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Interview conducted with Gertie P. Lacy as part of the Nash County Cultural Center’s Oral History Project. Lacy, a Black woman born Aug. 16, 1914, discusses growing up in rural Nash County during the Great Depression; and talks about life as a visually impaired person. She describes her parents as industrious. She remembers her father building an additional house on the rented land where they lived in order to rent it out to other tenants for extra income. She says he eventually bought his own land and began farming tobacco, pointing out that all the children were expected to work hard in the tobacco fields regardless of their gender. Lacy reflects on the poverty many faced at the time, recalling her mother using wheat straw gathered from her grandfather’s farm to make mattresses and brooms. She tells of her mother selling chicken eggs, using the money to buy fabric from Montgomery Ward, and making dresses for the daughters to wear to church on Sundays. She also recounts the family’s mode of transportation being a Hoover cart, a car body without an engine or windows which is pulled by a mule. Recounts her father and others asking that a school for Black children be built in the area, as there wasn’t one within several miles. Says officials wouldn’t build a school, but did agree to provide a teacher. Lacy says school took place in a building at St. Hope Missionary Baptist Church, where seven grades were taught by one teacher in a single room. She mentions older students helping teach the younger children, and talks about fund-raising parties held for the school, She speaks about children seeming to have better manners when she was younger. She also mentions school only lasting six months, so that children could work in the cotton fields during busy seasons. Lacy talks about being visually impaired, having her younger sister read to her in school. She recalls hearing an ad on the radio several years later for a talking book machine; discusses using the Books for the Blind Program as well as books on tape. She speaks about meeting her husband, who was also visually impaired, at the Center for the Blind. Lacy says they married late in life and had no children. She speaks about the Commission for the Blind providing her 20 years of employment at Fayetteville State Teachers College, Elizabeth City State Teachers College, and working in Raleigh for the State of North Carolina.





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