Portraits Of Elders: Yvonne Baskerville (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Transcripts

Portraits of Elders: Yvonne Baskerville

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

13:53:32
We end today's show with the voice of a woman who's seen a lot of change in her 70 years in the nation's capital. Yvonne Baskerville moved to Washington in 1941, back when segregation was still very much a part of life around here.

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

13:53:49
Since then she's witnessed the rise and fall of the city's fortunes. Watching neighborhoods deteriorate and then re-emerge stronger than before. Baskerville is now 74 years old and she sat down recently with producer Marc Adams to reflect on growing up as an African-American in Washington D.C.

MS. YVONNE BASKERVILLE

13:54:08
My life was filled with church, sometimes the public library. Mostly walking, mostly working. I learned to read, I learned to crochet, all these things at home before I went to school. But I didn't notice any restrictions for a very, very long time because I was in a very loving environment in church and in the neighborhood.

MS. YVONNE BASKERVILLE

13:54:33
And one day I rode out to a place called Glenn Echo. Well I had seen the signs for Glenn Echo on the buses and the streetcars when I would go to other places. So I wanted to go and it was the name of this particular streetcar. So when we got to the end of the line the driver told me I couldn't get off.

MS. YVONNE BASKERVILLE

13:54:52
And I was startled because I was still a child and every end of the line you would always get off and wait while they turned the streetcar around or in the case of a bus you would just wait on the sidewalk until the driver went to the bathroom or whatever they had to do.

MS. YVONNE BASKERVILLE

13:55:08
But he was very forceful. He said, "You have to stay on the streetcar." And he locked me inside and I had to stay there and of course I was upset. But there was no one else there so I didn't cry out or anything. I knew he'd be back and when I came back home I told my grandmother about it and she was highly incensed.

MS. YVONNE BASKERVILLE

13:55:27
I don't know if there was anything she could do about it but the problem was, people of color were not allowed to go into this part, not only then but for many, many, many years afterwards. And even after integration in the 50's and 60's I never, ever went to Glenn Echo. I never wanted to go after that. I was just so crushed at not being able to go.

MS. YVONNE BASKERVILLE

13:55:49
I remember even now where I was when Martin Luther King was shot. I was coming up 14th Street Northwest. I was going to Agricultural Head, what they called a graduate school for government workers and it's still a part of the United States Department of Agricultural and I had just gotten out of my class and I had turned on the radio and I was driving up 14th Street and the man who normally is playing music at that time of the evening said that Martin Luther King had been shot and they believed it was fatal.

MS. YVONNE BASKERVILLE

13:56:24
And I just sort of stopped and people began to blow their horns because I was just standing there and because other people were hearing the same thing. So my first thought was to hurry up and get home.

MS. YVONNE BASKERVILLE

13:56:39
From what I've learned from my great-grandmother, from what I've learned as I've grown in my jobs, loving yourself, knowing who you are is most important. Loving God and transferring that same love to the people you meet along the way, no matter how they treat you, transfer that same spirit of kindness and continue to move on.

SHEIR

13:57:14
And that's "Metro Connection" for this week. We heard WAMU's Bryan Russo, David Schultz, Kavitha Cardoza, Sabri Ben-Achour along with producer Marc. Jim Asendio is our news director. Our managing producer is Tara Boyle. Our intern is Lauren Landow. Jonna McKone produces "Door To Door."

SHEIR

13:57:33
Thanks to Tobey Schreiner, Jonathon Charry, Andrew Chadwick, Margo Kelly, Timmy Olmstead, Kelin Quigley for their production help. And to Dana Farrington and the WAMU digital media team for keeping our website up-to-date.

SHEIR

13:57:46
Our theme song, ''Every Little Bit Hurts'' and our ''Door To Door'' theme "No Girl" are from the album "Title Tracks" by John Davis and used with permission of the Ernest Jennings Record Company. Visit our website, metroconnection.org, for a list of all the music we use.

SHEIR

13:57:59
And while you're there, you can find links to our Facebook page and Twitter feed. You can subscribe to the free weekly podcasts and you can send an email by clicking the contact link at the top of the page. We hope you can join us next Friday afternoon at 1:00 and Saturday morning at 7:00 when we'll talk bridges. From people who bridge the gap between different cultures to literal bridges including one four-mile span that strikes fear in the hearts of local drivers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 1

13:58:27
The height of it, the openness to a very large sky, the large view of water can be very threatening to someone.

SHEIR

13:58:37
I'm Rebecca Sheir and thanks for listening to "Metro Connection," a production of 88.5 news.
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