John Vachon/Library of Congress
Profiles: Paul Ingram
Saturday, December 24th, 2011
Basically the situation with blacks, particularly in this society, always had stumbling blocks. Jobs were difficult to get except Detroit was a little unique because you had the automobile industry, and they had a lot of manual labor, and you didn’t need a lot of education. The African-Americans would end up working in the foundry, the dangerous jobs.
It was hard. It was difficult. But people, they grew things in their backyard. We had a grapevine; they had a pear tree. People weren’t so concerned as much about how their grass looked as much as how their greens looked. All the food you’ve learned to see your grandmother cook, that was all that was left for our ancestors, and they learned to take their food and transfer it into a decent meal. As a kid growing up, she would take neck bones and boil them in a pot. Get potatoes and boil them, get some celery and make a gravy and eat it with biscuits. The nickname was puzzle bones because you had to reach all in and tear them apart to find the meat.
Parents would feed their kids all kinds of stuff to make them chubby, as a sign that they were eating.
Interview by Michael Lawson
Paul Ingram died June 9, 2012, while vacationing in Jamaica. He was 78 years old.