AACHM Oral History Excerpt: Audrey Monagan
When: July 2, 2019
Audrey Monagan was born in Ann Arbor in 1941, and grew up in a close-knit, predominantly black neighborhood on North Fifth Ave. She remembers attending Bethel AME Church with her grandparents, spending time at the Dunbar Community Center, and helping raise her younger siblings. She attended Jones School and Pioneer High School before working for General Motors, where she was an inspector for eighteen years. Mrs. Monagan has been married to her second husband, Philip, for 48 years.
- [00:00:09] AUDREY MONAGAN: When I went to Jones school, was the time. It was from kindergarten through the ninth. The biggest thing that we all thought about was they bused the kids in from Whitmore Lake and Hamburg so it would be an integrated school. And then they built Pioneer School. So that was something that sticks with you. [OVERLAPPING].
- [00:00:42] JOYCE HUNTER: The busing.
- [00:00:43] AUDREY MONAGAN: The busing, yes. They bused those kids in.
- [00:00:47] JOYCE HUNTER: So talk a little bit more about that. How did that impact the school?
- [00:00:51] AUDREY MONAGAN: Well, I don't think we really liked it. And we tried to give those kids a little hard time, but it didn't work. [LAUGHTER] So we had to start making friends. And that's how that came about. We decided, well, they're not going anywhere. And this is when they built Pioneer High. And there was Bach School. The Blacks really couldn't go. Some did. And Eberwhite, those schools. We never went to none of those schools.
- [00:01:35] JOYCE HUNTER: They were basically all white schools?
- [00:01:39] AUDREY MONAGAN: Yes. They were. So Bach and Eberwhite, I remember that. And Mack School was integrated. So if you lived over on Gott Street down on Summit and all of that area, you could go to Mack. So I went to Mack School. I went to Jones School. I went to Slauson. I went to Tappan. Then I ended up at Pioneer High.
- [00:02:06] JOYCE HUNTER: Let me go back for a minute to Jones School. So Jones School, tell me the grades for Jones School then?
- [00:02:11] AUDREY MONAGAN: K through nine.
- [00:02:13] JOYCE HUNTER: K through nine?
- [00:02:14] AUDREY MONAGAN: Yes. They had us all in the Jones School, K through nine. Everybody went there. Then the next thing we knew, I can't remember what year it was, but they bused those kids in.
- [00:02:29] JOYCE HUNTER: The students they bused in, were they of other racial backgrounds?
- [00:02:34] AUDREY MONAGAN: They were white children.
- [00:02:35] JOYCE HUNTER: White children. Because Jones up until that time was predominantly Black?
- [00:02:40] AUDREY MONAGAN: Right. Right. Yes. We were all up in there together, kindergarten through the ninth grade. It was just, to me, it was crowded.
- [00:02:52] JOYCE HUNTER: I was just thinking that. [OVERLAPPING].
- [00:02:55] AUDREY MONAGAN: Yeah, you go in there, you're a little toddler. Next thing you know, you're in the ninth grade. [LAUGHTER].
July 2, 2019
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