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Watkins / School and Neighborhood in West Side Bryan

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Interviewer: So what part of town in Bryan did you live in? Watkins: We lived on what they called Westside on 18th Street right across from Highway 21. Interviewer: I’ll have to look at a map. Watkins: Yeah. Highway 21 runs from Nacogdoches all the way up to San Antonio. Interviewer: What was the neighborhood like? Watkins: It was all black. We didn’t have paved streets. We had outdoor toilets for a while. Let’s see, but everybody knew everybody, and we were like one big family. We still stay in touch, those of us who are still alive. We call ourselves brothers and sisters. We went to segregated schools. We had to walk to school. The school, when we came back to Bryan, I was in the fourth grade and we had half day school because it was overcrowded. So, I went to school in the mornings from eight to twelve and my sister went to school because she was in the sixth grade and she went to school from, I guess twelve until three. That group of students that came in for the afternoon, as we were leaving, they were coming to school. We walked from East side which was at that time they were called Nineteenth and Houston Street. We walked from Nineteenth on Houston Street to home which was on the other side of town, the west side. So, we walked. My teacher used to walk with us because we had bullies in the group. My fourth-grade teacher used to walk with us across the tracks and she’d go as far as—I forgot that street now, but it was close to Reverend Daniels’ Funeral Home. Then from there Mrs. Daniels used to kind of look out for us moving on down toward home. Interviewer: So, did you cross the white neighborhood? Watkins: No. The white neighborhoods were on a different part of town.

Interview Interview with Halcyon O. Watkins
Subjects Housing › Neighborhoods › Residential Segregation
Housing › Sub-standard Housing
Discrimination or Segregation › Discrimination or Segregation at School
Discrimination or Segregation › Discrimination or Segregation and Neighborhoods
Geography › Geographic Disparities in Infrastructure
Education › Teachers and Administrators
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Interview date 2015-07-23
Interview source CRBB Summer 2015
Interviewees Watkins, Halcyon O.
Locations Bryan, TX
Duration 00:02:34
Citation "School and Neighborhood in West Side Bryan," from Halcyon O. Watkins oral history interview with ,  July 23, 2015, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed July 14, 2020