Black United Front Oral History Project
Willie Mae Hart: Early Life
Hart chose to leave Mississippi in the late 1930s after her first child, a son, was born. In her interview, she explains that fear of violence against Black men in the South prompted her decision to move.
Willie Mae Hart: [...] I said, "Well, I'm going to stay. I'm not going to live in the South any more because I have a son." If I'd had a daughter, I would stay.
Lisa Donnelly, interviewer: Why is that? I mean, why did you not want to raise a son there?
Willie Mae Hart: Because they would try to kill him. What happened, one of my mother’s cousins was killed because he and a white young lady started yackity-yacking together, and a guy saw it and killed him. That’s why I said, "I will never raise a son in Mississippi." Well, look at the color of all our people. You know? The women could do what they wanted. But the men, they wanted to kill them.