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0:16 - Journey to UD: Background

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Keywords: 1992 Retirement; Air Force; Army; Chicago; Doctor; Drama; Father; Fifth Grade; Fourth Grade; Germany; Japan; Mother; Sister; Sixth Grade; Teacher

11:10 - Journey to UD: Schools

14:49 - Journey to UD: Religion

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Keywords: Congregational College; Methodist; Presbyterian

17:35 - Journey to UD: Colleges

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Keywords: University of Dubuque; University of Wisconsin

19:42 - Journey to UD

25:26 - While at UD: Rules and Women's Dormitory

37:15 - While at UD: First Impressions

37:59 - While at UD: Race and Diversity

42:48 - While at UD: Social Life

52:54 - While at UD: Faculty

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Keywords: Dr. Hertz; History; Minister; Robert Smith

57:29 - While at UD: Major

83:25 - While at UD: Chapel

84:54 - After UD


Brian Hallstoos (BH): Sitting with Ms. Virginia Diggs.

Virginia Diggs (VD) I'm busy.

BH: Thank you. I'm Brian Hallstoos, joined by my son Tatum Hallstoos. And maybe if you don't mind, to start with where you were born and a little bit about your parents are your upbringing and we'll start from there and go from there.

Virginia Diggs (VD): I was born in Chicago. My father was a doctor. My mother was a teacher before she got married and had me. And I have a sister who is in drama, and now retired from drama, but she is in business of selling homes and stuff like that. She lives in New York and I live out here (in California). And 1:00I've been out here since 1950 when my father died. I went to Europe in 1960. I taught in Germany for two years. I loved every minute of it. I did a lot of traveling. I got through most of Europe, and I was very impressed with what I saw. I loved the Christmas fair that was held in Germany. Then I went to Japan. 2:00I had two years in Germany, and I went to Japan for one year because I had to come back to LA. I didn't have to but I thought I did. And I should have stayed (in Japan), but I didn't. I loved it. I enjoyed Japan. I got to travel all over. I've been to different places in Europe and Japan.

Brian Hallstoos (BH): Were you teaching on military bases?

VG: On military bases. I was with the Army in Germany and with the Air Force in Japan, and I had the rank of Second Lieutenant. The teachers had that rank, and we could go to the Officers' Club as a result, because if you weren't an officer you had to go to the privates' and sergeants' restaurants and clubs. But we could go to the Officers' Club. We were officers and we could eat there, which was nice. I would have liked to have stayed in Japan maybe a year longer and 3:00then come back to Germany or maybe go somewhere else and teach. I could have gone probably to Spain. But it was wherever there were Army bases with families with children. They also had other enlisted men with privates and all that. But we taught the children of the Army personnel regardless of whether they were privates or sergeants or majors or whatever.

BH: What did you teach?

VG: I taught fourth grade in Japan. I believe I taught fifth grade in Germany. I 4:00was a high school-trained teacher in History and English, but when I came out of school they didn't have a need for teachers in high school in those fields. Those are the two fields I would have been comfortable with and that was my preference. When I couldn't get a job in the high schools, then I went to elementary schools. I started there as a sub and then I was able to get a permanent job. Then I taught fifth and sixth grade, mostly sixth grade, which I thoroughly enjoyed. My last school was South Shores, here in San Pedro, which 5:00when I started for three years there it was just a regular elementary school, but then they closed it and we all thought that we were going to have to look for other schools, but then they reopened it as a magnet school for the arts, drama, music, art. I ended up being an art teacher as well as a drama teacher. But I also taught the regular grade, too. I enjoyed it. That's a job I miss. Since I couldn't teach high school, then I liked the older children. But I've taught every grade from kindergarten to seniors in high school as a sub mostly.


BH: When did you retire?

VD: 1992. So it's been 20 years at least.

BH: You mentioned your father was a doctor. Was he in general practice?

VD: In those days it was general practice, but he was a surgeon and an obstetrician. He could do almost anything. You didn't have a designated job like you do more today. He was at Providence Hospital in Chicago. We used to live on 51st Street, not too far from there. We could walk up there. It was about four or five blocks from where we lived.

BH: Would he walk?

VD: Oh no, he drove. My father never walked anywhere except on a golf course and when they went to Europe or traveled. Then he would walk, but otherwise he had his car. My mother had her car and I had their cars. Mostly I used my mother's car because daddy always had his car. He was one of those doctors who would get up in the middle of the night and go to see a patient. They don't do that today. No one does it. But during the time that he was alive he would get up out of his bed and miss affairs that he and my mother wanted to go to if a patient needed him, and especially if a woman was having a baby.

BH: Was he gone most of the time?

VD: Oh yeah, he was gone. We'd see him in the morning when we were getting up 7:00going to school and we would see him every night for dinner. But when he came home at night, now, we were usually in the bed. We liked chocolate ice cream, and we'd tell him to bring ice cream. He would bring ice cream, and we wouldn't remember that we had eaten it. We'd tell him "You didn't bring us any ice cream," so my mother got so that she just left the dishes out on the sink so that we could see that he had brought us ice cream. Most of the time we remembered, but there were times when we didn't.

BH: You're eating it half asleep.

VD: Half asleep. And we'd eat it, and we'd enjoy it. And then we'd go out as a family on weekends. He'd play golf on Wednesdays and Sundays. A lot of times the 8:00three men he usually played golf with, they had families and we knew them, and on Sundays we'd go to Sunset Hills, which was outside of Chicago or we'd go to someplace else. I don't remember now. And the families would take picnic lunches. We had a picnic almost every Sunday in the summertime.

BH: So if you're at 51st and close to Cottage Grove, you were close to Hyde Park.

VD: We were right in Hyde Park. Cottage Grove was the main street with streetcars and about two or three blocks over was Drexel. We lived across from Washington Park so we would go to the park. They didn't have the bushes then 9:00that they have now and we could go over there and ride our bikes and play with the kids in the neighborhood that we knew, and my mother could look out the window and see us. She'd take us across the street. Then we wouldn't be in anybody's way on our street. There was a streetcar line that went in front of our house. Eventually they went to buses from the streetcars.


BH: What schools did you attend growing up in Chicago?

VD: I went to Willard. That was the elementary school. I went to Inglewood, which was the high school. It was out of our district, but we used my mother's friend who had two girls that we were very friendly with; we used their address and went out of the area to Inglewood because my mother didn't like the high school that was in our district.

BH: What high school was that?

VD: That was DuSable. She didn't like that one, so we went out there. We could walk home from there. It was an awfully long walk, but when you're that young you can walk as long as you want to. And we used to walk from our high school to 11:00our friend's home and we'd stay for a while and then we'd take a bus. Some of the time we would walk home from their house, too. That was a long walk. I wouldn't do that again now.

BH: Were each of these schools predominantly African American?

VD: The elementary school was. The high school wasn't. The high school was mixed. Not very mixed, but it was still mixed. It was primarily white. DuSable was primarily black. In fact it was probably all black, but we didn't go there. They had some incidences there that my mother didn't approve of. And she was concerned, she and my father both, so we went to Inglewood. We got permission to go there. You had to get permission from the Board of Education. So they got it.


BH: What year did you graduate from high school and where did you go for college?

VD: I graduated from high school in Chicago and went to the University of 13:00Wisconsin for one year. Then I was home for one year and then I went to Dubuque for two years. I went in as an advanced sophomore instead of as a junior. But the following year I got the proper grade level so I was a senior when I graduated. I didn't continue at Wisconsin because my sister wanted to go away to school and my mother wasn't ready for both of us to be away at the same time, so I stayed home and she went. She stayed away one more year and came home and I went away, and that was it. We both went to New York University to get our 14:00masters. She stayed in New York and I came out here, although I did go to Hartford first. I taught there for a while.

BH: Could you talk a little about what brought you to UD?

VD: My mother decided that I needed to be in a small school and neither of my parents were happy about my going to Wisconsin.

BH: Why not?

VD: Well, it's a large school and they just thought we should be in smaller schools. The college that my sister went to was a small school. But she wanted to come back home, so she came back home. And I didn't want to come home. I wanted to be away at school. I went to New York first. She came to New York 15:00after she graduated and she stayed. I stayed maybe for a year and then I went to California. I always wanted to come to California. When I graduated from college, my graduation gift from my parents was a trip to California. We had cousins living out here. So I fell in love with California and Los Angeles and I made up my mind I wanted to come.

BH: Your mother basically told you, you were going to Dubuque? VD: She just said we've got to find another college because I wanted to go away. I didn't want to stay home. She said we'll find one, and how she found that one, I do not know because I did not want to go. But I went. If the parent says go, you go.

BH: If you had your druthers would you have gone back to Wisconsin?

VD: Probably, but my friends who were there were no longer there, and I would have had to start from scratch. And I was going to start from scratch at Dubuque anyway. I would have preferred going back, but I didn't have a choice. My parents knew where they wanted to send us and that's where we went.

BH: When we spoke several months ago, you mentioned UD President Welch coming to 16:00your house. Is that correct?

VD: That's what convinced my mother. I'm sure of it. I remember him. He was tall and sort of big. He came to my house. That's when my mother made up her mind that that's where I was going to go. I had no say in it whatsoever. I don't regret it. I had a good time there. I made friends there, some of whom I still have, some of whom I don't know where they are. I don't know if they're still alive. But I get a letter every year from one of them, Marion Deischer (now 17:00Skelly). She was a freshman when I got there. She and the group were freshman, and I came in as an advanced sophomore instead of as a junior. Of course I had to go through freshman orientation, so that's when we became friends. And there were six or seven of us who became friends. And we stayed friends for a long time. Most of them were from Iowa, and they were from small towns. I went to visit on the weekends that we could get away. Marion Skelly and her husband - he's a minister - moved a couple of times, but I've saved their letters. We sort 18:00of stay in touch with each other once a year at Christmas time. We put little notes in a card as to what we've been doing and what's going on in life.

BH: Did you travel to friends' homes at UD over the weekends to get home cooking?

VD: No, we didn't do that much. You had to have permission to leave the campus to go someplace. You were at the University of Dubuque and you stayed there. A parent could come and get you, but you had to have a note from your parents that said you had permission to leave the campus and go someplace. We could leave the campus and go to the movies in town. We'd walk or take the bus. We could do that 19:00as long as we were back at the dorm by whatever time, I think it was nine-o-clock. We couldn't leave town without permission. I had permission to go to Anamosa to visit with Nancy. I think three or four of us went there a couple of times. I had permission to do that. But each time I got permission I had to get a letter from my mother or father. Mother mostly.

BH: Who was monitoring you to make sure that you returned on time?

VD: You're supposed to be adult, and you're supposed to be honest, and the housemother knew when you were going and knew when you were supposed to be back. It didn't make any difference: nine-o-clock the doors were locked. If you 20:00weren't there you had to ring the doorbell. And you knew what was going to happen. She had to see the permission that you could leave the campus to go out of town. As long as you were in town that was Ok, because the town wasn't very big. There was no place to go except to the movies downtown. You didn't go downtown to shop because you didn't have any money. You had your allowance and that didn't buy anything other than to go across the street to Goats, and we did that all the time: go over there and have hamburgers and Cokes. And you didn't need permission. If you were on punishment, you stayed on campus, couldn't even cross the street. Couldn't go to Goats.

BH: So Goats was a place where you'd go for dinner, hang out and socialize?


VD: Oh yeah. We went there to have hamburgers in the middle of the day or just to go and have a Coke. You know, just to get off campus, period. It was the shop across the street and most of the kids would go over there. If you didn't like what you were going to have for dinner you'd go over there. Or you could go there for lunch. On a weekend we got sack lunches at lunchtime. That was our dinner: sardine sandwiches. And you know, one does get tired of sardines. I don't eat sardine sandwiches, but we ate them then. It got to the point where we'd go across the street. We'd get a hamburger or something else to eat. It 22:00wasn't always hamburgers, but hamburgers were my favorite and still are so I probably ate more hamburgers over there than anything else. Coke was my drink, but they had other drinks. No liquor, no alcohol or anything like that.

BH: Who would usually be with you at Goats?

VD: We had the ASTP on campus. They had their hours and we had ours. It was 23:00Army. It was during the war period. They would come to some of our parties and dated some of the girls. But I brought my dates for prom from Chicago because there were no blacks in the ASTP at Dubuque. They may have been someplace else, but they weren't there. Well, the second year there were two black men: Leroy 24:00Watts, who I understand is dead now; and Thornton, whose father was a doctor in Dubuque. Oh, what was his last name? Was it Martin? I don't remember. He was a chiropractor I think, but here again I don't really remember. Those two came my last year. I think I dated Thornton a couple of times, but that didn't work out with either one of us. Leroy and I never really dated, I don't think. I was too busy running around with my friends and he was busy running around with his friends. We saw each other, we spoke, we were together a lot of times at different gatherings, you know, at the university, but I didn't do much dating then.

BH: So Thornton's father was a chiropractor in Dubuque?

VD: He wasn't a chiropractor. Pediatrist, I think. All I know is that his father was a doctor. Now his older brother married one of our friends my sister and I 25:00had. Where we lived on 51st Street there were streets that had alleys and one of our friends lived across the alley. We all played out in the alley. We could play out in the backyard because mother and daddy owned the building. But the other people we played with were renting in other buildings and children could not play in the yard. Not that much. But everyone came to our yard because we couldn't leave our yard. We had to stay put. Once we got bicycles we could ride up and down the alley and go maybe in the next alley and around the block if we were good. Most of the time we were in the yard and they were there. And this 26:00friend married Thornton's older brother, Bob. And Bob is still alive, but he and Odette are in a facility for older people, and neither one of them are well. And he is well into his 90s. He was in the Tuskegee Airforce. He's got to be in his 90s and she's probably in her 80s. She and my sister were close.

BH: Do you know if Thornton is still living or not?

VD: I haven't heard anything about him. I just found out that the husband of one of the gals who used to run around with us died. In fact two spouses died. The girls are still alive as far as I know. I used to stay with one of them when I came to Dubuque. I came for my 50th anniversary. I think I was there for the 25th anniversary of my graduation. One of the girls, Nancy, lived close by. I've 27:00forgotten the town she lived in right now. I stayed with Nancy, and we would go to Dubuque, but she would never spend the night. She didn't like to stay in hotels, so we would stay there until the festivities were over and then we'd drive back to where she lived. It wasn't that far.

BH: Things have changed dramatically since you returned in 1997 for your 50th graduation anniversary.

VD: Even after 25 years it had changed, and I was glad to see that there were more people other than Caucasians. There were blacks there, Mexicans, so forth. 28:00I was glad to see that. It was a nice college. It was small, and I enjoyed it. I really did.

BH: Do you remember where you lived on campus?

VD: Severance Hall. That was the only dorm for women. Steffans Hall was the male dorm, I believe.

BH: Do you remember when you first came to Dubuque and your impressions at that time?

VD: I wanted to go home. It was my mother's choice in the school, not mine. What changed my mind was the people that I met. They were friendly. I was the only black person there, and I did not know what I was getting into. Well, I did know, but I didn't realize until I got there because according to the President (Welch), Oh, this was a wonderful school, actually. Everyone was very friendly, 29:00actually, all of the good things. I did not know that I was going to be the only black person there. All I know is that I got there and they put me in the Nurse's Office, which was a small room with one bed. The gals that I ran around with were upstairs with everybody else, and I was downstairs with some upper classmen on the main level. You walk in. You go up a few stairs and you go into the dorm section. That's where I was, in a small room, one bed, a dresser, and a closet. And it wasn't a regular closet because it was a nurse's closet. That's where I was for one year. I would go to the bathroom with sophomores or juniors 30:00or seniors there, and I was a freshman and different. I got along, you know, and I got used to it. At first it bothered me because I knew what it was and therefore that bothered me. I was mad at my mother for making me go there. That didn't last long. It wouldn't have made any difference anyway. After I met the freshman that I ran around with all the time, I had a good time. They were friendly. I was friendly. We liked the same things. We weren't necessarily in the same classes, but we had a good time together. We obeyed the rules and we disobeyed the rules like all college people do. So I had a good time my second 31:00year. I went upstairs to the third floor where my friends were.

BH: Did you have a roommate there that year?

VD: I didn't at first, but then a black girl came and they put her in my room. I don't remember her name. We were friends, but we weren't close friends. She was only in the room . I called it "my room" for maybe two months because she had come from Galena with two friends who were white. They were living down the hall and one of them went home. She decided that she wanted to go down and room with her friend, and I said, "Ok. That's nice. You should be with your friend. I'll help you move." So I helped her to move.

BH: So you had a lot of space to yourself then?

VD: No, I had more space. The nurse's room was not very big. It was small, but I managed. And I don't regret it. I was annoyed, you know, but it was part of the experience. Growing up you have many experiences, some that are good and some that aren't good. And some you'll always remember, whether they're good or bad, and some you'll forget. And I remember most of the good things about being at the University of Dubuque. I had a good time. I had good friends.

BH: Do you remember being made to feel different on campus?

VD: No. Maybe by some people, but if I did, I don't remember it. I was in the group and we had a good time together. If you didn't like one, that's too bad. You got all seven of us, regardless of how you felt about one. We were always 32:00together. Even those who were dating some of the boys on campus, it didn't make any difference. And most of the ones who were dating were dating the fellows from Nicaragua. They were very friendly with everybody, you know. And they spoke their language, but they also spoke English. We all had a good time. We did a lot of things together. We picnicked together on Sundays when we didn't have to go to the (Peters) Commons to have dinner. It was nice because we'd go to Eagle 33:00Point Park. We'd go up there on Sunday afternoon and stay, and we would take our sack lunches and we would eat up there. That was fun, and then we'd come back down as it began to get dark.

BH: Do you remember ever being made to feel unwelcome by the Dubuque community?

VD: You know, I don't really think so. I don't remember. The only place we went, really, was to the movies. I don't remember eating at a restaurant there. We didn't have any money. That was the main reason probably. You had an allowance, but it wasn't enough to go to a restaurant, a nice restaurant, at any rate. We might have gotten a hamburger or something like that. Most of the time if we wanted to eat different food we went to the Goats and we had sandwiches, and I always had a hamburger. That's my favorite, hamburger. And that's where I took my parents when I graduated. My father wanted to see where the goats were. I 34:00said, "Daddy, there are no goats there. That's the name of the restaurant. It's the campus restaurant!" I took mother and daddy over there, and then my sister came, and I think one other friend came. We sat and had lunch there because I had the family car for the last week I was in Dubuque. By that time daddy had two cars, and he and my mother and sister and friend, which was Francis, I think, drove up in his car because I had the family car. By that time we could 35:00leave because I was already packed up and that that had to be sent was sent. Mother and daddy stayed in town at one of the hotels. Was the Hotel Julienne, I think. That's where they stayed one night. Then we came home all together.

BH: Did you attend church while you were at UD?

VD: We had to attend chapel and there were times when we had to attend another church. There were some services that we were required to go to. If we weren't required, we were requested, which was the same thing. I just remember I went to some other church downtown that we as students had to go to, but I don't remember why. We had to make chapel at least three times a week. At least. We soon learned how to do that. I won't give our secret away. When I went, everybody was there, and you had to sign pieces of paper that you were there and put it in this basket. Now you know what probably happened. If somebody didn't want to go, you took turns, you know. They gave you one piece of paper, but we always found a way of getting two pieces of paper. We could put someone else's name down. That sort of thing. We went, oh I'll admit, plenty of times, but there were times when I didn't feel like going, so you don't go. You get someone to go because you've gone for them. You take turns. That was my first experience of being forced into, well, not physically forced, but you had to go. If you were sick then you had to let the housemother know that you weren't able to go. You should be in your room or you could sit out on the lawn because you didn't feel well. I'm sure Mrs. Parsons, that's who she was, she was our dorm mother. She wasn't young. Probably she was in her 50s, closer to 60. She had white hair or mixed grey hair and she was a nice build. She wasn't fat, but she wasn't, you know, skinny. She was definitely middle age, we'll say. Very nice, very nice, but she knew the rules. And you knew the rules. And you did follow the rules or Mrs. Parsons would help you to remember the rules. Just as nice as she could be, do anything in the world to help you, etc., but you followed the rules, period. That was it.

BH: How were you involved in the YWCA while at UD?

VD: I know I was involved. I might have been secretary, but I can't remember. We had the meetings. You know, it was like a regular college meeting, but I really don't remember too much about that. But I came across the two albums that I had not too long ago when I was cleaning my closet and I started going through them, and I fell out laughing. I laughed, and I said, "I can't remember doing this. Did I really do this? Did we really do all these things? Did we really look like this?" What a change.

BH: Do you remember being class secretary your senior year?

VD: You know, that does sound familiar. How come I didn't see that in the album 36:00(yearbook)? I'll have to go get those albums again and look at them. I think I was now that you mention it. Thank you! I'd forgotten. I've forgotten a lot of things.

BH: Do some faculty stick out for you in particular?

VD: My history professor. Dr. Hurtz was, I think, the history teacher because I was a History major. Robert Smith was the minister. I liked him. You had to take Bible lessons then. I had to take it both years I was there. You started at the beginning and went to the end of the Bible. Professor Smith was excellent. I enjoyed his classes, but I also enjoyed him as a person. Dr. Hurtz was my history professor. There were about five or six of us in his class. Unfortunately he found out that I was a History major. Any time nobody could answer a question I would have to answer the question. I thought 'Good grief! 37:00He's going to make me learn history whether I want to or not.' Most of the time I could keep up with him, but I couldn't always. "Oh that's all right, Ms. Diggs," he'd go ahead. He was German and he had an accent. Those two (professors Hurtz and Smith) were my favorites. Anna Aitchinson was the English teacher. I liked her. Dean Fox was nice. I don't remember what he taught, but I remember him. Those four I remember. Oh, there was another one. I probably shouldn't say 38:00this, so I won't. I can't remember his name, but what did he teach? Everybody liked his class and the girls liked to sit in the front. I didn't. I never liked to sit in the front, even now. Girls liked to sit in the front. He was very nice. He was big. What's his name? I liked him, but he was up on cloud nine. You had to really think about what he was saying to you and how he listened to you. If he asked you a question and you answered it, you got an A. So everybody studied up to at least get one A. I remember that, but I can't remember his name. I assume that most of them are dead by now, I would think, because some of 39:00them were old, older than a lot of college teachers.

BH: As a History major, do you remember what courses you took from Dr. Hurtz?

VD: I didn't like American history. I always took Ancient, Medieval and whatever came after Medieval. Modern, I guess you'd call it. Those classes were the ones that I took. I think I did have to take an American history class, but I was more interested in the earlier history.

BH: Was Dr. Hurtz part of what inspired you to be a History major?

VD: No, I decided in high school that I wanted to major in History because I wanted to teach and I didn't want to teach anything but history. But I knew I'd have to have something else, so I chose English because I thought that would be easy, which it was up to a point. As a regular teacher sixth grade is the highest grade I've taught. I've taught kindergarten through high school, but my high school was mostly as a sub.

BH: In high school what was it about history that inspired you to pursue it as a major?

VD: I just was interested. It was just one of those things. I preferred subjects that I hadn't learned that much about because in high school you don't get all of that. So I knew I wanted to be a History teacher and an English teacher, but History was my major; English was my minor. American history I got in high school, and that was interesting, but it was something that I had to take, whereas with the European history I didn't know that much about it and I wanted to learn about it and it wasn't something I had to do. It was my choice. That might have been it. I never taught history. I taught fifth and sixth grade. Yeah, there was a certain amount of history we taught, but it was American history or South American history. Oh, I loved the South American history. American history I taught, but I didn't have the feeling about it that I had for the other.

BH: Regarding history, your interview today helps us prepare for a fall exhibition that will celebrate a hundred years of African American students' experiences since the first black students, Sol and Benjamin Butler, came to UD in 1915.

VD: My father knew Sol Butler, but I didn't realize he had a brother. I thought Sol was the only one who went. Daddy was one of the physicians that treated different athletes when they were in Chicago, but he never said anything about a brother. The only thing he said was he knew that Sol Butler had been there because I didn't want to go to Dubuque. I wanted to go to a different college and my mother said, "You're going there." She liked what Dr. Welch had said and daddy went along with her, and said, "Ok, fine." But he's the one who told me about Sol Butler.

BH: Do you think your parents became aware of UD because Sol Butler had been there?

VD: I don't know. I don't remember how my mother found out about Dubuque, but I know Dr. Welch came to see her and talked her into it. He's a good person to talk you into something evidently.

BH: Did you meet Sol Butler?

VD: No. I never heard of him. That was before my time, and I wasn't interested. When Dr. Welch was talking and my mother reported what he had said, I guess that's when daddy remembered that he knew Sol Butler. But I don't think he knew where he went to school. Knowing my father, I just assumed that he didn't, unless Sol Butler came to his office he probably wouldn't, although he was always interested in sports. Nobody else had been there, I was told. No other black had been there until I got there except for Sol Butler. I was told that I was the first black female to go there. Dr. Welch said that.

BH: How do you think your experience at UD prepared you or failed to prepare you for where you went in life after Dubuque?

VD: Well, they trained me so that I could be a teacher, and that was my profession, and I enjoyed that. The first two or three months were not what I expected college to be like, and it was not like any of my experiences at Wisconsin. But then I knew some people who were in school there. I was living in a co-op and it was an interracial co-op. They were not close friends. They were just the children of the parents that my parents knew, and I had met them. I went there as a freshman and they ranged from being juniors to seniors, so they were older. There were some people from my high school that I knew very well, and they also went to Wisconsin. So we sort of hung out together, and that was fine. But when I went to Dubuque I didn’t know anyone and I did not expect to be the only one, but I was. I adjusted and I have adjusted ever since. Still, I was the only one at many of the schools I’ve taught at here. I was the second one, I think, that was at South Shores. And then we had a couple of others, but not many. Most of my children were Caucasian. Finally they were a mixture of Caucasian and Mexican. We went on this program where the schools had to be integrated and we got children from another school and our children had to go to another school. We didn’t have a mixed faculty. I was there. The music teacher, she was black. And we had a Mexican teacher or Hispanic teacher, I should say, and that was it. I was the only one for a long time until the female music teacher came. She stayed there and retired the year before I did. She did all the music for our plays, and she even wrote a play and we did it. I was the director. My experience coming here: I’ve been in black schools, I’ve been in white schools, I’ve been in mixed schools, but I haven’t been in a predominantly Mexican school. When they went into integration, then we got more black students and Mexican students bused in. For I guess some of the teachers there that was a new experience. It wasn’t for me. I’d been mixed up so far as teaching goes and even as my own life. I’ve had different friends from different races, especially as an adult. Not so much as an elementary school child, but in high school it was mostly black and white – but it was mostly white rather than black - and then college has been a mixture. I’ve never been to an all black college. All of my colleges have been mixed, and I mixed up Dubuque as a female. Even when we went into town (Dubuque) very rarely did we see Mexicans or blacks. Very seldom. Everybody was Caucasian, just about. And also on campus. But you know, it was something that didn’t bother me. It did at first because I resented being put in the nurse’s room the first year. I really resented that, but then I made friends. The one I stay in touch with or stays in touch with me I find out what happened to the people we ran around with and whose husband has died and all that sort of stuff, whose children have gotten married. So I keep up with that. I had a good time when I was there. You know, after the first month or two I had made friends and I got over the fact that I felt that I wasn’t being… what is it? There’s a word that I was going to use… Well, let’s say I wasn’t being segregated. I was just being helped to adjust. We’ll put it that way. To adjust to being in an all white school. Well, I didn’t have to adjust to that because I had been in all white schools before. Not as elementary school, but in high school and in the colleges that I went to before I came to Dubuque, so that was no problem. No problem whatsoever. It hasn’t been since.

It’s still the same.