Francine Taft

Francine Taft

Francine Taft

Heather White

Tuesday, December 27, 2016
East Carolina University

Heather White (00:00)
I'm okay, today is Tuesday, December 27. And I'm here with Miss Francine Taft. Is that right? Okay. And we're talking about the sycamore Hill area and project and so Ms. Taft, you said your husband actually lived lived out here. Is that correct?

Francine Taft (00:18)
At 100 place first street.

Heather White (00:22)
It's great. And did he grow up here from the time he was born? You know?

Francine Taft (00:26)
Yes, he did. He grew up here and he also belonged to Sycamore Hill.

Heather White (00:30)
That's great. Is there anything about this area that you think is important for people to know?

Francine Taft (00:38)
Yes, you need to know that this was a very close knit neighborhood. Everybody knew everybody and everybody. Everybody's children, whatever they deemed it to be that anybody could test it. And apparently all right with it. So they were wielding a shield and because they knew somebody was

Heather White (01:03)
As it should be. That's great.

Francine Taft (01:07)
I knew most of the kids down here because we all went to the one black school.

Heather White (01:11)
Okay. That's great. That's great. So did your husband ever talk about when the the redevelopment and urban renewal happened when they had to leave this area?

Francine Taft (01:25)
We were married by then.

Heather White (01:35)
Okay. With us working on this project, we we realized that there was a huge part of our community that didn't realize that there was a neighborhood that was here and there were people that that it was a vibrant community. And so that's really what we wanted to try to make sure that was noted in the history books,

Francine Taft (01:57)
Yes. And go to school, so

Heather White (02:10)
This would have been in the early 60s He was in a little bit earlier. Which were was when

Francine Taft (02:24)
I said we were here in the early years, much earlier than this than this decagon like six years. By that time, we didn't do field spending and we don't know much about all these things. Somebody told us but the actual see and we were

Heather White (02:41)
So do with your so when your husband was born, he was living with us. So what would have been about that timeframe?

Francine Taft (02:48)
My husband? Was born in 1930

Heather White (02:50)
Okay. All right. And then his mother lived here until that happened as well until they made her move.

Francine Taft (02:57)
Yes. Okay. Well, he was born there, when they, when he was born, they were living in that house.

Heather White (03:06)
Anything else you can think of? I know I got you out here in the cold when

Francine Taft (03:12)
I got down here. I went to Sunday school because I would love to go to church go to school. We'd like parents to be a mother belong to this church. My father died several years ago. And I belong to Sunday school here and I was baptized in the pool that by the time we chatted before that time, they were all at Desert river where we they had graduated to a pool by the time I was baptized in Sycamore Hill. I staying in the children's choir. And then I sang in a junior choir. That's great. And I belong to the BTU at Sycamore Hill and close to summer programs. And everything that we did that related to religion, who did?

Heather White (04:00)
Who was the BTU?

Francine Taft (04:02)
Baptist Training Union.

Heather White (04:04)
Okay. That's great. So you do have ties to the area to just like your husband would just to the church

Francine Taft (04:15)
Had many benefits that your classmates.

Heather White (04:18)
So did you meet your husband at the church?

Francine Taft (04:22)
Yeah, I did. Yeah. I really did. He used to pull my hair. But nothing went on. We you know, we were just friends. He was just a little boy like the teenage girls. That was one of them. And then then we just went our separate ways. And then we went to school. And about six or seventh grade. We reconnected. Wow. And then a few years later, we were married in college.

Heather White (04:56)
What was your husband's name?

Francine Taft (04:58)
Joseph Benjamin Taft Junior

Heather White (05:00)
That's great well we just appreciate you talking to us and we'll let you get out of the coal and we'll take your picture now so I will stop recording okay

Francine Taft (05:09)
Okay you don't need keep any of that.

Francine Taft
Photograph of Francine Taft taken at the Town Common, Greenville, N.C., accompanied by an oral history interview, for the Beyond Bricks and Mortar project. Mrs. Taft was a member of the Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church. She sang in the children's choir, belonged to the BTU, and was involved in summer programs at the church. Her husband, Joseph Benjamin Taft, Jr., was also a member of the church. Although she and her husband were not in the area during the redevelopment period, her husband's mother was relocated from 100 West First Street to West Fourth Street. She reminisces about the close-knit neighborhood and the many friends she had in the community. Interviewer: Heather White.
December 27, 2016
Original Format
oral histories
Local Identifier
Digital Object
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