AACHM Oral History: Audrey Lucas
Thu, 12/01/2016 - 3:22pm
When: September 13, 2016 at Downtown Library
Please take a moment to take our Living Oral History Survey and let us know what you learned.
Audrey Lucas was born in 1934 and raised in Ann Arbor where she fondly recalls her school days at Jones School. She talks about activities at the Dunbar Center where she had the pleasure of singing at various city events, and some of Ann Arbor's black neighborhoods and businesses. Ms. Lucas worked for the University of Michigan Health System for 47 years, the last 35 before her retirement as a human resources consultant.
- [00:00:14.08] INTERVIEWER: So good afternoon, Audrey.
- [00:00:15.34] AUDREY LUCAS: Good afternoon.
- [00:00:17.11] INTERVIEWER: Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.
- [00:00:19.93] AUDREY LUCAS: It's my pleasure.
- [00:00:21.52] INTERVIEWER: So I'm first going to ask you some simple demographic questions. And these questions may jog your memory, but please keep your answers brief and to the point for now. We can go into more detail later in the interview. Please say and spell your name.
- [00:00:39.86] AUDREY LUCAS: My name is Audrey Marguerite Sleet Lucas. And that's A-U-D-R-E-Y, and my last name is L-U-C-A-S.
- [00:00:50.47] INTERVIEWER: What is your date of birth, including the year?
- [00:00:53.47] AUDREY LUCAS: I was born August 24, 1934.
- [00:00:58.78] INTERVIEWER: How would you describe your ethnic background?
- [00:01:01.75] AUDREY LUCAS: I'm African-American.
- [00:01:04.23] INTERVIEWER: What is your religion, if any?
- [00:01:06.58] AUDREY LUCAS: I am Baptist and have been Baptist all my life.
- [00:01:12.56] INTERVIEWER: What is the highest level of formal education you have completed?
- [00:01:16.33] AUDREY LUCAS: I graduated from the Ann Arbor Public School system, worked to help my brother go to college, and-- but I did graduate from Cleary College.
- [00:01:29.05] INTERVIEWER: What is your marital status?
- [00:01:30.88] AUDREY LUCAS: I am single at this time. I was married and divorced, and my former husband has since deceased.
- [00:01:41.80] INTERVIEWER: How many children do you have?
- [00:01:43.42] AUDREY LUCAS: I have two children.
- [00:01:46.36] INTERVIEWER: What was your primary occupation?
- [00:01:49.27] AUDREY LUCAS: I worked at the University of Michigan Health System for 47 years. And I worked in several capacities, but the last 35 years of my employment there I was what they called a human resource consultant.
- [00:02:04.74] INTERVIEWER: OK, we'll come back to more about that shortly.
- [00:02:08.06] AUDREY LUCAS: All right.
- [00:02:08.92] INTERVIEWER: If you are retired, what age did you retire?
- [00:02:11.77] AUDREY LUCAS: I was 66 when I retired.
- [00:02:17.03] INTERVIEWER: Now we're going to go on to memories of childhood and youth. This is the part of the interview-- this part of the interview is about your childhood and youth. Even if these questions, once again, jog memories about other times in your life, please only respond with memories for this part of your life. What was your family like when you were a child?
- [00:02:38.43] AUDREY LUCAS: I am so blessed. I came from a very wonderful, loving family. I was born in Connersville, Indiana. And there was my brother that's next to me. He's 18 months younger than I. And we grew up in Connersville until we moved here to Ann Arbor in September of 1941.
- [00:03:02.24] INTERVIEWER: You've been here a long time.
- [00:03:03.50] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes. Yes.
- [00:03:05.82] INTERVIEWER: What sort of work did your parents do?
- [00:03:08.27] AUDREY LUCAS: My mother worked-- she did day work when she first came, and then she worked in the sorority houses. She worked at a sorority house on Hill Street for a number of years. And she did work-- she worked parties. She worked at the stadium. That kind of thing is what she did as keeping bread on the table. And my dad when he came here, he worked at the bomber plant in Willow Run.
- [00:03:41.39] INTERVIEWER: OK, in terms of your mother at the sorority houses, was that also preparing meals for those that live there?
- [00:03:48.92] AUDREY LUCAS: She was the housekeeper.
- [00:03:50.75] INTERVIEWER: The housekeeper.
- [00:03:51.62] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes. Yes.
- [00:03:54.20] INTERVIEWER: What is some of your earliest memories during childhood and youth?
- [00:03:59.63] AUDREY LUCAS: Just very loving. I was blessed to come from a very loving family, and we just enjoyed each other. I don't ever remember for a long time living alone, because when we were in Connersville, my aunt and my two cousins lived with us. And then when we came up here to live when we rented a house, my uncle and his wife and their two children came to live with us. And we seemed to be the catalyst for family coming this way from Indiana. So there was always somebody living with us at some point or another. Which I-- now that I think about it, I really love, because it was always nice to have a lot of people around.
- [00:04:44.03] INTERVIEWER: I think that probably is something that happened in a lot of African-American families in terms of when people move to an area, they moved in with family members for that support. Were there any special days, events, or family traditions you remember from your childhood?
- [00:05:00.98] AUDREY LUCAS: Not really. We celebrated the normal holidays, and we always got together at Christmas time, Thanksgiving, enjoyed the summers for the 4th of July and holidays, Labor Day. As I think about those holidays, one of the nice things that I remember, not necessarily as a tradition, but my mother never liked to see people go hungry. And so, if anybody knock-- as a child I remember if anybody knocked on the door-- because we didn't live that far from the railroad station-- and they were hungry, she fed them. That was just how she was raised, and if we had something, we shared it.
- [00:05:43.67] And so that's one of the traditions I remember. When we lived across the street and growing up, there were students going to the University of Michigan, and they came to our house for breakfast. And on Fridays, we had waffle suppers and that kind of thing, because they didn't have family here. And so we, sort of, became their family. And so it was always a blessing to have a lot of people around even though I had to wash all the dishes after it was over.
- [00:06:18.71] INTERVIEWER: That's wonderful, though, that your mother was that way about sharing. That's great. Which holidays did your family celebrate, which of the main holidays?
- [00:06:31.33] AUDREY LUCAS: Just the ones-- yes, the Christmas and Thanksgiving. And, of course, because we were church people, we were always up for sunrise service, for Easter service, and celebrated Palm Sundays when they had the church services and the three hours. So those were very important to our family, and so we always participated in those.
- [00:06:57.59] INTERVIEWER: So mentioning church services, you said you've always been Baptist. So when you arrived here, did your family join Second Baptist?
- [00:07:06.08] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes, immediately.
- [00:07:07.85] INTERVIEWER: Oh my goodness. You have a long, long time.
- [00:07:10.49] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes. Yes. Yes. Well, my mother had lived here before--
- [00:07:14.27] INTERVIEWER: OK.
- [00:07:14.75] AUDREY LUCAS: --with her sister. And so, consequently, when we moved back here as a family, she was already, sort of, connected to Reverend Carpenter and the Second Baptist Church.
- [00:07:25.92] INTERVIEWER: All right. So the original location for Second Baptist, what street was that?
- [00:07:31.14] AUDREY LUCAS: That was on the corner of 5th Avenue and Beakes.
- [00:07:34.06] INTERVIEWER: All right. OK, so there's probably some pictures and things around that to be used.
- [00:07:38.95] AUDREY LUCAS: Oh, yes. Yes. We were part of the old church.
- [00:07:42.63] INTERVIEWER: All right.
- [00:07:43.17] AUDREY LUCAS: I mean I go that far back when we were in the original church, and the basement, kind of, was falling down. And we had to go and replace the basement, and we stayed there until we had to build another church. In 1952, it opened up so.
- [00:08:06.26] INTERVIEWER: Has your family created any of its own traditions and celebrations?
- [00:08:11.39] AUDREY LUCAS: I would say no. Just the things that I talked about as far as the waffle suppers with the students and just being available to enjoy one another whenever there were people around or wherever there was a need. My mother did readings. She was a wonderful poetry reader, and so as a child I accompanied her to a lot of places because of her beautiful skill of doing readings. And so that was always a very wonderful experience to be a part of.
- [00:08:48.56] INTERVIEWER: It sounds like it. So when she did readings was it at other churches, was it organizations? Exactly, where did she do her readings?
- [00:08:56.33] AUDREY LUCAS: She did them for clubs, she did them at church, she did them for special events, special holiday events. Because she just really did it so well, she was always being asked to come forward and to perform.
- [00:09:16.86] INTERVIEWER: What was the highest grade you completed? You mentioned something earlier about Cleary. So you want to tell us a little bit more about that?
- [00:09:24.02] AUDREY LUCAS: Well, I graduated from high school. And I had intended to go to school, but-- to college, but my brother who was just 18 months younger than myself, he was a very, very bright young man. And so I decided that I would go to work and help him go to school, and then maybe go to school later on. And that's why I ended up going part time to Cleary. I went nights, because I worked during the day. So I took night classes, and finally did get a degree from Cleary. And so I didn't do any other kind of post graduate work after that.
- [00:10:09.93] INTERVIEWER: So you said you graduated from high school. Did you attend high school and middle school and elementary, or high school and middle school here in Ann Arbor?
- [00:10:19.46] AUDREY LUCAS: All of it except the first grade.
- [00:10:23.61] INTERVIEWER: All right, so tell me what schools.
- [00:10:25.23] AUDREY LUCAS: I went to Jones School, and then, of course, at that time Jones School went through the ninth grade. And then we went to Ann Arbor High School, 10 through 12.
- [00:10:36.62] INTERVIEWER: All right.
- [00:10:37.56] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes, and, of course, as you know Jones School was primarily a black school, because African-Americans attended because that's the way the neighborhood was. That's where they allowed us to live: 5th Avenue, 4th Avenue, Beakes Street. And so, consequently, we went to Jones school, and we walked. Fortunately for me, I only lived-- always just a few blocks away from the school when I went to Jones school, so it was very easy for me to go to school, because I didn't have a long distance to go to-- from.
- [00:11:12.94] And we came through the time where we-- it was segregation, because we were only allowed to live certain places. But as a young person I never felt like I was being discriminated against. I guess I just-- sometimes you just don't know what you don't know. That's what you know. And we lived in a neighborhood with Greeks and Mexicans, and that was just our-- who our friends were.
- [00:11:49.71] I remember when I went to Jones School, the teacher said, oh, we have a new girl in class, and Fran, I'm giving her to you. She was a Greek girl that lived down the street from where I lived, and she and I were friends forever. And I'd always tell her you have to take care of me remember? I was given to you to take care of so.
- [00:12:16.35] INTERVIEWER: So in terms of teachers at that school, were they African-Americans or?
- [00:12:20.78] AUDREY LUCAS: No.
- [00:12:21.63] INTERVIEWER: OK.
- [00:12:22.11] AUDREY LUCAS: No, we had no African-American teachers.
- [00:12:25.50] INTERVIEWER: But it was predominantly minorities at that school?
- [00:12:28.89] AUDREY LUCAS: At that time, yes. And as I said, that was just the way of life, and that's what we experienced, and didn't think anything about it, because you, sort of, felt like this was the way life is at this point in time and you just accepted it.
- [00:12:47.55] INTERVIEWER: Sometimes you don't know what you don't know.
- [00:12:49.11] AUDREY LUCAS: That's exactly right. I will say that the teachers were always very nice. The only thing I think some of them did not really encourage you to work to your fullest benefit, to really stretch, and think about college courses or things that were going to help you after you got out of school. So I think that's one of the things that I regret. Even though we lived in a university town, it was like you they had expectations that you would probably go and work in a kitchen someplace or mop floors or do that janitorial kind of work, as opposed to having you stretch your imagination to really feel that you could do other things.
- [00:13:43.20] INTERVIEWER: Even now as a former educator that conversation would come up about not having those high expectation for African-American students, so that continues to be a concern.
- [00:13:56.37] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes.
- [00:14:01.14] INTERVIEWER: What about your school experience is different from school as you know it today?
- [00:14:05.79] AUDREY LUCAS: Oh, it's really different. We had our swimming classes at the YMCA even though sometimes you couldn't go to the Y. But as long as you are part of the school and you came to swim, you could get in. And, of course, when I came through-- I came through in the 50s when I graduated from high school-- and we had a wonderful football team. We had a wonderful basketball team. We had a lot of social things around their winnings, traveled when they were playing, and just really enjoyed it.
- [00:14:50.40] Because, unfortunately-- I say, unfortunately, because at that time we had a coach and all of the players, oftentimes, were African-American on the floor. That was, sort of, unheard of. And one of the mothers really got very upset about that. And the coach at that time was sent to the elementary school. And we know why that took place, because he didn't see race, he saw students who could do a job. And he saw people who could get state championships, and that's what we did.
- [00:15:41.34] And so I always felt so bad that he, kind of, paid a penalty for that kind of narrow mindedness as opposed to just saying this is the best people on the floor, and this is the team that will get the job done.
- [00:15:59.76] INTERVIEWER: These are the students-- these are the students that actually have the skills--
- [00:16:03.42] AUDREY LUCAS: Right.
- [00:16:04.36] INTERVIEWER: --to win-- to help win the games and like you said go to a state championship.
- [00:16:07.85] AUDREY LUCAS: Right.
- [00:16:08.12] INTERVIEWER: And that was going to be my questions. When you said a lot of activities was built around the teams, I was going to say they must have been-- they had to be a winner-- winners.
- [00:16:16.11] AUDREY LUCAS: They were winners. They were winners.
- [00:16:19.92] INTERVIEWER: Right.
- [00:16:20.73] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes, indeed.
- [00:16:22.62] INTERVIEWER: So when you say activities around them-- those games, what kinds of activities?
- [00:16:27.81] AUDREY LUCAS: Well, after the games we would celebrate, or we would go and have dances. And I will say there was no segregation at that in our classes. They-- the Caucasian students, they were happy that we were winning, and so they came to all of the events and danced and had a good time. And so there was never that feeling at the school level of segregation, or this shouldn't be happening. Because I think they all welcomed the fact that we did so well as a school and had such wonderful recognition as winners.
- [00:17:09.16] INTERVIEWER: As we say, everybody likes to be part of winners. Were there any changes in your family life during your school years?
- [00:17:22.27] AUDREY LUCAS: No, I-- being in Ann Arbor and, of course, the Dunbar Community Center, I always lived around that center, and I participated in everything that they offered, the clubs. I did sing with every group they had. We had a trio. We had sextets. We had choirs. And so that opened a lot of doors, because they would ask-- people in the community would ask us to sing different places. And so, consequently, we had a lot of exposure to different, like, Republican dinners or Democratic dinners or people that wanted us to come to perform at certain lofty occasions.
- [00:18:10.54] So I was very grateful for being able to sing and to be a part of that, because it just opened a door to a lot of things. And you were exposed to a lot of wonderful things that you might not have had an opportunity to see or to even be a part of.
- [00:18:29.79] INTERVIEWER: I can remember when we had our focus on the arts, and it was music, we tried to get you to sing at that event. You came, but you didn't sing.
- [00:18:42.75] AUDREY LUCAS: Not that time.
- [00:18:44.16] INTERVIEWER: Not that time. So tell me a little bit more about the Dunbar Center in terms of who actually came there. Was it primarily African-Americans, or?
- [00:18:53.55] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes, it was primarily African-Americans. They had a lot of Caucasian backers, but the people who came and attended, like, I know they had adult bridge class. And we had dances also at the center. I had pictures of some of the-- pictures of the kids, teenagers dancing there. And then we had a lot of little girls clubs, and that you could be a part of. We sewed. We had a little dance. One of the directors that came had taught us how to do interpretive dancing, so we did that. And so, again, a lot of exposure that you would not ordinarily get unless you were really a part of that kind of situation.
- [00:19:46.81] INTERVIEWER: And why don't you tell us again where Jones-- where the Dunbar Center was located.
- [00:19:50.83] AUDREY LUCAS: It was located on Fourth Avenue and Kingsley. And it was-- it was just a home away from home.
- [00:19:59.66] INTERVIEWER: And so was it after school only or on the weekends or exactly--
- [00:20:05.39] AUDREY LUCAS: Pretty much after school.
- [00:20:06.53] INTERVIEWER: After school. OK, when thinking back on your school years, what important social or historical events were taking place at the time, and how did they personally affect you and your family?
- [00:20:23.13] AUDREY LUCAS: As I think back, as I said I came through the 50s, and, of course, there was becoming an awareness. There was the Korean War. The Second World War, of course, had ended and the realization that some things needed to change for African-Americans. And so I came through that era where you knew that you were as good as anybody else. My parents always told me that, so I never felt I had to take a backseat to anything, and you-- or to any body. You just were who you were, and you saw people for people.
- [00:21:08.38] And I think a lot of times I felt as long as I felt that way and showed people that I felt I was good, that's how they teach-- that's how they treated me. And I know when I was in high school, I was the only African-American in my class. They made me the president of the class, that homeroom. They made me the student body representative. And so, consequently, I don't know why that happened, but I never felt like they excluded me from anything, because they always elected me to go to represent them.
- [00:21:46.44] INTERVIEWER: They probably saw the skills that you had. So it was you, Audrey.
- [00:21:56.94] AUDREY LUCAS: And when I was in high school, I did sing. I sang with one of the bands in high school, and so then I got a lot of exposure. And some of the traditions of going out to play with this band that I sang with in high school was also fun.
- [00:22:14.37] INTERVIEWER: What was that, like, a small band, or?
- [00:22:16.62] AUDREY LUCAS: No, well--
- [00:22:17.13] INTERVIEWER: And you were the lead singer?
- [00:22:18.50] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes, I was the only singer.
- [00:22:20.37] INTERVIEWER: The only singer.
- [00:22:21.85] [LAUGHTER]
- [00:22:24.99] AUDREY LUCAS: We did a lot of "she wore blue velvet."
- [00:22:29.45] INTERVIEWER: I know that song. You have lived during the era of segregation. Can you speak about that?
- [00:22:40.05] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes.
- [00:22:41.87] INTERVIEWER: Was your school segregated? Just, kind of, answer that, but you can always go back over things again.
- [00:22:45.64] AUDREY LUCAS: Well, I just think that it was what it was. I can remember, the only time that I thought something was, kind of, unrealistic, I was in gym class and I had my shoes off and I had worn sandals in the sun. And this person looked at me, and she said, you're tanned. And I laughed, because I thought, yes, we tan. If we stay in the sun, we do tan. So but I was just-- but it was something, I guess, she thought because we were already brown that we wouldn't tan in the sun or get darker, or there would be that different highlights and because your feet had been in the sun. So other than that, segregation was what it was.
- [00:23:39.78] I could remember my mother going to the $0.10 store, Kresge's up on campus, and I remember she came home. My mother was just a beautiful, sweet person never complained about anything. But she said, I was very upset today, because I went to that counter, and that girl walked all around me. She knew I was there to be served, but she acted like I didn't exist. And you didn't run into that a lot, because there were places we just didn't go--
- [00:24:10.74] INTERVIEWER: Go to.
- [00:24:11.31] AUDREY LUCAS: Because you knew you weren't welcome, and you knew sometimes that if you went in a place to get ice cream, you didn't stay, sit down at a table. You got yours, and you left. That-- I know when I-- we would go back to Connersville for the summers, we'd get out of church and we'd go down to this place and we'd always buy a Coke. But you never ate inside. You always had to get out and go back to the stand in front of the church or a stand outside in order to drink whatever you had purchased or that kind of thing.
- [00:24:46.12] So those are the segregated kinds of things that I remember, But I also remember when things began to change in the 60s, the civil rights movement. And it was, kind of, interesting, because I worked with an older lady, and she didn't understand why they were putting up all that fuss. Why didn't you just-- why don't they just leave things alone. Why are you sitting at-- why are they sitting at counters? Why are they stirring up a ruckus?
- [00:25:16.50] And it was hard for me to understand why she felt that it shouldn't be done. It's like you are just saying that we should just have the status quo. But I know she came from that school where she just didn't want the confusion, and so I understood that. But it was still, kind of, an interesting conversation that we would have.
- [00:25:39.54] INTERVIEWER: So you say you work with a lady, and I'm assuming she was Caucasian?
- [00:25:42.30] AUDREY LUCAS: No, she was African-American.
- [00:25:44.45] INTERVIEWER: And she didn't understand?
- [00:25:45.49] AUDREY LUCAS: She didn't understand. She didn't want it to chan-- I think she came from that era where, if you don't-- you just don't make waves.
- [00:25:51.42] INTERVIEWER: Stay in your place.
- [00:25:52.11] AUDREY LUCAS: Stay in your place, don't make waves, and if you do stay in your place, they'll just leave you alone. But they don't. That wasn't-- that wasn't something that happened to everybody. She was just a quiet person who just, kind of, stayed under the radar. She came to work. She went home.
- [00:26:10.94] INTERVIEWER: And that was it.
- [00:26:11.58] AUDREY LUCAS: And that was it.
- [00:26:14.46] INTERVIEWER: So as we're talking I want to talk about-- I know several times we've done interviews that talked about the black business district, and the areas where those businesses were located. Can you talk to me a little bit about that?
- [00:26:28.02] AUDREY LUCAS: Well, of course, there was the friendly corner up on Fourth Avenue. It was owned by Jewish people, and a lot of people accused them of being communists, that they were part of the communist party. They couldn't just be people. Because they were in a black neighborhood, so they had to be communists. And, of course, I was not allowed to go up on Ann Street, but I knew Ann Street. And, of course, that's where people got their hair done on Fourth Avenue. The barbershops were up there. The beer garden was there. The pool hall was there. Where you could get your shoes shined was there.
- [00:27:10.23] And so Ann Street was the blacks' business district as far as I knew. That's what I grew up with even though sometimes I could not go up there as a child. But I was blessed, because two of my girlfriends lived on that block, because their uncle owned a pool hall. And so they lived above in an apartment upstairs on Ann Street. And you-- it was like stepping into some strange place. That apartment was absolutely gorgeous. They had a grand piano. They had beautiful furnishings.
- [00:27:57.96] They had a formal dining room, a beautiful kitchen, and I remember I went there for dinner and the gentleman of the house had all the plates in front of him, served the plates, and passed them down. I thought, oh my goodness. That was nothing I had ever been exposed to.
- [00:28:19.36] INTERVIEWER: And you weren't expecting that.
- [00:28:20.37] AUDREY LUCAS: And I wasn't expecting that. And so that was, kind of, strange, but a wonderful experience.
- [00:28:26.88] INTERVIEWER: OK, now-- so that was the black business district, and I know that we interviewed one individual and they talked about how a lot of the homes there-- like we know that Mrs. Seeley was one of the few that was still in that area.
- [00:28:43.11] AUDREY LUCAS: Right.
- [00:28:43.53] INTERVIEWER: So that whole area over by Zingerman's, all back in there were blacks living there.
- [00:28:49.05] AUDREY LUCAS: Oh, well not-- some on Detroit Street.
- [00:28:52.23] INTERVIEWER: Some on Detroit Street, OK.
- [00:28:53.01] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes, but when we'd go into Diroff's, that's what the store was, he'd always watch you. Because if-- they always felt if black kids came in, they came to steal. And so they would stand at the door and guard you, sort of, until you left the store. But he also recognized that because he was in an African-American neighborhood that's where people came to get their greens. I have a friend now who moved here as a student, he said, the only place I could go buy me some greens was at that Diroff's store. Because they didn't have them in Kroger stores or the ANP cause they didn't cater to African-American folk food at that time.
- [00:29:38.91] So-- and the neighborhood was just what it was. I just remember the friendships that we had, and the girls. We've had slumber parties and stayed overnight at each other's house and just had a good time.
- [00:29:56.35] INTERVIEWER: OK. All right, we're going to move on to part three. It's adulthood, marriage, and family life. This set of questions covers a fairly long period of your life from the time you completed your education, entered the labor force, or started a family until all of your children left home and you and/or your spouse retired. So we might be talking about a stretch of time spanning as much as four decades.
- [00:30:24.54] AUDREY LUCAS: OK.
- [00:30:25.19] INTERVIEWER: All right. After you finished high school, where did you live?
- [00:30:30.51] AUDREY LUCAS: I lived still at home, and-- because I was, kind of, free to do things, I was looking for a job, since I didn't go to college and had decided I was going to help my brother. So I needed to get a job. So I worked a few jobs from the time I got-- I had worked the summer at St. Joseph Hospital. I worked there every summer in the kitchen, and they asked me if I wanted to stay on at St. Joe, and I said oh, no, I'm going to school. And then, of course, after I got out I thought, oh my goodness, I'm not going to school, so what are you going to do?
- [00:31:08.52] And I did not want to go to the university, because they worked on Sunday. And I was very active in my church. I was one of the church soloists, and so I said I don't want to go to the University Hospital. But I took a temporary job at the post office. And I did go up to the university, and they called my house and they talked to my mother, because she said we want to offer her a job. And I thought, oh my goodness. And my mother said, well, she's not here. And I told my mother, I said, you tell them when they call back that I took a job at the post office, and because I made that commitment, I will not be leaving them. So if they have to give the job to somebody else, fine.
- [00:32:02.76] And the lady who had interviewed me thought that was the most wonderful thing that I would be committed and to keep what I had promised to do, and they kept the job for me.
- [00:32:17.01] INTERVIEWER: That was wonderful.
- [00:32:19.70] AUDREY LUCAS: They kept the job for me. I worked in a new outpatient building. They had just opened an outpatient building, and the job was Monday through Friday. I didn't have to work weekends.
- [00:32:35.19] INTERVIEWER: So you were able to do--
- [00:32:36.58] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes.
- [00:32:37.41] INTERVIEWER: --on Sundays your singing [INAUDIBLE].
- [00:32:39.49] AUDREY LUCAS: Right. Right. I said, I can't believe that this happened, but I also know when you asked for things, sometimes they are given to you. And that was a blessing.
- [00:32:51.57] INTERVIEWER: It was. And she realized you were a person with integrity, so.
- [00:32:56.52] AUDREY LUCAS: I think that's what she was thinking that I was a lady-- a woman of in-- a girl of integrity, that if I had made a commitment that I would follow through with it.
- [00:33:05.57] INTERVIEWER: Right. Let's see here.
- [00:33:10.38] AUDREY LUCAS: And, of course, I stayed there for 47 years.
- [00:33:13.34] INTERVIEWER: Oh, a long time. You, sort of, just answered that, because the next thing was going to be did you remain there or did you move around through your adult life, and what was the reason for these moves.
- [00:33:27.97] AUDREY LUCAS: Well, I did move within the university system.
- [00:33:30.27] INTERVIEWER: All right, tell me about that.
- [00:33:31.23] AUDREY LUCAS: Because I started there as an elevator operator. We helped move the furniture into that outpatient building, and I stayed there for-- in that capacity. And then they had an opening in the operating room, and they were going to train people to become surgical technicians. They called them operating room technicians. And so I went and took that training, and I worked as a surgical tech for three years in the operating room. And I loved it. It was just a wonderful experience. I just met so many lovely people and learned a lot of skills.
- [00:34:14.61] In fact, I was just thinking about that, because I went to a party and I met one of the doctors who followed one of the doctors that I worked within in the operating room. And I said, oh, I remember working as a-- especially doing open heart surgery. We had just started learning how to go in to do ASDs and VSDs, little openings in the heart that they could close.
- [00:34:42.51] INTERVIEWER: When you say we were just learning, and you were doing that?
- [00:34:44.91] AUDREY LUCAS: Well, I was the surgical person--
- [00:34:47.22] INTERVIEWER: Person.
- [00:34:47.59] AUDREY LUCAS: Who passed the instruments to the doctor.
- [00:34:49.02] INTERVIEWER: OK.
- [00:34:49.83] AUDREY LUCAS: That's what I learned to do.
- [00:34:51.71] INTERVIEWER: Which is a great skill.
- [00:34:53.09] AUDREY LUCAS: It was a wonderful skill, and I'd still like to be doing that, but it just didn't work out.
- [00:34:58.42] INTERVIEWER: And you did it for three years, and then what?
- [00:35:00.48] AUDREY LUCAS: I did it for three years. And, of course, I was very blessed, because the teacher that we had prepared us in a wonderful way to be ready for anything. And because we were trained, they allowed us to do a number of things that they would-- didn't allow other people to do, like do counts of the sponges after surgery was over.
- [00:35:31.35] And I know that I worked in-- with Dr. Feller in the operating room as a burn unit person. I'd scrub, get everything out, scrub in, and help him debrief. I would be the only assistant that he had, and then un-scrub, and clean up. So you were, sort of, a one man band. But all the experiences that I had that were very lovely, because I just thought that it was a great thing to do.
- [00:36:01.80] INTERVIEWER: It just sounds like it. So you stayed for three years, and they cut that out or what happened?
- [00:36:06.07] AUDREY LUCAS: No, no. I got pregnant, and my husband worked afternoons. And I worked days, and I didn't want them to ask to take call. Because so many people will say, well, I can't take call, and that puts a burden on everybody else. And I just thought I don't want to be that-- be a burden to that. So I decided I would go to see the human resource director, the personnel director at that time, and say to him, I would like a job doing something else. And he gave me an option of coming in to interview with somebody, and the job that I was able to get was the reception and personnel working for that same woman who kept me-- kept that job for me.
- [00:36:54.81] INTERVIEWER: Open for you?
- [00:36:55.56] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes, I was her receptionist for three whole months.
- [00:37:03.18] INTERVIEWER: And only three months.
- [00:37:04.07] AUDREY LUCAS: Three months, because the guy that interviewed me had an opening, and he asked me to come and work for him. And I thought, I can't do that. I just came to work for her. And so I talked to the human resource director, and he said, Audrey, when opportunities are open for you, because you don't know that they'll ever come again, you need to take them when they're offered. So I did.
- [00:37:34.71] INTERVIEWER: And I got-- that speaks volumes for you in terms of you're able to make career changes, but you stayed within the hospital. But you were able to make career changes right there.
- [00:37:43.42] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes. Yes. Yes.
- [00:37:45.04] INTERVIEWER: So if you had not had the work ethics, et cetera, you probably would not have had those opportunities.
- [00:37:49.23] AUDREY LUCAS: Well, I know that I was very, very blessed, and I always tried to do a good job, because that's the way I was raised. If you're going to do a job, you had to give the best job that you were capable of giving. And the guy I went to work for got a promotion and asked me to come and work with him in another job that he got. So I got a promotion out of that. And the supervisor got sick, and they asked me if I would take her place while she was ill. And I said, I don't know her job. And then I thought to myself this is an experience--
- [00:38:28.08] INTERVIEWER: You can learn.
- [00:38:28.74] AUDREY LUCAS: --that you can learn.
- [00:38:29.61] INTERVIEWER: Right.
- [00:38:30.24] AUDREY LUCAS: So I had asked employees to tell me what they did, so I could tell them what to do.
- [00:38:36.87] INTERVIEWER: I love it.
- [00:38:41.85] AUDREY LUCAS: And then after that guy who hired me into HR left, another lovely gentleman came who became our director. And one day came in the office, and he said to me, Audrey, we don't know what will come up, but we do know that we would like to put-- place you in a professional job in this department at some time. And I said, thank you. And they, sort of, made a job, and that's how I became a professional in HR.
- [00:39:16.15] INTERVIEWER: In HR. Wow, it's really interesting listening to you talk about that. OK, so we're going to move on to to ask you to tell us a little bit about your marriage and/ or family life.
- [00:39:38.31] AUDREY LUCAS: Well, I did marry a gentleman who was from West Virginia, and he worked at the hospital at the time we met. And after we married-- we married at home-- and he decided that he would go into the plant. So he went to the Rawsonville Ford Plant and worked. And so we were married 30 years, and we have two beautiful children. I have a son named Kevin who presently is-- works for the police department at the University. He's a detective who handles computer crimes at this point in time.
- [00:40:17.61] INTERVIEWER: And we need him.
- [00:40:20.79] AUDREY LUCAS: And then my daughter also worked for the university, but one of the pastors at our church asked if she would leave the university and come to work at Second Baptist. And I will just say this, I thought, you're nuts. But she said she thought that the Lord had a work for her to do. And so she came down There. So she's the administrative manager at the Second Baptist Church, so-- and does an excellent job. So I feel very blessed that I have committed children who also believe in doing an excellent job and taking care of business.
- [00:40:59.10] It was really funny. I always have laughed at this, because I, in my job that I ended up finally, I hired a number of people into the university. And my children never asked me to get them a job. A lot of people called me on the phone and said can you get my daughter a job? Can you get my son a job? They never said, mom, would you help me get a job? They got their own jobs. And I was so proud of that.
- [00:41:28.29] INTERVIEWER: Yeah, you should be. So you gave them a great foundation.
- [00:41:33.93] AUDREY LUCAS: Oh I tried. I tried. And I just enjoy-- I just-- whenever I'm in their presence, I'm very happy.
- [00:41:41.22] INTERVIEWER: So how are things going for her in that position? Is she-- well?
- [00:41:45.44] AUDREY LUCAS: Wonderful. She's, sort of, like a one-armed paperhanger, because she just, kind of, has to do everything. I said, well, when they say that you're the administrative manager, that means you have to manage everything.
- [00:41:57.73] INTERVIEWER: Everything.
- [00:42:00.47] AUDREY LUCAS: If you drop something on the floor, you've got to clean it up. She'll-- if the custodian's off, trustees can't get in, she's in there cleaning so. But that's her-- both of them went in the service, and so consequently they have army backgrounds. So they know how to take care of business, so.
- [00:42:19.12] INTERVIEWER: Oh, that's wonderful. Now I want to back up just for a second while we're talking about work. I want to go back for a second and ask you about your father in the bomber plant. And then we talked about your mom. But tell me a little bit about that, because I was wanting to go back to that.
- [00:42:36.42] AUDREY LUCAS: Well, he worked at the bomber plant, but he didn't work on the line. He had worked for a doctor in Connersville prior to us coming up to Michigan. We came in September of '41, and World War II started when the Pearl Harbor was bombed on the 7th of December. Because I can remember as a little girl looking out the window, and a young guy was going by saying extra, extra, read all about it. Japs bombed Pearl Harbor.
- [00:43:17.67] And that, of course, was kind of a different time for us too, because that was the beginning of rationing. It was the beginning of everybody really feeling that they had to be patriotic and do the right thing, which, of course, we did. And, of course, that's when they started the bomber plant. And, of course, the women that got into the plants, and-- but my dad worked-- because he had worked for a doctor in Connersville, he was in the medical part of the factory and helped with that kind of thing.
- [00:43:51.49] And then, of course, after the war was over, he started working for-- with a guy who cleaned carpets. And that's what he did a lot. He did that for years. He went-- they would go out and clean carpets and lay carpets, and because this guy was from our hometown. And so he, sort of, helped him with his business.
- [00:44:16.02] INTERVIEWER: So they were, kind of, out there before Stanley Steamer was.
- [00:44:18.53] AUDREY LUCAS: Right. That's exactly right.
- [00:44:25.80] INTERVIEWER: So you told me about your children. And so what was life like when they were young and living in the house?
- [00:44:35.93] AUDREY LUCAS: Wonderful. They just-- we just had fun. And, of course, because my mother and dad were still living, they got a chance to spend time with their grandparents. I was also blessed that my husband had a wonderful family. And so I married into a wonderful family. My mother-in-law was second to none. She just was the kind of person who just loved you. She didn't interfere. She didn't try to run your business. She just loved you, and she let you know that.
- [00:45:10.15] INTERVIEWER: So that was a blessing to have a mother-in-law like that.
- [00:45:15.95] AUDREY LUCAS: And my children, they would go and sometimes spend a couple of weeks in the summer with her, because they lived in a place called Boomer, West Virginia. And they lived in a holler. I never knew about hollers and mountains, and--
- [00:45:31.33] INTERVIEWER: --Well talk about that, because that's new to me.
- [00:45:34.55] AUDREY LUCAS: Well, they lived where you go up into the mountain, and then you go into these rows and houses would be sparsely situated. Sometimes you'd have like a mansion on a hill, and then next door would be somebody with a washing machine on the porch. And they were called hollers. And I just learned up about that as I went to visit West Virginia.
- [00:46:01.10] So we would go down there at least once a year, and of course, my mother all the time when I was small, we would always go back to my hometown every summer. Every summer the Lord made we went to Connersville. So I never forgot any of my relatives there, because I just spent a lot of time with them every summer. So that was a blessing.
- [00:46:23.57] INTERVIEWER: So you took your children also.
- [00:46:25.19] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes.
- [00:46:25.91] INTERVIEWER: OK.
- [00:46:26.27] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes, and so they were very family-oriented, because that's the way I was. And then, of course, because I began to know people at the University because of a job that I had, they didn't like to go places with me because they said I knew too many people.
- [00:46:44.69] INTERVIEWER: You couldn't get from point a to point b, right?
- [00:46:47.35] AUDREY LUCAS: Mom, you have to talk to too many people. You had to talk to many people. So sometimes they would, kind of, drag behind if we were out some place.
- [00:46:57.80] INTERVIEWER: OK, so what were some of your personal favorite things to do for fun.
- [00:47:07.75] AUDREY LUCAS: Oh, I really did enjoy singing. And I sang with the university choral union. I sang with a jazz group with Willis Patterson and Carol McFadden. And we would sing at some dance venues. And so, as I said, singing opened a lot of doors. I sang for Governor G Mennen Williams at his inauguration. And then I sang at a Republican dinner, and they said and guess where she sang the last time for the Democrats. [LAUGHTER] I just thought by singing it's bipartisan.
- [00:47:52.14] INTERVIEWER: You might have to end this interview with a song. [LAUGHTER] Are there any special days, events, or family traditions you practiced that differed from your childhood traditions.
- [00:48:04.60] AUDREY LUCAS: No, we were pretty much still the same tradition. We always really did believe in celebrating birthdays, individual birthdays. And singing, we always added on to the birthday song we hope you live to be 100. My brother on my birthday still calls me up to sing that to me.
- [00:48:27.18] INTERVIEWER: Does he?
- [00:48:27.67] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes.
- [00:48:28.42] INTERVIEWER: You have a church member that you shared at the event that just turned 100.
- [00:48:32.23] AUDREY LUCAS: Right. Right. Right.
- [00:48:33.87] INTERVIEWER: On Sunday--
- [00:48:34.44] AUDREY LUCAS: Right.
- [00:48:35.02] INTERVIEWER: --you shared that. OK, we're going to move into work and retirement, and probably some of this you've already shared, but we'll take a look and see here. Once again, it's a fairly long period of your life from the time you entered the labor force and started a family up until the present time. So we've talked about your [INAUDIBLE]--
- [00:48:54.69] AUDREY LUCAS: Well, I will tell you a little more about my work experience, because after they found a professional job that I went into, it happened to be one where they had started to post jobs, so internal jobs, so that people could transfer or get promotions. And it just so happens that the union AFSCME union came into being while I was in that role. And it was about promotions and transfers as part of the contract, and so consequently I really learned how to deal with unions from the beginning at the University, because that was all new.
- [00:49:45.52] And so that was quite a wonderful experience. I handled the AFSCME service and maintenance union. I did the police union when it came into being, and also I handled the trades. And that was quite an experience, because the old boy network--
- [00:50:05.43] INTERVIEWER: I was just sitting there thinking--
- [00:50:06.61] AUDREY LUCAS: when I went in there--
- [00:50:07.82] INTERVIEWER: Yeah--
- [00:50:08.59] AUDREY LUCAS: --was alive and well. And I can remember when I also had sent a person for a job, a clerical job in the outpatient building where I used to run the elevator, and a guy that I knew called me up on the telephone, because I had sent him an African-American applicant. And he said to me, Audrey, why did you send her? We already have one. And I said, I sent her, because she was qualified. And that's what I expected you to interview her, because she's qualified for the position.
- [00:50:53.80] And then people say now that Ms. Lucas is in that job, we've got a lot of people in the record room that are African-American. I said, just a minute. They're qualified people. I said, you didn't say anything when they were all Caucasian, so don't say anything now they all happen to be African-Americans as long as they're qualified to do the job. And I just knew that that was just something that you had to say, because otherwise people would just do anything.
- [00:51:26.77] But the thing that I loved about being in the service and maintenance is we hired a lot of young people for the summer and for part time jobs. At that time, the university had a lot of part time jobs. And I got a chance to talk to young people and say to them, I can send you on this job. I can't keep it for you. I said, and so you're going to have to come to work every day on time and do your job. This is a first job for you, so don't blow it. Because if you get fired, I can't save you. And I saw somebody recently, and they said, do you know, Ms. Lucas, she said, yes, she got me a job at the University. I said, did I give you a lecture? She said yes.
- [00:52:18.26] INTERVIEWER: A good lecture.
- [00:52:21.10] AUDREY LUCAS: And she said I still remember it. She said I still remember what you told me. She said that's why I've done so well. And I thought, oh, good. Somebody really listened.
- [00:52:33.62] INTERVIEWER: My aunt used to always say you plant the seed--
- [00:52:35.49] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes.
- [00:52:36.22] INTERVIEWER: --and you never know where it's going to grow.
- [00:52:37.58] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes. Yes.
- [00:52:38.49] INTERVIEWER: So sometimes it might be years later that you hear about it, but that's great. So how did your life change when you retired?
- [00:52:52.06] AUDREY LUCAS: Well, for one thing after I retired-- I loved my job. I loved my department. I loved my boss, and she asked me to come back. So I did, and so I worked as a temporary a lot after I left. And somebody said, I thought we-- I thought you retired. We had a party for you.
- [00:53:15.05] INTERVIEWER: And you got gifts.
- [00:53:18.12] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes. As a matter of fact, they even had a mix up. I had some-- somewhere I-- they were Social Security listed me as a temporary employee after I'd worked there 47 years, because I'd filled out temporary paperwork to work there for doing something, special things to just come in and assist in any way that I could. But I thought that was funny. All of a sudden I was just a temporary employee.
- [00:53:46.00] But it was a wonderful work experience at the University. But after I left, really, they had parties for me. They had a lot of wonderful things, and people kept saying, Audrey, 47 years you could work until it's 50. And I said, I don't want to work until it's 50. I'm ready to go, even though I did work temporary. But-- and, of course, I've always been involved in the community.
- [00:54:19.85] And so I still-- I was very active in my church. And, of course, what happened is I retired in January 2000, and the pastor of my church, who was Reverend Emmett L. Green at the time, came to me, and he said, I know you have just retired Mrs. Lucas, but he said I am planning on leaving and stepping down in October. And if you don't mind, I would like very much if you would come on board and take over the administrative duties for the church. And I said, OK. And I'm thinking this will be for a few months. And so he left in October, and by that time I started working again in April.
- [00:55:11.35] INTERVIEWER: October, what year was that again?
- [00:55:12.77] AUDREY LUCAS: The year I retired, 2000. I had four months off from January to April, and then I started going to train under him for the things that I would need to know after he left in October. And then we got a new pastor that next year in 2001 who was a very young lovely man who did not want to do administrative work. So he asked me if I would stay on. So I stayed in that role for five years. And I'm still the church clerk, but people still think I'm sometimes the administrator. But my daughter is administrator now.
- [00:55:57.36] INTERVIEWER: Passed it on to her. So are you officially retired now?
- [00:56:02.33] AUDREY LUCAS: I have officially retired. In fact, I have an office still and a phone, and I keep saying I got to tell people I'm not here everyday. Because I was in there every day, and some people think I still am in there every day. But I wouldn't trade the experience. That was a different kind of experience also. And, of course, I still sing with different groups, and at that time I did. And I'm not singing at this time, because I just figure when you get older, your voice changes.
- [00:56:35.82] INTERVIEWER: So I can't ask you to come and sing for an event.
- [00:56:38.39] AUDREY LUCAS: No. No, I'd have to really warm it up for about six months in order to do that. Even though I still love to sing.
- [00:56:47.96] INTERVIEWER: Well, some of the experiences you had singing, they sound like you had some great opportunities there as well.
- [00:56:53.92] AUDREY LUCAS: I did. I did. I really did.
- [00:56:58.36] INTERVIEWER: All right, so we're moving into the last part. It's historical and social events. Tell me how it has been for you to live in this community. You, sort of, talked about it here and there, but anything else you want to add?
- [00:57:13.04] AUDREY LUCAS: I think Ann Arbor we know had its flaws. When you know that the students couldn't live in-- African-American students couldn't live in housing on campus, and that's why a number of places kept rooms for those students. I think I was very grateful as those times began to change. I remember a young lady that I met who was in nursing school, and she was one of the first African-Americans who stayed in the nursing dorm across the street from the hospital. And so it's been, kind of, a wonderful adventure to see Ann Arbor grow and to change. Because a lot of times people don't want to acknowledge that they were racist at some time.
- [00:58:04.04] And but that was just a fact, and we had to deal with it. I admired Reverend Carpenter when he stopped and when they were trying to realign the districts and saying to African-Americans we're going to put a highway through here, and you-- but they were not saying where you could go to live or what was going to happen to the housing as they tore it down for the highway. And, of course, that didn't happen.
- [00:58:30.95] INTERVIEWER: And what area was that that--
- [00:58:32.53] AUDREY LUCAS: Beakes Street.
- [00:58:33.11] INTERVIEWER: Beakes Street, all right.
- [00:58:33.86] AUDREY LUCAS: Beakes Street. It was supposed to be coming-- connecting-- excuse me-- 23 with 94. And, of course, they did something different. But it's been-- from a historical standpoint, it has been wonderful to watch Ann Arbor grow into the kind of community that it needed to be. And you're still-- you're going to still have people who are going to try to stop your opportunities, but fortunately, me as an individual, I only ran into people who wanted to say how can we give you a hand up? And so I really feel very blessed from a historical standpoint of being able to project myself in a way that people wanted to do that for me, so.
- [00:59:25.39] INTERVIEWER: So you mentioned that students that came here couldn't stay in the dorms, and then I've heard other people we interviewed talked about when family members came or they traveled, you had to stay in homes.
- [00:59:37.12] AUDREY LUCAS: Right. Right.
- [00:59:38.21] INTERVIEWER: So in terms of the African-American community, in terms of people staying in homes, were there are always enough places to find for those students?
- [00:59:47.24] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes, because some they had the Britt house, and I know they-- the Jeffreys house, they just bought the house to rent it to students. And so they didn't have an overabundance of African-American students at that time, but, of course, it began to grow. And I think that's when they began to recognize that they were going to have to let them go into the dorms like any other student, because towards the end of the 50s even before the Civil rights movement, I think the university begin to recognize that they were going to have to have housing for African-American students that were coming here.
- [01:00:34.16] INTERVIEWER: So tell me the location of the Britt house.
- [01:00:36.65] AUDREY LUCAS: The Britt house was up near Glen. You know where Glen-- and you know where Glen and Catherine Street? It was in that area.
- [01:00:47.15] INTERVIEWER: In that area.
- [01:00:47.90] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes, before the hospital took over all those houses.
- [01:00:53.36] INTERVIEWER: So that area was populated by the African-Americans in that area as well.
- [01:00:59.39] AUDREY LUCAS: In fact, the Britt house, the woman who ran that house was Herbert Ellis' sister.
- [01:01:05.70] INTERVIEWER: OK.
- [01:01:06.23] AUDREY LUCAS: And she had it for girls that were here in school at the University.
- [01:01:10.22] INTERVIEWER: OK, that's an interesting story that could really be explored a little bit more as well.
- [01:01:15.00] AUDREY LUCAS: Oh, yes. Yes.
- [01:01:17.99] INTERVIEWER: What would you say has changed the most from the time you were a young person to now?
- [01:01:23.51] AUDREY LUCAS: I look at the City of Ann Arbor, and I look at its growth. I don't necessarily think that we should continue to grow like Topsy with all these high rises, but that's a personal opinion.
- [01:01:38.38] INTERVIEWER: OK.
- [01:01:39.32] AUDREY LUCAS: I am, kind of, disappointed with the way they hire people, and that's because I'm old school. I just believe that if you're going to be a personnel office, you ought to do things personally. If you going to be a human resource, you ought to treat people humanly, human--
- [01:02:01.55] INTERVIEWER: As humans.
- [01:02:02.03] AUDREY LUCAS: --as human beings. They're more than a piece of paper. They're more than a computer. They're more than just somebody's social security number. I think, I'm sorry that that has been lost. And I understand that that is what has happened, because my boss and I, we ran around to a number of different employment agencies to see how they were doing things. And they had already stopped interviewing, they had already stopped following up, and we got nervous about doing references. Because if you said the wrong thing, people would sue you. We began to get nervous about how we did everything.
- [01:02:46.13] But I think some change is for the better, but it is what it is and so people adapt and they adjust and, of course, we live now where everything is Facebook and Twitter and all those kinds of things. And I can remember when we had to go and take lessons on the computer, because everybody was getting a computer. And my partner, he and I are still friends today. I still laugh about him. Because soon as he would do something, he was jump and he would hit the button and we'd lose all of our information. So we spent a lot of time laughing at our new responsibilities on the computer.
- [01:03:29.95] INTERVIEWER: So he wasn't hitting a save button.
- [01:03:31.66] AUDREY LUCAS: No.
- [01:03:36.07] INTERVIEWER: OK, when thinking back over your life, entire life, what are you most proud of?
- [01:03:41.45] AUDREY LUCAS: I think I'm mainly proud of, first of all, of my work in the church, because I really think that we were blessed to have the Reverend Carpenters of the world, the Reverend Greens, the Reverend Woods in the community.
- [01:03:55.35] INTERVIEWER: I loved Reverend Woods.
- [01:03:56.17] AUDREY LUCAS: Yes. He always called me his Second Baptist Church member. And Reverend Lightfoot when he came. These are wonderful people that came to our community, and we have been able to blossom and excel. And so I'm very proud of our church communities. I'm very proud of my work that I did at the University, because a lot of times people say everyone has a purpose.
- [01:04:26.45] And I just felt that I was so blessed to find out what my purpose was. My purpose was to be at that university and to plant those seeds for young people and for people who came in there to be as good as they could, to blossom, and to make themselves worthy of everything that they did. And you know it comes back. I'm just going to tell you this. I had cancer, and I went to radiology. And the lady came out, she said, Ms. Lucas, do you remember me? And I said your face looks familiar, because they all look familiar.
- [01:05:06.53] INTERVIEWER: That's what I say too. That's my state of mind.
- [01:05:10.07] AUDREY LUCAS: And she said, you hired me into the university years ago. And she said, I'm the supervisor in this department. We'll take care of you. That was a blessing.
- [01:05:23.06] INTERVIEWER: That was a blessing.
- [01:05:23.30] AUDREY LUCAS: It's the things that you push out--
- [01:05:25.07] INTERVIEWER: Come back.
- [01:05:26.07] AUDREY LUCAS: They come back. They really do come back. And I have sense enough to be grateful.
- [01:05:31.34] INTERVIEWER: For that.
- [01:05:32.42] AUDREY LUCAS: For all of that. Yes.
- [01:05:34.05] INTERVIEWER: So how are you doing health wise now?
- [01:05:35.78] AUDREY LUCAS: Wonderful.
- [01:05:36.65] INTERVIEWER: Great. Great.
- [01:05:37.64] AUDREY LUCAS: Just wonderful. They took excellent care of me, and so I have been blessed.
- [01:05:43.73] INTERVIEWER: OK. Wonderful. What advice would you give to the younger generation?
- [01:05:49.94] AUDREY LUCAS: I think the things that I said to them years ago that you need to put-- always put your best foot forward. You want to be an original. You want to be authentic. You want to always do the best that you can and not accept anything else that is less than that.
- [01:06:09.82] INTERVIEWER: That's really good advice. So the final question is how do you personally feel about doing this interview and this impact? What impact has it had on you?
- [01:06:20.99] AUDREY LUCAS: I am so honored to have been chosen and for you all to ask me to do this. First of all I just believe in what you do. First of all, I-- that I have to say that. And I think it is so important. Because even though people are from this community, what they bring to the table is different. How they can inspire people or try to tell a story is all different and it is all necessary and it's all wonderful, and I'm glad that you're doing it.
- [01:06:58.55] INTERVIEWER: Well, thank you.
September 13, 2016 at Downtown Library
Copyright: Creative Commons (Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike)
Rights Held by: Ann Arbor District Library
University of Michigan Health System
Willow Run Bomber Plant
Michigan Central Railroad Depot
University of Michigan - Student Housing
Second Baptist Church of Ann Arbor
Jones Elementary School
Ann Arbor High School
Ann Arbor High School - Athletics
Dunbar Community Center
S. S. Kresge Co.
St. Joseph Mercy Hospital
University of Michigan Hospital
University of Michigan - Human Resources
Rawsonville Ford Plant
World War II
Civil Rights Movement
American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
Ann Street Black Business District
Race & Ethnicity
AACHM Living Oral History
Charles W. Carpenter
Johnnie Mae (Jackson) Seeley
Willis C. Patterson
G. Mennen Williams
O. Herbert Ellis
John A. Woods
Albert J. Lightfoot