From Porch Swings to Patios: Oral History Project

Interview of Ruth Coles by Milton J. Carpenter on December 29, 1980.

Ruth Coles was born around 1900 and although her family did not live on Vinegar Hill, her father was a barber in that section of Charlottesville. She remembers how important family was for them. Also, she recalls that neighborhoods were close and discusses how she, her family, and their neighbors enjoyed attending houseparties in the neighborhood, playing croquet, and maintaining a flowergarden. Coles says that she did not consider issues of class to divide the black community much, remarking on how poorer citizens, for example, shopped at the second hand store on Vinegar Hill and therefore could always dress well and "in style". After completing high school at Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute in Petersburg in 1929 (currently Virginia State University), Coles returned to Albemarle County to teach school for thirty years, eighteen of which were spent teaching in Charlottesville. Much later on in life, she and her daughter were the first parent-child pairing to graduate from Virginia State University together.

Listen to the Interview (25 minutes long):     28.8K     56.6K     Other

From Porch Swings to Patios: An Oral History of Charlottesville's Neighborhoods Prepared by the Department of Community Planning Advisory Board and students of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 1982 - 1984.

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