Bridges Digital Archive: Audio and Video Recordings


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Oral History

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Willie Moses discusses her move from Louisiana to work in war industries in Seattle, and then her move to Los Angeles, where she and her husband built a series of businesses. She became a real estate agent in Compton, and then moved to Perris, CA for her health in 1957 where she continued to work in real estate with Art Townsend. She discusses early life in the Good Hope and Meade Valleys near Perris, where many Black families bought land and settled in the late 50s and 60s. She shares her memories of March Airforce Base, stories of Art Townsend and Clarence Muse and the political work they did for civil rights, as well as the ways the community organized to bring water, gas and sidewalk services to this rural county region. She talks about racism young people faced in the schools, their effort to bring Black history classes to the schools and her work with the PTA and Human relations commission which ran encounter groups in the late 60s and 70s. She shares her work as a union leader when she ran the school cafeterias, and the collaborations she built across political and racial lines working with the county supervisors and creating the community center named after her and Mr. Schaffer.


Interview conducted by Hailey McKenzie and Jennifer Tilton.