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. Eunice Burrell Fleming graduated high school at age 15 and began teaching when she was 19 at Du Bois High School in Mount Hope (WV). She discusses her family throughout the interview, including her relatives, her husband and her marriage, her children, and the mixed ethnicity of her family. Her childhood is another topic; she tells of family life during that time as well as life and race relations in Mount Hope, childhood social events, Christmas, and a fire that destroyed many houses. Her education is another large topic; she attended Du Bois Elementary, Bluefield State College, West Virginia University, University of Michigan, and got her master's at Marshall University. She was employed before teaching, but came to work at Du Bois High School. She remembers the process of racial integration at Du Bois High, changes she saw in students after desegregation, and the results of racial integration. She gives very detailed information about choirs and music she participated in, as well as her teaching experiences at Mount Hope High School and problems she had at Mount Hope. She describes the classes she taught, her teaching methods, an incident between a student and his father, the different treatment of white and black students and the faculty, and punishments at her school. Prejudices are discussed as well, such as the burdens faced by black women, women's rights, gender roles, and differences she sees between men and women. There are many other topics throughout the interview, and some of them are: the role of churches in the black community; her self-perceptions; how she has changed in her life; and thoughts about her life in general. She ends by discussing the mixed ethnicity of her family.
Interview is included in the Marshall University Oral History Collection. The index number is OH64-794.
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Marshall University Special Collections, OH64-794, Huntington, WV.