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Johnson / The War Effort, Part Two

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Interviewer: You remember the rationing cards? Johnson: Mmm-hmm. Yeah. Interviewer: You could only buy milk on certain days if you had a coupon, things like that. Johnson: Of course, like milk, they encouraged victory gardens which now they’re trying to bring that back. They don’t call it a victory garden. We had to do a lot of things that would supposedly bring victory. Being in the rural, people were able to live basically off the land which they probably couldn’t do it now because we were mostly rural at that time. I remember out from Rockdale there was a community that canned varmints. Coons, possums, and that sort of thing to help, supposedly, in the war effort. Supply food. Interviewer: Possums? Johnson: Yeah. Interviewer: You ate possum? Johnson: Back then, you ate what was available. (both laugh) Yeah. That was a delicacy and the people who lived near the highway had it pretty good with roadkill. (both laugh) You have not heard this? Interviewer: No. Not eating roadkill or—you know, I‘ve heard of people eating possum before, but I didn’t know that that was something that they did for the war in order to save, I guess probably meat, other types of meat? Johnson: Well also they rendered fat from this kind of stuff. I understand it is used in maybe gunpowder—producing something else. An ingredient in something, I’m not sure. We had to do quite a few things, again, supposedly to help bring victory, because everybody was afraid that somebody else would have the victory.

Interview Interview with James E. Johnson
Subjects Work › Agricultural Work
Historic Periods › Jim Crow Period
Historic Periods › 1941-1945
Military › World War II
Military › Home Front
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Interview date 2015-07-21
Interview source CRBB Summer 2015
Interviewees Johnson, James E.
Interviewers Acuña-Gurrola, Moisés
Bynum, Katherine
Duration 00:02:35
Citation "The War Effort, Part Two," from James E. Johnson oral history interview with Moisés Acuña-Gurrola and Katherine Bynum,  July 21, 2015, Prairie View, TX , Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed December 01, 2020