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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Riverview Oral Histories #2: Pastor Geraldine Swagerty

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

PICTURE AT RIGHT: Here is a swampy area inRiverview right now, that must have looked like the one that Pastor Swagerty probably saw whenshe first came to the neighborhood.

PASTOR GERALDINE SWAGERTY:When I first entered the Riverview Community, I saw a junkyard (on Lincoln Street), and as you go down, I saw a swampy place, it was green water and there were weeds growing up in it, but you could see all the moss and all that was on top of it. It looked really horrible, and when you got to the end of Lincoln Street, you would run into, we used to call it the"brickyard," and their trucks would come through and it looked like they would have hot cinders and it would be steaming and water would be pouring out of the trucks. But the pleasant place, the sight that I saw was in knowing that all my people were there and we had a small playground and they has us a shower out there, we could take a shower when it got hot and play and just my friends and stuff. And that was the pleasant sight I saw. Just being there and being around your people and playing with your friends and things like that. They did have a drive-in movie after they moved the junkyard and we used to go over there and sit down between the speakers and listen to and see the movies, and we didn't drive in, we just walked in. Douglass was really on the ball about sports, they were really into it, and they won most of the games they played and they had excellent coaches and teachers at Douglass. Mr. Paul Taylor owned the Midway Confectionary Grill and it was on Lincoln Street next to the Shale place, and then there was a funeral home owned by the Swans. And then there was The Hut, which was owned by theVeterans Administration, and then Mr. Collins owned the little grocery store and we used to love to go over there and buy our candy. There was the laundry mat in the Masonic Building. Ms. Hattie Ray was the manager of the laundry mat, and there was a little barber shop next to the Elks Club. The first church was Central Church, and then we had Mount Zion Holiness Church located on Dunbar and Carver (actually Dunbar and Louis). It was just fun going from place to place and the church being there and all the kids was playing, we had a good relationship with each other. There were two Black doctors here and that was Doctor Frances and Doctor Foust, and a lot of time they didn't get paid because people were too poor to pay them, but they still done the job. (In the Riverview Apartments), there were seven units placed on that, and they had two large apartments which were built for the Clark Family and the Cartwright Family and they had the largest families. It was just a beautiful place and they had it fixed up real nice. You had to go through the Underpath to get to Riverview if you didn'tcome in on Lincoln Street, and it was very scary because there were a lot of men working on the railroad track and they used to say they would get us. And we, mostly, when we were kids, were scared to go through the Underpath. The first telephone, the first person what had a telephone was the Gillenwaters, and just about everybody used their telephone, they were very nice about that. Ms. (Gladys) Bly was a very dear person..she taught the girls how to cook and do little things and she would always spread her food out to everybody and she was just a remarkable person, and my grandmother was the president of the PTA, Fannie Smith. And they worked in the community together. I just really appreciate.. when I was young, I really enjoyed Riverview.