Mr. Olaf Abraham was born at Good Samaritan Hospital on February 16, 1939. He grew up in a shotgun house located at 1100 East Hill Street. Mr. Abraham attended Myers Street Elementary, Morgan Middle School in the Cherry neighborhood, and Second Ward High School. In the early 1950s, Mr. Abraham and his family moved out of Brooklyn to the Southside community. He continued to return to Brooklyn to finish school at Second Ward High and graduated in 1957. Mr. Abraham worked at Queen City Pharmacy on Second Street, at Wilson and Holmes Pharmacy on Brevard Street, and delivered the Charlotte Observer during his school years. After graduating high school, Mr. Abraham joined the military. He heard about urban renewal and that the Brooklyn neighborhood was being torn down from friends and family. He remembers that love and respect for one another tied the Brooklyn community together at Pearl Street Park and attending Second Ward High School.
Tape Log: Oral History Interview with Olaf Abraham
Interviewed by Dawn Funk
|Time||Description of Interview Contents|
|0:35||Mr. Abraham talks about being born at Good Samaritan Hospital and growing up on Hill Street|
|0:45||The boundaries of Brooklyn|
|1:55||Mr. Abraham describes the house he grew up in|
|2:50||Mr. Abraham talks about electricity being hooked up in his house and the radio shows he liked to listen to|
|4:20||Second Ward High School|
|5:33||The teachers at Second Ward High School|
|6:23||Mr. Abraham discusses his weekend activities: playing ball at Pearl Street Park|
|7:31||Bethel A.M.E. on Brevard Street|
|8:38||The safety of Brooklyn|
|9:06||The business block of Second Street|
|10:55||Mr. Abraham discusses working at Queen City Pharmacy|
|12:12||Going to the theater on the weekends|
|12:42||Mr. Abraham describes a typical school day|
|13:42||Mr. Abraham talks about his parents and what they did for a living|
|14:30||Mr. Abraham shares that love and respect kept the Brooklyn community together|
|16:41||Mr. Abraham’s fondest memories of Brooklyn|
|18:40||How Mr. Abraham heard that Brooklyn was being torn down during urban renewal|
|19:11||Mr. Abraham’s feelings regarding politicians and their promises|
|20:29||Segregation in Charlotte|
|21:21||Businesses that relocated during urban renewal|
|22:42||Buildings that were spared during urban renewal and why they were not torn down|
|24:17||The House of Prayer for all People|
|27:30||Mr. Abraham talks about the last time he saw Brooklyn|
|30:23||Mr. Abraham discusses what he thinks went wrong with urban renewal|
|32:00||Why Mr. Abraham thinks Brooklyn was targeted for urban renewal|
|33:34||Charlotte is a nice place to live|
|35:35||Conclusion of interview/thanks|
Interviewed at the Greystone Restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina
April 11, 2007
Interviewer: Funk, Dawn
Transcription completed: 6 June, 2007
Transcriber: Jennifer Payne
Editor: Karen Flint
Title: Interview with Olaf Abraham
Keywords [subject]: Brooklyn, urban renewal, Second Ward High School, churches, recreation, businesses, Queen City Pharmacy, relocation, Lincoln Theater.
Description [abstract]: Mr. Olaf Abraham was born in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Charlotte in 1939, and remained a resident of the community into the 1950s. Mr. Abraham attended Second Ward High School, and recounts his experiences as a student there in this interview. He also recalls the construction of Independence Boulevard through the neighborhood, provides details about local businesses that thrived in Brooklyn, and recounts the impact of urban renewal on the community.
Contributor: Olaf Abraham
Interview Date: April 11, 2007
Format: WAV (35:45 minutes)
Identifier: [file number]
Coverage: Charlotte, North Carolina, 1930’s to 1960’s
Interviewer: Dawn Funk
Recorder (if different than interviewer): Dawn Funk
Transcriber: Jennifer Payne
Birth date: February 16, 1939
Birth location: Brooklyn, Charlotte, North Carolina
Residence: Charlotte, North Carolina
Education: Second Ward High School
Setting Description: Greystone Restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina
DF: Dawn Funk
OA: Olaf Abraham
DF: My name is Dawn Funk, and today is April 11, 2007. This interview is being conducted in conjunction with the history department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as part of the Voices of the New South series, under the direction of Dr. Karen Flint. I am using the Edirol #3 machine, and I am here today with Mr. Olaf Abraham. Mr. Abraham, thank you for speaking with us today.
OA: Thank you for having me.
DF: Mr. Abraham, I would like to start by asking you when you were born and when you grew up.
OA: I was born February 16, 1939, and I grew up in Brooklyn, on East Hill Street.
DF: What do you remember the boundaries of the Brooklyn community being?
OA: I’m not exactly sure about the boundaries, but we had the Cherry neighborhood, the wards, you know, First Ward, Second Ward, Third Ward, Fourth Ward, and I guess, going south, I would say maybe Morehead Street. That’s about my, as close as I can get to boundaries.
DF: OK. Were there any other parts of, of Brooklyn that people considered to be part of the community but really weren’t? Was it all Second Ward that was Brooklyn?
OA: Well they, I think they considered the whole area Brooklyn, you know, but they just, you know, you had the Cherry neighborhood, then you had First Ward, Second Ward, Third Ward, and Fourth Ward. But I, I think they mostly considered that whole area Brooklyn.
DF: OK. OK. Can you describe a little bit about the house you grew up in? What did it look like?
OA: Well, it was, it was an old house. You know, it’s what we call a shotgun house. You know, you could stand at the front door and look straight through to the back door. It had two bedrooms, kitchen, living room, and a toilet on the back. And that was about it. There was no electricity. We had kerosene lamps and had a stove that burned coal and wood. And that was it. In the summertime, it was kind of hot, and in the wintertime it was kind of cold.
DF: I bet. [DF laughs] And what about the rest of the block? Did- were the houses pretty much the same?
OA: They were pretty much the same, yeah. And I remember when they finally wired the houses, you know, they put electricity in. And, you know, that was a good change, you know? Then you could have a radio.
OA: And some people had televisions.
DF: Oh, wow.
DF: And so, around what time were the houses wired for electricity?
OA: I can’t, I can’t put a date on that. I don’t, I don’t, I don’t really- I guess maybe I was about six or seven, something like that, so. I would say maybe in, you know, in the mid ‘40s.
DF: And, and you had a radio?
OA: Yeah, we had a radio. No TV, but we did have a radio.
DF: What radio shows did you like to listen to?
OA: Well, they had, they had soap operas on there like they have on TV today.
DF: Oh, wow.
OA: Back then they had the soap operas and they had the Lone Ranger and Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks parade music. There was an article in the paper, I believe it was yesterday’s paper, about Arthur Smith. And when we got TV, he was on TV with his group. And I think they’re still, they’re still performing, you know?
DF: Oh, wow.
OA: I see them on TV once in a while now. So, that was our entertainment, more or less. Yeah.
DF: What did you, you and your friends do for entertainment outside? Did you go to the park, or…
OA: Well, the biggest part of our day was spent at school, you know, because that’s where everything was happening. You know, they had- when I was at Second Ward, they had everything there. They had the band, they had- they taught brick masonry, you had, you know, your regular classes, but they had auto mechanics, they had a gymnasium there, you know, you could play sports. And they had a chorus, if you liked to sing. And we had an auditorium right in the school, you know, they had plays and things like that. So, it was, that took up a large part of your day, you know, just going to school and being able to participate in all these activities, plus trying to learn.
DF: Right. [DF laughs]
DF: What other classes, the core classes, did you take?
OA: Well, we had English, math, biology, science, chemistry, and all the basic things that they have now, you know, we had the same thing then and we had some terrific teachers. They paid close attention to you and made sure you did what you were supposed to do.
DF: So there was a good relationship between the kids and the students?
OA: Oh yeah, very good, yeah.
DF: What about the parents? How involved were the parents in the school?
OA: Yeah, well we had the PTA and the parents would come and even if the parents couldn’t make it to the meetings for whatever reason, the teachers, if you didn’t have a phone, the teachers would come out to your house and speak to your parents and let them know how you were doing. Especially if you weren’t doing well, [DF laughs] or, you know, doing things you weren’t supposed to be doing…
OA:… they would come out and help straighten that out, you know? Get your parents aware of what was going on, and that put a stop to that.
DF: You couldn’t get away with anything. [DF laughs]
OA: No, I don’t think so.
DF: Can you tell me a little bit about what you did on the weekends when school wasn’t in session?
OA: On the weekends we, we had Pearl Street park. They, they had a baseball field there, and we played football, they had an area where you could practice golf. So on the weekends, it was always a baseball game. You know, the local, we had local teams that played against each other. And some of them weren’t well-equipped, you know, so they, they would use- if your team had bats and gloves and everything, they would share that with the team that they were playing.
DF: Oh, OK.
OA: You know, if, when the inning was over, if the, if the team coming on the field to start the next inning, if they didn’t have a glove or anything, you would leave your glove at your position, so the other players could use it. So, we shared all that stuff, you know, and it was nice, you know? That was usually on Saturdays. ‘Cause Monday to Friday you went to school. Saturday we would have those baseball games and football games and on Sunday most everyone went to church.
DF: OK. Could you tell us where you went to church and your experiences?
OA: I went to Bethel AME. It’s located on Brevard Street. And they still have the church, I think, as a matter of fact, now, I think they’re in the process of building a new church. The church that they are in right now is on Grandon Road.
OA: But they’re building a new church now. I think it’s over off of Peachtree…
OA: … on the west side of town.
DF: And you went to church there on Sundays, was the only time you went to service during the week?
OA: Well, you could go to Bible study, and that was usually on a Wednesday. You know, but, you know, we weren’t allowed to be out all hours of the evening, you know, you had- if you went there, you would go as early as possible so you could be back home, hopefully before dark. Yeah.
DF: Was there any fear of being out after dark in the community….
OA: Oh, no.
DF: …wanted the kids home?
OA: You know, everybody, everybody knew each other and, you know, living in Brooklyn, you knew everyone there that lived there. So it was, you didn’t have to be afraid of anything. Wherever you were, you’d see someone that you’d know, or someone that knew your family and all of that, so they pretty much looked out for each other.
DF: Right, right. That’s wonderful. Now, we’ve heard a lot about Second Street…
DF: …being a really thriving business area. Can you tell us a little about that?
OA: Well, Second Street, they called it the block, but they had the Lincoln Theater was located on Second Street, Queen City Pharmacy, the doctor’s building, McKissick’s shoe shop, a couple of cafes, a pool room. And on the corner of Second and Brevard you had the library, and on the other corner was a publication house, and most of the business were in that area, you know? They had Alexander’s funeral home, Grier’s funeral home, you know, they were all in that general area, but Second Street was more or less like the main drag, you know?
DF: Right. Did a lot of people from outside of Brooklyn come to work there or to purchase things, to hang out?
OA: Oh yeah, oh yeah. Wherever they came from to visit Charlotte, whoever they were visiting in Charlotte, they eventually ended up on Second Street, you know, ‘cause that’s where everything was located. The theater, the pharmacy, you just, just, what was really happening. You know, that’s the place that you would find it, so.
OA: If you were in Charlotte, and you were visiting someone here, they would end up on Second Street.
DF: So was it a pretty busy area mostly on the weekends, or during the week?
OA: All the time.
DF: All the time?
OA: All the time, yeah. It was never a dull moment on Second Street.
DF: And you, you worked on Second Street?
OA: Yeah, I worked at the Queen City Pharmacy on Second Street. And across the street from the Queen City Pharmacy was the McKissick shoe shop. My brother worked there. And, you know, the owners would, more or less, teach you the trade, you know?
OA: They taught you how to repair shoes, and at the pharmacy I learned how to do different things, you know, that goes on in a pharmacy, you know? Had a soda fountain, you know, it was just a- I thought it was just average things, and stuff you wanted to learn, you know? So you put your heart into it and did the best you could.
DF: Right, right.
OA: Plus, you got a little pay.
DF: Which is always helpful.
OA: It wasn’t much, but it was good. ‘Cause things weren’t as expensive then as they are now. You could go to the movie, Lincoln Theater, they’d show two main features and cartoons and all of that and it cost nine cents to get in.
DF: Oh, wow.
OA: So, if you had a dollar you were in good shape.
DF: Did you go to the theater a lot?
OA: Oh, yeah. Mostly on the weekend. Mostly on the weekend. Because during the week, you know, you had to go to school, and when you got home in the evenings after school you had to do your homework and then you had things around the house that you had to do.
OA: You had to get in your wood and your coal and stuff, you know, for the fire. You had to keep the fire going in the wintertime because there was no heat in the house other than that stove, so…
DF: Right. So you had set chores that you had to do…
OA: Oh yeah.
DF:… during the day?
OA: Oh yeah.
DF: Can you give us an example of what your day was like, from when you woke up, what you did throughout the day?
OA: Well, when I got up I had to start a fire if it was my turn. I had four brothers and we took turns, you know? We would do it for a week. You had to get up in the morning, make sure the fire was going, you know, so the house would be warm, and then you had to get your things together for school. We had to walk to school, there was no school bus, so you had to walk to school. And that’s where you spent most of the day, was at school. And after school, you’d come home and there was always something that had to be done around there, so. Whatever you were told to do, whatever had to be done, that’s what you did. And if you got all that done before dark, then you could go down to Pearl Street park and play a little ball, and have some time with your friends. But when it got dark, you had to head home.
DF: Right. And what did your parents do for a living?
OA: My father was a brick mason, and my mother was a seamstress. She did a lot of sewing for the ladies in the area, you know? She made dresses and all stuff like that. And she was very good at it. My father worked on a lot of buildings that were being built around here at that time. You know, he was a brick mason, so that was his job. And the kids went to school, that was it.
DF: That was your job. [DF laughs]
OA: Yeah, right. Stay out of trouble and go to school. [DF laughs] So, that, that, that was, that was about it.
DF: What, in your opinion, kept the Brooklyn community together? What were the main tenents of the community?
OA: Well, I think one thing that kept that community together was love and respect for each other, you know? People cared about each other and they looked out for each other. When, if a family was having a problem, then people would try to help out, you know what I mean? And then, like I said, it was living close together like that in the same general area, you know, you got to know each other and you developed friendships, you know? And they lasted a lifetime. You know, I know people now that I grew up around. I was just a kid and the ones that are still living, you know, I still have a relationship with them. You know, we’re still friends. So that was more or less what kept the families together. You know, they worked together, they played together, they went to church and prayed together. So it was, you know, it was like a closely-knit area, you know?
OA: And, I think things are spread out now, so. You don’t, you don’t- I think you’ve lost some of that you know because things are so spread out now, but we were confined to one general area and that’s where everyone lived.
OA: You know? So, now people are spread out all over the place, you know?
DF: There’s no connection.
OA: They lose track, you know. I don’t think they mean to. But they just, you know, lose track of each other because of the distance between where they live and where their friends live. But of course, now you have computers and telephones and all this kind of stuff, so you can keep in touch like that. But it’s not like, you know, that face to face thing. So I think that’s the one thing that’s, that’s missing from that old neighborhood.
DF: What would be your fondest memory of Brooklyn?
OA: My fondest memory, I would think, would be being in the church, you know? Everyone would go to church, the adults and the children. And then my time at Second Ward High School. You know, that was- I learned a lot there, you know, so I think that would, that’s right up there with my fondest memories. But I would say the church and the school that I went to- Second Ward High School. Yeah.
DF: So the things you learned at Second Ward carried, carried with you?
OA: Yeah, they’re still serving me well today. ‘Cause, I, I, when I graduated from Second Ward I was eighteen years old and I joined the military and I traveled all over and the things that I learned at Second Ward really helped me to deal with, you know, being away from home and being in strange places that I had never been. And that’s one of the things I said- you know at Second Ward we had a library right in the school, and we used to write about different places and, you know, read about different places, and when I actually went there I had, I had a little knowledge about it. And I, I got that at Second Ward.
OA: So that was very helpful. And I managed to, to make it through all of that and get back to Charlotte. When I got, when I got back I was, you know, I was, I felt bad about them, you know, tearing down the school. I thought it was a nice building. I think it could still be there serving some purpose if they had just built around it, but that wasn’t my decision to make. Yeah.
DF: So how did you hear that Brooklyn was going to be torn down?
OA: Through friends and, and, you know, people that were still living here. You know, mostly through my friends and family members.
DF: Your family members were still in Brooklyn? How did they hear about urban renewal and that they would have to leave?
OA: I’m not sure about that. It was probably through the politicians, you know? And I don’t know what was said or what was supposed to be done, but I, it was my understanding that they were supposed to built some affordable housing there. But that never happened, so. And, I don’t know who decided all this, I’m, I’m laying it all on the politicians because they’re usually the ones that make decisions about stuff like that, you know, so.
DF: So where did your friends and family go? If there was no housing for them to go to, where did they end up?
OA: Well, they went to Brookhill Village, Southside, Fairview Homes, Double Oaks, Griertown, you know, areas like that.
OA: And most of those areas are still there. You still have Southside, you still have Brookhill Village, which they’re talking about tearing down now. And you still have the Cherry neighborhood. And Griertown, so, you know, just, that’s where you had to go, so you- and there was all, only so much available to you. You couldn’t go and live anyplace you wanted to because they had, you know, segregation and you could only live in the areas that were designated for what they call Colored people, at that time. We’ve had several names, you know, we’ve been Colored people, Negro, African-American, Black, so, but things have changed a little, you know? You can, more or less, buy a house anywhere you can afford it now, so. Back then it was different. I think that’s what caused the people to be real close, because they were confined to certain areas…
OA: So, out of that came a bond, you know, between people. But all that’s gone now, just like the houses that were there, all of that’s gone.
DF: Right, right.
DF: So, when urban renewal came, the community essentially was broken up and spread out all over.
OA: Exactly. Yeah.
DF: What happened to the businesses? Do you know if any businesses relocated?
OA: Well, some of them relocated. One I know for sure was the Queen City Pharmacy. They located to Beattie’s Ford Road, not far from Interstate 85.
OA: The rest of them I’m not sure about, you know? They either just didn’t continue being in business or maybe they moved out of Charlotte altogether.
OA: I really can’t say.
DF: I know some of the funeral homes that you mentioned…
OA: Yeah. Well they…
DF: …are still in operation.
OA: Yeah. Alexander’s funeral home, Grier’s funeral home, you know, they, they, they relocated. I think Grier’s is over on Statesville Avenue now. And Alexander’s is, is also on Statesville Avenue. Over near the Greenville area. And that’s another area people moved to.
OA: You know, Greenville is still there. That’s close to where Fairview Homes-well, Fairview Homes was torn down, but they rebuilt and they have people living there now.
OA: Were any of the buildings in Brooklyn kept? Any of the institutions?
OA: I think a few of the churches were left there. And I think the old gymnasium from Second Ward High School is still in that area- is still there where it was. I think they, they have what they call Metro School over there.
OA: Well, that’s where Second Ward was. So that building is still there. Just about the, well, the House of Prayer relocated from- they were on McDowell Street, but they relocated to Beattie’s Ford Road and they have several churches in Charlotte area. So, but those are about the only ones that I can just name right off the top of my head.
DF: Why do you suppose they were left in Brooklyn and other ones were torn down?
OA: Well, they- a lot of those buildings that they tore down were, were, structurally sound, you know, just like I said about Second Ward. And I don’t think they had to tear that building down, but the funeral homes, you know, they served the black community, so they couldn’t just go out of business. They had to relocate. And the House of Prayer is, has been in Charlotte as, ever since I can remember. They have churches all over the Charlotte area. I can’t put a number on how many they have, but they have quite a few. And they started out on Long Street in a tent, and now, if you, if you know about the House of Prayer, you see what kind of churches they have now.
DF: They’ve done very well.
OA: They have done real well, and they still doing good. And the members there have been, they like lifetime members. They’ve been in that church from, you know, childhood, you know, they went there with their parents and now their parents are passed on and they’re still going there and they’re taking their children there. And everybody’s welcome there.
OA: So, it’s good.
OA: It serves the community well.
DF: And I know they had a parade…
OA: Yeah, they had…
DF: …a convocation parade?
OA: Yeah, they had, they would have that every year.
DF: OK. And did Daddy Grace come every year?
OA: Oh, yeah, oh, yeah. That was…
DF: What was that experience like?
OA: That was something that everybody looked forward to, you know? They would line the streets in the Brooklyn area. And it seems like it was always a nice day when they had that parade, you know, so.
OA: That was something that everybody would look forward to. I think, you know, that church helped to keep the black community together, you know, ‘cause anyone could go there, and, and it wasn’t just for members only, you know, anyone could go there and, and, and, feel comfortable.
OA: You know, so.
DF: So they had a pretty large congregation?
OA: Oh yeah, oh yeah, they have a very large congregation. You know, and, and, if they didn’t they wouldn’t be able to support all these churches they have here in Charlotte, ‘cause they have quite a few. I can’t put a number on how many they have here, but it’s quite a few. And all of them are doing well.
DF: Yes, definitely.
DF: And there’s businesses attached to the House of Prayer as well, is that right?
OA: Yeah, yeah, they- I think they have that, that, they took over the McDonald’s cafeteria up on Beattie’s Ford Road…
DF: On Beattie’s Ford Road.
OA: …near. And there’s a hotel there, I think they have that hotel also, and they use that for their senior citizens, you know, who need a place to stay. They stay at that hotel.
DF: Oh, OK. So they’re pretty much self-serving.
DF: They build what they need…
DF:…and provide for their congregants that way.
OA: Oh, yeah. And that’s the way it should be.
DF: It’s a great- definitely a great service to the community.
OA: Oh yeah, oh yeah. That’s why they’re still here. If they weren’t serving the community and doing what needs to be done, then they wouldn’t be here. So, they’re doing a good job, I take my hat off to them.
DF: Now, you mentioned that after high school you went into the military. What year was that?
OA: From ‘57 to ‘61.
DF: OK. And had you returned to Brooklyn before it was torn down, or was that the last time you saw Brooklyn?
OA: No, that was the last time, you know? Even before I finished high school, they had, they had started that urban renewal- well, we, we had moved out of Brooklyn. We moved to Southside, and I don’t remember exactly what year, you probably have it in some of your records there what year they did that urban renewal. When that happened, we had already moved to Southside…
DF: Oh, OK.
OA…I recall traveling from Southside to school, and, well, I had to take the bus then because that was too far to walk.
OA: But I took the bus over to Second Ward, but I don’t, I don’t remember the exact date when they, you know, did all this stuff, yeah.
DF: They- from what I know, they had started earlier, putting, I think, Independence Boulevard…
OA: Yeah, well…
DF:… through Brooklyn. Did that have any effect? Did people have to move from that?
OA: Well, when, when, when they started Independence Boulevard, I was still living in Brooklyn at that time. And they did a lot of their work at night, you know, and, and, we used to go out there, you know, if we could get our parents to let us, we would go up, and there and we would sit and watch them working out there, you know? And, you know, back then they didn’t have all these machines that they have now, so most of that stuff was manual labor, you know?
OA: All that concrete and everything and moving the houses. They had to move the houses back to make way for Independence Boulevard…
DF: Oh, so the houses were actually moved?
OA: Yeah, they were moved back.
DF: Oh, OK.
OA: Yeah. They used mules for that. [OA and DF laugh]. And they, they would, they would jack the houses up and put them on some kind of conveyor and they, they’d have the mule walking around pulling it back.
DF: Oh, wow.
DF: So no one was actually displaced when Independence Boulevard….
OA: No, some of that, some of that stuff that they put out there at that time is still out there. Because they had put up concrete walls around the yard, where, you know, they had a sidewalk there and they had a wall and they had your house with the yard and everything. Some of that stuff is still there. The houses are gone, but some of those walls that they put in are still there.
DF: Oh, wow. OK. So what, in your opinion, did they do wrong with urban renewal? I know, obviously, the community is gone, and, and that is a great detriment to Charlotte….
OA: Well, I don’t, I don’t think they were honest and up front with the people. And, you know, I think that, they, they, they mislead the people that lived in those areas over there- I think they were mislead. But there was nothing they, that they could do about it.
OA: You know, so. I think mostly that’s, mostly what I feel kind of bad about. If you’re going to do something, you should be honest with the people that you’re doing it to…
OA:…so they’ll try to be- excuse me- prepared for it. But I don’t think they were completely honest about what their plans were and what they were going to do.
OA: So. They didn’t really have to- I don’t think the people, our people back then had as much of a voice about what’s happening in the Charlotte area back then as they have now.
OA: So, they probably said something but no one was listening.
DF: Right. Right. You don’t know if any organized protests occurred or anything?
OA: No, I don’t know if they were or not. Can’t say on that.
DF: OK. A lot of people have found evidence, or maybe not evidence, but have had information that by the time of urban renewal Brooklyn had a lot of slums, a lot of blighted areas, which is the reason they gave for tearing everything down.
DF: Was, was it like that, in your opinion?
OA: Well, I think, you know, some of the houses they had in Brooklyn were, you know, they needed to be torn down and replaced, but- they were torn down but they were never replaced with affordable housing.
OA: You know, we have hotels and government buildings and all that sort of thing down there now, so. But some of those houses, you know, they were old and run-down. They needed to be replaced.
DF: They did. Yeah. How, how much of Brooklyn, in your opinion, was like that? If, if you could give a percentage, maybe?
OA: Well, I, I can’t give a percentage, but, you know, it wasn’t all bad, they had some nice buildings there too, you know?
OA: But, everything just fell in with everything else, you know.
OA: They wanted the area for other things and other buildings, so everything had to go.
OA: There were a few things that were saved, but not as much as what could have been saved. So. But like I said, if- it wasn’t our decision, so.
OA: But we survived that, just like everything else. We had to keep going. I still think Charlotte is a nice place.
DF: You do?
OA: It’s a nice place to live, and evidently other people think the same thing because we have a, a influx of people coming in now from all over.
DF: All over. It’s getting bigger and bigger every day.
OA: Yeah, and they’re still building and building and building. And they have houses going up all over the place. You know, wherever there’s property, then you’ll see them building something there. You know, homes and other things, so. It’s a growing place. And I think, I, it’s still a nice place, you know, but with growth you get a lot of things that you don’t want. So we have to deal with that too.
OA: You know, so. Everything is, everything is growing. The population is growing, and the crime is growing.
DF: Yeah, it grows right along with it.
OA: That’s part of the growth. So, we’ll have to- whatever adjustments you have to make, you have to do that to kind of keep it under control, so to speak.
OA: Yeah. I would like to see it eliminated altogether, but I don’t think that will happen.
DF: Well, with a lack of community, as we were discussing before. People don’t have connections…
DF:…that certainly happens.
OA: Yeah, everybody’s like, looking out for themselves, you know, they don’t, it’s not like they’re looking out for each other like it was at one time. But it may get back to that, you never know.
DF: Yeah, you never know. Is there anything that I haven’t asked that you might want to talk about?
OA: No, I think you covered just about everything. You know, it’s I can’t think of anything else right now. But. I’m sure, you know, if you speak to other people that lived in the Brooklyn area, you now, they’ll probably come up with something that I left out. But, that’s about as much as I can think of right now.
DF: OK, great. Well, I thank you very much for your time…
OA: You’re welcome.
DF:…and we really appreciate it.
OA: OK. Thank you for having me.
DF: Thank you.
End of Interview. Approximately 35 minutes