans. He also discusses his experiences during WWI in France, serving in an all-black unit and recalls the influenza epidemic that struck the transport ship en route to Europe. He also mentions Springfield businesses, mob action and lynching in Fullerton, Kentucky, his wife and her family in DuQuoin, and his interest in music and checkers.|
|Creator||Hayden, Bruce K. Sr. (1889-1977)|
|Contributing Institution||Oral History Collection, Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield|
|Contributors||McPherson, Reverend Negil L. [interviewer]|
|Digital Format||PDF; MP3|
|Relation||BLACK COMMUNITY PROJECT|
|Rights||© Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this material, please contact: Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield, One University Plaza, MS BRK 140, Springfield IL 62703-5407. Phone: (217) 206-6520. http://library.uis.edu/archives/index.html|
|Collection Name||Oral History Collection of the University of Illinois at Springfield|
|Title||Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. Memoir - Part 1|
|Rights||© Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. For permission to reproduce, distribute, or otherwise use this material, please contact: Archives/Special Collections, University of Illinois at Springfield, One University Plaza, MS BRK 140, Springfield IL 62703-5407. Phone: (217) 206-6520. http://library.uis.edu/archives/index.html|
University of Illinois at Springfield
Norris L Brookens Library
Bruce K. Hayden, Sr. Memoir
H324. Hayden, Bruce K. Sr. (1889-1977)
Interview and memoir
2 tapes, 180 mins., 61 pp.
BLACK COMMUNITY PROJECT
Hayden, Springfield resident and postal employee, discusses his experiences as a
mail carrier in the Springfield community, segregation and discrimination,
changes in Springfield and in the conditions for African Americans. He also
discusses his experiences during WWI in France, serving in an all-black unit and
recalls the influenza epidemic that struck the transport ship en route to Europe. He
also mentions Springfield businesses, mob action and lynching in Fullerton,
Kentucky, his wife and her family in DuQuoin, and his interest in music and
Interview by Reverend Negil L. McPherson, 1975
See collateral file: photograph of Harris
Archives/Special Collections LIB 144
University of Illinois at Springfield
One University Plaza, MS BRK 140
Springfield IL 62703-5407
© 1975 University of Illinois Board of Trustees
'llii.s manuscript is the product of a tape recorded interview conducted by
Rei/. Negil M:.Ph.erson for the Oral History Office on Jaruary 31, 1975.
Paula Bergschneider transcribed the tapes ani edited the transcript.
Bruce Hayden, Sr. TNB.S oom on August 14, 1889 in fulton, Kentucky. Mr.
Hayden lived in Tuscola prior to living in Springfield. He ~rked for
the post office for 32 years. In this IIE~~Dir Mr. Hayden discusses W:>rld
War I, the Depression, segregation in Springfield arrl his hobbies , DDJSic
arrl checkers .
Readers of the oral history mem::>ir should bear in nd.nd that it is a
transcript of the spoken ~rd., ani that the intervie~r, narrator ani
editor sought to preserve the informal , conversational style that is
inherent in such historical sources. Sangamn State University is not
responsible for the factual accuracy of the n:eooir, nor for views
expressed therein; these are for the reader to judge.
'Ihe manuscript may be read, quoted ani cited freely. It may not be
reproduced in v.hole or in part by any IIEans, electronic or IIEChanical,
with::nlt pennission in writing fran the Oral History Office, Sangamon
State University, Springfield, Illinois, 62708.
Table of Contents
Mr. Hayden Ccxles to Springfield .
Segregation in Springfield.
Mr • Hayden's Experiences as a Mail Carrier.
WJrld war I •
casing the Mail .
Custaners on the Mail Route .
'Ihe Beach Hotel
Dabney Jones .
'lhe M:rve Fran fullerton to I:>uQ.Join.
Mr. Hayden's Parents.
'Ihe ~ Setvices.
Mrs. Hayden .
1m. Interest in M.lsic.
Master Checker Player •
|Collection Name||Oral History Collection of the University of Illinois at Springfield|