AACHM Oral History: Evelyn Payne
When: May 5, 2016
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Evelyn Payne was born on November 3, 1924, and although she was an only child, she went on to have 8 children, numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren. Evelyn grew up in Tennessee where she remembers segregation and walking 10 miles to school. In 1945, at 20 years of age, she moved to Ann Arbor where she is proud to have raised all her children while working as a nursing assistant - for 25 years at St. Joseph Mercy and 16 years at the University of Michigan.
- [00:00:16.86] INTERVIEWER: I'm first going to ask you some simple demographic questions. These questions may jog your memory about other events in your life, but just try to keep your answers brief for this first part. And we can go into more detail later. OK?
- [00:00:36.04] EVELYN PAYNE: OK.
- [00:00:36.83] INTERVIEWER: Please say and spell your name.
- [00:00:40.83] EVELYN PAYNE: Evelyn Payne, E-v-e-l-y-n, capital P-a-y-n-e.
- [00:00:48.72] INTERVIEWER: What is your date of birth?
- [00:00:50.59] EVELYN PAYNE: November 3, 1924.
- [00:00:54.50] INTERVIEWER: How would you describe your ethnic background?
- [00:00:58.12] EVELYN PAYNE: I'm African-American.
- [00:01:01.19] INTERVIEWER: What is your religion?
- [00:01:05.82] EVELYN PAYNE: African Methodist Episcopal.
- [00:01:11.32] INTERVIEWER: What is the highest level of formal education that--
- [00:01:16.19] EVELYN PAYNE: 12th grade.
- [00:01:18.38] INTERVIEWER: 12th grade. OK. Did you attend any additional school at all?
- [00:01:24.92] EVELYN PAYNE: No.
- [00:01:28.18] INTERVIEWER: What is your marital status?
- [00:01:31.28] EVELYN PAYNE: My husband is deceased. He's dead. I'm a widow.
- [00:01:38.09] SPEAKER 1: You're a widow. How many children do you have?
- [00:01:42.82] EVELYN PAYNE: Eight children.
- [00:01:45.82] INTERVIEWER: How many siblings do you have?
- [00:01:48.15] EVELYN PAYNE: 23 grandkids, 24 great-grandkids, 4 great-great-great-grandchildren.
- [00:01:56.97] INTERVIEWER: Oh my goodness. How many brothers and sisters?
- [00:02:01.78] EVELYN PAYNE: Only child.
- [00:02:03.38] INTERVIEWER: You're an only child?
- [00:02:04.88] EVELYN PAYNE: I'm the only child.
- [00:02:06.66] INTERVIEWER: OK. What was your primary occupation?
- [00:02:12.10] EVELYN PAYNE: Nursing assistant. I worked at University and St. Joe Hospital.
- [00:02:19.62] INTERVIEWER: For about how long?
- [00:02:21.68] EVELYN PAYNE: I retired from Mercywood. I had 25 years at Mercywood, 16 at U of M.
- [00:02:33.86] INTERVIEWER: OK. And at what age did you retire?
- [00:02:38.51] EVELYN PAYNE: 65.
- [00:02:42.09] INTERVIEWER: OK. Now, we're going to work with some memories of your childhood and your youth. Even if these questions, again, jog your memory about other times in your life, please only respond about the memories in this part of your life about your childhood. OK? What was your family like when you were a child?
- [00:03:04.35] EVELYN PAYNE: They was wonderful.
- [00:03:05.24] INTERVIEWER: They were wonderful?
- [00:03:06.44] EVELYN PAYNE: Yeah. I was their only child. [CHUCKLE]
- [00:03:08.97] INTERVIEWER: [LAUGHTER] What sort of work did your parents do?
- [00:03:13.44] EVELYN PAYNE: My mother had a restaurant. She did her own cooking.
- [00:03:19.00] INTERVIEWER: What is your earliest memory that you can think about, in your child?
- [00:03:25.21] EVELYN PAYNE: When I used to travel from Tennessee to Illinois-- I loved it.
- [00:03:32.53] INTERVIEWER: Were there any special days, events, or family traditions that you remember from your childhood?
- [00:03:40.40] EVELYN PAYNE: Well, we used to celebrate Christmas and holidays, but usually, we celebrate the 15 of August in Kentucky.
- [00:03:52.35] INTERVIEWER: What was that?
- [00:03:53.11] EVELYN PAYNE: That was a-- they just called it a holiday, the 15 of August. But that was in Kentucky and not Tennessee.
- [00:04:03.82] INTERVIEWER: Which holidays did your family celebrate? You mentioned Christmas.
- [00:04:09.56] EVELYN PAYNE: Christmas. We celebrate just about all holidays, me and my family do. We don't have a really special one.
- [00:04:19.68] INTERVIEWER: Can you tell me something about how you-- any traditions in your celebrations?
- [00:04:25.70] EVELYN PAYNE: Yeah. I have grandchildren and children named after each other. We keep the name going. Like Renee, Jacqueline, we name these children that part of the name. That was like a tradition to us.
- [00:04:42.91] INTERVIEWER: Well, this will sound redundant when I ask you. Has your family created its own traditions in celebration?
- [00:04:51.58] EVELYN PAYNE: I don't know.
- [00:04:53.51] INTERVIEWER: Just the naming--
- [00:04:54.82] EVELYN PAYNE: Just the name.
- [00:05:02.27] INTERVIEWER: What was the highest grade you completed? You said--
- [00:05:04.61] EVELYN PAYNE: 12th grade.
- [00:05:05.14] INTERVIEWER: 12th grade. Did you play any sports or do any other activities outside of school?
- [00:05:12.34] EVELYN PAYNE: Mm-hmm. Basketball and softball.
- [00:05:18.87] INTERVIEWER: What about your school experience is different from school as you know it today?
- [00:05:25.65] EVELYN PAYNE: My school was segregated. We only had one school for the black. The white had their school and we had ours.
- [00:05:35.21] INTERVIEWER: Did your family have any specials sayings or expressions during that time that you can remember?
- [00:05:43.64] EVELYN PAYNE: I can't remember.
- [00:05:48.47] INTERVIEWER: Were there any changes in your family life during your school year?
- [00:05:54.47] EVELYN PAYNE: No, just that we went to school. I had to walk. You know, we didn't ride. We walked from one end of town to the other. And I was happy with that.
- [00:06:08.82] INTERVIEWER: You were happy with that, and both parents. And both parents were there all the time?
- [00:06:13.11] EVELYN PAYNE: No. My mother wanted to stay home with her mother. My father wanted her to go to Chicago. So she stayed home with her mother, and my father, we lived in Chicago.
- [00:06:28.94] INTERVIEWER: OK. When thinking back on your school years, what important social or historical events were taking place at that time? And how did they personally affect you and your family?
- [00:06:45.41] EVELYN PAYNE: Well, I think that was the time that Pearl Harbor was. And we had the same president for three years. I can remember that about that little bit.
- [00:06:58.60] INTERVIEWER: Did it have any impact on your family?
- [00:07:01.41] EVELYN PAYNE: No.
- [00:07:03.51] INTERVIEWER: And you mentioned that you all were segregated. This was in--
- [00:07:07.59] EVELYN PAYNE: Yeah, they're segregated. Mm-hmm.
- [00:07:08.88] INTERVIEWER: And this was in-- tell me again?
- [00:07:11.21] EVELYN PAYNE: This was in Tennessee.
- [00:07:12.20] INTERVIEWER: In Tennessee.
- [00:07:13.56] EVELYN PAYNE: Mm-hmm. But it didn't-- it stayed segregated until the president came in the third time.
- [00:07:29.60] INTERVIEWER: So you've told me that you had segregated schools. The whites were in one school--
- [00:07:37.79] EVELYN PAYNE: They had their school in one part of the town. We had our school which was in another part of the town, just one school. You know, we didn't go to different schools. All the classes were in one building.
- [00:07:52.09] We didn't have to go from floor to floor. We just had one building that was built up to the second floor. We had the kindergarten, and the cafeteria was on the first floor. Most of our school thing was on the second floor that we went to.
- [00:08:11.37] INTERVIEWER: So if it was all-- was that elementary to--
- [00:08:14.26] EVELYN PAYNE: They called it prema, prema through the first grade, from the first grade to the 12th grade.
- [00:08:22.79] INTERVIEWER: OK. And so was it near your home?
- [00:08:26.43] EVELYN PAYNE: Oh, it was in Tennessee, but not near where I lived. Oh, I had to walk. We walked, about, 10 miles or so, from one end of town to the other end of town.
- [00:08:40.36] INTERVIEWER: Was that 10 miles round-trip, or--
- [00:08:43.65] EVELYN PAYNE: No. No. We brought-- I'd say, round trip-- it probably was five miles from one end of the town to the other end. But it was quite a distance. We didn't-- our parents didn't have a car. My parents didn't have a car.
- [00:08:59.34] So I had to walk, whether it's raining or the sun's shining. We didn't have snow down there-- maybe once every-- I don't know-- about, 15, 20 years. We never had snow.
- [00:09:16.47] INTERVIEWER: Who were the teachers?
- [00:09:18.90] EVELYN PAYNE: Well, my principal was Professor Gilbert. I had a teacher named Ms. Viola Clements, Essie Lee Taylor, Mrs. Roper-- that's enough. [LAUGHING] That's enough.
- [00:09:33.04] INTERVIEWER: Were they black?
- [00:09:33.76] EVELYN PAYNE: Yes, they were.
- [00:09:35.35] INTERVIEWER: OK. Were there restaurants or eating places for blacks where you lived?
- [00:09:41.69] EVELYN PAYNE: My mother's restaurant. And it was, about, five black restaurants there.
- [00:09:51.89] INTERVIEWER: How were black visitors accommodated when they came into town? Where did they stay?
- [00:10:01.39] EVELYN PAYNE: Hmm. They had relatives there. Usually, the one that I know had relatives there.
- [00:10:08.05] INTERVIEWER: Mm-hmm. So they couldn't stay in the hotels and things there?
- [00:10:13.31] EVELYN PAYNE: I have no idea. It was awfully segregated there.
- [00:10:19.09] INTERVIEWER: OK. Now, we're going to talk about adulthood, marriage, and your family life while you were married. This set of questions covers a long period of time in your life, from the time you completed your education, entered the workforce, or started a family, until all of your children had left home.
- [00:10:47.05] EVELYN PAYNE: [LAUGHTER] You don't think.
- [00:10:51.56] INTERVIEWER: [LAUGHTER] And you and your spouse retired. So we might be talking about a stretch of time that spans as much as 40 years. So we'll see. How old were you when you came to Michigan, Ann Arbor?
- [00:11:09.22] EVELYN PAYNE: Mmm. I finished school in '43. I came to Detroit in '43. I came to Ann Arbor in '45. This is 2016.
- [00:11:28.00] INTERVIEWER: And you were, about, how old?
- [00:11:29.58] EVELYN PAYNE: I finished school when I was 18.
- [00:11:33.85] INTERVIEWER: So you were, about, 20 when you came to Ann Arbor?
- [00:11:37.07] EVELYN PAYNE: 20 or 21.
- [00:11:40.44] INTERVIEWER: OK. After you finished high school, where did you live?
- [00:11:44.99] EVELYN PAYNE: After I finished high school? I moved to Detroit.
- [00:11:47.73] INTERVIEWER: OK. And you said that you had stayed there two years?
- [00:11:54.44] EVELYN PAYNE: I stayed there, then I came to Ann Arbor.
- [00:11:56.76] INTERVIEWER: Then, you came to Ann Arbor. OK. When you were in Detroit, was there any particular reason why you all came to Ann Arbor?
- [00:12:15.08] EVELYN PAYNE: Well, when I was living in Detroit, my husband's friend used to bring him over to where I lived. And this is where we met. And he told me it was cheaper for me to come to Ann Arbor and live than for him to come to Detroit every weekend.
- [00:12:33.28] INTERVIEWER: To see you--
- [00:12:33.82] EVELYN PAYNE: So that's the reason I'm in Ann Arbor.
- [00:12:36.16] INTERVIEWER: OK. [LAUGHTER]
- [00:12:37.81] EVELYN PAYNE: [CHUCKLE]
- [00:12:42.60] INTERVIEWER: OK. I'm going to ask you to tell me a little bit about your marriage and family life. First, tell me, where did you meet him? You said--
- [00:12:53.55] EVELYN PAYNE: He was in my hometown.
- [00:12:55.01] INTERVIEWER: He was in your hometown of--
- [00:12:56.58] EVELYN PAYNE: In Tennessee.
- [00:12:57.37] INTERVIEWER: In Tennessee?
- [00:12:58.55] EVELYN PAYNE: Tennessee.
- [00:12:59.71] INTERVIEWER: OK. So--
- [00:13:02.10] EVELYN PAYNE: He was in service.
- [00:13:04.07] INTERVIEWER: OK. We'll talk about that. He was in the service. So when did you get married?
- [00:13:10.07] EVELYN PAYNE: We got married when I moved to Ann Arbor.
- [00:13:13.23] INTERVIEWER: OK. All right.
- [00:13:15.59] EVELYN PAYNE: Not before, just when we moved.
- [00:13:17.45] INTERVIEWER: So but you knew him in Tennessee?
- [00:13:19.14] EVELYN PAYNE: Mm-hmm. He was my boyfriend in Tennessee. [LAUGHTER]
- [00:13:23.38] INTERVIEWER: OK. [CHUCKLING] All right. That helps me. Tell me what it was like when you were dating.
- [00:13:33.92] EVELYN PAYNE: When I what?
- [00:13:34.80] INTERVIEWER: When you were dating.
- [00:13:36.11] EVELYN PAYNE: [LAUGHING] Oh. It was OK.
- [00:13:37.70] INTERVIEWER: It was OK?
- [00:13:38.69] EVELYN PAYNE: It was OK. Uh-huh. We dated and got married in Ann Arbor, and had eight children.
- [00:13:45.08] INTERVIEWER: OK. OK. Tell me about your children, and what life was like when they were young and living in the house.
- [00:14:04.53] EVELYN PAYNE: Well, I love my children, and we'd do things. We bowl, we go to Cedar Point, and all those activities. I did things with my children, and I love my children, and they love their mama.
- [00:14:25.89] INTERVIEWER: Tell me about the age span. You said there are eight?
- [00:14:30.02] EVELYN PAYNE: You want to know my children's ages?
- [00:14:32.93] INTERVIEWER: Just the span. I mean, who's the oldest--
- [00:14:35.42] EVELYN PAYNE: Two years--
- [00:14:35.85] INTERVIEWER: Go ahead-- two years.
- [00:14:39.62] EVELYN PAYNE: I didn't quite get that question.
- [00:14:41.32] INTERVIEWER: OK. Tell me-- I'm trying to figure out, in the eight years, how many years apart--
- [00:14:50.72] EVELYN PAYNE: Did I have kids? Two years apart.
- [00:14:53.27] INTERVIEWER: Two years apart, with eight children. OK. Wow, you were busy.
- [00:14:58.01] EVELYN PAYNE: Busy. [LAUGHTER]
- [00:14:58.64] INTERVIEWER: Yes. [CHUCKLE] And you've already told me you had fun doing things with your kids, bowling, and going to Cedar Point.
- [00:15:08.68] EVELYN PAYNE: They call me, Gutterball Mama. [CHUCKLE]
- [00:15:12.35] INTERVIEWER: [CHUCKLE] what were your personal favorite things to do with them?
- [00:15:20.67] EVELYN PAYNE: My personal favorite things that I really enjoyed was working in the hospital and taking care of my patients. I really enjoyed that.
- [00:15:30.52] INTERVIEWER: So what were your favorite things to do--
- [00:15:34.19] EVELYN PAYNE: With my children?
- [00:15:34.82] INTERVIEWER: With your children.
- [00:15:36.82] EVELYN PAYNE: Well, I think it was-- I don't know really nothing favorite, because I was doing everything favorite with them-- cooking for them, sending them to school. And then, I go to work.
- [00:15:56.65] INTERVIEWER: Did all your children go to school in Ann Arbor?
- [00:15:59.73] EVELYN PAYNE: Mm-hmm. They all were born here.
- [00:16:02.21] INTERVIEWER: They were all born here. OK. This next set of questions covers a fairly long period in your life, from the time you entered the labor force-- you said you were a nurse-- and started a family, up to the present time. You want to tell me again what your main field of employment was?
- [00:16:32.07] EVELYN PAYNE: Nursing.
- [00:16:32.85] INTERVIEWER: Nursing.
- [00:16:33.69] EVELYN PAYNE: Mm-hmm.
- [00:16:34.92] INTERVIEWER: And you told me you were at St. Joe and U of M?
- [00:16:39.42] EVELYN PAYNE: Mm-hmm. I worked at UM. I didn't really go there for a job. I went with another friend of mine. She put in the application for a job at U. So she said, put in the application. And I said, no, I can't put in the application, because I'm not looking for a job now.
- [00:16:58.13] So she talked me into it and I put in the application. They hired me, but they didn't hire her. They told me when to come to work, but my husband was on vacation in Tennessee. So I told them that.
- [00:17:11.42] They said, when your husband comes back, give us a call. And I did, and I went to work. I started working at the U.
- [00:17:20.84] Then, I left there, because I wanted to get on days. With children, you can't work nights. You don't get enough sleep in your daytime. So I went to St. Joe and I got on days. And I stayed there for 25 years.
- [00:17:35.94] INTERVIEWER: So did you have help with the children?
- [00:17:39.44] EVELYN PAYNE: No. The only help that I had with my children was, when I get pregnant with one, my mother would come up to take care of the oldest one. But I did it by myself.
- [00:17:57.39] INTERVIEWER: How did you get interested in-- you said they hired you, but how did you get-- did you have an interest in nursing before?
- [00:18:05.84] EVELYN PAYNE: Mm-hmm. I always had, ever since I was a kid.
- [00:18:08.85] INTERVIEWER: Really?
- [00:18:09.14] EVELYN PAYNE: Going to school, I wanted to be a nurse.
- [00:18:12.00] INTERVIEWER: OK.
- [00:18:15.45] EVELYN PAYNE: But I was just a nurse's assistant. I did the same thing the nurses did.
- [00:18:21.68] INTERVIEWER: And you enjoyed it.
- [00:18:23.37] EVELYN PAYNE: Mm-hmm.
- [00:18:24.67] INTERVIEWER: Can you tell me about a typical day, like during your working years of your adult life? What did the typical day look like, with the children and working, and--
- [00:18:39.66] EVELYN PAYNE: You'll be tired sometimes, but you know what? I just think about your patient and think about your children, and you just go ahead and do it. So me, I didn't have a choice for taking care of my kids or a patient, but I loved it. So that would be my typical day, getting ready, getting them off to school, cooking, which I like to do.
- [00:19:09.25] INTERVIEWER: Tell me a little bit about your cooking.
- [00:19:11.25] EVELYN PAYNE: [LAUGHTER] You'll have to ask Reverend Johnson. [LAUGHTER]
- [00:19:15.71] INTERVIEWER: [LAUGHTER]
- [00:19:17.09] EVELYN PAYNE: Well, I cook everything. I like to cook. I had a big dinner the night before last, for my daughter's birthday.
- [00:19:27.84] INTERVIEWER: OK. What is the different biggest difference, in your main field of nursing assistant, from the time you started until now? What difference did you see?
- [00:19:59.65] EVELYN PAYNE: The difference now is, I don't have my patient to take care of. But I'm still taking care of children. And I volunteer.
- [00:20:13.52] INTERVIEWER: You volunteer where?
- [00:20:15.15] EVELYN PAYNE: In my building. I used to volunteer at the Catholic social service.
- [00:20:21.50] INTERVIEWER: Doing what?
- [00:20:22.92] EVELYN PAYNE: Giving out food to the people coming. And, you know, they come every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They come to get food and I would pass the food out to them.
- [00:20:37.97] INTERVIEWER: How did you get interested in doing volunteer work?
- [00:20:42.01] EVELYN PAYNE: [CHUCKLE] I was tired of sittin' around after I retired. They needed volunteers, so I volunteered.
- [00:20:51.47] INTERVIEWER: I was trying to get from you, if there was a difference in the nursing field between when you started and when you left. Did you see any difference?
- [00:21:06.96] EVELYN PAYNE: I don't really know. No.
- [00:21:16.12] INTERVIEWER: You were just a good person working.
- [00:21:17.91] EVELYN PAYNE: I just wanted to do it, and I enjoyed doing that.
- [00:21:21.51] INTERVIEWER: OK. In thinking back over your life, what important social or historical events, in your adult life, were taking place at the time? And how did these events personally affect your family? In your adult life.
- [00:21:54.77] EVELYN PAYNE: That affected my family?
- [00:21:57.64] INTERVIEWER: Well, first, can you think of any historical or social events that happened in the United States that--
- [00:22:09.99] EVELYN PAYNE: Well, the main thing that really happened in my adult life is that-- do you mean something that I like it in my adult life?
- [00:22:27.58] INTERVIEWER: No, not exactly. What--
- [00:22:29.50] EVELYN PAYNE: I'll tell you one thing in my adult life-- is that I was happy that we have an African-American president.
- [00:22:38.19] INTERVIEWER: OK. So that was a big impact, and a big social event.
- [00:22:44.70] EVELYN PAYNE: --in my life.
- [00:22:45.73] INTERVIEWER: So were there any other events up to that that you can think of?
- [00:22:55.09] EVELYN PAYNE: No more than traveling with the children to see my father before he died. That was about the only thing that I can remember.
- [00:23:04.76] INTERVIEWER: Did you all have any trouble finding housing when you first came? When you all--
- [00:23:11.25] EVELYN PAYNE: No, because my husband-- see, he already had a place when I came here.
- [00:23:15.37] INTERVIEWER: OK.
- [00:23:16.80] EVELYN PAYNE: See, he lived here. I lived in Detroit.
- [00:23:19.30] INTERVIEWER: Right.
- [00:23:21.34] EVELYN PAYNE: So then we bought a house on Beakes Street.
- [00:23:28.46] INTERVIEWER: Were there mainly black people on Beakes Street when you moved there?
- [00:23:31.97] EVELYN PAYNE: Everybody on Beakes Street was black.
- [00:23:34.85] INTERVIEWER: OK. OK. All right. We're going to go on to part four, and this is about historical and social events here, in Ann Arbor. Tell me how it is for you to live in this community.
- [00:23:59.88] EVELYN PAYNE: It's nice. I like it.
- [00:24:01.92] INTERVIEWER: Tell me what's nice about it.
- [00:24:03.73] EVELYN PAYNE: Well, we work together. You know, it's like a family in the senior citizen building where I'm living. We cook, we have potlucks once a month. Everybody brings a dish. We work puzzles together, we play cards together. We're just like one big family, and I really enjoy it.
- [00:24:23.82] INTERVIEWER: So how long have you been at the senior place?
- [00:24:26.39] EVELYN PAYNE: 18 years, ever since they opened.
- [00:24:33.75] INTERVIEWER: What about outside of your senior building? You know, church or shopping or--
- [00:24:45.39] EVELYN PAYNE: Yes. I don't go to do too much shopping, unless it's grocery shopping. But I do that. And I go to church, Bethel, and I play Bingo.
- [00:25:03.37] INTERVIEWER: And at Bethel, what have you been involved in?
- [00:25:07.02] EVELYN PAYNE: I was on the usher board, nursing guild, Helping Hand Outreach Ministry, pastor's aid.
- [00:25:18.88] INTERVIEWER: Right. When thinking back over your entire life, what are you most proud of?
- [00:25:28.20] EVELYN PAYNE: That we have the black president.
- [00:25:30.40] INTERVIEWER: [LAUGHING] OK.
- [00:25:31.67] EVELYN PAYNE: [LAUGHTER] I didn't think I'd ever see that, but that's it.
- [00:25:38.12] INTERVIEWER: OK. What would you say has changed the most, from the time you were a young person to now?
- [00:25:47.17] EVELYN PAYNE: A lot's changed [INAUDIBLE].
- [00:25:48.78] INTERVIEWER: OK.
- [00:25:49.25] EVELYN PAYNE: I have eight kids, and I didn't have them when I was-- [LAUGHTER]
- [00:25:52.72] INTERVIEWER: [LAUGHTER] OK. All right. Anything else in your life, in your living in the area?
- [00:26:07.23] EVELYN PAYNE: The area?
- [00:26:08.21] INTERVIEWER: Mm-hmm. The whole area. I'm talking about in Ann Arbor.
- [00:26:11.21] EVELYN PAYNE: Ann Arbor has grown since I've been here. Because when I first came here, there was a lot of wooded area, but now, it's built up.
- [00:26:20.57] INTERVIEWER: Mm-hmm.
- [00:26:21.22] EVELYN PAYNE: You didn't see as many cars on the road as you see now. So that was a change. And then, I'm not driving anymore.
- [00:26:31.66] INTERVIEWER: OK. OK. How was it with the kids in school? Were you involved in their-- did you go to--
- [00:26:42.14] EVELYN PAYNE: Yes, I was.
- [00:26:42.55] INTERVIEWER: OK. Tell me a little bit about--
- [00:26:44.40] EVELYN PAYNE: When I could get off from work and unless the kids do something, I have to go to school. So there were some-- my kids were involved in a lot of stuff-- especially the boys more than the girls.
- [00:27:00.36] The boys still play ball. They used to play ball. Mr. Hickenbottom was their coach. And the girls used to be in the Al Toras drill team. The boys were in French Duke.
- [00:27:12.39] INTERVIEWER: Oh.
- [00:27:13.08] EVELYN PAYNE: They have organized the French Duke with Billy Drumwright.
- [00:27:16.88] INTERVIEWER: OK. All right. What advice would you give young people today?
- [00:27:30.11] EVELYN PAYNE: Today, I would tell the kids to love one another and to please stay out of trouble. Don't be breaking into people's houses, robbing them. Get your job.
- [00:27:42.12] INTERVIEWER: OK. OK. So on the whole, your life here has been--
- [00:27:53.42] EVELYN PAYNE: It's been nice.
- [00:27:54.55] INTERVIEWER: It's been nice.
- [00:27:54.96] EVELYN PAYNE: It's been a beautiful life.
- [00:27:55.94] INTERVIEWER: It's been a beautiful-- and were there any challenges that you felt there was a struggle?
- [00:28:10.78] EVELYN PAYNE: Well, what challenge did I struggle with? Well, when my husband died, it was a challenge to have to raise the kids. Because my baby girl was still young.
- [00:28:23.12] INTERVIEWER: Mm-hmm. And how long has it been since he--
- [00:28:27.94] EVELYN PAYNE: But my mother was living here. She moved here. And my grandmother-- before my mother and grandmother died, they helped me out with the children while I worked.
- [00:28:39.89] Because, you know, I had to work. I did it in order to make, you know, ends meet. I worked overtime while my mother-- she watched the kids for me while I worked overtime. It's a big change. Because you don't have nobody else to help you.
- [00:29:01.91] INTERVIEWER: So tell me again what you'd tell young people?
- [00:29:06.64] EVELYN PAYNE: I'd tell them to love one another, which they don't do these days. Because the way the killin' is down in Detroit and around, they don't love each other. Stay out of trouble.
- [00:29:20.12] INTERVIEWER: And get a what?
- [00:29:21.02] EVELYN PAYNE: And get them a job.
- [00:29:22.51] INTERVIEWER: OK.
May 5, 2016
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