Knox College Struggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
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Dayse Walker Booker
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TitleDayse Walker Booker
DescriptionNotes taken by Knox College Professor of Sociology, J. Howell Atwood from an interview with Dayse Walker Booker. Atwood posed a series of questions, which are not included in the interview notes, about the interviewee's life and about the African American community in Galesburg, Illinois. The interview was most likely conducted around 1934. Atwood conducted extensive research from 1930-1960 about the Galesburg African American community.
Race relations
Named PersonBooker, Dayse Walker; Wells, Henry; Brown, Zack; Williams, Stoke; Bell, Mr.; Johnson, John; Jenkins family; Davis, John; Milburn, S.M.; Westfall, Mrs.; Root, Barnabas; Christberg, Dimple; Anderson, Charles; Hopkins, Charles; Newton, Rev. Charles; Laws, J.W.; Edwards, Thyra; Allen, Belle; Davis, Ruth;
CreatorAtwood, Jesse Howell;
Time Period1930s
Date Created (original)1934
IdentifierJ. Howell Atwood Manuscript Collection (box 9)
CollectionStruggle and Progress-African Americans in Knox County, Illinois (Knox College)
Date Digital2013-02-05
TranscriptDayse Walker Booker

1284 Mulberry


In 1876


Don't know


Mulberry & Locust

"east end" - most
were here & in the "west"
end" - A few north - 3 or
4 families.


Answered in 3.


Carpenter - father

physician - husband
(not a Galesburg citizen)


The barbers had contacts - The
N. [Negro] men had the larger shops. Or they
were employed in them. Their big ob-
jective was to own their own home.
Then to have the best equipped home
was their aim. Henry (?) Wells,
Zack Brown and Stoke Williams
were 3 barbers. They lived well & kept
up with their social & church rela-
tions. Mr. Bell, a farmer

6 Contd.

lived out in East Galesburg. His
daughter still owns it. He accumu-
lated quite a little.
John Johnson had a home in back
of the Congregational Church - Cedar (?)
& Simmons. Had some stock in
the Union Hotel. We thought he
had stock in the old Opera House.
His wife was a church worker. He
was a heavy set mulatto - very court-

6 Contd.

eous - affable. He had a bus busi-
ness. The Jenkins's in Knoxville
had quite a little farm property.
Mr. John Davis was a contractor
- lived on N. West St. -- prominent
in lodge & church. In the white
group where great prominence
would come thru scholarship or
money with us it would be the
lodge, the church & the home. My

6 contd.

grandfather as a truck gardener
was a mighty fine man. His private
character was outstanding. My
uncle S.M. Milburn was the
constable here. Later he went to
Washington DC in the govt Printing


Allen AME

same place


The 2nd Baptist

The White Horse Army
church was built by the
AME Zion - Knox & Halton


Mrs. Westfall belonged to
the church at Beecher chapel.


The fraternal societies
really did this. That's the
main reason (and sickness
benefit) for belonging.

The Masons. The S.M.T. (?)
The Good Samaritans, The Odd


a. Ancestors did. I was
born here.

b. Grandfather came to
better condition generally
& esp. to educate his
children - after the War.
Public schools.


The Bells, Jenkins

the Knoxes. (Knoxville)


Very amicably. Not so
friendly now. There was a
sympathy & interest born of the
newness of the problem. The
[illegible] of the Abolitionists
& the War. The prejudice is
different now. The utter lack of
any consciousness of the color

13 Cont'd

line is what interests me in
my contacts with old friends
as I meet them. They are
simply glad to see me. One
lady who was very stiff & cold
in an audience recently
yet afterward she was so gra-
cious. They don't seem to be
conscious of anything except
"There's Mrs. Booker." It's a case

13 Contd

now of not understanding
one another.

13 Cont'd

Amicably, pleasantly.
far as I can remember.
Grandfather was a gardener.
very highly respected - had no
problem because there were
not situations that provoked
them. Took pride in his work.
Got things on the market early.

13 Contd.

His (my uncle's) customers were
among the best in the city.
He took pride in that.
The watermelon patch was
a social center. People
would come out. They would
be treated. Served on ice.
That was at Farnum &
Main. - Milburn's watermelon


Nothing special




No. Our Sunday
school teachers used to
come fr. the Seminary. That
would be called a kindness
That was social service &
we the material I guess.


Barnabas Ruth [Root] was the 1st
Knox graduate of our group.

Dimple Christburgh
Anderson, Chas. Hopkins,


Family Bible 40 yrs. old.
Grandfather was a shoemaker
in slavery days & a gardner
here - made shoes during
the winter. We have some
of his lasts & old plates &


Personally, that in spite
of the lack of opportunities
to hold any important position
they still want to send their
children to school. Home
ownership is another matter
of pride. They've kept the
church doors open - an im-
portant factor in their life.

19 contd.

Too they are ambitious
to support business in their own
group as much as they can. Their
support of Geo. Fletcher is in
point. He has 90% of the
business. Chas. Anderson's
grocery is well supported -
even tho he can't compete. The
1st library I ever saw was in

19 contd.

my pastor's library. His
house was full of books. Rev.
Charles Newton - Dr. J.
W. Laws - educated men.
I'm proud that those men held
up ideals before us -- learn-
ing - books.


There ought to be opportunities
for those who do put themselv
es ahead educationally. They have to get
out. the only thing they can
do here is menial labor.
This is discouraging to the
young. They drop out after
they get to high school. "What's

20 Contd.

the use of going to school I'll
have to wash & cook for Miss
Ann anyway."


'93 means H.S. graduation
for me. No realization there
was a panic.


I did. That's why I never
knew them H.S. then was
a color line. I went to
class parties came home
with them.


Ate at the restaurants -
soda fountains, sat where
we wanted at theatres. Used
churches & libraries.


As a Galesburger regardless
of color I'm ashamed of it.
I'm humiliated by it. I'd
rather we didn't have any.
Ashamed for Alabama
to know it. Terribly ashamed.


My aunt attended & recalls
that it was burned, but
doesn't recall why.

Young Negroes of ability have to get out.
Thyra Edwards is a 2nd generation Galesburg
product. Studied the last 2 yrs
in Denmark. She was in social service
work in Gary -- outstanding work
among colored children. She had
4 other sisters. Their mother
was a grad. of G.H.S. in Mrs.
Booker's generation, '93. Miss
Belle Allen was the 1st grad.
Ruth Davis is another example.
Physical Descriptionhandwritten on 4 x 5 in. pieces of scrap paper
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