Interview with Augusta Garrison

Augusta Garrison was interviewed by Allie Heatwole on April 26, 2010.

Ms. Augusta Garrison is an 82 year old woman who was born in Hamlet, North Carolina.  At the age of 18, she found out that she was adopted and that she had five sisters and one brother. She lived in Hamlet until she got married and moved to New Jersey so her husband could find work.  She worked as a nursing assistant before getting married and then raised five children.  After living in New Jersey for over 21 years, Ms. Garrison returned to her childhood home in Hamlet to take care of her mother.  She stayed in that house after her mother’s passing and still lives there today. 

On Living in New Jersey

Ms. Garrison was describing the night her husband wanted to show her the progress on the plant he was working on.  She described being disinterested in the plant and generally upset about living in the north:

Anyway, we started over there, got over there near Shiloh and I bust out, I said, “I don’t want to go see no plant, I’m going back to Hamlet—where people talk to you!” Because I didn’t even have him to talk to, and you can’t talk to a baby.  You can talk to them but…you know?  I had gotten very very upset living there.  And he didn’t know it, I never let him know it.  And he turned the car around, we never did get to see the plant.   

Listen to the audio of Augusta’s response about her experience in New Jersey.

On Men’s and Women’s Work

Men made more and everybody knew that.  I mean, this was standard knowledge.  Everybody knew men made more than women, doing the same thing…could do the same things.  And now women have, I think in my opinion, have worked theyselves into a corner.  They can do the work men do, and they should get the pay men get, but the more they know how to do, the more they gonna start to do and the men’s gonna have to sit back home.  And I don’t think God created this that way; I think He created women to take care of His children when He put them on Earth. 

Listen to the audio of Augusta’s response about wages.

On How Women’s Lives Have Changed

A woman got up, and she did a job all day in the morning to wash the clothes and did the house work and all to go visiting’ in the afternoon.  And you know your neighbors.  Now, I’m not talking about doing snobby things, like playing’ bridge everyday and all that, but just interacting with other people.  And you know their families, their families know your families and it’s like you belong to a community of people that care about you.  Now, women work, they have to…They have to work now!  Two people have got to have a job now, there’s no getting around it. Because things are so high and so nobody has time to communicate or even sit down and visit.

Listen to the audio excerpt about Augusta’s description of how women’s lives have changed.

On Differences

When asked about differences in regions and races, Ms. Garrison said:

There is a difference in the way that people are made, in the way they are, and in the way they have been raised, and in the work of the south…but you still love everybody because God made them all. Like I said, they all want to be up there. The ones believe in Jesus Christ, they going’ to be right there. So if you can’t get along with them here what you gonna do up there? You gonna say, “No, I’m going’ down there?” Uh-uh. No. Uh-uh.

Listen to the audio about differences.

Moving from the South to the North

Ms. Garrison was asked why she made the move from North Carolina, where she grew up and met her husband, to New Jersey, where he husband was raised. 

We couldn’t find any work down there.  He was a Yankee.  It’s the truth.  In 1948 the Civil War was still going on down here.  And even one of the places he put in an application for told him that.  He said, “If I hired you I’d have to fire all the rest I’ve got.”  Because he said, “Northerners know how to work,” and says, “we gotta have so many blacks and blacks don’t know how to work.  They’re slow, they don’t have education.”  He says, “I couldn’t hire you, I’d have to fire everybody else.” 

And he went one place, he put an application in and put it down, “New Jersey” where he lived and the man took the paper and tore it up and says, “Get out of here you damn Yankee!” And Ed started to argue with him, you know.  And he took him out physically and put him out the door, on the street.  Then a cop standing outside there, a patrol cop, and Ed says, “You see what he did?!” And the cop told him to just “move along fella, just move along.”

Listen to the audio of Augusta’s response about why she made the move from the South to the North.

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