Rita Wicks-Nelson and Ancella Radford Bickley



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This interview is one of series conducted concerning Oral Histories of African-American women who taught in West Virginia public schools. Velma G. Bradshaw began teaching at the Pennsylvania County High School in Danville, Virginia. She discusses her family throughout the interview in great detail; this included her immediate family, her relatives (some of whom were of different ethnicities), her husband, her children and grandchildren, as well as caring for her mother and her sister. She also includes detailed information about her education: she attended Jones Street School, Genoa High School, and Bluefield State College. Her childhood is another topic, and this includes family life and a brief section on Christmas. She tells us about her employment history outside of teaching, and also when she returned to college (she took a break after having children). Then she discusses her job at Pennsylvania County High School and her life at that time. She moved on to her next jobs at Tazewell County School, Coalwood Junior High School, and Big Creek High School. She experienced problems getting a job at Central Junior High School in Mercer County before they offered her the position, but she got the job and talks about her experiences at that school (including her teaching methods in general). She also recalls the desegregation of schools. Mrs. Bradshaw started the Afro- American Culture Club at Bluefield Junior High School and sponsored the National Junior Honor Society at Central. Other topics she discusses include: church and religion; World War II; the Civil Rights Movement and her reactions to racism; women's rights; how her race has affected her life and challenges faced by black men and women; her self-perceptions; life-changing events and decisions; accomplishments in her life; her retirement; her decision to specialize in math; interracial marriages; organizations she belongs to; her current activities; thoughts about her life in general; as well as numerous other topics.

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Library of Congress Subjects

Bradshaw, Velma G., 1928- -- Autobiography.
Central Junior High School -- Oral histories.
National Junior Honor Society (U.S.) -- Oral histories.
Bluefield State College -- Oral histories.
Cedar Grove High School -- Oral histories.


Interview is included in the Marshall University Oral History Collection. The index number is OH64-787.


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Oral History Interview: Velma G. Bradshaw