We were the only blacks down there (in that part of Olde Town.) That was the white part of town. White neighbors treated Mama OK. Plenty of them came down wanting to buy it. She would never sell it. She wanted it to stay in the family. I guess, I figure, this was hers. I heard her tell folks, you knew I was here. If you didn't want to live around me, you didn't have to come.
It was so funny too, because one family in particular, we used to play with her son. But as soon as we became teenagers, she stopped letting him play with us. I guess they thought we were going to contaminate them or they were going to contaminate us. (Chuckles) It wasn't contamination, I know what it was (laughs louder) I have a son-in-law who's white.
When I graduated from high school, I was ready to get out of Conyers. I probably told myself I would never come back to Conyers. There was nothing to do. But I've learned, never say never.
Last time I left and came back, I came back to take care of Mama. After that, I said, "Well, that's it. I'm not going to try to... I'll just stay here the rest of my life." I had finally decided I didn't want to live in Atlanta.
There's been a lot of changes. I've seen some good. I appreciate the changes. Most of the people here now are transients coming in from other places.
People don't want change. Especially when you start rushing stuff. A lot of them not ready for change.
That's one good thing about Conyers. There might be only one murder here a year.
Even as a child I don't know of anybody being hung. The last time I heard of a hanging was in Monroe, as a child. I had come from picking cotton. I was coming home and I had a little sack of candy and a child tried to take it and I wasn't going to let him take it. I had an umbrella for some reason, and I hit him in the head and I saw blood and I ran all the way home.
That very night, Ku Klux Klan folk was on the street, but they were headed to Monroe. When we would hear them, Mama would have us cut out the lights. I got so scared. I really did (think they were coming for me). I guess I was maybe eight or nine.
They would go out, but a lot of times they would go down our street and go to Milstead to go to Monroe. We didn't see it that often. I had seen it maybe once or twice since then. That was the last hanging I heard about, was that very night. You never knew their names because they were all dressed in robes.