Federal Writers' Project – Life Histories/2015/Fall/Section 018/Granville Brooks

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Mary Hines[edit | edit source]

Mary Hines (March 3, 1883- March 31, 1951) of Charleston, South Carolina was an African American cook.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Granville Brooks was born on March 3, 1883 in Charleston, South Carolina. His parents were slaves on a plantation and he grew up on this plantation as an only child. His first wife deceased in 1905. She left him with two sons whom he never contacted after they both moved away. He married again in 1922.

Work Life[edit | edit source]

Brooks had a strong desire to travel. After working for eleven years as a butler for Dr. Eugene Foster in South Carolina, he resigned to move to Pensaeola, Florida where he found employment as a fireman. Soon after, he traveled to Augusta, Georgia and opened a restaurant. After a few years, he sold the place and moved to New Orleans, Louisiana. In New Orleans, he was employed as a cook at a hospital from 1915 to 1935. He was dismissed from his job, despite his satisfactory record, when the hospital began switch African American chefs for Caucasian chefs. The movement was in line with the racial segregation that was prevalent during the 1900s. His unemployment put him in distress as it led him to be unable to play for the insurance for his family.

Family[edit | edit source]

He met his second wife, Harriett, a maid, at the hospital. Harriett was partly crippled as a result of several paralytic strokes. Brooks did not have any children when Harriett. However, they took care of Harriett’s orphan nephew, Laden. Brooks never allowed either of his wives to work outside of the house. He supported that women should hold the traditional homemaker role because he believed that allowing them to work would cause him to lose more money than he would make. There is no more known information about him.

Racial Segregation[edit | edit source]