All is never said: the narrative of Odette Harper Hines by Judith Rollins

By Judith Rollins

With intelligence, perception, and humor, Odette Harper Hines describes her existence a lifestyles that reversed the trend of the good Migration through starting in prosperity within the city North and stepping into the small-town South. Recorded via Judith Rollins over 8 years, this intimate narrative is an strange collaboration among African American ladies who signify generations of civil rights activists. Born in manhattan right into a cozy relatives, Hines' activism started within the Abyssinian Baptist Church in her young people and endured all through her existence as she witnessed the nice melancholy in Harlem, labored at the WPA Writers venture, grew to become exposure director of the NAACP, and volunteered for the pink go in Europe in the course of WWII. while she moved to Louisiana in 1946, she endured to problem racial injustice and risked her lifestyles to accommodate civil rights employees within the early Sixties (Rollins, between them). She later all started and directed the Headstart software in her parish. all through this narrative, Hines describes her relationships with such figures as Mary McLeod Bethune, Adam Clayton Powell, Walter White, Thurgood Marshall, Ella Baker, Marcus Garvey, Claude McKay, Ralph Ellison, and so on. but Hines' memoir is not just approximately her public existence. She courageously unearths her own lifestyles and personal soreness. Twenty-eight photos in general from Hines' relations album accuentuate this oral background that's, as Rollins states in her advent, 'a advanced and textured portrait of a rare 20th century American woman.' writer observe: Judith Rollins is affiliate Professor of Africana reviews and Sociology at Wellesley collage, and the writer of "Between ladies: Domestics and Their Employers" (Temple).

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I remember that the wetwash had to be ready to go on Monday morning. A commercial laundry around the corner had these big washing machines that would get the white things very, very clean and smelling like Clorox. " All the bedsheets in that period were white and they'd come back pale blue. Before my time, there were washtubs made of slate right off the summer kitchen, which was also the laundry room. It had ironing boards and a coal stove too. The flatirons were heated on it. By the time I knew anything about it, they'd worked up to the electric irons.

For dessert, there'd be both lemon meringue pie and milehigh chocolate layer cake. Wonderful! Shad is a boney fish and there was always a great ceremony about getting "the bones out for the children"who, on special occasions like this, ate in the dining room with the adults. Birthdays provided another reason for celebration. And in a house with that many folks, there were birthdays galore. We even had birthday celebrations for our parrot (unimaginatively called "Polly") and for the disagreeable cat, Xantippe.

Page 6 These bodies would be banked with flowers, and purple crepe would be draped over the double front door. The tall pier mirror had to be covered with sheets so that the body would not be reflected. That was considered bad luck. The body stayed there for a three-day period and then was taken to the church where the minister would preach over it. From there, it would be taken to Woodlawn Cemetery and interred in a large family plot. And all the people from the funeral would come back to the house and there'd be a quiet lunch with very good food.

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