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Melnea Cass

"Then we had time [at school] when we did domestic work, when we learned how to keep the house and all that, because mostly colored girls at that time were hired out as domestics, so they taught us that, too.

Her mother-in-law had to persuade Mrs. Cass to vote.m

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"Soon after women got the vote, it wasn't very popular . . ., because a lot of colored women at that time were scared to death. And of course a lot of poor white women were scared, too. Because they felt that if they voted it might affect their husband's jobs or [have] some repercussions, 'cause that's what they were telling them. . . ."

Mrs. Cass explained what it was like during the depression. Her husband was out of work, and she moved in with a family in Newton, Mass., as domestic help, allowed only one day off a week to visit her family.m

"Well in those days, being black affected every black person getting any job. Of course you could get domestic work, because they always felt that black people should do domestic work. But it was getting other kinds of jobs were the discrimination came in.

"You couldn't work in the stores or the banks. There are a lot of places where you see them now. You didn't in my time, my working days. We were working for those things for them, trying to open the way that they could get there. That's one of the things we did. And that's the civil rights movement. Fair employment practice and all those kinds of things. . . . I couldn't get a job when I came out of school, in any stores or anyplace else. You could always make a living. But it wasn't always what you wanted to do."


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