Lucille W. Gorham and Lucille Gorham Sayles

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Lucille Gorham
Lucille Sayles

Heather White

Tuesday, December 27, 2016
East Carolina University

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Lucille Sayles (00:00)
Here down on his name was George T. Gorham Jr. He was named after his father. My grandmother's name was Finnick Gorham, Fanny Barnes, Gorham. And he raised she she lived up on the hill, and we would come down to visit her and my aunt Mary Louise Butler had a beauty shop called Magnolia Beauty Shop, which was named after my aunt magnolia. And so we had a lot of ties down here, my grandmother on my mother's side, Lily Allen, she was the cherry so she hit property and stuff down on Washington Street. It's this district, but down in here, and they and. Miss Almita her sister in law lived down there and my uncles lived down there. And then we had cousins that stayed all around this area right here. So it was like a family, family community area. And there were stores down here to head barbershops down here to had everything. A grocery store, they had everything down here except I don't remember a pharmacy. That's the only thing I don't remember. That was down because we hit a dentist down here. We had doctors down here, we had a clinic down here on the corner of Pitt, and first was a clinic. And I believe my brother was born, my oldest brother was born down in that clinic. And and so it was it was a family community. Everybody knew everybody else. And they were all relate it by one way or the other. So and it was it was a it was a real community

Heather White (02:04)
That says the big thing that when we started this project that we realized so many people weren't aware that it was a neighborhood in a community that was here. And so we really just wanted to talk to people who had ties to land and let people know what was here and know where we came from. And so did you say your family also was involved with the church that was here?

Lucille Sayles (02:26)
Yes, my daddy and grandmother belong to Sycamore Hill. Okay. It was a it was like a family thing. We belong either you belong to Sycamore Hill, or you belong to your memorial Methodist Church. So it was evil. And my father said the lawn to Sycamore Hill, my mother had belonged to memorial. So that's, that's the way it went.

Heather White (02:54)
It's great. And so do you have memory of when the redevelopment of the area happened

Lucille Sayles (03:02)
Yes, I do. Add was I had finished college and I came back home. And when some of the redevelopment had already started. And I remember a lot of the controversy about it. But it was good and bad. It was good that we can see the path of the park. But it was bad because we lost the community. And we lost the history. And we lost people. And even people was worth they were so depressed that some of them even that because of change. A lot of times we don't accept change. Well, and this was one of the changes that was was good and bad.

Heather White (03:59)
Yeah. Yeah. And I think just realizing that there's so many people today that have no idea. None of the history of this,

Lucille Sayles (04:07)
Because we, Greenville has evolved into another community. They most of the people around here didn't know any. They didn't grow up around here. So because Greenville has become a transit city now. And so they didn't have really any ties to Granville. So which makes it kind of a

Heather White (04:31)
Yeah. And I think for us just trying to record some of these histories that don't exist anywhere else. So we just appreciate all of you taking the time to talk to us and do that. Is there anything else that you want us to know or anything?

Lucille Sayles (04:46)
Well, not at this time. If I think of some other things I might, if I get a card or something I navigate touch

Heather White (04:56)
With you can definitely do that. And I forgot the beginning As if it was okay that I'm recording Was it okay that I recorded me now? Could you state your name for me

Lucille Sayles (05:08)
My name is Lucille Gorham Sayles Okay,

Heather White (05:11)
And your mother's name is

Lucille Sayles (05:13)
Lucille Gorham the intergenerational center on Fifth Street is named after her.

Heather White (05:22)
See her over here. We didn't even know that already a celebrity. Well, we just appreciate it and please, if you think of anything else, I'll give you my information but I'll go ahead and stop and we'll take your picture now how about that? Okay,

Lucille W. Gorham and Lucille Gorham Sayles
Photographs of Lucille W. Gorham and Lucille Gorham Sayles taken at the Town Common, Greenville, N.C., accompanied by an oral history interview, for the Beyond Bricks and Mortar project. Lucille Gorham Sayles and her mother Lucille W. Gorham are former residents of the Shore Drive neighborhood that was destroyed in the 1960's to make room for the Town Common Park. Sayles recalls that the community was like a family, and everyone knew each other. They had everything they needed downtown except a pharmacy. She remembers the downtown barber shops, a grocery store, a dentist, doctors, and the clinic where her brother was born. Her father and grandmother were members of the Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church. Her mother attended York Memorial Church. Sayles had finished college when the redevelopment process began. She thinks that it was good that they could have the park, but bad that they lost the community and its history. She remembers that some people became so depressed from the changes caused by redevelopment that they never recovered. The Lucille W. Gorham Inter-Generational Center on Fifth Street is named after her mother. Interviewer: Heather White.
December 27, 2016
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oral histories
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