Title: Oral History Interview with Clyda Coward and Debra Coward, May 30, 2001. Interview K-0833.
Interviewer: Hartman, Leda
Interviewee: Coward, Debra
Abstract: In the aftermath of Hurricane Floyd, Clyda Coward, joined by her daughter Debra and other family members, remembers her childhood in rural North Carolina in the 1930s and 1940s and describes the impact of the flood on her community in Tick Bite, North Carolina. Coward grew up poor but well-cared-for by strict, hard-working parents. She remembers working on her father's farm—which he bought after a stint as a tenant farmer—and finding time to play with her siblings on the long walk to work. Her upbringing bound her to the area and to her community. In addition to describing her personal history, Coward remembers two significant events: the arrival of DuPont and the destruction wrought by Hurricane Floyd. DuPont helped the community by giving many of its residents jobs. Floyd, however, damaged the stability that DuPont brought. Unlike previous natural disasters, the flooding caused by Floyd managed to drive Tick Bite residents from their homes and keep them from communal gathering places. This interview will be useful for researchers interested in historic and contemporary poor rural communities.