Ann Huggins

Ann Huggins

[This text is machine generated and may contain errors.]

Ann Huggins

Heather White

Wednesday, December 28, 2016
East Carolina University

[This text is machine generated and may contain errors.]

Heather White (00:00)
Okay, today is December 28, 2016. You tell me your name,

Ann Huggins (00:06)
Ann Floyd Huggins.

Heather White (00:07)
Okay. And is it okay that I'm recording you? Yes. So we're sitting out here at Town common and we're talking about the sycamore Hill mesh Missionary Baptist Church in the area surrounding it. Can you tell me a little bit about your connection to the land here?

Ann Huggins (00:20)
Well, my grandmother moved here from out in the county, near Black Jack in that area, when I was in eighth grade. And we see and my grandfather, I was raised by my grandparents. And his name was John Floyd. He, he was a invalid. At that time, he was mostly set sat in the chair, and, you know, just just fair, he was not mobile, at all at that time, but she, she did domestic work. And also, that's what she did. And of course, I walked from here to Fifth Street to Eppes high school at that time. Rain, sleet, snow, whatever. That's, that's where poorly I went school and finish. So and, and, of course, the church was right here on the corner. And my my grandmother, being a Missionary Baptist person, lady, she, she believed in going to church, going Sunday school and going to church. So I had to conserve school and church, if we suddenly now, if I if I did not have something that I like to wear to, to church that that Sunday, and or Sunday school, or whatever, if I if I you know, I didn't didn't have in being a teenage girl didn't have any holes, you know, stockings as we call them bent. Then if they had a run in them, and they'd have to go to offense. That meant that I didn't go anywhere in there. That mean, I didn't go to the movies. And my grandmother, belongings, kept her membership at the Philippi Missionary Baptist Church in Simpson, that was where she was a member so that she kept her membership there. But being the the only child in the house at that time, she like I said, I had to go to Sunday school and I had to go to church, and I was right here. So I didn't have an excuse about the weather or whatever, because I was right here. So this is where I joined church, and I sang in the youth choir was a member of the BTU. That's what we call Baptist training that that met Sunday afternoon. So of course, I remember that [Inaudible] as the pastor I remember him and the the choirs and and of course, the other ministers you know after that Nemo and of course, I was not here when when we moved from from this site, and when the churches I mean, the burning and out there I was not here at that time

Heather White (04:24)
I was gonna ask. So did your grandmother still live here? Yeah, she did.

Ann Huggins (04:27)
Yeah. And so but, but, but then, Oh, well. I forgot, my grandmother. After my grandfather died. My grandmother remarried. So or so she she may not have been here at that time. But she remarried and sees the man a man from Winston Salem. So she moved to Winston Salem. Okay. And so then, and my mother, my mother did the cross, cross town near, near, say, to solve the will say to solve it his name, my mother lived over there. And so anyway, so that's how we kind of got from my grandmother kind of gotten from from down, down, remarried and then moving away and to say my mother was already living across town. So that was, but but like I said, I grew up here in from eighth grade on in Sycamore Hill. And then I lived away for a while, and then came back, got married and came back at Eighth Street. And so I was there. When we, in fact, my daughter's, my daughter's my oldest two got married at Eighth Street. So

Heather White (06:13)
That was before the church moved to Hooker.

Ann Huggins (06:15)
Yes, yes, yeah. And so, you know, as I said, you know, I've just been, I have witnessed all of the changes and different ministers and, and all. So I've not moved my move my membership. So much my, all of my children joined Sycamore Hill. And, of course, my youngest daughter still lives here in Greenville. My older two, the oldest one lives in Durham, and the middle one lives in Georgia. So, you know, this is still their home church. So,

Heather White (07:06)
What was it, like, having seen this area, when you were a child living here, when you were in eighth grade, and then coming back when it, I guess, look completely different after?

Ann Huggins (07:15)
When they, when they were talking about redevelopment coming through, we thought it was going to take a long time for it to happen. You know, but it didn't take very long, you know, it just kind of, like, clear this out. And, and, and, you know, and then went on with, you know, coming back and seeing I can't believe that we used to live down here. And, you know, all of the duplexes that were down here, and there's a subpar they were this bank is for houses, you know, all of this for houses. And all the way down. We had dentists, black dentists, down on for [Inaudible]. So I had some, some black businesses bound and restaurant, grocery stores and

Heather White (08:31)
Did some of those reopen? some stayed closed?

Ann Huggins (08:35)
They opened up somewhere else, you know. So uh.

Heather White (08:42)
I imagine it looked quite different to know what it looked like. And then in a short period of time.

Ann Huggins (08:47)
Short period of time, and as I said, you know, we thought it was gonna take a long time, you know, of course, the credit union was not there, you know, that was houses there and, and there was kind of a wall. And, and, and a railing up on the side that you could walk. You know, in front of the church, he walked cross the river, and of course, on the other side, too, because there are houses on the side. And, you know, and even, you know, where to where the post office is, you know, because cemetery was still there. But I mean, you you, you look at these buildings, man, and you think they have always been there.

Heather White (09:41)
Yeah, because they're there when it came to green. So, so a number of banks and government buildings of what we see.

Ann Huggins (09:51)
Yeah, and you think they they have always been there, and that's not the case. Yes, of course. No. courthouse was there later on to the courthouse, but no, no, this was this was, you know, black community. Of course, the the lawyer's office was at that time a bank, I believe, I think that was planters bank. Okay. But my in this area was a lot of, like duplexes.

Heather White (10:34)
Yeah, it's been really amazing to, to hear everybody recount how bright vibrant the community was here.

Ann Huggins (10:44)
And at that time, you know, we didn't know any thing different. You know, it was, it was what was available to us and for us at that particular particular time. And, like, Stephen was talking about redevelopment coming through and building building houses project, they the housing development, what we call back then was, was the projects. And this kinda close, my, my mother and grandmother didn't move in, because I said, my grandma moved away, but my mother did not live in public housing, she lived and she rented private house. But that was kind of the assumption that people were gonna move into public housing. And then there was some sections of Greenville, that the whites were moving out of that, that blacks will move on into. And so that's kind of kind of what happened. Yeah.

Heather White (12:19)
Is there anything else that stands out that you'd like to share about living here?

Ann Huggins (12:26)
Well, it's something that I say to people now looking at rental property, I say that a lot of people don't have a lot of rental renters don't have the pride that, that my grandmother and that that generation had, with private with property, you know, they didn't they didn't own this, but their yards was were swept, they had flowers in the yard, you know, so that, that, as I see, is lacking. And that was very, very evident in, you know, this area, you know, they, they, the older people had their flower yards. It's beautiful. And, and, and maybe some gardens out in the back, you know, a couple of rows of collard greens you know, tomato plants or something like that, but but that, you know, that what she does, you don't see that a lot in the, with the rental property. And I said to this man that owns some rental property, oh, where I live. I said, Why don't you require your, your, your tenants to keep the yard clean, keep keep the paper picked up. And, you know, I said that's what you should require, that should be a part of their their agreement when they rent from you, you know, that you that they keep the keep the yard. So, but no, I was in support of the renter's registry that the city talked about there was this this lady and they appeared for the City Council, talking about the renters registry. And of course, a lot of the people who own property didn't agree with it. But I said I think it's great because they And then it would require you to be very responsible for your property a little bit more. And to me, I would think that you would want people to keep your property up so that you won't have to keep repairing putting doors on or windows up or whatever. So, but they did not.

Heather White (15:27)
Well, we appreciate you coming out to talk to us. Well, we'll let you take your photo with your your grandmother's photo now. Okay.

Ann Huggins
Photographs of Ann Huggins taken at the Town Common, Greenville, N.C., accompanied by an oral history interview, for the Beyond Bricks and Mortar project. Ms. Huggins is a former resident of the Shore Drive neighborhood, that was destroyed in the 1960's to make room for the Town Common Park. She is holding a photo of the grandmother who raised her, Olivia A. Copper Floyd Malone. In her interview, Ms. Huggins discusses attending services and religious education at Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church as a teenager in the neighborhood. She says it was surprising how quickly the redevelopment was accomplished, and points out sites in the surrounding area that used to be houses and African-American owned businesses. Although she was a renter, her grandmother, she says, took a lot of pride in her house and always tended the yard and planted flowers. Interviewer: Heather White.
December 27, 2016
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