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00:00:02 - Life growing up on a farm

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Partial Transcript: You know, when we were talking last time, uh, one thing I forgot to ask you about was, you never described for me, uh, the farm that you grew up on.

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett talks about growing up on a tobacco farm in Virginia where his father sharecropped. He discusses issues with from the fluctuating market price of tobacco. Plunkett describes working as a sharecropper for a white man when he was a child.

Keywords: Alcohol; Biscuits; Fathers; Fights; Food; Gardens; Hogs; Jobs; Livestock; Meal; Money; Mothers; Relationships; Salary; Sharecroppers; Virginia; Work

Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Employment.; Agriculture.; Childhood; Country life; Family farms.; Farm life.; Farm tenancy; Sharecropping; Tobacco farmers; Tobacco farms; Tobacco--Prices; Traditional farming

00:10:03 - Work in the brickyard

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Partial Transcript: Um, now what, what did you do in your teen years then, before you started going North?

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett recalls his first job in the North as a teenager working at a the brickyard along the Hudson River in Haverstraw, New York. He describes the work and living conditions he experienced.

Keywords: Brickyards; Hired hands; Hudson River; Jobs; Sharecroppers; Sharecropping; Work

Subjects: African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Housing.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Migration, Internal.

GPS: Location of Haverstraw (N.Y.)
Map Coordinates: 41.196389, -73.966944
00:13:26 - Coming to Philadelphia

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Partial Transcript: Why did you come to Philadelphia?

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett describes his motivations for moving to Philadelphia, recalling what he had heard about the city prior to moving there.

Keywords: Friends; Impressions of Philadelphia (Pa.); North; Opportunities

Subjects: African Americans--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Migration, Internal.; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions.

00:14:30 - Racial violence in Virginia

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Partial Transcript: You ever get in trouble down South?

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett recalls racial issues that he faced while living in Danville, Virginia.

Keywords: Alcohol; Arrests; Chain gangs; Crimes; Dancing; Danville, Virginia; Fights; Hogs; Intoxication; Justice; Police; Protection; Segregation in South; Trouble; Violence

Subjects: African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Southern States.; Danville (Va.); Race discrimination.; Race relations; Racism

GPS: Danville (Va.)
Map Coordinates: 36.587222, -79.404444
00:18:30 - First job In Philadelphia

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Partial Transcript: When you got to Philadelphia, what was your first job?

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett recalls getting his first job in Philadelphia working for the Pennsylvania Railroad. He worked in a mixed race crew alongside Italian-Americans. He suspected the railroad hired a few African Americans on every crew so the boss could lay them off first if necessary.

Keywords: Italian Americans--Philadelphia (Pa.); Jobs; Laid off; Lay-offs; Pennsylvania Railroad; Southerners; Work; World War I

Subjects: African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Relations with Italian Americans; African Americans--Social conditions.; Discrimination in employment.; Migration, Internal.; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions.; Race discrimination.; Race relations; World War, 1914-1918

GPS: Pennsylvania Railroad Office Building, 1927
Map Coordinates: 39.955833, -75.187778
00:22:46 - The “sporting life” of gambling and drinking

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Partial Transcript: What'd you all do in your spare time?

Segment Synopsis: When asked what he did in his spare time as a young single man in Philadelphia, Plunkett responds, “run around, drink liquor, and run after women.” He describes the speakeasies he frequented in South Philadelphia during Prohibition. Plunkett mentions notorious leaders in the numbers ring, including people like West Indian Johnny and Forrest White. He talks about people from the South adjusting to the relative freedom and social life of the North.

Keywords: Alcohol; Beer; Churches; Entertainment; Forrest White Woodard; Gambling; Homebrew; Kater Street; Liquor; Money; Numbers; South Philadelphia, Pa.; South Street (Philadelphia, Pa.); Speakeasies; Temptations; Uptown; West Indian Johnny

Subjects: African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Social life and customs.; African Americans--Southern States.; Distilling, illicit; Migration, Internal.; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions.; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social life and customs.; Prohibition

00:29:31 - Family members' experiences in the North

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Partial Transcript: ‘Down dar’.

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett recalls his father’s experiences in the North, moving after his son. He also describes other family members' adjustment to the North.

[This segment ends abruptly.]

Keywords: Fathers; Illness; Jobs; Mothers; North; Sick; Sisters; Work

Subjects: African American families; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Southern States.; Migration, Internal.; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions.

00:31:29 - Voting in Philadelphia

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Partial Transcript: --worth?

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses African Americans' inability to vote in the South, and his first experiences voting once he moved North. He recalls that the ward boss where he first lived did not attempt to pay him to vote, but that he did experience being paid to vote at a later location.

Keywords: Alcohol; Bribes; Committeeman; Election day; Elections; Georgia; Police; Suffrage; Vote buying; Votes; Voting; Ward bosses; Ward leaders

Subjects: African Americans--Politics and government.; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Southern States.; Elections--Corrupt practices; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions.; Political corruption; Race discrimination.; Racism

GPS: 2200 Block of Kater Street, Philadelphia
Map Coordinates: 39.945257, -75.178845
00:35:51 - Jobs outside of Philadelphia

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Partial Transcript: Why did you come out here from Philadelphia?

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett describes leaving the city after he no longer worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad. He worked in a laundry, as a contractor, at a golf course in Delaware County, at a factory, and as a sexton in a church.

Keywords: Churches; Contractors; Country clubs; Delaware County (Pa.); Factories; Jobs; Laundry; Shallcross Manufacturing Company; Work

Subjects: African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions.

00:38:22 - Appeal of the North to African Americans

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Partial Transcript: Let me ask you some more questions about the early years when you came up here.

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett discusses why African Americans liked living in the city, in comparison to the rural areas from which they came. Blacks felt more freedom in the northern city, with some “getting smart” and “raising hell.” He also describes how labor recruiters brought gangs of workers north to work on farms or brickyards.

Keywords: Attitudes; Behavior; Boll weevils; Brickyards; Churches; Cutting wood; Farming; Jobs; Money; Work; World War I

Subjects: African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Southern States.; Migration, Internal.; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions.; Race relations

00:46:48 - Spare time in the city

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Partial Transcript: I want to ask you a little more about, uh, you know, spare time.

Segment Synopsis: When asked, Plunkett recalls various brothels in South Philadelphia. He observes that African American women who migrated from the South often got better jobs than men because they worked as domestics for wealthy white families. He mentions many of the men who were players in the speakeasies and gambling rings.

Keywords: "Sporting life"; Brothels; Clubs; Crimes; Domestic work; Entertainment; Free time; Gambling; Gold Coast; Jobs; Joe Davenport; Joe Stevens; Prostitution; Sex workers; Smitty Lucas; Sporting class; Underworld; Women; Work

Subjects: African Americans--Conduct of life.; African Americans--Employment.; African Americans--Housing.; African Americans--Recreation; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Social life and customs.; African Americans--Southern States.; Migration, Internal.; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions.; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social life and customs.

GPS: Rodman Street, South Philadelphia
Map Coordinates: 39.945325, -75.175035
00:56:41 - Race relations--South vs. North

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Partial Transcript: Was it hard to find a place to live in the city when you first came?

Segment Synopsis: Plunkett talks about the ease of finding housing when he first arrived in Philadelphia. He recalls the differences in segregation in the South compared to Philadelphia. A bus in the South would have a sign directing Blacks to seats in the back; in the North, Black men knew to sit by themselves without needing a sign to tell them. He expresses disappointment in the realities of segregation in the North. Others who had moved north before him had promised that Black men could go wherever they wanted, but this was not what Plunkett experienced.

[The interview concludes abruptly.]

Keywords: Apartments; Bartenders; Building; Buses; Clubs; Construction; Disappointment; Freedom; Houses; Parties; Signs

Subjects: African Americans--Housing.; African Americans--Segregation; African Americans--Social conditions.; African Americans--Southern States.; Migration, Internal.; Philadelphia (Pa.)--Social conditions.; Race discrimination.; Race relations; Racism