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The speaker is a 23-year-old Black man with a college education from Taft, Oklahoma; he was recorded in 1970.



County: Muskogee
State: OK

Commentary:
Unique to Oklahoma???s history is the formation of over fifty all-Black communities between 1865 and 1920. Taft (originally named Twine, after prominent African-American lawyer and activist W.H. Twine) is one of them. Like many of the all-Black communities in Oklahoma, the town was founded by freedmen after the Civil War. Creek Indians of the area were forced by government act to adopt the former slaves as tribal members, and many of the towns were located in Indian Territory. With a current population of 250, Taft is one of only thirteen of these communities still in existence. In this segment the speaker talks about his hometown and the age-related differences among its residents.
Inf: Well frankly there isn???t too much of a generation gap in Taft, not in my opinion, uh, because Taft still sticks pretty well by the old, well, the old way of life, I mean, you know, kids have their parents and they do what their parents say and if they don???t they answer to their parents. But as for an actual generation gap, I don???t think so. I don???t think we have one. I mean, you know, nothing extraordinary.

FW: And you think the young people, um, not only do what their parents say, but pretty much follow in their footsteps in ter-, in terms of lifestyle?

Inf: Well, not necessarily, but let us say jus-, they do as their parents do or say do while they???re home. Now where you???ll get a difference would be not with parents and children, but say, um, the people about my age, say between twenty and thirty or thirty-five, and the older people that are, you know, the senior citizens, now that???s where a gap would come. Maybe that is a generation gap, I guess.

FW: If, uh, you could change something about Taft, what would you change? And what would you keep as the same?

Inf: Uh, if I could change, I???d change these dirt roads. [Laughter] And have all the streets paved, sidewalks, and street signs and street lights, and, uh, a couple of shopping centers and doctors??? offices, uh, more or less necessary things, as far as, uh, extracurricular, uh, maybe one nice nightclub, or something, but I like Taft because it???s, um, well, what I mean, it???s not city life, you know, you can move to the city if you want the city. But I like the free and uh, open atmosphere here.


The speaker is a 55-year-old Black man with a high school education from Taft, Oklahoma; he was recorded in 1970.



County: Muskogee
State: OK

Commentary:
Unique to Oklahoma???s history is the formation of over fifty all-Black communities between 1865 and 1920. Taft (originally named Twine, after prominent African-American lawyer and activist W.H. Twine) is one of them. Like many of the all-Black communities in Oklahoma, the town was founded by freedmen after the Civil War. Creek Indians of the area were forced by government act to adopt the former slaves as tribal members, and many of the towns were located in Indian Territory. With a current population of 250, Taft is one of only thirteen of these communities still in existence. In this segment the speaker talks about his family, the Depression, and his employment history.
Inf: My father, he passed about nineteen thirty-three. And when-, with the Depression it caused us to lose from, um, from a nine-hundred-acre farm down to a hundred and sixty acres. We had to do that in order to save, we had to sell all this other property in order to clear up the debts and then save a hundred sixty acres. And I, so, but, my-, some of my family wanted to, ???Well, let???s borrow some money.??? I said, ???Look, let???s get rid of all this stuff ???cause, look, I???m not gonna be out here slaving for nothing! I, I am gone, as far as this farm is concerned.???

I, I had no idea [pronc: idee] that I, I would wind up in the postal service. My ambition, or my early ambition, was really to be an engineer. And, I always liked public work and I was interested in politics and these institutions that we have, well heck, I would be the chief engineer [FW: Laughter], and uh, may be able to make me, in those days a job paying a hundred and fifty dollars is a lot of money, you know. The first job I got with the state was a job for sixty dollars, and I was spending every month uh, about seventy-five, but I had a little income, had a little income, from, from out on the farm. But still i-it wasn???t paying enough t-to make a car payment and, and, and, and run around, a single man running around at night. So, eh, if wha-, if the Army hadn???t gotten me, I don???t know what. [Laughter] I haven???t got me a say in my a-, bankruptcy, I, I???m really happy that I have never filed bankruptcy. But if the Army hadn???t gotten me in forty-two, I would have had to file bankruptcy, (that???s mighty clear). But after I got out of service I did, I was lucky, I guess.

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