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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Evelyn Gosnell Harvell, May 27, 1980. Interview H-0250. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

A white family hires an African American woman to keep house

Harvell delivers the information that her family hired an African American woman to keep house for them while her father farmed and her mother worked in a mill.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Evelyn Gosnell Harvell, May 27, 1980. Interview H-0250. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

ALLEN TULLOS:
Did she ever have anyone to come in to cook or keep house?
EVELYN GOSNELL HARVELL:
Yes, we had a colored woman to cook.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Was there one or two particular ones that stayed with you a long time?
EVELYN GOSNELL HARVELL:
Oh, yes, we kept one a good while.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What was her name?
EVELYN GOSNELL HARVELL:
I don't remember now. I think her name was Zena( ), it seemed like.
ALLEN TULLOS:
And she was from here in Greenville?
EVELYN GOSNELL HARVELL:
Yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Whereabouts did she live?
EVELYN GOSNELL HARVELL:
I believe she lived back over close to town somewhere. I think she lived in the city limit.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Did she have a family of her own?
EVELYN GOSNELL HARVELL:
She had a family of her own.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Husband and children?
EVELYN GOSNELL HARVELL:
No, her husband was dead.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would she come in the daytime and go home at night?
EVELYN GOSNELL HARVELL:
Yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
What would she do?
EVELYN GOSNELL HARVELL:
Oh, she did housework.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would she wash the clothes?
EVELYN GOSNELL HARVELL:
Yes.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would she cook?
EVELYN GOSNELL HARVELL:
Yes, she was a good cook.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would your mother be working some in the mill during this period?
EVELYN GOSNELL HARVELL:
Yes, she would be working. But they didn't have washing machines back then; they had to rub them out with their hands.
ALLEN TULLOS:
In a big washpot?
EVELYN GOSNELL HARVELL:
A big washpot and a rub-board.