We Exist Series 4: Quotes



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Interviewer: -

Interviewee: Odessa Barret (born in Port Arthur, Texas, 1948)

“Life for me as a child was bitter sweet. I was between the youngest boy and girl so I was never alone. Church was the focal point of our lives. It was a time of "White Only" restrooms and drinking fountains, but we were spared a lot of that because we owned our own car so public transportation was not a worry for us. Traveling food for us was a basket of fried sausage and biscuits if it was morning and fried chicken and bread if it was lunch time. We learned to use the bathroom before we left and take in few fluids because we had to hold it until we could find a restroom. We are talking about a 3-hour drive. We lived in a spacious 3-bedroom house on a comer lot where we grew vegetables and flowers on one side and fruit trees (orange, plum, fig) and flowers on the other. Our playground was the athletic field for the high school that was across the street from our house: the track run, the tennis courts, and baseball diamonds. We lived on the west side of the tracks, the whites lived on the east side. There was no public transportation for our side, so people who worked as domestics walked or were picked up by their employers. I was not affected by this when I was young because my parents were very protective. I became aware as I got older.”

Publication Date



USM African American Collection


Portland, Maine


Leisure, African American History, Maine


African American Studies | American Popular Culture | American Studies | Cultural History | Genealogy | History | Labor History | Oral History | Other American Studies | Other History | Public History | Social History | United States History | Women's History | Women's Studies

Mrs. Odessa Barret on Leisure



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