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Audio recording clip of interview with Viola Johnson by Claytee D. White, March 12, 1996

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Part of an interview with Viola Johnson conducted by Claytee D. White on March 12, 1996. Johnson describes Las Vegas living conditions in 1942.

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Viola Johnson oral history interview, 1996 March 03. OH-00961. [Audio recording] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada


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So, how did you feel then about living in a tent after living in a house with two bedrooms and all of that? Oh, my goodness, it was terrible. And, when we first came out here, it was so hot. I'm telling you, it was so hot. They said it never rain here. One day it came up a rain and then this tent, we got up under the table, we that was in the house, that was the only dry spot in the house, under the table. Sand, sand, sand, blow, oh, the sand would blow everywhere. Because there were no paved streets or anything like that? No, and not too many trees in those days. Now, tell me, with seven people living in this tent, how did you arrange the sleeping and the cooking and all of that? Well, the sleeping, when my dad and some of the other men would come in, they was working days, when they came in, it was time for the swing shift to go to work. They would get up; my brother and my cousin. Then, beside our tent, we had some trees. I don't know what they call them, but they had little fine pen like things on them and we would sleep outside, some of us. We'd sleep out under those trees. My mother had a little thing about right up side of the tent under the trees and we would sleep out there. But, we had to change shifts with sleeping because some would be going and some coming. When the swing shift go then the day shift would go to bed and when the swing shift come in, graveyard would be up, getting ready to go. So, that's the way they did it. Tell me, how was the tent furnished? Let's see. As I can remember, we had one large bed, we had a table and we had a two-burner, oil stove, that's what we cooked on. And, I think, really, there's just little boxes and things, maybe, that we had put our clothes and things in. I don't remember a clothes closet. You also, you cooked on an oil stove on the inside? On the inside, on the outside we had a huge woodstove out on the lot and, of course, we, if you had a lot of meat or pork chops or greens or something, we would cook it on the outside stove. Where did you get the wood from for the wood stove? If I can remember right, Mr. Hughes, the people that we were renting from, they furnished wood for the stove. How close was your next door neighbor to you? Well, in front of us, directly in front of us, oh, I guess, about fifteen feet was another trailer, I mean, a tent. I'm trying to think, Mr. Hughes' place was directly on Jackson, he was facing Jackson but we was kind of in the back, you know.