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Viola Boyd [2], 2004 March 26

Identifier: OH-BO0565

Scope and Contents

In this follow-up interview, retired hairdresser Viola Boyd speaks about her life, career, and family. She begins by discussing her experiences while living in Philadelphia as a young wife at the age of 15 in the 1920s, including her search for a job and her social life. Mrs. Boyd had a son and left him with her mother in Matthews so she could work. She recalls how she and her husband Sam moved back to Matthews so their family could be together. She describes her family's difficulties farming cotton the first year they were back in Matthews, then their search for different work. Mrs. Boyd recounts her husband's career working for Seaboard Air Line Railway and her work as a hairdresser at her home. She recalls experiences of racism in her community in Matthews, including a time when a local doctor demanded that she go to the back door with her injured son. Mrs. Boyd shares her opinion that conditions had improved for African Americans by the time of her interview, but there were still prejudiced people in Matthews. She also discusses her leisure activities, including her membership in the Matthews-Murkland Presbyterian Church, working on her home garden, and entertaining visitors including local politician Rod Autrey. As the interview closes, Viola shares stories about raising her children, including teaching them about sex, avoiding arguing in front of them, and making sure they looked presentable.


  • Creation: 2004 March 26

Biographical Note

Viola Boyd was a 93-year-old woman at the time of interview, which took place at her son's home in Matthews, North Carolina. She was born in Matthews in 1911. She was educated at Number 2 Murkland School and Madame Walker's beauty school, and was employed as a hairdresser.


63 Minutes

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the Oral Histories, J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives, UNC Charlotte Repository

Atkins Library, UNC Charlotte
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte NC 28223 United States

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