Hoover Lee

Former Mayor


H: Everyone knew where their line was

Freeda Lee

Southern Baptist

F: They felt that this was their land and their country and we were just crowding them or stepping in. They didn't mind us being there, but they don't want us to step up ahead of them.

Grocery Store Owners

Louise, Mississippi

H: I knew what I could, what my limits were. I knew if I stepped too far, I knew what the consequence would be. So, I mean, if you knew that, you don't do it.

F: So they were building a swimming pool there and Daddy, back there in the 1950s 200 dollars was some money. And when they did, came around, his donation was 200, whatever, for the building of the swimming pool. Which was great, I mean, it was a community project. Well, a day or two before the pool was to be opened we went to Memphis to get our swimming outfits or whatever we needed and when we got home, Daddy said,"You're not to go to the swimming pool." A group of whites had said that they did not want us there. And they had offered Daddy his donation back but Daddy said,"No, just keep it."

Foreigners here in Mississippi

H: I felt like the Chinese sort of had to be on a neutral ground because after all we are foreigners here in Mississippi and when you're in Rome you do like the Romans.

F: Whenever I was with the American way I was American way, when I was with the Chinese way I would be with the Chinese way. I could speak Chinese to Mother's friends and I would be American when I was with my American friends. It didn't, I could keep them separate.

H: So, when you growing up young in Mississippi you sort of do like the majority, or the minority at that particular time, of the people and we weren't here to do any shaking or causing any problems

F: Like I said, it was out of the question for us to marry a white or even date one because at that time it was a Mississippi law, but my parents wouldn't permit it.

H: And it was unthinkable for a Chinese to marry a Caucasian, you know not a Jewish. To a certain extent, the white people had control but if you didn't I would say stay in line, where were you going to go. We didn't have food stamps back in those days.Everybody was looking for food. You know.

© Jane Adams & D. Gorton 2002