Nuclear Museum Logo
Nuclear Museum Logo

National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Willie Daniels’s Interview

Manhattan Project Locations:

Willie Daniels came to Hanford from Texas by way of Oklahoma, where he worked at a naval air station. He was one of thousands of African Americans who left low paying jobs at home for high pay at wartime Hanford. Like many others, he came for the good pay. He and his brother made $19.20 on their first day of work, more than his brother made in one month on the railroad. Daniels worked mostly pouring concrete and performing manual labor; he poured concrete for all the reactors in the 100 area. In this interview, Daniels recalls Hanford social life, working conditions, and race relations.

Date of Interview:
September 12, 1986
Location of the Interview:


[At top is the edited version of the interview published by S. L. Sanger in Working on the Bomb: An Oral History of WWII Hanford, Portland State University, 1995.

For the full transcript that matches the audio of the interview, please scroll down.]

Book Version:

My home was in Kildare, Texas. I grew up there, went to high school in Jefferson, to college in Prairie View, a segregated school. I took general education, and taught school for about four years in Texas. That was during the Depression, and man when you came out of school you had to scuffle and scuffle hard to get a job. Trouble was you only got paid for six or seven months teaching school in those days but you got to live 12 months a year. I worked anywhere I could.

I went to Texarkana and worked at the creosote plant and from there I worked up and down the railroad, loading ties. At Texarkana, I was working at a concrete plant, making $33.33 a week, that was good money then, work­ing as a common laborer. I worked there a couple of years, and when I left there I heard about this job in McAlester, Oklahoma, in about ’42, a naval air station. That job kinda went down, and we heard about this job in Washington state.

I had an uncle who come out here, and he wrote back and said they was paying a dollar a hour. I say, “What?” My brother say “A dollar an hour?” I say to my brother, “You going?” My brother was working on the railroad. He say, I dont know. Them jobs dont last long.” I say, Man, Im going, you do what you want. I got enough money for you to go. We got together, my brother, Vanis, myself and another boy. We came out to Hanford, in the late summer of 43. We went to work on Labor Day.

We came by bus, we paid our way. Du Pont was shipping some people, but we paid our way. Oh man, that bus broke down in the desert somewhere, and we sat a long while. We finally got to Umatilla, and we was looking at the country and we come around that road to Pasco alongside the river and that bus was leaning and it looked like that bus was going to jump over into that Columbia River. I know that man driving was looking at us back there, I imagine he was having fun looking as us so frightened.

I was so glad when we got to Pasco. We got off the bus at the station and looked around. I asked “Where that job is?” and nobody told us anything, so I went back to the bus station and said, “Lady, where’s that big job going up around here.” She say, “It’s out at Hanford.” I say, “Where’s Hanford?” She says, “Sixty miles out. You go on the bus. One just left and the next one goes after midnight.” I asked “Where do the colored people live around here?” She said, “Over across the track.” We went across the track, and looked down the main street. We saw one or two houses. I said “Let’s go back.”

I went back to the station and said, “Lady, when people come in, going out to Hanford, where do they usually stay until the bus runs?” She said, Well, Du Pont’s got a place up there by the railroad station.” We went up to the place, and an old colored gentleman was in there. I said we wanted to stay the night until the bus goes. He said, Did Du Pont send you? I said, No, and he said, “Well, I can’t let you stay.”

“Look,” he said, “If you stay here and Du Pont didn’t send you, that gets my job, if they find out. I’ll let you stay, but be quiet about it.” We lay down because we was tired. Along about two o’clock in the morning, this train came in from Chicago, loaded with fellows. The next morning, we got with those men and went to breakfast and didn’t have to pay. We followed them around, and signed up to go out to Hanford on the bus. We went on out, no charges, and we got there and there was an old boy from home. I knew him from when I sold men’s clothing. He says, “Hey, boy, did you bring your samples?” I say, Yeah, I got `em. Well, he say, Make me a suit.

They told us we would have to stay in tents that night. But I saw some barracks was finished but nobody was living in them. We got a blanket and slept in the new barracks in beds. The next morning there was so much wind and so much dust, everything was plowed up, you could write your name on our luggage.

We got signed up, and went to work for E.I. Du Pont. Our first day of work, we made $19.20, my brother and I together. They sent us to work on postholes, and we got some overtime. “Gee,” my brother said, “$19.20 is more than I bring home in a month.” I say to him, “I told you to come off that railroad.

The barracks were segregated. Lots of black people were out there, in construction, and lots more were just out there, not doing nothing. We would go to work and come back and some guy had been there ransacking our room. Once we came back to the barracks, and there were some guys in there scuf­fling. This guy had another one down, beating him, kicking him with steel-toe shoes, stomping him. He said, I’ll teach you to go in a room and take stuff, I’ll bet you won’t go in another one.” In the barracks, there was drinking and fighting, and carrying on. Oh, man. There’d be gambling in the washrooms, and playing cards. Some of them were professional gamblers, out there to get all the money. I didn’t mingle with that bunch, not at all.

No. 5 mess hall was where most of the colored people ate. Some whites ate there and some coloreds ate up in No. 2 mess hall. Generally, they ate separately. The food was good, and plenty of it. Long as you raise your hand up, they would bring you more.

I remember at Christmas, ’43, some guys got to fighting in the messhall. Some guy with big of dark shades on, he was jumping on this little guy, and another guy was running from him, and this guy jumped up on a table and stepping from one table to another, trying to hit people, and everybody was running. He got close to where my uncle and I were, and I said Im going to get that guy off that table, he don’t have no business there. He got to the table next to us and threw a cup at the wall and almost hit my wife. I said I know I am going to get him off now, if he hits that little woman over there, I know what will happen to him. They’ll take him to the cemetery and me to Walla Walla, cause I’m gonna eat him up. I had a jackknife, I still have it. It was sharp enough to shave a cat running. I used to trim carpet with it before I got into construction. You werent supposed to carry a jack knife in your pocket, but I said this is a tool. In a few minutes, the security guards came and got him.

In those days, we worked about 12 hours a day, sometimes we worked more. Besides that, I was selling stuff, like toilet goods and I was working at that for Lucky Heart, cosmetics, perfume, hair dressing, powders. I was doing that on the side, some weeks I made as much at that as I did on the job. I was getting about $50 a week on the job, sometimes as much as $70 a week, with overtime. I was also selling men’s clothing for Stonefield Corp. out of Chicago, and for W Z. Gibson clothing company. I was selling men’s shirts and ladies clothes, those Fashion Frocks. At night, when we come in for dinner, I’d get my little bag and go to the mess hall and recreation rooms and get some sales. Oh, yeah.

Where I was working was up at various places, pouring concrete flooring where they stored the trucks. We pushed wheel barrows through there and put matting down. Some of those guys didn’t know how to push a wheel barrow. Boy, they was in trouble. That was hard work, yes, it was. I worked common labor when I wasn’t in concrete. We worked at 2-East. My brother and I poured the first mud [concrete] there, and spread it out of the mixer truck. I also worked at the 100 Areas, all three of the reactors. My brother helped haul and unload the bricks that built that smokestack at 300 Area.

I knew what I was doing when it came to spreading mud. I spread the first load of mud at 100-F. They call concrete mud because it looks like mud. They hauled the mud in trucks, from a mixing plant at Hanford. When the buildings got high, they pumped mud through steel pipes. I worked high up, sometimes. They called that pump-crete.

I thought working conditions was fair. We didn’t have no cruel supervi­sors. I remember two of the guys in our crew, they’d get to telling tales, and everybody in our crew, including the supervisors, would stand there laugh­ing. The supervisors would say, “Okay, boys, stop lying, and let’s go to work.” I remember Wyatt Durette, a white fella who was Du Pont’s concrete super-visor. He used to get on a big box, one of those big of shipping boxes, and say, “All right, boys, I want you to go out and do a good job. Say, if you see a nail sticking up somewhere, take your time and bend it down because we don’t want nobody hurt here. You got all your hands, fingers and toes, and we want you to keep `em that way,” I remember he would get on that big crate on a Monday morning. We got friends and brothers over yonder fighting and we want to do a good job here, he’d say. Sure, I remember Durette.

Only one time I remember any racial problem at Hanford. We was work­ing on postholes and drains at the trailer camp. We had to pull a water line. I forgot his name now, but this white carpenter called one of our boys by name and the boy said “Yes.”

And this carpenter said if you was back in Mississippi now, you would say Yes, sir!” The boy said back to him, But you aint IN Mississippi now.

A lot of blacks worked in concrete. They didn’t mind getting in that mud. We wore rubber boots, hard hats, slicker pants, gloves, to keep the concrete from messin’ your clothes. We wore those steel-toed shoes. Durette always said Be safe.

In the barracks, when I wasn’t working, we’d play whist or dominoes. I didnt have a lot of spare time. I went to Kennewick once, Pasco once, I would go to Yakima because that was where my wife was when she first came. I was a church member, but out at Hanford they had one little house for a colored church, an old farmhouse. I understand some of the preachers got to fightin’ and squabblin’ over something. I never went to church while I was out there, unless I would go when I was in Yakima.

On Sundays, during the summer sometimes I watched baseball games. Whites and blacks played on the same teams. Some of the guys would go swimming. I never attempted to go swimming because they said that Colum­bia River don’t give up the dead. No, sir.

None of us knew what we was doing. Durette tell us if anyone ask what you are doing, tell `em you working. It was way along in the game when they told us we was building that bomb that was dropped on wherever it was, Nagasaki. I say “Is that right?” If we all would have known what we was doing, some of us would have been frightened and left. I would have stayed. I figured if it was safe for somebody else, it was safe for me.

I left Hanford the latter part of ’44, when the job was kinda playing light. I went home to Texas, and I had more money than I ever had in my life. I was down there in Texas in ’44, for Thanksgiving, and I took out my friends and told them to get what they want, this was my bill. I was spending money with both hands. At Christmas we went to see my wife’s people in Alabama. After we stayed home for a while, I bought some hogs, some cows, put some wire around our pasture at Kildare. Said, well, I guess we’ll be here a while. But I got to thinking and told my wife, why don’t we go back where we can make some money. Its all going out, none coming in. She ask, Where we goin? I say, Well, theres a shipyard in Vancouver, Washington.


Full Transcript:

Willie Daniels: First part of ’45 I bought me some hogs and bought me some cows, put a wire around our pasture.

S.L. Sanger: Where was that?

Daniels: Down in a field there.

Sanger: Yeah.

Daniels: And, put me some cows in there. Said, “Well, see I guess we’ll be here a while.” So, we, I told my wife, I said, “Look, say, you know, we ought to go back while we can make some more money.”

She said, “We sure ought.” See, I have not been nothing but spending money since I have been here.

Said, “All going out and none coming in. Suppose we go back where we can make some more money.”

She says, “All right. Where we going?”

I said, “Up at the shipyard in Vancouver, Washington.” Said, “They is shipping people out there from Texarkana.”

Said, “I’m going up, going to Texarkana and sign up and let them ship me out there.” So, we went to Texarkana one day and signed up, came back home and told my brother and another boy about it. They went the next day and they had stopped signing anybody. 

Sanger: Oh, is that right.

Daniels: So, I, yeah, so we got on the train, all of us. I told them come on, go. I say, “If you ain’t got enough money to go, say, I will let you have,” I told my brother, “I let you have some.” 

So, we came on out here.

Sanger: Well, where did you go?

Daniels: Come to Vancouver.

Sanger: Oh, you did. There was a shipyard there?

Daniels: Shipyard, yeah.

Sanger: Was that Kaiser or what?

Daniels: That was Todd shipyard.

Sanger: Oh, Todd.

Daniels: Yeah, I went there. Six weeks. [00:03:00] See I got a job right off, because I was shipped there, you know. Those guys did not get a job. They went on to Tacoma. They did not get a job, they went to Tacoma, said they would go up there, see if they could not get a job up there at the shipyard, so they went to Tacoma. So, I stopped there and I went there six weeks, and man, I did not like that, the noise.

Sanger: Doing what?

Daniels: I was working on the ship, that was, well, I worked as a shipfitter.

Sanger: What is that?

Daniels: Oh, helping the guy that was doing this welding on that ship, you know.

Sanger: What was it, a cargo ship?

Daniels: Yeah.

Sanger: Yeah.

Daniels: Yeah. And, all that noise on that shipping going on in the hull of that ship, shipping them bumps, things get wet, then cut it, you know. Gee. We tack it, tacking it, you know, back, that is why the welders come along and do the fencing job on it. But, I did not like that, because everything where I had been at DuPont, safety, safety, safety. Got there and you see those welders coming around with those things hanging down like this and all those spikes and things. So, no, I do not like this. So, I am leaving here. I stayed there six weeks and I left and went to Tacoma. Got up there and went to the naval base.

Sanger: Oh, you did.

Daniels: Yeah, I worked in the naval base there until, oh, from ’45 down in ’46, close to Labor Day, ’46. And, I was getting $33.33 a week at the naval base.

Sanger: About half of what you might have made out here.

Daniels: Yeah. And, gee, Bowman [PH] he was kind of cruel I thought, in a way. Gee. So, I said, I heard somebody say, “They’re hiring again over at Hanford.” Some of the guys came. I say, “They are.” “Yeah, say, anything you can do, you can get a job there doing it.” Gee, I am going to Hanford. Said, “Let’s go down on Labor Day, when we take Labor Day off, let’s drive over.” So, we did.

Sanger: That was ’46.

Daniels: That was ’46. Came down here, they was hiring.

Sanger: And, that was General Electric this time, or what?

Daniels: Yeah, General Electric.

Sanger: And, they were building more reactors.

Daniels: Let’s see, did we build any more reactors? Yes, we did, yes. And, so got down here, yeah, you can get a job. Said, “Well, we have to go back and get released from the job where we were working, naval base.” [00:06:00] So, went back and so I am working swing shift out at Fort Lewis.

Sanger: Oh, you were.

Daniels: Yeah, worked swing shift out at the yard at Fort Lewis, working laundry.

Sanger: Oh, at the Army base?

Daniels: Yes. And, the guy looked and saw us coming. I went out that evening, I dressed and went out, and there was about three of us, three of us went out together. We were all dressed. When the guy looked and saw us coming, he went on out the back door. Said, “Why did he go out the back? Why did he leave?”

So, finally, he came back, his name Truitt, that was the supervisor. So, when he came back and I went and told him I wanted to get released. 

He Say, “You can’t do it. You got to stay here two more weeks.” 

I say, “I have?” 

He say, “Yeah, you can’t go now.” 

And, the guys said to me, “Hey, what you going to do?”

I said, “I’m going up to see the super, going up to the headquarters and see the head man.” They all took off right behind me. I’m the mouth speaker. So, I went on up there to see him and asked him if I could get released.

He said, “Where you going?”

I told him I would go back to Hanford. Say, they are hiring over there and say, “It’s a dollar an hour over there and that’s more than I’m getting here. And, I would like to get released so I can go back over there.”

He said, “Well, I don’t blame you. Is it a government job?”

I said, “No.” 

He said, “Well, as long as it’s not a government job. Don’t worry about your release.” He said, “Just go ahead on. See, I would, I don’t blame you, I would do the same thing.” So, we got it and we came on, came on over here. And, we got to work right away. And, so when we got back home, we went back home. In about a week we went back home, got back, paycheck and everything they had come, just like he said.

Sanger: Back home where?

Daniels: Tacoma, yeah. I lived in Tacoma there for three months.

Sanger: So, what were you doing when you came back out here then, same work?

Daniels: Yeah.

Sanger: Concrete.

Daniels: Concrete.

Sanger: What work, you will go to work at first, do you remember? [00:09:00] 

Daniels: Let’s see, when we came here, where did we go to work? Seem like we worked, oh, where did we go? H?

Sanger: Yeah, H, I guess, would have been the next, F? H?

Daniels: I think it was 100-H where we went to.

Sanger: The reactor, huh?

Daniels: Um-hmm. Build that reactor, H, I think that is where we went to work. 100-H.

Sanger: Do you, when you were out here during the war, did you wonder what was being built here, or what they were doing? Or, what did people think they were doing?

Daniels: A lot of people, well, none of us did not know what we were doing. We were just working. Durant would tell us, “If anybody asks you what are you doing? Tell them you’re working. What are you building? You’re working.” That is what he would tell us. So, we did not know what we was building. Had no idea. Way along in the game when they told us that we were building that bomb that they dropped on wherever it was.

Sanger: Nagasaki, Japan, Nagasaki.

Daniels: Nagasaki, or wherever it was. I said, “Is that right?” Yeah, Durant told us we did not know what we was building, we was just working.

Sanger: What did you think when you found that out, they dropped that bomb, do you remember?

Daniels: No, I say so, well, if we all would have known what we were doing, some of us would not have been there. Some of us would have been frightened and left.

Sanger: What do you think you would have done, if you had known?

Daniels: Oh, just be, I figured if it was safe for somebody else it was safe for me. I never was put into getting to excited about things like that.

Sanger: Do you ever have any feelings, or bad feelings about working on a weapon like that?

Daniels: No.

Sanger: I guess it shortened the war somewhat.

Daniels: Yeah, right.

Sanger: Well, I guess, what do you have, of those days during the war, what, mostly good memories or what?

Daniels: Oh yeah. Had good memory then. I could sit down and know your conversation and write a letter from the ship. I cannot do it now. I forget so much now it is a pity. My wife used to tell me before she passed, say, “You need to go to the doctor.”

Sanger: You seem like you remember everything today. I do not—

Daniels: “Go to the doctor and get checked, see. I think you losing your marbles.” [00:12:00] 

I say to her, “Well, you just wait until you get old as I am and see what you’ll be doing.” [laughs]

Sanger: That is true. Do you ever see anybody else during that? You know this fellow, [Luzell] Johnson, right?

Daniels: Yeah.

Sanger: Did you know him out there?

Daniels: Yes, I remember when he came there.

Sanger: When was that?

Daniels: He would stand around, he, he standing around there. He would be by himself. All the guys, just like the guys. They had a big old ring there, guys would be boxing, you know. The guys would be up there boxing, he would standing in the door looking up in the barrack—

Sanger: What, at the rec hall?

Daniels: —in the barrack doors. Behind the barracks, they had a big old race there where the guys were boxing. Then they had a, I remember him being there. But, he would be just standing in the door looking out up there. I remember him when he came there. I remember he and another Dave, this young fellow, Braxton, yeah, Braxton was out there. And, I am trying to recall his name, he is back in Louisiana now, or wherever his home is. I remember when they came. Braxton was a big old youngster.

Sanger: Where is he now?

Daniels: He lives over here across town, Pasco.

Sanger: What is his name?

Daniels: His name is—what is his first name? His daughter is around here.

Sanger: Was it Braxton.

Daniels: Braxton.

Sanger: B-r-a-x-t-o-n.

Daniels: That is right. You know where the senior center is up there? If you go on down the street, on the south side of that senior center. He lives in the first block after you leave there in a little old white house.

Sanger: He is younger than you?

Daniels: Rider [PH] Street, what is that?

Sanger: He is younger?

Daniels: Oh, yeah, he is younger than I am.

Sanger: When was he out there? During the war or afterward?

Daniels: Yeah.

Sanger: During the war. After?

Daniels: During.

Sanger: Oh, during the war, in concrete?

Daniels: Let’s see now, I do not know whether Braxton, did Braxton work in concrete? I think he did, I think he was put in charge of us, yes, Braxton, yeah, yeah he did.

Sanger: Anybody else still around here that you know of, besides this guy and Johnson?

Daniels: Oh, my brother, [00:15:00] he lives right back up there at 611, right straight behind me.

Sanger: Oh, he does.

Daniels: Yeah. 611 Beach.

Sanger: What is his first name?

Daniels: Vanis, V-A-N-I-S, Vanis, Vanis Daniels.

Sanger: And, what do you like to be called? Willie, or what?

Daniels: That is what fellows that have been knowing me a long time call me, Willie.

Sanger: W-I-L-L-I-E?

Daniels: Yeah.

Sanger: It’s William, huh?

Daniels: Yeah, my name is William.

Sanger: William what?

Daniels: William Lloyd Daniels, that is my name.

Sanger: D-A-N-I-E-L-S.

Daniels: Right.

Sanger: Yeah.

Daniels: You take most people around call me Bill.

Sanger: Oh, they do.

Daniels: Yeah, Bill. I was working up at the senior center, everybody up there know Bill. I worked tables up there for ten years.

Sanger: Oh, you did. Is your brother older than you or younger?

Daniels: Yeah, two years older.

Sanger: How is he doing?

Daniels: He is not doing the best, but he doing pretty good.

Sanger: So what did you do after General Electric then?

Daniels: After I left General Electric, after I came from there, I just came on here and came around here. I worked for the Operation Mainstream, for that senior citizens. And, I worked for them a while.

Sanger: After you retired.

Daniels: Yeah, after I retired. But I worked around up there at the courthouse, Ben used to work up there. He used to keep those flowers and keep the lawn and everything. All he really had to do was go around there. I was working with him there a while. But, man, that grass, I cannot stand that grass. I had to quit.

Sanger: What, it make you sneeze?

Daniels: Yes. See, I have hay fever.

Sanger: Oh, you do?

Daniels: What do they call it, they say it is going to run into bronchitis. 

Sanger: Yeah, I do, too.

Daniels: See, that is why I do not have no bigger lawn than I got.

Sanger: Well, that is good.

Daniels: No grass. I cannot stand that grass.

Sanger: Well, you know, when did you retire then?

Daniels: ’69

Sanger: And who were you working for then?

Daniels: Working for General Electric.

Sanger: Oh, out at the project? Doing what?

Daniels: I was in the biology department.

Sanger: What were you doing?

Daniels: Well, we were feeding those isotopes and while they was making those experiments [00:18:00] you know, in the biology department, with those animals.

Sanger: Yeah where was that? Out at 100 F?

Daniels: Well, we worked 100 F, that is where I retired from, 100 F.

Sanger: In that radiation experiments.

Daniels: Yeah.

Sanger: Oh, that is a smaller building. Yeah, I saw that, yeah, I have seen that.

Daniels: Of course, they are up here at what-you-call-them now. I understand that they are up here about 300 area now. I have not been out there in quite some time.

Sanger: Well, what kind of animals were they using?

Daniels: They would use sheep, goats, and they had snakes, rabbits, chickens, cows, and not crocodile, but—

Sanger: Alligators.

Daniels: Alligators.

Sanger: They did.

Daniels: Yeah, yeah, oh, had all them things out there.

Sanger: What, and they fed them isotopes, I mean, in the food or what?

Daniels: Yeah, in the feed.

Sanger: Oh, they would. What would happen to them?

Daniels: Well, they would experiment. In fact they’d put one up, see, in a cage and feed it those isotopes. And, then after so long, feed it some so long and then see what effect it had on them, you see. And, they would go from there. That is why they found, they started this bypass. I reckon we started it out there. Yeah, on animals.

Sanger: Oh, they did.

Daniels: Yeah.

Sanger: What, would they die then, some of themt?

Daniels: No, they would live.

Sanger: How long did you work in that?

Daniels: Let’s see, I started in ’65 in biology until ’69.

Sanger: And then you retired?

Daniels: Yeah.

Sanger: You know your brother, Vanis, V-A-N-I-S, is he the one who came out here with you originally?

Daniels: Yeah.

Sanger: Did he stay, work for GE, too, then?

Daniels: No, he went back. He finally came back.

Sanger: You know, when you were out here, out in the barracks, what did you do for fun, when you were not working?

Daniels: When I was not working? We would play Whist sometime. Yeah, we played cards, Whist, or play dominoes sometimes.

Sanger: Yeah. Of course, you probably did not have a whole lot of time, did you?

Daniels: No, I did not have no time.

Sanger: Did you ever leave? Did you ever go into, come into town?

Daniels: Oh, two, three times, I came, let’s see. I think I came to Kenniwick once, Pasco, I believe I came to Pasco once.

Sanger: That was it.

Daniels: I would go to Yakima, because that is where my wife came to when she came out here. She came out to room in Yakima, came to Yakima.

Sanger: How would you get there?

Daniels: On a bus. They had a bus running from Hanford to Yakima.

Sanger: Were you a church member?

Daniels: Oh, yeah.

Sanger: Was there a church out there?

Daniels: Yes, we had a church out there, but they had a, they did not have a church building out there. They had one house up the street there from the barracks, where they would have it.

Sanger: You mean, an old farmhouse, or what?

Daniels: Yeah, the old farmhouse, where they were having church. And, I understand some of the guys, some of the preachers up there got to fighting, to squabbling over something, but they had a fight up I understood. I did not ever go up there.

Sanger: Oh, is that right?

Daniels: I did not ever go to church up there.

Sanger: Where did you go?

Daniels: I did not go to church while I was out there.

Sanger: Oh, you did not?

Daniels: Unless I go like to Yakima to go to church. I did not go to church in that place the whole time we was out there.

Sanger: What would you do, say, on a Sunday, because you usually would not work then, huh?

Daniels: Well, during the summer, why they would be playing ball, some of the guys played. They had a ball team out [00:24:00] there, played baseball. Of course, I did not ever get on the team, but I would go out and look at it.

Sanger: Well, was that sort of thing segregated, too?

Daniels: No.

Sanger: It was not, the sports was not, though.

Daniels: Yeah, sports.

Sanger: Whites and blacks would be on the same team?

Daniels: Oh, yeah, they was all on the same team, yeah.

Sanger: Well, I suppose that was a popular thing, huh?

Daniels: Oh, yeah, yeah. 

Sanger: Yeah, I imagine the sports, what about swimming or— 

Daniels: Some of the guys went swimming, but I did not attempt to go swimming because they said you better not get in that Columbia River, so I was stubborn about getting in that. Me, no, see that river does not give up the dead. So, I said no, no place for me, not in that river. No, sir.

Sanger: Well, so as far as segregation goes, it was the barracks and the mess halls and the rec halls, that is it. I mean you all rode in the same bus and all that?

Daniels: Yeah, all on the same bus and everything. There was some whites, too, they, you know, number five and some few coloreds ate up at number two.

Sanger: Well, was that, do you know, was that regulation, or it just worked out that way?

Daniels: It worked out that way, I think. I think that is the way it was.

Sanger: Yeah, I think that, yeah, the barracks, I mean, they were segregated, but the rest of it was more or less informal.

Daniels: That is right.

Sanger: The food, did you buy those box lunches?

Daniels: No. I did not ever buy those box lunches. I did not ever have a box lunch.

Sanger: What did you eat at noon?

Daniels: Let’s see, at noon, after I was living in the barracks, I always had me some food in my room, picnic, take me a sandwich or something on the job with me. At noon, was not going to be close enough to the barracks to come, yeah. And, some of them guys, they ate those box lunches.

Sanger: Well, I guess that is about it. That is good, that is what I was after.

Copyright 1989 S. L. Sanger. This transcript may not be quoted, reproduced, or redistributed in whole or in part by any means except with the written permission of S. L. Sanger.