Bridges Digital Archive: Audio and Video Recordings


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Oral History

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John Coleman describes his childhood in downtown Boston, MA in the 1930s and 1940s, and how he returned to complete college and a Master’s degree after serving in Korea. When he graduated, Patton State Hospital was recruiting so he moved from Boston to Redlands, CA with his family. He describes the warm welcome he received from his white colleagues in Redlands and the locations of Black residents and social life in the 1950s. He describes the difficulty he found trying to find housing because of housing segregation and details his experiences with real estate agents and observations of block busting. He explains how Robert Burton, a Black real estate agent in Redlands, helped him buy a home and describes the community on the northwest side of the city which by the late 1950s had become the center of Black community life in Redlands.


Interview conducted by Charletha Ringstaff and Jennifer Tilton (University of Redlands).