Federal Writers' Project - Life Histories/2017/Fall/Section 26/Mary Hines

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Mary Hines
BornMary McCants
Around 1888
Monroe County, Alabama
Died?
NationalityAmerican
EthnicityAfrican American
OccupationTeacher
SpouseDock Hines
(1913) «start: (1913)»"Marriage: Dock Hines
to Mary Hines
"
Location:
(linkback://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Federal_Writers%27_Project_-_Life_Histories/2017/Fall/Section_26/Mary_Hines)
ChildrenBlona Hines
Myrtice Hines
Pauline Hines
Dorothy Hines
John Wesley Hines
ParentsDave McCants
Julia Williams


Overview[edit]

Mary Hines was an African American schoolteacher who was interviewed as part of the Federal Writers' Project in 1939.

Biography[edit]

Early Life[edit]

Mary Hines was born around 1888 in Monroe County, Alabama to two tenant farmers, Dave and Julia McCants. Her father had been born a slave, but was freed as a child with Emancipation. When Hines was four her family moved to Wilcox County. In 1911, they moved to Escambia County. Her family continued to work as tenant farmers in each location.[1]

Education[edit]

One of seven children, Hines was the last to leave her family home. She begged her parents to allow her to attend school. She eventually she joined the Colored Industrial Seminary at Snow Hill, where she worked in the laundry to pay her board. Hines finished the eleventh grade there and took the state examinations. She taught there for three years afterwards.[2]

Family Life[edit]

While Hines was in school, her mother ended her first romantic relationship. In 1913, Dock Hines wife died and he asked for Hines hand in marriage. At 25 years old, Hines felt that if she did not marry soon she never would, so she agreed.[3] They were married later that year. Hines moved to Camden where her new husband taught, but they moved back to Escambia County so she could be closer to her parents. Dock continued to teach until 1916. When that did not provide enough money for their family he worked in a sawmill until it closed in 1926. By this time, Hines had given birth to nine children, four of which died before reaching adulthood. The remaining children were Blona, Myrtice, Pauline, Dorothy, and John Wesley.[4]

Later Life[edit]

After the deaths of their children, Dock began to lose his sight due to cataracts. To avoid starving, Hines and her children worked in the fields, picking cotton and strawberries. During the Great Depression, the Hines lost possession of their house in Atmore, Alabama, but Hines made sure her children were still able to attend school. When her daughters began teaching, they had enough income to pay the government for their house. [5]During this time Hines was interviewed by Annie Bowman for the Federal Writers' Project. She later died at an unknown place and time.

Social Issues[edit]

African American Unemployment during The Great Depression[edit]

The Great Depression had a massive impact on the workforce of the United States. As rural areas urbanized, agriculture and tenant farming were less prevalent. “National income dropped by 50 percent and unemployment rose to an estimated 25 percent of the total labor force.”[6] African Americans, however, faced the brunt of the situation. They were often the first to be laid off. The African American unemployment rate was two to three times higher than that of Caucasian workers.[7] A “Jobs for Negroes” movement began in 1929 to boycott chains of stores that serviced mostly African American customers but hired only Caucasian employees. The discrimination encourage the majority of African Americans to vote for Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal in 1932. However, the policies of the New Deal did little to help with the discrimination African Americans faced during this time.[8]

School Segregation in the 1930's[edit]

The segregation of schools became a much more noticeable issue during the 1930's. In the northern states, African Americans were mostly ambivalent towards segregated schools. “Many felt that such schools protected children against racism and falling behind because of under-preparedness.”[9] However, African Americans in the southern states felt differently. There was a wide discrepancy between the funding of African American schools verses Caucasian schools. Also, as the Great Depression deepened, money from African American schools was taken and given to Caucasian schools.[10] The schools for African Americans were often over-populated and run-down. This made it challenging to teach African American children more than basic and technical skills. Although the NAACP and others spoke out about how segregated schools negatively affected African Americans, it would be some time until schools were desegregated.

References[edit]

  1. Bowman, Annie L. Interview of the Hines Family, January 2, 1939, Alabama 2-A, SHC Collection Number: 03709: Federal Writers' Project Papers, 1936-1940, Federal Writers' Project, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina.
  2. Bowman, Annie L. Interview of the Hines Family, January 2, 1939, Alabama 2-A, SHC Collection Number: 03709: Federal Writers' Project Papers, 1936-1940, Federal Writers' Project, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina.
  3. Bowman, Annie L. Interview of the Hines Family, January 2, 1939, Alabama 2-A, SHC Collection Number: 03709: Federal Writers' Project Papers, 1936-1940, Federal Writers' Project, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina.
  4. Bowman, Annie L. Interview of the Hines Family, January 2, 1939, Alabama 2-A, SHC Collection Number: 03709: Federal Writers' Project Papers, 1936-1940, Federal Writers' Project, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina.
  5. Bowman, Annie L. Interview of the Hines Family, January 2, 1939, Alabama 2-A, SHC Collection Number: 03709: Federal Writers' Project Papers, 1936-1940, Federal Writers' Project, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina.
  6. Trotter, Joe W. "African Americans, Impact of the Great Depression on." In Encyclopedia of the Great Depression, edited by Robert S. McElvaine, 8-17. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. U.S. History in Context. http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3404500017/UHIC?u=sand55832&xid=c5d29dd4.
  7. Lynch, Hollis. “African American Life during the Great Depression and the New Deal.” Last modified July 14, 2017. https://www.britannica.com/topic/African-American/African-American-life-during-the-Great-Depression-and-the-New-Deal.
  8. Trotter, Joe W. "African Americans, Impact of the Great Depression on." In Encyclopedia of the Great Depression, edited by Robert S. McElvaine, 8-17. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. U.S. History in Context. http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CX3404500017/UHIC?u=sand55832&xid=c5d29dd4.
  9. Stakeman, Jackson and Randy Stakeman. “Segregated School Resource Inequality in the 1930’s.” Last modified February 18, 2012. http://scalar.usc.edu/nehvectors/stakeman/school-segregation-in-the-1930s.
  10. Stakeman, Jackson and Randy Stakeman. “Segregated School Resource Inequality in the 1930’s.” Last modified February 18, 2012. http://scalar.usc.edu/nehvectors/stakeman/school-segregation-in-the-1930s.