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Legacies Project Oral History: Katherine Dawkins

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 9:05am

When: 2020

Katherine Dawkins was born in 1932 in the Black Bottom neighborhood in Detroit. She had two children as a teenager, and recalls how that impacted her relationships with friends and family. She married her second husband, James Dawkins, in 1963. She has held various jobs, including switchboard operator at the Gotham Hotel and customer service representative at Harper Recreation Bowling Alley and Henry Ford Hospital. Late in life, Dawkins was inspired to return to school and she received her GED at age 79.

Katherine Dawkins was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2010 as part of the Legacies Project.

Transcript

  • [00:00:08.43] SPEAKER 1: --some simple questions. These questions may jog memories, but please keep your answers brief and to the point for now. We can go into more detail later as we answer the questions. First off, we ask you to say and spell your name.
  • [00:00:24.21] KATHERINE DAWKINS: My name is Miss Katherine Dawkins. Katherine is spelled with K-- K-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E. Dawkins, D-A-W-K-I-N-S.
  • [00:00:38.44] SPEAKER 1: OK, thank you. Now, what is your birthday, including the year?
  • [00:00:42.12] KATHERINE DAWKINS: My birthday is May the 13th-- 5/13/32.
  • [00:00:47.72] SPEAKER 1: OK. How would you describe your ethnic background?
  • [00:00:53.28] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I would describe it interesting--
  • [00:00:57.36] SPEAKER 1: OK.
  • [00:00:57.72] KATHERINE DAWKINS: --good sometime [INAUDIBLE].
  • [00:01:00.95] SPEAKER 1: OK, like [INAUDIBLE]--
  • [00:01:02.77] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Every day wasn't the same.
  • [00:01:06.11] SPEAKER 1: What's your race? Like, African American, Indian, something like that?
  • [00:01:13.09] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I am American.
  • [00:01:15.38] SPEAKER 1: OK.
  • [00:01:16.17] KATHERINE DAWKINS: OK?
  • [00:01:16.93] SPEAKER 1: All right. [INAUDIBLE]--
  • [00:01:18.83] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I'm proud to be black-- African American that's-- yes.
  • [00:01:24.43] SPEAKER 1: What is your religion?
  • [00:01:26.36] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I'm a Baptist-- Universal.
  • [00:01:29.00] SPEAKER 1: OK, thank you. What's the highest level of education you have completed?
  • [00:01:36.66] KATHERINE DAWKINS: The ninth grade.
  • [00:01:38.35] SPEAKER 1: OK. Did you obtain any other school after that?
  • [00:01:45.55] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Yes, I'm in school now.
  • [00:01:47.73] SPEAKER 1: OK. What is your marital status? Are you married now? [INAUDIBLE]--
  • [00:01:54.19] KATHERINE DAWKINS: No, I'm a widow.
  • [00:01:56.12] SPEAKER 1: OK. Do you have any children?
  • [00:01:59.12] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I had two boys. My husband, James Willie Dawkins passed May the 2nd, 2005. My baby son, Tyrone Thomas, passed February the 5th, 2005. And my oldest son, Michael Thomas, passed December the 19th, 2005.
  • [00:02:25.57] SPEAKER 1: OK. How many siblings do you have?
  • [00:02:28.74] KATHERINE DAWKINS: One.
  • [00:02:30.07] SPEAKER 1: OK. What is your primary occupation?
  • [00:02:34.16] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Right now, I'm a lab assistant at Henry Ford Hospital.
  • [00:02:38.92] SPEAKER 1: OK. You didn't retire, did you? Did you retire from anything?
  • [00:02:47.21] KATHERINE DAWKINS: No.
  • [00:02:49.05] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]--
  • [00:02:50.17] KATHERINE DAWKINS: But I had a job. I had different jobs, but I didn't retire from [INAUDIBLE].
  • [00:02:57.97] SPEAKER 1: Now we can begin the first part of our interview, beginning with some things you can recall about your family history. You will start with the family naming history, by this meaning any story about your last-- or, family name or family traditions in choosing a first or middle name, OK? Question one, do you know any stories about your family name?
  • [00:03:21.12] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Stories like what? What type of stories?
  • [00:03:23.44] SPEAKER 1: Like, how you got your last name or your first name.
  • [00:03:29.71] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Yes, I know how I got my last name and my first name. I was born through my mother's womb. And then when I knew anything, I was born Katherine Ann Robinson. That was my maiden name, Robinson. My mother's-- do you want me to continue? My m--
  • [00:03:49.43] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]
  • [00:03:50.32] KATHERINE DAWKINS: My mother's name was Mallissie-- M-A-L-L-I-S-S-I-E-- Robinson. My father's name was Frank, F-R-A-N-K Robinson. Both are deceased now.
  • [00:04:05.62] SPEAKER 1: OK. Are there any naming traditions in your family?
  • [00:04:10.42] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Are there any what?
  • [00:04:11.42] SPEAKER 1: Naming traditions?
  • [00:04:12.91] KATHERINE DAWKINS: No, sir.
  • [00:04:13.63] SPEAKER 1: OK. [INAUDIBLE]. Where did your ancestors leave to come to the United States?
  • [00:04:20.92] KATHERINE DAWKINS: My mother was born in Monroe, Louisiana, and my father, Jackson, Mississippi. And I call myself a Mississippi, Louisiana person. And I was born here in Detroit.
  • [00:04:35.88] SPEAKER 1: Do you know any stories about your family-- first came to United States-- how they first came to United States?
  • [00:04:42.86] KATHERINE DAWKINS: How they arrived here?
  • [00:04:44.21] SPEAKER 1: Mm-hmm.
  • [00:04:45.42] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, my mother came in search of a cousin. My mother was the only child. Her maiden name was Holiday-- Mallissie Holiday. And she came in here in search for her cousin, Irene White. That's what she told me. And she was here ever since. This is where she met my father, Mr. Frank Robinson.
  • [00:05:14.53] SPEAKER 1: OK. Where did they first settle? Where did they first make a home?
  • [00:05:22.37] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, we first lived down in the Black Bottom. And I'm trying to think of the name of that street. It wasn't Monroe. [INAUDIBLE] I can't think of the street. I can't think of the street right now, but it'll come to me.
  • [00:05:42.38] SPEAKER 1: OK. How did they make a living?
  • [00:05:47.02] KATHERINE DAWKINS: My father, Frank Robinson-- he worked at Packard Motor Car Company. And it was on [INAUDIBLE], and then they moved to Van Dyke. And then they moved out to-- I can't think of that right now, but I will. Mm-hmm. He was a factory worker. My mother was a homemaker.
  • [00:06:16.03] SPEAKER 1: Describe any-- oh, I'll skip to the next question. What belongings did they bring with them?
  • [00:06:22.34] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, I don't know. They brought themselves, I guess. They didn't discuss that. I guess they-- when my mother came in search for her cousin Irene, I imagine she had her clothes with her, and that's about all.
  • [00:06:41.04] SPEAKER 1: Which family members came along or stayed behind? Did she have any siblings?
  • [00:06:48.21] KATHERINE DAWKINS: She didn't have any-- she was the only child. I think I said that at first. She was the only child. And my father had five brothers, and he was the only one that had children-- me and my sister.
  • [00:07:00.18] SPEAKER 1: Did they bring anybody with them when they traveled-- when they came here?
  • [00:07:06.99] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, all I know is my father was here in Michigan. My mother met him here in Michigan. Now, whether Uncle [INAUDIBLE] and them came, I couldn't tell you. They didn't say. So they lived in Chicago Heights.
  • [00:07:27.53] SPEAKER 1: To your knowledge, did they try to preserve any traditions or customs from their country of origin?
  • [00:07:35.88] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, some of the tradition that my mother tried to preserve was, years ago, when I was small, we went back to Louisiana. And I knew about churning. We had to churn every other day. They had a churner that you make milk and butter. And she showed us how to make a garden. So we raised our own vegetable-- tomatoes and turnip greens-- mostly mustard greens and what not. And she liked to sew. I didn't like to sew, so I didn't try to sew. And she loved to cook. And I loved to eat the cooking [INAUDIBLE] cooking.
  • [00:08:25.17] SPEAKER 1: Are there any traditions that your family has given up or changed?
  • [00:08:30.14] KATHERINE DAWKINS: What do you mean, given up for a change?
  • [00:08:32.77] SPEAKER 1: Like, traditions that your mother used to do with you-- did you change any with your children [INAUDIBLE]--
  • [00:08:41.09] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Yes, I did. Some things I changed. Some things I didn't.
  • [00:08:47.45] SPEAKER 1: Would you like to mention any of those?
  • [00:08:49.34] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, I changed the idea of being so hard on my children. My mother, bless her heart, she didn't believe in whipping clothes. She believed in getting the nitty from the gritty. You'd take your clothes off and everything. And some time, when she was real mad, she would put me and my-- my sister's name is Julia.
  • [00:09:23.37] She would put our heads through her leg and whip us [INAUDIBLE] not bit her-- bite her. mm-hmm. I didn't like that, so I did not do that to my children, because I swore, if I ever had any children, I wouldn't treat my children like I was treated. I thought it was really abuse. But you know what? I appreciate her today. I've never been in jail. My children never did, either.
  • [00:10:00.88] SPEAKER 1: What stories have come down to you about your parents and grandparents?
  • [00:10:06.38] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I didn't know too much about my grandparents, but my grandmother on my father's side lived in Jackson, Mississippi. And her name was Grandma Katy. So that, I gather, they named me Katherine after Katy. And she had a horse named Nancy. And every year, twice a year, we would always go to Jackson, Mississippi. And I would ride the horse Nancy. I loved riding the horse.
  • [00:10:36.13] But I did not like it, at first, going to Jackson, Mississippi, on account of they had an outhouse out in the back of the house. It didn't have a toilet inside the house. We had to go outside the house. Boy, that was something-- where the hogs, and the pigs, and the chicken, and all them-- they had a big fence around them, but that outside toilet-- I wasn't used to that.
  • [00:11:08.13] And my grandmother came up here and stayed. She was supposed to stay a month, but she stayed a week, because we had a bathroom inside the house. We lived 665 Erskine. We moved there in 1938. I think I was six years ago when we moved into Brewster Projects-- 665 Erskine between Hastings and [INAUDIBLE].
  • [00:11:33.12] SPEAKER 1: Do you know any courtship stories? How did your parents meet, or your grandparents get together?
  • [00:11:40.01] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, my mother met my father out on Mackay Street at cousin Irene's house [INAUDIBLE]. She was outside. He was washing the car or something. She was looking. So that's how they met. He wanted to know who she was. And my cousin-- her cousin, rather-- introduced them. Mm-hmm.
  • [00:12:05.10] SPEAKER 1: OK. That completes this session of questions about your family history. Thank you.
  • [00:12:10.35] KATHERINE DAWKINS: You're welcome.
  • [00:12:12.53] SPEAKER 1: Now let's move on to your earliest memories in your childhood. This part of the interview is about your childhood up until you began attending school. Even if these questions jog memories about other times in your life, please only respond with memories of your earliest part of your life, OK?
  • [00:12:32.81] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Child, [CHUCKLES] it's been over three minutes. I can't remember nothing. Some things I might. Some things I can't. What do I remember about being-- until I reached the age of what?
  • [00:12:50.73] SPEAKER 1: Until you started going to school.
  • [00:12:53.29] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, yeah. I remember that. I played jacks, played with dolls. We had to churn. I know that. My mother started us off learning how to do housework, you see what I'm saying? We did housework. We didn't have to worry or wonder who was going to wash the dishes, who was going to mop the floor.
  • [00:13:13.78] We didn't have a mop in our house. We had our knees and a pillow. And it was the Johnson Paste Wax that, after we mopped the floor, we had to use the paste wax-- Johnson Paste Wax-- on the floor. And we lived-- our bedrooms was upstairs, and the living room and the kitchen was downstairs. This was in the Brewster Projects-- 665 Erskine. We did a lot of housework.
  • [00:13:45.90] SPEAKER 1: What were some things that stood out to you about where you grew up-- in the house you grew up in?
  • [00:13:54.29] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, [INAUDIBLE] things stood out [INAUDIBLE] me and my sister had one bedroom together, and we didn't get along that much. She might want to listen to the radio or something else, and I might have wanted to listen-- because we didn't have a television at that time. We just had a radio. And me and her used to fight. That stood out real well.
  • [00:14:24.04] SPEAKER 1: Why did they choose to live there? Do you know why?
  • [00:14:26.93] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, I wouldn't know.
  • [00:14:30.70] SPEAKER 1: What was your house like?
  • [00:14:32.59] KATHERINE DAWKINS: It was nice. It was real nice and cozy. My mother was-- she was a cleaning lady. Like I said, she taught us, showed us how to clean when we was real small so we didn't-- we couldn't go to bed and not have our clothes hung up. When we got through eating dinner, or breakfast, or whatever, we can't have breakfast plates in the sink. We had to do that before we went to school. But she was [INAUDIBLE] this was before I went to school, right?
  • [00:15:06.90] OK. Well, we played a lot. At that time, she would let us know to pick up things. Get upstairs and get them clothes. Your room better be clean. We didn't know what clean was. I used to tell my sister, I'll make up my side of the bed, you make up your side of the bed. But we had the same bed.
  • [00:15:27.19] SPEAKER 1: How many people lived in there?
  • [00:15:29.08] KATHERINE DAWKINS: It was four of us-- my mother, my father, me, and my sister.
  • [00:15:36.32] SPEAKER 1: What languages were spoken in the house? Just English?
  • [00:15:39.71] KATHERINE DAWKINS: English, yeah, if that's what you call it.
  • [00:15:48.00] SPEAKER 1: What was your family like when you were a child?
  • [00:15:51.27] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, some days it was good. Some days it wasn't. Like I said, my mother was a homemaker, and my father worked at Packard Motor Car Company. And he also was bootlegging whiskey from Chicago. I learned how to drive at the age of 12 on US-12 going back and forth to Chicago here, bootlegging whiskey.
  • [00:16:18.42] And he also had a [INAUDIBLE] person borrowed money from you, and he charged them $0.25 on the dollar. So he was making good money. And he had a Packard Clipper car. And they had two cars. And we used to love to sit on the running board. Maybe I have some pictures at home and I could bring them.
  • [00:16:50.77] SPEAKER 1: So OK. You've already answered that [INAUDIBLE]. What is your earliest memory? Like, the first thing you remember about childhood?
  • [00:17:06.81] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Like I said, playing.
  • [00:17:12.34] SPEAKER 1: What was a typical day like in your preschool years?
  • [00:17:17.31] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, in my preschool year, I really didn't want to go to school. But I think it was pretty good. I think so.
  • [00:17:32.98] SPEAKER 1: What did you do for fun?
  • [00:17:35.00] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I played.
  • [00:17:37.50] SPEAKER 1: Did you have any favorite toys or favorite games?
  • [00:17:41.78] KATHERINE DAWKINS: No, we play jacks, and [INAUDIBLE] playing checkers, but didn't know the black and red checkers on the checkerboard. And then, later on, we had this Chinese checker with the marbles, and we played that like that. And I liked to write on the wall, because I wanted to be a school teacher. mm-hmm.
  • [00:18:06.56] SPEAKER 1: Did you have any favorite books or anything?
  • [00:18:10.91] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, all us had favorite books, [INAUDIBLE] Jack and Jill Went Up the Hill, Humpty Dumpty, and all that. It wasn't favorite, but we had to read them.
  • [00:18:22.41] SPEAKER 1: Were there any special days, or events, or family traditions?
  • [00:18:26.33] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, yeah. We had special days-- special when my father's brothers would come. We always had a picnic every holiday. We would celebrate something. At that time, it was Edgewater Park, and we would always go there. Then we would go to Chicago Heights, Illinois. That's where my uncles was when they'd come here. And then we had a cousin in Kenton, Ohio. We always traveled. My father did always take me and my sister and my mother with him. Mm-hmm. And we did a lot of traveling.
  • [00:19:04.78] SPEAKER 1: This completes that section. Thank you.
  • [00:19:10.51] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Or should I have said we did lots of traveling-- lots of traveling.
  • [00:19:16.84] SPEAKER 1: Part three [INAUDIBLE]. In this part of the interview, we'll talk about your time as a young person from above the age that you would start school and up until your professional career or your work life.
  • [00:19:32.39] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, when did I start school? I went to Lincoln school. And it was on Mack off of Hastings, because we lived right there at 665 Erskine. And I left Lincoln and went to Garfield. Then I left Garfield going to Miller until I got pregnant.
  • [00:19:56.85] SPEAKER 1: So you went to Lincoln for preschool?
  • [00:19:59.35] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Yes.
  • [00:20:00.72] SPEAKER 1: OK. Where'd you [INAUDIBLE]--
  • [00:20:02.55] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Elementary.
  • [00:20:03.75] SPEAKER 1: OK, that was your elementary school. OK. Where'd you go to high school?
  • [00:20:09.89] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I went to Garfield, and I was on my way to Miller on Waterloo until I got pregnant.
  • [00:20:28.24] SPEAKER 1: Can you describe popular music in your school years?
  • [00:20:35.79] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Popular music. I like all the R-- what do you all call it? R&B, rhythm and blues. And I loved BB King. And I really liked Sam Cooke, because I knew Sam Cooke from Jackson, Mississippi. And what is his name? Another blues singer, but I like-- he's still alive right now, him and BB King. I can't recall his name right now, but I like him, too. But I liked some church music. But I wasn't in the church band, you see what I'm saying? I wasn't in the church band, and the church wasn't in me.
  • [00:21:27.72] SPEAKER 1: Did the music have any special dances to i?
  • [00:21:31.56] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, yeah. We did jerk, and-- we did a lot of things-- the booty green. [CHUCKLES] They did a lot of dance. You all don't dance now. We had partners that we danced. We did the social and the walk, and the waltz. We did a lot of dancing. I liked to dance. Oh, yeah. Getting back to-- we did the spinning of the bottle. Mm-hmm. Spinning of the bottle. Do you all know about spinning of the bottle? OK.
  • [00:22:11.30] SPEAKER 1: What were the popular clothing or hairstyles at the time?
  • [00:22:18.39] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Madam Walker-- she had this product that she made. They called it Madam Walker. And we had-- hairdresser-- they would have pulls, snake and they would pull our hair. And we had [INAUDIBLE] they had to do with [INAUDIBLE]. And then they had [INAUDIBLE] bushy hair [INAUDIBLE]. What kind of hair is that? The [INAUDIBLE] the big, bushy hair? That's the-- you know what I'm talking about? They--
  • [00:22:58.44] SPEAKER 1: Afro?
  • [00:22:59.30] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Yeah, that. [INAUDIBLE]. Ours was nice-- shaped and everything. Walking around there was no comb in there. And it was a great big afro, you know? And they looked good. They was really nice. And we had nice barber shops that would really style your hair real nice. And they cut it down like you would if you got hedges around your house. And you know how they cut it around and they shape it real good? But now, they're wearing it any kind of way. That's not no Afro. It's flying away.
  • [00:23:35.47] SPEAKER 1: Could you describe any styles from this--
  • [00:23:38.64] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I just told you.
  • [00:23:40.08] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]--
  • [00:23:40.60] KATHERINE DAWKINS: [INAUDIBLE]--
  • [00:23:41.43] SPEAKER 1: Like, how people would dress [INAUDIBLE]--
  • [00:23:43.50] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, yeah. We would dress, baby. We dressed like young ladies. And then even when they brought the skirts to the knee-high-- you know, it wasn't all up here. It was knee-high. And then all of your bosom wasn't out. It was covered up. And our dresses had to be starched, Argo starch. We had to starch and iron them. And no cat hairs in your collar. Mm-hmm.
  • [00:24:16.59] And clothes was cotton, and we had to wash them. We had a rub board. And I still got a rub board that we use. I learned how to do that when I was smaller in Mississippi. My grandmother had one of them black iron cast pots that we had a stick, and we'd beat the clothes in. You'd be surprised how they-- we didn't have no dryer. We had to hang them out on the clothes line and let the sun get to them.
  • [00:24:54.23] SPEAKER 1: Were there any slang terms or phrases that aren't common today [INAUDIBLE]?
  • [00:25:02.71] KATHERINE DAWKINS: You know, yes, they had slang that's not common today. Well, they had a lot of slang that's not common today. They had a whole lot of them, but I can't think of any right now. But they did have a lot of slang. It wasn't cursing or anything, but you know where they was coming from. Mm-hmm.
  • [00:25:29.17] SPEAKER 1: What was a typical day like for you [INAUDIBLE] school, during school years and stuff like that?
  • [00:25:35.56] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Like when I'd come home from school?
  • [00:25:37.46] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE] when you'd wake up until you'd go back to sleep.
  • [00:25:40.18] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, when I'd wake up, I didn't want to wake up. I didn't want to get up. I wanted to wake up, but I didn't want to get up, but I had to get up, you see? And there wasn't no such thing as, I'm sick, can't go to school. Then that meant I was sick all day. When school was out, if I said I was sick, and I wanted to go outside, [INAUDIBLE] I was sick, you see?
  • [00:26:07.09] If I was sick for 10 minutes, I was sick for the whole day. Do you understand what I'm saying? I couldn't go outside and play-- couldn't play with the other children and what not, because I was sick. That's the way she had it, you see? It meant--
  • [00:26:28.48] SPEAKER 1: So when you [INAUDIBLE] school, [INAUDIBLE]--
  • [00:26:31.41] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, I enjoyed going to school. Ms. Terhune, she was our music teacher. Miss Swan-- and Miss Swan had beautiful handwriting in the way she would make her S. She was our literature teacher. They was really nice. And we had a teacher, Mr. O'Benowich. He was the gym teacher. And I think we went to gym-- swimming-- about twice a week.
  • [00:27:04.14] But I didn't like him, because whatever he did-- if you didn't do what he said to, he would put the girls under his desk, and he would sit there. So I went home and told my mother one day about Mr. O'Benowich. And I said, I don't understand how Mr. O'Benowich would put the young girls under his desk. Don't know what he doing and everything.
  • [00:27:32.56] So my father-- he went up to the school. This was at Lincoln. He went up to the school, and he spoke to Mr. O'Benowich about it. And he said, oh, I never put Katherine up there. He said, and you never will put her under your desk, and you're sitting there? So I liked my father for that.
  • [00:27:54.44] SPEAKER 1: OK. During your high school years, what did you do during school years, what did you do for fun?
  • [00:28:02.34] KATHERINE DAWKINS: For fun, we'd travel. Me and my sister, like I said, and my mother and my father-- we went to Chicago Heights, Illinois, Kenton, Ohio. And we just traveled. They carried us to carnivals and different little thing like that, back down to Jackson, Mississippi. Didn't go to Monroe, Louisiana as much as we did Jackson, Mississippi, you see what I'm saying? But we had a lot of fun.
  • [00:28:27.37] And then after church, most of the children and the choir that we sung in was the Golden Voices. They would always come to our house, because my mother always figured that we'd do everything right there-- 665 Erskine. And we used to just dance. She had us playing records. We had a record player and everything. And we'd have a good time. Mm-hmm. We had a good time. I had a good child life. I wish I was back there.
  • [00:29:00.11] SPEAKER 1: During this time, did your family have any special sayings or expressions?
  • [00:29:03.96] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Yeah, I was called Heffer. My sister was called Heffer. Come here, Heffer. Yes, ma'am. [INAUDIBLE]
  • [00:29:17.80] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]--
  • [00:29:18.28] KATHERINE DAWKINS: And I'll churn you. That's what she said. Do so and so. If you don't do what I say, I'll churn you. And I believed it.
  • [00:29:27.88] SPEAKER 1: Were there any changes in your life during your school years?
  • [00:29:31.85] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Changes like what? Yeah, I told you I got pregnant.
  • [00:29:34.87] SPEAKER 1: Care to explain--
  • [00:29:36.70] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Explain it-- explain how you got pregnant?
  • [00:29:39.75] SPEAKER 1: No, [INAUDIBLE].
  • [00:29:41.01] KATHERINE DAWKINS: [CHUCKLES]
  • [00:29:42.70] SPEAKER 1: Everything like [INAUDIBLE] stuff like that.
  • [00:29:46.10] KATHERINE DAWKINS: [INAUDIBLE] you already know how it happened-- mother nature.
  • [00:29:48.81] [LAUGHTER]
  • [00:29:50.18] [INAUDIBLE]. Like anything else. It was fast. They tell you not do that. And sometimes, you can hold a child so close that you think that they're not given away, but everybody's going to find a way, as you youngsters know now, you know what I'm saying? And everything. And so I really hurt my mother's heart, you see what I'm saying? Because my child was born-- Michael. I was 17. And that just hurt her heart, because she had good plans for me, and I had great plans for me. But I didn't think it was no great big deal.
  • [00:30:29.06] She didn't put me out. She just said, you made your bed hard. You're going to lay in it. That meant that when your child here, you here, you see what I'm saying? I couldn't go and play with the other children. And especially at church-- I went to St. James Missionary Baptist Church [INAUDIBLE] WC Barnett was the pastor at that time.
  • [00:30:50.06] But I had to come before the church, because I had broken my leg. That's what they called it then. And I [INAUDIBLE] couldn't understand when I used to hear my mother say, they done broke their leg. You don't play with them. I didn't understand that. I said, they're walking around. How did they broke their leg? What are you all looking at?
  • [00:31:08.39] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]
  • [00:31:09.84] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Why you broke your leg? I didn't understand that. But I understood it later on. Mm-hmm. And my husband James-- the reason however you say how it happened-- because the choir-- we was all liking one another in the choir. And so I was liking James boy, and he was liking me.
  • [00:31:30.23] And so we got to talking one day. We were sitting in the car. Never will forget it in my daddy's car sitting outside. And we started kissing. And he was talking about little Bo, his friends and everything, how they was-- you know. And his girlfriend was making out. I ain't gonna do all that. So one day, he told me-- he said, you know what? He said, you're going to turn into a bulldagger. I didn't know what a bulldagger was. I was like, what do you mean I'm going to turn into a bulldagger? He said, you're going to like women.
  • [00:32:00.96] I said, no, I'm not. [INAUDIBLE] like women. And that's how it started. I won't like no women. And he said, well, you better do what you're supposed to do [INAUDIBLE]. And then I went and talked to my cousin about it. She said, oh, yeah. She said, he wants sex with you. And so and that's going to keep me from liking women? She said, yeah, of course. That's what she did. That was the biggest mistake I made. But I'm glad my child was here.
  • [00:32:49.31] SPEAKER 1: How were your holidays celebrated in your family?
  • [00:32:55.37] KATHERINE DAWKINS: We went on trips. 4th of July, we would go to the parks. Different hol-- like Labor Day and everything, my daddy, that night, would go out to [INAUDIBLE], and he would get the tables. He would spend the night out there. So when my mother would bring the family-- whatever family member would come visit us, we would always have a spot out there [INAUDIBLE]. We'd be on the swings and whatnot. They didn't have the big slide at that particular time. We just had swings. Mm-hmm. And it was horseback riding out there, and then the canoe. We had plenty fun. Listen, my childhood was beautiful. I was just stupid.
  • [00:33:44.34] SPEAKER 1: Does your family have any of its old traditions or celebrations?
  • [00:33:49.51] KATHERINE DAWKINS: For themselves? Yeah, but we was included.
  • [00:33:56.79] SPEAKER 1: Like--
  • [00:33:57.27] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Like the anniversary? We was included. We had a family affair. I don't remember too many times that they went-- well, they went to different places where children wasn't-- for the grown ups, we couldn't go. She would always have another cousin come stay with us.
  • [00:34:21.60] And another thing-- we had cousins, but we couldn't go spend the night, you know what I'm saying? They had them sleepovers and things. We couldn't do that. No. And when we was going to school, we had to be in the house not when the street light come on, but before the street light come on. We had to be in the house or sitting right there on that porch.
  • [00:34:49.87] SPEAKER 1: What special food traditions do your family have?
  • [00:34:53.42] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, we had soul food-- greens and chicken-- chicken and dumplings. My daddy would go down to the Eastern Market and go to the chicken house and bring the live chickens home. And out in the backyard, he would take them and wring their necks off. We would just run, whoo. We didn't like that. And then, after that, we would take the chicken in the house and put it over the fire. And they call that swingeing the chicken. That would mean getting the hairs and things off of the chicken and whatnot.
  • [00:35:29.14] My mother was a good cook. She made everything from scratch. I don't care what it was, she made it from scratch. And like I said, we used to churn every other day. Twin Pine milk would bring four quarts of milk every other day. And the cream was on top of the milk. We had to take the cream out, so we'd take it and churn it. And it'd turn into buttermilk and butter.
  • [00:36:08.15] SPEAKER 1: Were any recipes preserved? Like, do you have any recipes that your mother passed down to you?
  • [00:36:13.59] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Crazy, no, no. I should have, but I didn't.
  • [00:36:21.05] SPEAKER 1: Do you know any stories that pertains to making special food or anything?
  • [00:36:26.94] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Mm, true stories of--
  • [00:36:31.61] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]
  • [00:36:32.07] KATHERINE DAWKINS: [INAUDIBLE]. Yeah, well-- I won't go into that. [CHUCKLES]
  • [00:36:46.43] SPEAKER 1: When thinking back on your school years, what important social or historical events were taking place at the time that personally affected you and your family?
  • [00:36:58.41] KATHERINE DAWKINS: President Roosevelt. We lived in Brewster Projects, and it was the Democrat-- President Roosevelt was Democratic. And his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, right there on Benton Street, they brought a bus. And it was an open bus. It was two stories and everything, right there on Benton. And we had a good time, because [INAUDIBLE] they called it the open airbus. And we had a good time with Mrs. Roosevelt. They took pictures and everything. Eleanor Roosevelt-- President Roosevelt's wife. That was really nice.
  • [00:37:45.16] We had a social room on Erskine down the street. We lived in a row house, but they had storage apartment buildings. But we lived in the row house right next to the alley. And Mr. [INAUDIBLE]-- he was the pharmacy. And he had a lot of things in the pharmacy that wasn't supposed to have been in there.
  • [00:38:19.96] And they came and raided it one day. And Swanson's Barbershop was right next to [INAUDIBLE] right there on Benton and Hastings. And Malcolm X's wife, Miss Betty, before she-- we was young, and not knowing that she was going to marry Malcolm X. But she would come every summer and be with Mr. [INAUDIBLE] at-- you know. And we used to have a lot of fun with her. And then we had Ray's Barber Shop. And we just had a good time.
  • [00:39:03.59] SPEAKER 1: All right. This completes this section of the questions. The next one is, adulthood, marriage and your family life. This set of questions is a fairly long period-- covers a fairly long period of your life-- from the time you completed your education, entered the labor force, or started a family [INAUDIBLE] all of your children [INAUDIBLE] and you and your spouse retired from work. So we might be talking about a stretch of time spanning as much as four decades.
  • [00:39:42.52] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Like I said, I got pregnant, had Michael at 17. And I didn't go back to school. And what did I do? Two years later, I had another baby. I was married, but they had gave us-- me and James-- they gave us a shotgun wedding, because I had to get married, you see what I'm saying? Whether I liked him or not, or whether he liked me or not, because they didn't believe in that. I had to stand before the church and show them that I was pregnant out of wedlock.
  • [00:40:17.88] And the other children could not play with me. But I had two families-- Miss Bell and Miss Jordan. They always would let their kids come and play with me, you see what I'm saying? Because I had broke my leg. And when you break your leg, you supposed to have been grown, you see what I'm saying? And everything.
  • [00:40:37.17] So anyway, they didn't bar me from the church. But I couldn't participate with the children-- with the other children and whatnot. And so then me and my husband separated. We stayed on [INAUDIBLE] and something by [INAUDIBLE]. I know it was on [INAUDIBLE]. So anyway, me and him separated. And what else did I do? I didn't do nothing much. But I had to stay home with my children, because I made a mistake, you see what I'm saying? Mm-hmm. And I did want to go back to school, but I didn't.
  • [00:41:29.28] And my mother-- she started doing daywork-- I mean domestic work. And she only worked, like, two days out of a week and whatnot. And so sometimes when she didn't feel like going or whatnot out on Wilshire to the white lady's house and everything, she was send me out there. That would give me a little extra money. Because at that particular time, I was on ADC.
  • [00:42:03.97] SPEAKER 1: What does that stand for?
  • [00:42:05.89] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Aid to Dependent Children. They didn't give you much at that time as long as you were staying with your parent. But if you moved out, you would get rent and whatnot. And they had [INAUDIBLE] gentlemen's club. And my girlfriend Juanita [INAUDIBLE] and her father-- his name was-- they called him X-- we would go there and wash the glasses and things, and make some extra money and whatnot. They would help out. Mm-hmm.
  • [00:42:40.45] Then I worked down just pitch hitting for Juanita at the Gotham Hotel. Gotham Hotel was down across from-- on Watson from us, where we lived. And that's how I learned how to do the switchboard operator. And at that time, they had to plug in-- they don't have a switchboard like they had now. We had to connect. Mm-hmm.
  • [00:43:10.44] SPEAKER 1: So after you finished high school, you lived--
  • [00:43:13.69] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I didn't finish high school.
  • [00:43:14.93] SPEAKER 1: After you were done--
  • [00:43:15.82] KATHERINE DAWKINS: After I got pregnant? Yeah, OK.
  • [00:43:17.66] SPEAKER 1: --where did you live?
  • [00:43:19.11] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Where did I live? 5942 Brush.
  • [00:43:23.65] SPEAKER 1: How did you come to live there?
  • [00:43:25.43] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Because my father had Packard Clipper Social Club up there. And me and my two children moved up there with him. Mm-hmm.
  • [00:43:39.66] SPEAKER 1: Did you remain there, or did you move around through your working adult life? And what was the reason for these moves?
  • [00:43:47.45] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Did I remain at 5942 Brush?
  • [00:43:50.62] SPEAKER 1: Mm-hmm.
  • [00:43:51.78] KATHERINE DAWKINS: No, I didn't remain there. I got married again. Yeah, I got married in '63. Uh-huh. To James Dawkins. And we moved from 5942 Brush to where I live now, 7527 Holmes-- H-O-L-M-E-S. I've been there 47 years.
  • [00:44:27.96] SPEAKER 1: I'd like you to tell me a little about your married life. First, tell me about your spouse.
  • [00:44:36.74] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Which one? Which one?
  • [00:44:39.79] SPEAKER 1: You could start with the first one and then--
  • [00:44:41.59] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, he was--
  • [00:44:42.18] SPEAKER 1: And then the second one.
  • [00:44:43.16] KATHERINE DAWKINS: It was all right. The one I had the baby by. He was all right. And he passed away. But Mr. Dawkins-- me and him stayed together 30 years.
  • [00:44:53.77] SPEAKER 1: How did your first spouse pass away?
  • [00:44:55.54] KATHERINE DAWKINS: He had a heart attack in a cab.
  • [00:45:00.06] SPEAKER 1: OK. So tell me a little about Mr. Dawkins.
  • [00:45:04.79] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, Mr. Dawkins worked at Chrysler at Local 714. He worked there 37 years. He was a painter. He was good provider. And the reason why I said that-- because you never miss your water until your well runs dry, OK? And one thing about Mr. Dawkins-- he took care of me, as well as my two children.
  • [00:45:26.53] Me and Mr. Dawkins didn't have any children. He was just an outgoing person. We liked to bowl together. We always would go bowling. I worked up at Harper Rec Bowling Alley, up there at 7944 Harper and Van Dyke. I worked there. Mm-hmm. That's how I learned how to bowl.
  • [00:45:51.96] SPEAKER 1: Where and when did you and Mr. Dawkins meet?
  • [00:45:55.84] KATHERINE DAWKINS: We met at Miss Stewart's house across the street from my house on Erskine. Now, I forgot her number, but we lived 665 Erskine [INAUDIBLE]. And Miss Stewart and them had a birthday party, and she invited all of us over there, because we used to play [INAUDIBLE] all the time [INAUDIBLE]. And Mr. Dawkins and two of his friends and whatnot-- you know, how you meet one another. And he kept coming over there, and we would be playing cards. That's how we met-- playing cards.
  • [00:46:33.06] SPEAKER 1: What was it like when you were dating before you got married to him?
  • [00:46:38.44] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, I was playing hard to get. Sometimes you can play too hard to get, and they forget about you, right? OK. So I was playing hard to get, and it looked like he was trying to slip away. And then I had to straighten up. He all right. He pretty good. And Miss Stewart used to tell me said, he got a good job. He got a good job.
  • [00:46:56.98] And he would always bring presents over to Miss Stewart's house to give to me for my children. And my mother told me [INAUDIBLE] let me tell you one thing. [INAUDIBLE] you and your children. But I had my eye on somebody else, and they [INAUDIBLE]. Mm. You know? Mm-hmm, yeah. And she told me [INAUDIBLE] keep on playing hard to get. Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.
  • [00:47:25.17] SPEAKER 1: Tell me about your engagement and wedding.
  • [00:47:29.85] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, we went to Bowling Green, Ohio and got married. We didn't have no long engagement.
  • [00:47:39.54] SPEAKER 1: So how long were you engaged?
  • [00:47:41.89] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, I don't know, really. Oh, let me see. I met him-- oh, [INAUDIBLE] about three or four years after we-- we didn't date right off the bat, because I had two babies, and I wasn't thinking about getting pregnant no more at that time. And I know if I did, my momma-- I know what she was going to do, you see what I'm saying? Mm-hm.
  • [00:48:08.37] So [INAUDIBLE] they let him know-- they had let me know he was interested in me, as the [INAUDIBLE]. If you hold out, hold back, and if they don't come around, then all they wanted was what they [INAUDIBLE] get. But if they keep coming around, that meant that they like you, you know what I'm saying? Mm-hmm.
  • [00:48:28.56] He would always-- if we'd go out to dinner or go to a show, we would always go by Checkers Barbecue. I would get my barbecue. But I had two children at home, you see what I'm saying? And get them theirs, too. I couldn't eat [INAUDIBLE] buy me something to eat and my two children. And that way, later on, it showed me, yeah, he liked me. Mm-hmm. Because he didn't have to do that.
  • [00:48:58.33] SPEAKER 1: OK. Tell me about your working years.
  • [00:49:02.67] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, it wasn't really nothing much. I worked at Harper Rec. That was the bowling alley. It closed in 1977-- George and Tony Riff. Then I worked-- where did I work after I left the bowling alley? Well, I took care of my niece. She was 26 years old. And she got sick and died. I took care of her. Then I worked at Dr. Curtis Thompson's office. And that's about all. [INAUDIBLE] met him at Ford Hospital.
  • [00:49:52.85] SPEAKER 1: What was the typical day like during your working years?
  • [00:49:57.58] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I enjoyed working with people, I guess. That's what-- it seemed as though being in the hospital and being with a sick person-- I don't know. It just seemed like I was drawn to that. Everybody have a gift, and it seemed like that was my gift, is to take care of people. My mother had cancer of the breast, and I took care of her.
  • [00:50:20.32] And I had a cousin-- same one-- my mother's cousin, Irene White. She had Alzheimer's, dementia, and everything. And she lived out on Mackay. And Reverend Sterling Jones would call to tell some of the family members to go out there and see about her, because people was just really doing her wrong. And so I took her in. I had to go down to probate court and get some papers and things so I could be her legal guardian. And that way, I would help her out.
  • [00:51:01.57] So she couldn't stay at the house, because she had a house out there on Mackay where my mother met my daddy-- at her house out there on Mackay Street. But I always had her to have a housekeeper or something. And we was bonded. I was bonded, because whatever money that she had-- her retirement check and everything-- I had to write down every penny of what was going on-- her food, her clothes, traveling expense, medical expense or whatnot. Mm-hmm. So I took [INAUDIBLE].
  • [00:51:40.70] SPEAKER 1: OK. [INAUDIBLE] you're still working at-- let's go back to the days when you were working at Harper Rec.
  • [00:51:48.98] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Yeah, that was the bowling alley.
  • [00:51:50.88] SPEAKER 1: When you wake up, what would be your typical routine? How would you go throughout your day back then?
  • [00:51:55.97] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, I would get up, and I would make sure that my children and everything was well groomed-- they took their bath. And we had a prayer together. They didn't know anything about it, and I didn't know too much about it, but we had to say a prayer, because my mother instilled that in us and everything.
  • [00:52:18.77] And then in the evening, see, I would-- after they'd go out and play and everything-- see, my mother would watch them then, because I was working from 6:00 to 2:00. That was the bowling alley up at 7499 Harper-- George Riff and Tony Riff. It was fun with me to get out from the children and then be [INAUDIBLE] see, they had a quickie bar in there.
  • [00:52:49.02] I never drank. But we smoked cigarettes, but I never drank. And when I was-- in 1977, I was in the coat room, and I dumped that cigarette. It was on a Sunday, 1977. And I haven't smoked a cigarette [INAUDIBLE]. That's when the [INAUDIBLE] closed down. The Harper Rec and the Blue Chateau-- that's when they closed down, 1977.
  • [00:53:22.42] SPEAKER 1: What did your family enjoy doing together when your kids were still at home?
  • [00:53:27.74] KATHERINE DAWKINS: We enjoyed traveling. We enjoyed eating together. We had to eat together 6 o'clock-- 6 o'clock. That's right. All of us at the dinner table, you see what I'm saying? We knew exactly what time. We ate together. We had to pray together. We went to church together-- all but my daddy. He didn't go. My momma, and me, and my two children. That's right. The children, they-- Mike and Tyrone-- they joined the choir.
  • [00:53:55.53] SPEAKER 1: What about when you and your husband had a family?
  • [00:54:01.79] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Me and Mr. Dawkins didn't have no family.
  • [00:54:05.03] SPEAKER 1: Your two kids [INAUDIBLE]?
  • [00:54:06.81] KATHERINE DAWKINS: My two kids was by my first husband.
  • [00:54:11.74] SPEAKER 1: OK. What were your personal favorite things to do for fun?
  • [00:54:19.76] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I liked to bowl, I liked to play [INAUDIBLE], and I loved to play [INAUDIBLE]. And we used to play [INAUDIBLE]. That was with the pennies. They had a little board and thing that you play [INAUDIBLE]. But you had to bet.
  • [00:54:36.93] SPEAKER 1: How did you play that game?
  • [00:54:38.92] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I just told you. We had a little-- it looked like a little-- bigger than a penny. And you push it. And wherever that ball go-- if it's $0.02, $0.03, or $0.04. It's something like Monopolies. You go around and whatnot. Mm-hmm. But you can lose a lot of money on that. We used to play poker. But $0.25 was the limit. But we bowled. A lot of bowl.
  • [00:55:21.71] SPEAKER 1: Please describe popular music when you were grown.
  • [00:55:26.16] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Describe what, you said?
  • [00:55:27.27] SPEAKER 1: Popular music when you were grown.
  • [00:55:29.75] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I like a lot of music-- popular music. I liked-- you mean the artists or just the--
  • [00:55:36.78] SPEAKER 1: The artists.
  • [00:55:38.65] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, I like a lot of artists. Ray Charles, Bobby "Blue" Bland is the one I was trying to think of before. And I like a lot of-- Jackie Wilson, Donna Washington was the queen of soul. You all got Aretha now as queen of soul. But in my day, it was Donna Washington. That's right. Mm-hmm.
  • [00:56:08.37] SPEAKER 1: When you were grown, were there any dances-- other dances-- other than when you were growing up?
  • [00:56:18.26] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Yeah, we had other dances.
  • [00:56:23.22] SPEAKER 1: You said, when you were growing up, it was, like, the jerk--
  • [00:56:26.35] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Yeah, the jerk and the twist by Chucky-- whatever his name-- [INAUDIBLE] whatever his name.
  • [00:56:34.03] SPEAKER 1: When you were grown, were there any other different dances other than [INAUDIBLE]?
  • [00:56:38.29] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Yeah, they called it [INAUDIBLE]-- no, we did that-- yeah, the [INAUDIBLE]. And what else did we do? We did the [INAUDIBLE].
  • [00:56:53.86] SPEAKER 1: How did the clothing change once you got older [INAUDIBLE] begin to [INAUDIBLE]?
  • [00:57:01.74] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, well, it changed. It changed a little bit. But my style-- a lot of cotton dresses, because that's what we were raised in. We had to put them in [INAUDIBLE] starch and everything and starch them, and they'd stand out. Then we had the big skirt underneath the dress-- real big. It was-- I forgot what you call them skirts. Yeah.
  • [00:57:34.66] But we had the puff sleeves and the queen lace stockings. Now they've got-- what do they call them? The fishnet stockings now. But they were called the queen lace stockings with the seam up the back. We had high heel shoes. We had flip-flops. And we used to dress with this-- had a shirt-- had a tie over it. And we didn't pay much money for one. And they get the same thing now, but you're all paying more for it.
  • [00:58:23.80] SPEAKER 1: When you were grown-- an adult-- were there any slang terms, phrases, or words that aren't common today?
  • [00:58:32.50] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, I don't know. Yeah. They had a lot of them. Mm-hmm. I can't think [INAUDIBLE].
  • [00:58:44.45] SPEAKER 1: When thinking back on your working adult life, what important social or historical events were taking place at this time?
  • [00:58:59.15] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, they had World-- what was it? World War II, World War III? With Eisenhower. Then he died in, what? '47 or something like that. There was a lot of things that was taking place historically-- a lot of things that was taking place. They had the race riots. We was living right there at 665 Erskine. And was supposedly, a sailor threw a black baby over the river out at [INAUDIBLE].
  • [00:59:31.40] And that was the race riot-- not the one on 12th Street, but the one in the forest. We was at Lincoln School. We were still at Lincoln School. And that was a terrible race riot. That was terrible. That was really terrible. They brought all of the guards in and everything. That was before they even tore up Hastings Street. It was sad. Then Victor's department store-- the mounted policemen came in. They got all the guns and everything out.
  • [01:00:08.19] And the neighborhood-- the different folks was there was going in there talking about getting ham and everything. They was race rioting bad. And they didn't have a deep freezer to put it in or nothing. [INAUDIBLE] Theater was right across the street. Can you all hold that a minute? [INAUDIBLE] you all holding it?
  • [01:00:46.39] SPEAKER 1: --that I asked that you couldn't remember, or anything you've thought about since you've been at home that you wanted to say? Anything?
  • [01:00:54.27] KATHERINE DAWKINS: There was a lot of things that I thought about that I didn't realize that you had asked me yesterday. And then it just went away. I had a meeting this morning. I had to go to work and whatnot. [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:01:06.74] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE] is there anything you just want to say, period? Is there anything you just want to say?
  • [01:01:11.10] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Yes. You can speak a little louder so I can hear you.
  • [01:01:13.46] SPEAKER 1: OK.
  • [01:01:14.04] KATHERINE DAWKINS: OK.
  • [01:01:17.41] SPEAKER 1: All right. This is the last part, part five. This set of questions covers a fairly long period of your life, and from the time you entered the labor force and started a family up to present time. So we're talking about--
  • [01:01:32.79] KATHERINE DAWKINS: OK. I forgot yesterday-- I had to let you know that I had been a member of the Order of the Eastern Star. King Solomon, Queen [INAUDIBLE] 9840 Dexter. I went there, and my mother took me when I was seven years old. And I was [INAUDIBLE]. I forgot to bring it, but I have pictures to show you and everything.
  • [01:01:56.90] And I still remember the Order of the Eastern Star [INAUDIBLE]. I was grand worthy matron, worthy matron, grand secretary. Never been [INAUDIBLE]. But they're still up there-- 9840 Dexter-- King Solomon, Queen [INAUDIBLE] Grand Chapter [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:02:17.54] SPEAKER 1: Do you want to pull those pictures out and show them? Is she speaking loud enough?
  • [01:02:24.56] SPEAKER 2: [INAUDIBLE]
  • [01:02:38.53] KATHERINE DAWKINS: That's [INAUDIBLE] grand worthy matron.
  • [01:02:42.12] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]
  • [01:02:43.62] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh.
  • [01:02:48.38] SPEAKER 1: Just hold it--
  • [01:02:48.99] KATHERINE DAWKINS: (WHISPERING) [INAUDIBLE]?
  • [01:02:50.84] SPEAKER 1: Just hold it up, and we'll zoom in.
  • [01:03:02.86] KATHERINE DAWKINS: [INAUDIBLE] looking at me like I'm crazy.
  • [01:03:12.60] SPEAKER 1: Oh.
  • [01:03:13.37] [LAUGHTER]
  • [01:03:15.19] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Hold this one up and this one?
  • [01:03:17.43] SPEAKER 1: Yeah, [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:03:26.04] KATHERINE DAWKINS: This when I was grand worthy matron of Queen [INAUDIBLE]. And the group-- this group to the left-- was [INAUDIBLE] Chapter number 7 in the Order of Queen [INAUDIBLE] Grand Chapter. Be sure you're getting me good over here. [CHUCKLES]
  • [01:03:48.04] SPEAKER 1: You got it? All right. All right. So first question today is, what was your main field of employment?
  • [01:04:12.63] KATHERINE DAWKINS: My main employment was years ago. I started out-- my mother was a domestic worker. And she worked on Wilshire And I can't think of these people's names. But when she didn't go to work, she let me go to make some money.
  • [01:04:32.13] SPEAKER 1: OK.
  • [01:04:32.58] KATHERINE DAWKINS: And that was domestic work, meaning housework.
  • [01:04:35.50] SPEAKER 1: OK.
  • [01:04:36.34] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I went two days a week. And then I left there. And then I got a job at the [INAUDIBLE]. And that place-- that was out in Madison Heights-- 14 Mile Road. And I stayed there until-- I was a temp [INAUDIBLE] got rid of [INAUDIBLE] they cut you off. And then I went to work at the bowling alley-- 7499 Van Dyke, Harper Rec. George Riff and Tony Riff was the proprietor. And I worked there-- what was it? 12 years until it closed in 1977. And it became the Blue Chateau Lounge.
  • [01:05:25.25] And then [INAUDIBLE]-- oh, I worked at the [INAUDIBLE], but I didn't work there long-- right down Grand River across from-- what was the night club? 20 Grand. 20 Grand night club, yeah. And then [INAUDIBLE] there. And I worked at Dr. Curtis Thompson's office. And then I left him and took care of my niece in 2001. And I took care of her until she-- no, I left [INAUDIBLE] '99-- 1999. Yeah, because she passed in 2001.
  • [01:06:06.17] And I worked for a Local 334 labor union at the [INAUDIBLE]. But that was on Garland and Jefferson. I worked there for nine months. Then I left there, and I went to the YWCA. And I got in this program. It'll come to me. Same program I'm in now, but it was the Urban League program. But now I'm in the [INAUDIBLE] program, and I've been here ever since. I've been at Henry Ford Hospital since 2003-- March of 2003. And I'm still there at Henry Ford Hospital at 2799 W Grand Boulevard.
  • [01:07:00.33] SPEAKER 1: OK. And when you were working at the bowling alley, what type of stuff did you have to do?
  • [01:07:09.02] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I was a service representative, like I'm doing at the hospital-- pass out shoes and bowling balls and everything. And when people come to bowl, [INAUDIBLE] give them the [INAUDIBLE] and everything. [INAUDIBLE] manager.
  • [01:07:29.01] SPEAKER 1: OK. Say you were going to work at the bowling alley. How was your day like there?
  • [01:07:35.95] KATHERINE DAWKINS: My day was beautiful. It was wonderful. I was away from the children, so it was beautiful. That gave me a little time. So it was just Monday, Tuesday-- no, Monday, Thursday, and Sunday. No, Monday, Thursday, and Sunday was at the [INAUDIBLE]. But the bowling alley was two days. And that was Tuesdays and Thursdays at the bowling alley.
  • [01:08:09.61] SPEAKER 1: Was there any training or type of skills you had to have to work there?
  • [01:08:15.51] KATHERINE DAWKINS: No, not at that particular time. I was bowling at the bowling alley, and I was in the league. And I was the president of the team. And my oldest son-- son-- he was five years old when he got murdered. And so Tony Riff and George Riff came to my house and asked me, would I work at the bowling alley for two weeks? They was going to the old country.
  • [01:08:44.55] And I told them, I know nothing about no bowling alley, what to do. They said that-- Mr.-- [INAUDIBLE] his name right now. But he [INAUDIBLE] me, and he did. It wasn't hard. It was just issuing out the shoes, and giving the [INAUDIBLE] lane they was going to bowl on, and what time to cut the lanes off and everything.
  • [01:09:13.34] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]--
  • [01:09:13.44] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Could you stop it a minute? Because I'm sweating like [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:09:20.99] SPEAKER 1: Would you like to speak more, or tell me anything about how your son got murdered?
  • [01:09:27.20] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, my baby son got ran over-- 2005 in Washington DC. He was standing at the bus stop. I'm trying to see-- did I bring The Washington Post with me? No, I wouldn't think [INAUDIBLE]. Yeah, 2005. My husband passed in 2005, and my other son passed 2005. Tyrone, the one in Washington, DC-- he was February the 5th, 2005.
  • [01:09:57.06] My husband, James Willie Dawkins-- he was in a nursing home. He didn't even know that Tyrone had passed. He passed May the 2nd, 2005. And my oldest son, Michael-- he passed December the 19th, 2005. My two sons was 10 months apart. My oldest son had cancer-- Michael Thomas. I [INAUDIBLE] pictures.
  • [01:10:17.91] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE] those at the end. How'd your husband pass?
  • [01:10:22.85] KATHERINE DAWKINS: He had cancer. He was in Heartland Nursing Home-- Heartland-- he wasn't in the nursing home. He was just in Heartland Hospital before he got transferred over to Heartland [INAUDIBLE]. His name was James Willie Dawkins.
  • [01:10:48.66] SPEAKER 1: How has technology changed during your working years?
  • [01:10:54.70] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, it changed a lot, because I had to learn how to work the television-- television-- the computers, OK? [INAUDIBLE]. And I had a car that [INAUDIBLE] the work place that I had to put in a resume. And I was shown how to make up a resume. Now I have to go back and update the resume on the computer.
  • [01:11:35.51] SPEAKER 1: Has the computer been hard for you?
  • [01:11:37.57] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Not really. I use it every day. Practice makes perfect. The more you use it, the more you get familiarized with it.
  • [01:11:55.38] SPEAKER 1: What's the biggest difference since your job-- when you were working at the bowling alley-- and now?
  • [01:12:02.19] KATHERINE DAWKINS: There's really not a big difference, because I'm a people's person, and [INAUDIBLE] is just [INAUDIBLE] with me [INAUDIBLE] being behind the desk, and different people come up. And I remember faces, but names, I don't [INAUDIBLE] me being one person at the desk, even at the bowling alley, it's the same way at Henry Ford Hospital. I'm there greeting the people when they come in.
  • [01:12:29.88] Because when they park-- speaking for Henry Ford, when a visitor comes in the hospital after they get out of the car, whether they valeted, or whether they just [INAUDIBLE] parked themself-- when they come in the hospital, whomever's at the desk is the first person they see. When they ask for a patient information, and we give it to them, they don't know what they're going to expect to see when they get upstairs [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:13:03.55] And so we was trained-- and I already knew that anyway-- give a smile. Give a nice, not-no-harm [INAUDIBLE] yes. And then they ask you different questions. Is this [INAUDIBLE]? But sometimes you can ask [INAUDIBLE], sometimes you can't. We get a lot of confusion, especially when a person has passed on [INAUDIBLE]. And we tell them that the person's discharged. I know that person wasn't discharged.
  • [01:13:37.47] Sometimes you get a lot of-- but you have to know how to handle the situation. Just like with the bowling alley, when I'm on the PA speaker, and [INAUDIBLE] calling up there for so-and-so-- they not there. They're not here. Oh, I know they're there, and whatnot. Then I open the mics so they can hear me call that person's name [INAUDIBLE] person [INAUDIBLE] answer, so they're not here.
  • [01:14:17.57] SPEAKER 1: What do you value most about what you did for a living?
  • [01:14:24.59] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I value-- first of all, I value life, and I thank god for Jesus. And then I value that I'm an outgoing people's person. I love to talk to people. Maybe my grandma was not as [INAUDIBLE] as some people with everything. But I get my point across. I just like people. That's why they've been keeping me as a lobby assistant and a greeter.
  • [01:14:57.48] SPEAKER 1: Tell me about any moves you made since you were working at the bowling alley until now.
  • [01:15:04.99] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Any--
  • [01:15:05.34] SPEAKER 1: Like, houses and stuff like that.
  • [01:15:07.19] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, I've been right there at 7527 Holmes since '63 [INAUDIBLE] '63. I haven't made [INAUDIBLE]. I'm still there.
  • [01:15:19.27] SPEAKER 1: How did you find this house?
  • [01:15:20.72] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Dr. [INAUDIBLE] was our doctor, and his office was up there on Warren Avenue. And my husband, James Willie Dawkins-- he used to paint for Dr. [INAUDIBLE]. We was living at 5942 Brush. And Dr. [INAUDIBLE] was going to sell his house. And my husband looked into it, because we was renting up there-- 5942 Brush, my daddy's place. And my husband [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:15:51.60] SPEAKER 1: How do you feel about this house?
  • [01:15:53.01] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I feel good. It's going down, but I feel good. The grandkids are, grandma, you've been here too long. Why don't you leave? [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:16:05.51] SPEAKER 1: How many grandkids do you have?
  • [01:16:07.79] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I have three. My two sons-- I have pictures [INAUDIBLE]. Children [INAUDIBLE] and whatnot. But like I said, I started out with two, and I intend to finish with two. I had two children, and my oldest son-- the first one that [INAUDIBLE] said was his was mine. And the second son-- first one that [INAUDIBLE] was his was mine. All the rest of them, they come [INAUDIBLE]. So I had--
  • [01:16:43.27] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]--
  • [01:16:44.00] KATHERINE DAWKINS: [INAUDIBLE] baby sons. I got his daughter's picture. She's still living in Washington, DC. And my two older son's children live right here [INAUDIBLE] come around [INAUDIBLE] started coming around. And one name is Yolanda Thomas, and Nicole Thomas.
  • [01:17:07.69] Well, Nicole just got married the year before last in Las Vegas. She's Nicole Thomas Edwards. And I have one great granddaughter. She will be one September the 19th from Nicole. She waited until she got 37 years old to have a baby. And that's my oldest son's two children. And I also have her picture. Her name is Brooks Edwards.
  • [01:17:41.38] SPEAKER 1: So you like children? Do you like--
  • [01:17:43.26] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Yes, I love children. I love them. I really do. But I'm not going to let your child come to my house and jump up on my couch [INAUDIBLE] didn't let my children do it. [INAUDIBLE]. If you don't want me to chastise them, you can keep them at home. And everybody [INAUDIBLE] tell you that, because they call me Granny Dawkins. They say, Granny Dawkins means what she says and says what she means. And you tell me I can't discipline your child or say nothing to your child, then you keep your child at home, because I don't have to be bothered.
  • [01:18:18.41] SPEAKER 1: OK. How did your family life change for you when you and your spouse stopped working and all the children left home?
  • [01:18:30.07] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Say how did they--
  • [01:18:32.07] SPEAKER 1: How did your family life change once you--
  • [01:18:34.87] KATHERINE DAWKINS: My family life?
  • [01:18:35.69] SPEAKER 1: Yeah. Like, how did your life change after you stopped working and your children left home?
  • [01:18:41.49] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I haven't stopped working. I'm still [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:18:44.73] SPEAKER 1: OK.
  • [01:18:47.03] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I'm still on the move. I still bowl every now and then. I still go to the -- they call it casino, but I call it the cashino. They take your money, and then you don't get no return. [INAUDIBLE] That's right. I don't go often, because I can't [INAUDIBLE]. I go just if I have $20 or something like that, and I want to go.
  • [01:19:09.71] But as far as going to the [INAUDIBLE] machines and get [INAUDIBLE], I can't-- it hurts my heart to lose $10 [INAUDIBLE]. But I do like to eat there at [INAUDIBLE]. I do. They have some good food there. But I don't never have enough points on my card and everything to go, but [INAUDIBLE]. And I still attend church.
  • [01:19:43.45] SPEAKER 1: How has your life changed since your husband passed away?
  • [01:19:46.86] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Well, it changed, but you keep busy. And it's just one of them things. It changed not having a man in the house. I know one thing. You never miss your water until your well runs dry. Because nobody's at the house but me. And if I go to the store and get something, and I forget, I'm going to have to go back to the store, you see what I'm saying?
  • [01:20:13.76] Now I have to pay the bills. I have to pay everything-- pay somebody to cut the grass, pay somebody to trim the hedges, pay somebody to fix anything that's [INAUDIBLE]. My children and my husband-- they were handy people. They did the painting, and they did the garden and everything, you see what I'm saying? Because I was most like my mother-- a homemaker. I stayed at the house until I branched out-- going up to the bowling alley. [INAUDIBLE] little job. It wasn't years and years until I [INAUDIBLE] bowling alley [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:20:53.61] But all life changes when people that have been around you all your life and half of their life as well as yours-- and when they're not in the house no more, it's a house without a home. Have you heard that song that [INAUDIBLE] that song that says a house is not a home when nobody's there? Just empty chairs.
  • [01:21:16.83] But you have to make the best of it. Because one thing I do know-- that God [INAUDIBLE], and we have to accept his will. I do know that. And he give you the strength to accept it, you see. I have my midnight hours like anybody else, you see what I'm saying? And like they tell me at the hospital, you smile all the time to see smiling faces. I don't take my business to work, and I don't take my work home.
  • [01:21:49.91] SPEAKER 1: So now, what is a typical regular day for you nowadays?
  • [01:21:56.03] KATHERINE DAWKINS: [INAUDIBLE] OK. I get up. First of all, I do my hygiene, make sure that everything is well before I leave out the house, you see what I'm saying? I don't eat breakfast much and everything. Then I go to work [INAUDIBLE] I bowl-- I go bowling. Then [INAUDIBLE] my chapter meetings. Every first and third Monday there's a chapter meeting. I do that, and then I'm in Georgia, Jackson mission circle at the church. So I'm quite busy.
  • [01:22:31.82] And then [INAUDIBLE]. We are often out eating. [INAUDIBLE] grandma, we're going to take you out for dinner. We eat all the time. That's all we do, is eat. [INAUDIBLE] that's all we do is eat. And then I play pinochle, We play Dominoes. My brother-in-law, and my two nieces, and their husbands-- we play Dominoes all the time, and pinochle, any time. What you doing? You've got to go someplace today. I said, no. OK. We're going to come over and play pinochle.
  • [01:23:05.10] And I never drank. We drank coffee and drank lemonade and have potato chips. So one of my niece [INAUDIBLE] she's going to have to stop eating all them potato chips, because she's trying to get her a husband-- you know, sitting up here and playing pinochle with you old folks and everything. She's got to get her a husband. She's getting fat [INAUDIBLE]. I don't know about all of that, but this is what we do-- have a good time. And like I said, we go down to the [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:23:40.02] SPEAKER 1: When thinking your life after retirement, or your kids left home, up to the present, what important social or historical events were taking place and how did they personally affect you?
  • [01:23:58.19] KATHERINE DAWKINS: What was taking place? I don't know. Nothing that I know of. Nothing affected me so far like it did the death of my first grandson and then my children and whatnot. But you get over that-- not really, really get over it. But if you dwell on a situation and everything, it's not good. But if you let the Lord lead you, that's good.
  • [01:24:31.03] SPEAKER 1: How did your first grandson die?
  • [01:24:32.80] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Got shot.
  • [01:24:34.52] SPEAKER 1: When?
  • [01:24:35.31] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Blood bath on North [INAUDIBLE] side, five years old. Carlos-- his brother was seven. My oldest son's friend, the way I understood it-- the [INAUDIBLE] was supposed to be going back with Michael-- my son Michael. And they was living over there [INAUDIBLE]. And the fellow that she was going with was Michael's friend. And I was working at the bowling alley that particular time.
  • [01:25:05.73] And I heard it on the news on my way home. And I didn't think nothing about it-- talking about blood bath on North West side, Carlos [INAUDIBLE], Michael [INAUDIBLE], and [INAUDIBLE]. And when I got home-- 7527 Holmes-- the street was full. [INAUDIBLE] what's going on?
  • [01:25:25.23] Then it hit me what I had been listened to on the radio, because we kept Michael. We called him [INAUDIBLE]. We kept him, because he hadn't started school [INAUDIBLE]. So Carlos [INAUDIBLE] and his brother-- he's still living now. But it was three-- Jesse James, he killed. [INAUDIBLE]-- he was [INAUDIBLE]. He shot Carlos [INAUDIBLE] and then his mother and grandmother. And that was 1972.
  • [01:26:02.13] SPEAKER 1: All right.
  • [01:26:02.57] KATHERINE DAWKINS: June 8, 1972.
  • [01:26:06.69] SPEAKER 1: How'd that make you feel--
  • [01:26:07.55] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Ooh.
  • [01:26:07.99] SPEAKER 1: --at the time?
  • [01:26:09.75] KATHERINE DAWKINS: It didn't make me feel good. How it gonna make me feel? That's when George and them come to the house. Like I said, I didn't give you the whole story-- and got me off the couch, because I was just-- it was just something.
  • [01:26:30.19] SPEAKER 1: When thinking back on your entire life, what important social, historical events had the greatest impact?
  • [01:26:39.54] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Social?
  • [01:26:40.79] SPEAKER 1: Mm-hmm. Like, things going on around the world or in the nation and stuff like that. Which ones stuck out the most?
  • [01:26:49.07] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, I was talking about how I was Cinderella [INAUDIBLE] at St. James Missionary Baptist Church. I was Cinderella. They had a Cinderella pageant, and I won. But the social-- nothing. Nothing much [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:27:13.95] SPEAKER 1: No big events that happened in the nation or anything like that, really?
  • [01:27:18.16] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, yeah. I guess it did, but [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:27:21.87] SPEAKER 1: OK. What family heirlooms or keepsakes do you possess?
  • [01:27:28.57] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Not much [INAUDIBLE] the house has been broken in three times. Some of the stuff, we've been trying to put them together-- just the things that we had [INAUDIBLE] because we couldn't keep a lot of things. We had three long shotguns that my daddy brought from Jackson, Mississippi.
  • [01:27:54.77] And we had a gun rack. And all three of them-- they were real long. We had the rack up on the wall. And they broke in. They took-- they busted that gun rack. But that was years ago. And they took three guns. And then I had one of them guns that just fit right in your hand. They call it a dagger [INAUDIBLE]. And they took that.
  • [01:28:27.81] SPEAKER 1: Any other heirlooms that you had that you'd like to mention?
  • [01:28:34.49] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Not [INAUDIBLE]. I don't have any more heirlooms or more-- I've got a picture of my mother and my father. And I have a picture of my granddaddy when we were small. And I don't know whether I brought it. If I didn't bring it, can I bring it tomorrow?
  • [01:28:53.21] SPEAKER 1: I think so.
  • [01:28:53.73] KATHERINE DAWKINS: OK.
  • [01:28:57.54] SPEAKER 1: Thinking back over your entire life, what are you most proud of?
  • [01:29:03.34] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I'm proud that my parents instilled in me that there was a god. I'm very proud of that. I didn't want to understand, because I thought it was boring. I wanted to be with the other children, but me and the sister couldn't. We had to go to church [INAUDIBLE] [SIGHS] on the usher board and the choir and whatnot. But I wanted to go outside and play like the regular kids and everything.
  • [01:29:39.46] And I used to tell my mother, they're outside playing. How come I can't be out there? And she said, remember, Heffer. She said, I'm your mother. I'm not their mother. And when the street light's on, be on the porch. I didn't appreciate it then. I really didn't appreciate it. But when you get older, the old saying that the older people had-- it sure come true. That's right.
  • [01:30:06.97] SPEAKER 1: And what saying was that?
  • [01:30:08.19] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Huh?
  • [01:30:08.74] SPEAKER 1: What saying was that?
  • [01:30:09.58] KATHERINE DAWKINS: You make your bed hard, you're going to lay in it. That's right. And they always said, I've been there, and I've tried to do that, and then bought a T-shirt. You ain't doing nothing new. I used to thought my mother had eyes in the back of her head. [INAUDIBLE] no lie. Kids nowadays [INAUDIBLE] you lying. Hm. Mm-hmm.
  • [01:30:34.10] [INAUDIBLE] she said, lying? No, ma'am. Did Miss Miller see you? No, ma'am. Well, I guess you're lying, huh? No, ma'am. Well, you should have said she didn't see you. Momma, she didn't see me. But I guess she lying, huh? No, ma'am. [INAUDIBLE]? Mm-mm. Miss Miller was [INAUDIBLE]. I used to couldn't stand her, because I thought she was really nosy and [INAUDIBLE] living in the projects 665 Erskine.
  • [01:31:09.21] We had to go-- there was [INAUDIBLE], but we had to go in the other structure to wash. And we all had a day to wash. And then Monday was our day. Every other Monday was our day to wash. But me and my sister Julia had to take the clothes down [INAUDIBLE]. So one day, Miss Miller come down there, and we're getting ready to put the clothes in the washing machine. And she [INAUDIBLE] it's not Mallissie's day to wash and whatnot.
  • [01:31:39.48] But we was getting ready to go-- we had to go to school. We had to [INAUDIBLE] clothes there. So later on, my mother, when they got [INAUDIBLE] so she could hang them up. And [INAUDIBLE] Miss Miller so we [INAUDIBLE] Miss Miller [INAUDIBLE]. And they had two washing machines. And Miss Miller had one on one side. So we saw Miss Miller leave, and my sister run around and took Miss Miller's clothes out of the machine. [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:32:25.16] SPEAKER 1: What would you say has changed most from the time you were my age until now?
  • [01:32:31.19] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I've changed. I grew older. Sometimes [INAUDIBLE] and sometimes [INAUDIBLE] which I didn't do when I was younger. There's a lot of things that have changed. I go to school now. I'm 78 years young. I go up there to International Institute of [INAUDIBLE]. And I like to learn [INAUDIBLE] the different things that I didn't have the opportunity [INAUDIBLE] had I not gotten pregnant. But they didn't have the computers.
  • [01:33:08.60] We did, as I told Miss Beard, my teacher, a lot of times, we did arithmetic. So you all do math now. And like I told [INAUDIBLE], one day, we was up at the board. 1 and 1 is 2, right? 1 plus 1 is 2. She said, that's [INAUDIBLE] 2 if you bring it down. Now, if you go across, it's still 1 plus 1 is still 2, right? I don't care where you put it. If it's 2, it's 2. But that's [INAUDIBLE]. And I did arithmetic.
  • [01:33:41.68] And our grading is different from yours, because we got Us, Ses, and Fs, I think. You all don't get that, I don't think, on you report card. Or do you all get report cards? Oh, you do? Days of school you miss-- the days of attendance? [INAUDIBLE] that? [INAUDIBLE]. I didn't hear you say nothing. I just saw you shake your head.
  • [01:34:08.79] SPEAKER 1: Yes.
  • [01:34:09.44] KATHERINE DAWKINS: OK.
  • [01:34:11.91] SPEAKER 1: What advice would you give to my generation?
  • [01:34:15.65] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I'd love to tell you all to be focused on yourself. Don't let nobody pull you down. You can't follow everybody. First of all, you've got to find out who you are. That's the first things. And you've got a find out what you would like to do in life to betterment yourself, you see what I'm saying? To get ahead.
  • [01:34:40.62] You can't follow-- sometimes, you can't follow parents. Wherever the Lord have put in you to do, then you do, because only thing God give us is a mind. Free choice. You choose which way you want to go or what you want to do. And just because you see different children with different outfits and everything, you know what? When they say the style is, you know what the style is? It's cleanliness.
  • [01:35:13.45] We didn't have as many clothes as you young people have. And then they was cheap back then. But we knew how to wash them. We knew how to put that starch on and everything. Just because you see them wearing their pants down on their behind, you don't have to do that. That [INAUDIBLE] bad. And I wish every young man would really see themself in the mirror.
  • [01:35:39.79] As Michael Jackson wrote that song-- and that's what I like-- the "Man In The Mirror." You see what I'm saying? You can be anything you want to be if you put your mind to it. But you've got to ask God for the wisdom and understanding. If you put him first [INAUDIBLE], you can reach the moon. You can go from over cloud 12. That's right. Personality is good.
  • [01:36:12.00] SPEAKER 1: Is there anything you would like to add that I haven't asked about?
  • [01:36:16.86] KATHERINE DAWKINS: I forget all-- just about everything you asked about. [CHUCKLES] I don't think so. But you know what? I like you all. You seen-- you know. But as I said before, smiling faces tell lies sometimes. Personality around grown people. You are more apt to be on your best behavior. But I wish you all would be on your best behavior when you're not around [INAUDIBLE], you see what I'm saying?
  • [01:36:43.22] Because one thing is all seeing eye is watching all of us. I came through like you all. [INAUDIBLE] tried to do a lot of things. And I [INAUDIBLE] a lot of [INAUDIBLE] children [INAUDIBLE] there. We have so many coming in for [INAUDIBLE] shot. We've got one in there now-- 14 years old, shot four times. But they don't understand that's it's not only that person that the shooter have injured. It's family. It's a union. Collectively, it's a union-- the family connection [INAUDIBLE], you see what I'm saying?
  • [01:37:23.13] It's just like these ones that they're trying to get whoever the two people are that raped this 90-year-old lady over there on [INAUDIBLE]. It's something. I was with them the other night when I left here. And at 7 o'clock, we went over there and helped them with water [INAUDIBLE] passed out water to Mr. Johnson and them, because it was [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:37:48.45] You see, you can't be a man and your pants down, you see what I'm saying? You can't be a man beating up on a woman, you see what I'm saying? You can't be a man when everything just triggers you just like that. Use your mind. Think. Character plays a great part. Integrity plays a great part. Because anybody can be stupid. And people say, I'm in the ghetto. No, you're not. The ghetto is within you. I lived in the ghetto. When you got that ghetto mind, then you live in the ghetto. But ghetto is within you.
  • [01:38:27.36] SPEAKER 1: That's the end of the questions. Do you want to get the pictures [INAUDIBLE]?
  • [01:38:29.49] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh. [INAUDIBLE] this is my mother, Mallissie Robinson [INAUDIBLE] and my father, Frank Robinson.
  • [01:38:45.81] SPEAKER 1: You can go onto the next one [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:38:47.40] KATHERINE DAWKINS: [INAUDIBLE] where's my two children? Here I am in front of St. James Missionary Baptist Church when I was a little girl. [INAUDIBLE]. Here is me and my oldest son, Michael Anthony Thomas. And here is Tyrone Thomas, my baby. And he is Michael Thomas.
  • [01:39:44.71] This is in front of 665 Erskine. That's my mother. There I am. And here is cousin Irene. Remember me telling you all about cousin Irene-- lived on Mackay? And this is cousin Irene's mother, [INAUDIBLE]. Lived in Monroe, Louisiana. And that's little sister.
  • [01:40:13.86] This is when my mother got married again. This is Tyrone. You was talking about the hairstyle before. I'm sure you seen pictures. That's my baby son. That's my niece. He is my sister here. She had three girls, and I had two boys. This is my husband, James Willie Dawkins, right here. This is Mr. Curtis [INAUDIBLE] my mother, Mallissie Robinson [INAUDIBLE] married. And that's Michael right here. And look at the Afro. Eileen [INAUDIBLE]-- that's my sister's baby daughter. They had Afros then. And now, they just don't want to comb their hair.
  • [01:41:02.36] And here's my father. They called him the doc-- Frank Robinson. And here when I was working at the Blue Chateau. Can you really get a picture? See how slim I was and how good looking I was? [CHUCKLES] Sexy I was? [CHUCKLES] Keep on living and don't die. You're going to get there. Here, I'm sitting here with [INAUDIBLE] at the bowling alley.
  • [01:41:54.21] This was my favorite [INAUDIBLE]. I used to keep her and had a girlfriend. She lives in Russia now, [INAUDIBLE]. She plays the harp. I used to take care of her mother at 1756 Boulevard. [INAUDIBLE]. And this is my sister, Julia Barnett, Katherine Dawkins, and her husband, Fletcher Barnett. He had a band. He played in a band. He had a band. And I wanted to show you all the Afro. That's when we was talking about the Afro. That at the Blue Chateau at Harper Rec. OK.
  • [01:43:07.17] This is my father, and me, and Mike, and Tyrone at 5942 Brush when they was little. My husband was in the hospital, and I got dressed. I was sexy going to Harper Hospital to see my husband. We had class then. OK. This is my granddaughter, [INAUDIBLE] Thomas. That's Tyrone, my baby son. This is his daughter and his son. Lived in Washington, DC. She's alive. He got killed [INAUDIBLE]. Eric.
  • [01:44:06.05] This is my great-granddaughter. She'd be one years old September the 19th. Brooks Thomas Edwards. Her father is Michael Thomas, my oldest son. And this here is Tony Armano. He was the director of Henry Ford Hospital. Tony Armano. [INAUDIBLE]. They gave us this affair at the-- they just closed it, too-- out in Dearborn. Do you know what I'm trying to say.
  • [01:45:14.11] This is me. This is Nicole. Just had the baby. And this is their father, Michael. And this is Yolanda. These two are Michael's-- my oldest son-- these are his two children. These are his two children. I don't know but y'all remember [INAUDIBLE] when she was [INAUDIBLE] before she died? Kay Edwards. This is Dr. Curtis Thompson-- I used to be his receptionist at the doctor's office-- who passed away. [INAUDIBLE] sure of that. [INAUDIBLE].
  • [01:46:37.02] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]
  • [01:46:37.64] KATHERINE DAWKINS: [INAUDIBLE], OK. So I guess that's about all [INAUDIBLE]. I've got one with my granddaddy and me and my sister when we was small-- 665 Erskine. Are these pictures going to come out clear, sir? Are they going to come out clear, sir?
  • [01:46:58.00] SPEAKER 1: Yes, ma'am.
  • [01:46:58.65] KATHERINE DAWKINS: OK. Especially me when I was sexy. Well, when are you all going to show these pictures? This was [INAUDIBLE]-- oh, [INAUDIBLE]. This was-- the children gave me-- I was 76 years-- birthday [INAUDIBLE] have you all seen that, right? OK. I had the pleasure of meeting Clif Davis. And I didn't bring the picture, but this is one of the programs [INAUDIBLE] I was.
  • [01:48:23.81] Clifton Davis-- he was at the [INAUDIBLE] church, and I was there and [INAUDIBLE]. They took the picture, but I don't know [INAUDIBLE] still didn't get it. [INAUDIBLE] you all remember he plays in [INAUDIBLE]. You all don't know what Clifton did?
  • [01:48:47.81] SPEAKER 1: [INAUDIBLE]
  • [01:48:48.18] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Amen.
  • [01:48:49.26] SPEAKER 2: I've heard of him before.
  • [01:48:50.34] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Amen-- the Amen program. You all look at that?
  • [01:48:54.64] SPEAKER 1: No, ma'am.
  • [01:48:54.92] KATHERINE DAWKINS: What do you all look at?
  • [01:48:56.56] SPEAKER 2: The show?
  • [01:48:57.43] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Huh?
  • [01:48:58.11] SPEAKER 2: The show Amen?
  • [01:48:59.38] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Yeah, [INAUDIBLE]
  • [01:48:59.85] SPEAKER 2: I know what you're talking about.
  • [01:49:00.53] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Amen [INAUDIBLE]--
  • [01:49:01.24] SPEAKER 2: Yeah, I know what you're-- mm-hmm.
  • [01:49:02.03] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Yeah. Clifton Davis.
  • [01:49:03.77] SPEAKER 2: OK.
  • [01:49:04.26] KATHERINE DAWKINS: OK. Now, [INAUDIBLE]-- this is a history about Charles McIntyre. We all sung in the choir together. And he was Mr. [INAUDIBLE]. Mr. [INAUDIBLE] was the pharmacy. And he worked in Mr. [INAUDIBLE] pharmacy right there on Hastings and Erskine. And that's where Malcolm X's wife, Betty Shabazz-- Betty [INAUDIBLE]. Yeah.
  • [01:49:35.85] But shoot, we was little then right there. A lot of things happened around over there at the Brewster Projects. We had good times. We could go to bed. We could sleep outdoors. We had our own swing outside and everything. Then they had the Trojans baseball team. They all went to Canada. I can't think [INAUDIBLE] over there in Canada. The Trojans-- that's what they're named. And then they had [INAUDIBLE] a beauty shop right behind the five and dime-- Mr. [INAUDIBLE] store-- one of the managers there. Did you all get my baby?
  • [01:50:28.03] SPEAKER 1: Yes.
  • [01:50:29.08] KATHERINE DAWKINS: What did I tell you her name was? Brooks--
  • [01:50:31.72] SPEAKER 1: Brooks.
  • [01:50:31.93] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Thomas.
  • [01:50:32.54] SPEAKER 1: Thomas.
  • [01:50:33.11] KATHERINE DAWKINS: She'd be a year old September the 19th. [INAUDIBLE]. And do you all know a Reverend Lester? Louis Lester?
  • [01:50:48.71] SPEAKER 1: Louis Lester?
  • [01:50:49.71] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Yeah.
  • [01:50:50.20] SPEAKER 1: No, I don't.
  • [01:50:51.20] KATHERINE DAWKINS: You don't know Reverend Louis Lester? OK. Well, that's Reverend Louis Lester. We took a picture here by this church when the church [INAUDIBLE]. That's some of us that [INAUDIBLE], and we was all there. So I guess that's about it.
  • [01:51:15.84] SPEAKER 1: Any final words?
  • [01:51:18.39] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, I enjoyed [INAUDIBLE], but I hope to remember to bring my picture when we were small at [INAUDIBLE] 665 Erskine. We moved in 1938. And my grandfather came up and stayed. My grandmother came. She was going to stay a month, but she [INAUDIBLE] week, because they had an in-house bathroom, and she was used to the outhouse bathroom.
  • [01:51:46.82] SPEAKER 1: Well, OK.
  • [01:51:47.78] KATHERINE DAWKINS: Oh, here I am at the desk at Henry Ford Hospital. OK. I think that's it.
  • [01:52:05.41] SPEAKER 1: All right. Thank you.
  • [01:52:07.78] KATHERINE DAWKINS: You're welcome. [INAUDIBLE]