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The speaker is a 75-year-old White woman with a college education from Chicago, Illinois; she was recorded in 1966.
3:40-5:55


County: Cook
State: IL

Commentary:
Chicago, on the shore of Lake Michigan, is the third largest city in the U.S. This speaker spent 1911 in Europe, then came home to Chicago wanting to teach in the public schools. She relates some of her experiences in this excerpt.
Inf: Well, when I, I came home from Europe after being gone a year and six months and found that I had to teach a year before I could take the examinations into, uh, to enter the Chicago public schools. So I taught in a private school for a year, and then took the examination. And by that time there was such a dearth of teachers (cough) that they, uh sent us as permanent substitutes for four months instead of sending us from one place to another. And uh, I was sent out to Podunk. It took me almost two hours to get there, and the principal knew that I wouldn't accept the assignment when the four months were up, so he shopped around and found a principal a little bit nearer. And uh, with my record the principal said he would take me, and I went still closer to, to home. But after about a month and a half, someone who had looked up my record decided that she would like me and it was still closer. It was at Twelfth Street in the ghetto, and about that time, the doctor said I'd have to stop teaching 'cause I'd picked up uh, measles, chicken pox, and a cough which they thought might be whooping cough.

And so I had to stop, and uh was out for six months. And then I was assigned to a school way out south, but that was on the Illinois Central and so it wasn't so difficult to get to. And it, but I had a very unpleasant, tyrannical principal, and I knew I couldn't work there. So I stayed until after the Christmas, uh, party which was the beginning of the Christmas holidays, and she asked me when I was going to put up the curtains in the kindergarten. And I was at that time very shy and uh usually didn't answer anything like that, and I said, "I'm deciding right now: I'm leaving," and walked out. And she wrote me a very beautiful letter explaining what a very fine job I'd done and wouldn't I reconsider. But I remained adamant and put in a transfer for an assignment to another school, and I was sent right across the railroad tracks to the Burnside School, where I stayed from 1915 to 1927.


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