U-1099 Interview with Timothy Bazemore
- Collection: Southern Oral History Program Interviews
This interview centered on Timothy Bazemore’s experiences growing up in Bertie County, N.C. in a farming family, and his adult life as a farmer and businessperson. He discussed key topics such as growing up with eight siblings in rural Bertie County, where his family sharecropped on a white family's land but also owned a separate piece of farmland on which the Bazemores raised crops. He talked about his father Henry's death in the early 1930s from pneumonia, his mother Arie's strong religious faith and connection to the Holiness Church, and the strict discipline she insisted on for the family. Bazemore remembered once having his mother brush out his mouth with a mixture of soap, salt, pepper, turpentine and kerosene, after catching him smoking a pretend cigarette. He attended segregated schools in the Jim Crow era, graduating from high school in 1941, and was drafted into the U.S. Army a few months later. Bazemore served in a transportation unit in the Pacific Theater during World War Two and reaching the rank of staff sergeant, and returned to Bertie County from Japan in 1946, marrying his wife, Hannah, and working in farming and the pulpwood business in the post-war period. Bazemore also worked one year in the 1960s for the anti-poverty North Carolina Fund, before helping to run Bertie Industries, a textile manufacturer, in the 1970s, and then starting and managing the Workers Owned Sewing Company. He received loans from St. Luke Credit Union and the Self-Help Credit Union over the years. He recalled his activism in the civil rights era on matters such as school integration, experiencing economic reprisals from some whites for his activism, and his relationships today with his children and grandchildren. Before this interview, the interviewer reviewed the transcript from an interview Bazemore gave in 1992 (http://www.american.coop/node/195), which provided valuable background information, and gave a sense of how Bazemore at times remembered events differently. This interview was one of several interviews conducted by the SOHP for a project on the history of minority credit unions in North Carolina.