Research

The online home of our growing oral history interview collection.

Oral History

Our online award-winning oral history collection consists of more than 350 interviews. They are arranged alphabetically by last name under individual Alpha headings below: A, B, C, etc.  The interviews feature photographs of most interviewees, an interview description, downloadable interview transcripts, and audio files that can be streamed or downloaded. In 2007 we received the Texas Oral History Association's Mary Faye Barnes Award for Excellence in Community History Projects.

J

Jackson, Lula Mae

Jackson, Lula Mae

January 08, 1986

Interview 233a : In this interview with her son-in-law Odis Rhodes, Lula Mae Jackson reminisces about growing up in Lufkin's African American community. Mrs. Jackson was born in Lufkin and lived in Angelina County her entire life. She was known, as a child and an adult, for her musical talents, playing the piano and leading choirs all over the city and travelling for religious conventions. She also recites poetry and recalls recitation contests with fondness. Most of the interview covers her childhood and life as a musician, mentioning her parents, siblings, husband, children, and school teachers and friends, including Mrs. Long.

Jackson, Professor Will

Jackson, Professor Will

January 01, 1973

Interview 103a : In this interview with student Joseph Phipps, Professor Will Jackson recalls life as a musician during the Depression. He hung paper and did odd jobs during the day, and taught music at night to make ends meet. Eventually, Professor Jackson began to work at the Texas Southeastern Railroad, and the regular salary helped get him through those tough years.

Jackson, Professor Will

Jackson, Professor Will

January 01, 1986

Interview 123a : In this interview with KSPL, Professor Will Jackson reminisces about his time in W.C. Handy's band and their big hit, The Memphis Blues. He also tells the interviewer about Dr. Tyler, the man who adopted him and taught him to play several instruments and Harry James, Professor Jackson's student.

Jeffero, Algianon

Jeffero, Algianon

October 10, 2009

Interview 183a : In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, Algianon Jeffero reminisces about his life as a child, a student, an educator, and an employee of the Boy Scouts of America. After growing up in Huntsville, Texas, Mr. Jeffero attended Prairie View A&M University where he played on the National Championship football team. He graduated with a degree in Vocational Agriculture and moved to Littlefield, Texas to teach and coach. After one semester in West Texas, Mr. Jeffero returned to East Texas in 1956 and began teaching AG classes at H.G. Temple School, Diboll's African American school. Mr. Jeffero taught in Diboll and sponsored the New Farmer's of America club until 1967, when he left education to begin working for the Boy Scouts of America. He left Diboll before the schools were fully integrated, but he does remember the beginnings of the process.

Jircik, Clayton

Jircik, Clayton

November 13, 2014

Interview 271a: In this interview with Jonathan Gerland, longtime Lufkin Industries engineer Clayton Jircik reminisces about his career in the foundry, discussing the equipment they used, the processes and equipment he designed, and the people he met and worked with at Lufkin Industries.  He talks about the cupola, the blast furnace, mold making, and the casting process.  He also mentions the Trout family, changes in processes, the influence of the EPA and OSHA, and the organization of the foundry employees.  Employees he mentions include: Arnold Tompkins, John Elijah, Houston Davidson, Carl Ross, Robert Lang, Al Cudlipp, Earnest Lord, Sam Kerr, Seymour Curtis, Rod Pitman, Bob Beddingfield, Bobo Hayes, Bayo Hopper, and Scott Semlinger.

Johnson, J.D.

258a: In this interview with Carolyn Elmore, longtime Temple employees Dorothy Birdwell, J.D. Johnson, Yvonne Lewis, and Gene Beck reminisce about their career with Temple and the companies that preceded it.  They talk particularly about the offices that were moved to Diboll after the merger with Time, Inc., including tax offices and land and timber offices in Hemphill and Jasper, former offices of Southwestern Settlement and Development and Houston Oil Company.

Jones, Maurice

August 20, 2010

Interview 209a : In this interview with Patsy Colbert, Temple High School graduate and Diboll native Maurice Jones discusses his school years attending Diboll's segregated schools, playing football and basketball, and race relations in town. Mr. Jones talks about the integration process that began as he was finishing school and the issues he and his fellow athletes dealt with during that time. He mentions his brother Johnnie and his sister Minnie Faye, two star athletes who integrated into Diboll High School. He also discusses growing up in a segregated, but harmonious town. Mr. Jones mentions Coach Seals, Mr. Massey, and Coach Simmons, as well as the last Temple Tigers football game against Wiergate.

Jones, Minnie

Jones, Minnie

May 15, 2010

Interview 196a : In this interview with Patsy Colbert, Diboll native Minnie Jones and her friend Lorine Rodgers Smith reminisce about growing up in Diboll's African American community, the school integration process, and race relations. A high school basketball star before racial integration, Ms. Jones graduated from Diboll High School one year after the process was completed. She spent most of her school days at H.G. Temple High School, Diboll's African American school, representing the school as Diboll Day Queen Candidate and Rodeo Queen. Mrs. Smith graduated from H.G. Temple High School in 1960 and spent all of her school days in the segregated education system, but had children in elementary school for the first year of full integration. She also worked at the Pine Bough Restaurant as a dishwasher for Mrs. Byrd Davis. Both women remember Mr. Massey, Mrs. Wallace, and Mrs. Schinke, among other notable Diboll educators.

Jordan, Ervelia Holcomb

Jordan, Ervelia Holcomb

December 10, 1985

Interview 084a : A native of Houston County, Texas, Mrs. Ervelia Jordan's family was connected to Southern Pine Lumber Company for several generations. She married Willis Jordan and followed him from logging camp to logging camp and finally to Diboll in 1941. Her family lived at Fastrill, Bluff City, and out on "94" in a boxcar house. When her daughter Pat was a small child, several cars left the track, slamming into the boxcar house and amputating her arm. Mrs. Jordan also worked in a boarding house and remembers Dave Kenley, Paul Durham, Mae Ballenger, and Claude Welch.

Joshua, Clay

February 22, 2011

Interview 218a : In this interview with Patsy Colbert, brothers Clay, James, and Thomas Joshua reminisce about growing up in Diboll as African Americans. Though brothers, they had very different experiences since their growing up years spanned the eras of racial segregation, the desegregation and integration process, and full integration. James grew up during total racial segregation and attended H.G. Temple School throughout his childhood. He reminisces about teachers Inez Sibley, Willie Massey, Mrs. Gilbert and others and recalls the school facilities and sports teams. He also played baseball for the Diboll Tigers community baseball team. Clay and Thomas Joshua were in Junior High and High School during racial integration and they discuss the differences in the schools, their social interaction with both races, and playing sports for Diboll High school. In particular they credit Mrs. Stubblefield, Mr. Massey, and Coach Wyatt for easing the transition to racially integrated schools. The brothers also remember Jay Boren, Frank Weeks, Diboll Day, Juneteenth, family dynamics, little league baseball and Mr. Arthur Temple, Jr.

Joshua, James

February 22, 2011

Interview 218a : In this interview with Patsy Colbert, brothers Clay, James, and Thomas Joshua reminisce about growing up in Diboll as African Americans. Though brothers, they had very different experiences since their growing up years spanned the eras of racial segregation, the desegregation and integration process, and full integration. James grew up during total racial segregation and attended H.G. Temple School throughout his childhood. He reminisces about teachers Inez Sibley, Willie Massey, Mrs. Gilbert and others and recalls the school facilities and sports teams. He also played baseball for the Diboll Tigers community baseball team. Clay and Thomas Joshua were in Junior High and High School during racial integration and they discuss the differences in the schools, their social interaction with both races, and playing sports for Diboll High school. In particular they credit Mrs. Stubblefield, Mr. Massey, and Coach Wyatt for easing the transition to racially integrated schools. The brothers also remember Jay Boren, Frank Weeks, Diboll Day, Juneteenth, family dynamics, little league baseball and Mr. Arthur Temple, Jr.

Joshua, Laverne

Joshua, Laverne

August 04, 2011

Interview 229a : In this interview with Patsy Colbert, Laverne Joshua reminisces about growing up as an African American girl in Diboll and experiencing the racial integration of Diboll Schools. She recalls several racially motivated instances of fighting and name calling at the high school but says everyone settled into the new routine after the first several years. She speaks highly of her mother, crediting her with the motivation to ignore the cruelty, find the good in most people and get her education. She speaks of the positive impact of Mr. Massey, Mr. Ramsey, Mrs. Odessa Wallace, Coach Spencer, Coach Porter, Coach Simmons, Cindy Maddux, and Mary Ingram. She also talks about her brothers Clay and Thomas and their experiences with integrated football (Thomas) and Little League Baseball (Clay). Ms. Joshua also recalls helping raise money for Diboll Day, particularly the year Debra Washington was the first African American Diboll Day Queen after integration.

Joshua, Thomas

February 22, 2011

Interview 218a : In this interview with Patsy Colbert, brothers Clay, James, and Thomas Joshua reminisce about growing up in Diboll as African Americans. Though brothers, they had very different experiences since their growing up years spanned the eras of racial segregation, the desegregation and integration process, and full integration. James grew up during total racial segregation and attended H.G. Temple School throughout his childhood. He reminisces about teachers Inez Sibley, Willie Massey, Mrs. Gilbert and others and recalls the school facilities and sports teams. He also played baseball for the Diboll Tigers community baseball team. Clay and Thomas Joshua were in Junior High and High School during racial integration and they discuss the differences in the schools, their social interaction with both races, and playing sports for Diboll High school. In particular they credit Mrs. Stubblefield, Mr. Massey, and Coach Wyatt for easing the transition to racially integrated schools. The brothers also remember Jay Boren, Frank Weeks, Diboll Day, Juneteenth, family dynamics, little league baseball and Mr. Arthur Temple, Jr.

Junge, Billy

Junge, Billy

May 22, 2000

Interview 162a : In this interview with Becky Bailey, Billy Junge describes Temple-Inland's Industrial Training Center and its apprenticeship program. In the early 1990's, Temple began training recent high school graduates as maintenance apprentices to eventually work at their mills. Apprentices learn valuable skills that will enable them to care for and maintain Temple's high tech and increasingly complex industrial equipment. He describes the requirements for entry into the program, the tasks apprentices must complete, the company's relationship with Angelina College, and the rational behind the program. Mr. Junge also describes some of the program's successes and some of the other local companies that have used Temple's Program as a model for their own apprenticeship programs.