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Simmons, Lela

Simmons, Lela

Date: Friday, June 02, 2000

Interview 235a : In this interview with R.L. Kuykendall, Lela Freeman Simmons reminisces about growing up in Lufkin as an African American girl during the middle of the 20th century. She recalls attending the segregated Carver Elementary and her teachers Mrs. Hackney, Mrs. Hill, Mrs. Collins, and Mrs. Bernice Harris, as well as attending Dunbar for High School. She remembers the relationship between teachers and students, the discipline and educational expectations and the challenges that faced African Americans during segregation. She discusses landmarks in Lufkin's African American community including Joe's Quarters and Lynn's Theater, as well as interactions with White citizens at places like Trevathan's drugstore. She also talks about a sit-in at the Dairy Queen during the Civil Rights movement, relations between the races in Lufkin, and the African American community's interactions with law enforcement and salesmen.