Lewis Phillips and Gloria Strong

Recorded June 28, 2014 Archived June 28, 2014 43:57 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: atd001193


Gloria Strong (57) interviews her friend and church member, Lewis Phillips (77), about his most notable life experiences including his Vietnam war experiences, and raising a large family.

Subject Log / Time Code

Lewis (L) talks about his parents and upbringing. He was born and raised in Atlanta. He was raised in the Summer Hill neighborhood, which is where many poor blacks lived at the time.
K remembers his father, who he admired very much.
L talks about leaving the military. He had a hard time adjusting to domestic life.
L talks about working for Eastern Airlines.


  • Lewis Phillips
  • Gloria Strong

Recording Locations

Christians for Change Baptist Church

Venue / Recording Kit

Partnership Type




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00:04 My name is Gloria strong. I am 57 years old. Today is Saturday June 28th. 2014 location is Christians for change Baptist Church, Riverdale, Georgia. I am interviewing Deacon Lewis Phillips.

00:23 My name is Lewis Phillips, Jr. Age 77 today's date is June 28th, 2014.

00:32 In Riverdale, Georgia and

00:37 My interviewer it was Gloria strong. We also remember the same Choice Christopher change Baptist Church.

00:47 Okay, I'm thinking Phillips who were your parents and what did they do for a living?

00:52 Okay by my father name Lewis Phillips. My mother name Sally Phillips my father worked on.

01:01 Destruction work and he also has a night Watchman that when it's been the capital home or mother did not work.

01:08 She stayed at home.

01:12 We young live and some of you and what you call I answer you. Don't tell me you're losing for what I was raised mostly for 4.

01:21 And that's

01:23 Like I said my mother she didn't work you do you have any siblings living now my two younger brothers. An infant and one of my sisters died as a in the baby, but I have two sisters living out. What is 5776 + 1 is 78

01:47 Living in Rochester New York. Have you indicated that you are a native atlantan? So you grew up in the Summer Hill area tell me a little bit about that area where I grew up I was born and reared in Summerhill. And so I was six years old some of yours on a place where most black folks pulled black folks lyrics

02:12 And it was all about hustling to survive seven corn liquor.

02:20 Banking numbers

02:23 And I

02:25 It wasn't up. You knows what may happen if it's almost everybody that I knew I had a little chit raising chicken to have a personal guard in the area. And that's how we survive. What area is that we talked about downtown Atlanta where exactly is 4/4. Okay for what stars from Bradley Street?

02:46 And all the way up to Bill Street, I think it is it from Decatur Street over to house and feed that's for singles Atlanta. What was broken up in water district instead of council District back during that time and I was born actually in Greeley Hospital Grady baby. So tell me about your childhood in any job that you held as a child or two from the time that

03:16 My mother and father separated

03:20 And I want to be with her and I'm 7 years old on I worked I used to work on a wood truck or cold truck. Then I would have what truck is it when they cut up they cut out cut wood for that sell it to people that hack wood burning stoves are heaters are five places where they use it after cooking material for the stove and also ice.

03:44 Get out of refrigerator has ice boxes. And when I was 9 I didn't care noise when I was 7 I just worked on it what truck but at 9 I was scaring eyes and I did that until

03:57 I was 13 and I lied and told the people. I was 16 and I start working at Jimmy's Steakhouse downtown. You don't need a library for please call Jimmy Steakhouse on work there and also worked at Atlanta Stove Works. And plus I was hustling.

04:19 Explain Hustler. What did you do at a Red Liquor also picked up numbers for the book.

04:32 It was survival thing. You wouldn't understand why you don't try to be slick. It was as you know, where you when you're home and you're bad for you to eat all your clothes Raggedy Ann people making fun of you. You'll do just about anything and if I tell folks about these kids today not all of them, but don't running through it for The Old Man and the old people use you back to a special man, cuz they know that you're not going to jail.

04:55 So they let you do all that breaking the law.

05:00 Okay.

05:02 Who has been the most important person in your life and what kind of influence that they had on you I'm a father was the most important person in my life. I was young person when I was a child and he was a man that could do anything with his hand is man. I seen that I seen that make a rifle a rifle shooting God and he was very top of it it online for you when it's cool. We have a lot of common sense and I used to admire that and I used to ride with him on his motorcycle and we go fishing a lot.

05:37 So I have a good relation. My father from the time I came in this world to 6 years old.

05:42 And he was he was the most inspiring person in my life doing that time after that. I didn't have anyone. So when your mom and dad separated you didn't have contact with your dad or my mother left my father Nuss.

06:00 He didn't leave her. She loved her too. That's why I had no injuries. Would I never forget that mad. He he gave us to our mother. She doesn't have a job no place to stay. So we had to go pick up the phone and I left the field school. We all live in a one-room Shack.

06:17 It was all my Tusa to myself my mother and my grandmother.

06:22 Solvang

06:26 He has been through today because some jerseys gave us to my mother. Peter won't pay child support.

06:36 I prefer going to jail to pay child support. This is your dad and see what I was dying yours over Iran from home.

06:45 And he found me and came and got me and I stay with him mom for a year and a few months until they decide to go to Rochester New York back in 1947.

06:54 So so while I stay there and it when I was 14, I left home for good. I was on my own.

07:00 I am my own apartment at 15.

07:02 How to do and you supported yourself hustling as crows

07:12 I never called.

07:16 If you got if I got to fight with some with your son, I'm sorry, that's fine with you song what time the whole family come out and jump on you and see if I don't have it at brother. So I'm going to beat you just in case I need them. I didn't have a feeling you do people serve. You do look at me now and think that I had it going on when I was a kid now.

07:37 Or maybe we'll do you want me to get into this thing real deep? It's older people like that. You don't ever taken advantage of young folk like that stuff is going on there like child molestation, or you would have me back then.

07:50 You being abused physically and sexually by some old folks.

07:54 Expect for you to come up and be a real asset to this country is kind of hard.

07:59 Especially on your newest hustling. So how long were you on your own like that before? You went into the military from time? I was up to par 18.

08:14 And I had no intention of going to military it just it was this way now. I know God was doing this because I was on my way to Hell. Jail.

08:23 And I also would have asthma I have a heart of your house will drop out.

08:29 And I feel I'm willing to take me when anybody want to go down there and vomit every time I went with him, so I figure I'll bet on me. So you volunteered. So what kind of job assignments did you have in the military killing the dead bodies in time of war and weed identification section. I did the fingerprinting anatomical charting and I'll join charting.

09:04 Most of the time when I was in it, and I'm sorry, let me go back and ask. What branch of service were you in? Okay.

09:15 Anything else that you want to share about where you went during your military experience?

09:24 Asar time in Germany

09:30 10 months

09:32 Chipmunks in Germany, I was in Korea three times not doing the war was over. I would have no channel in the military 1955.

09:42 And I've been two tours in Vietnam and my tools in Vietnam. I volunteered to go to Vietnam.

09:52 But my life was rough. I mean when I say true event to my financially.

10:00 I didn't know who I was when I was going until I met the Lord and I was 40 years old and hustling at that time got me some trouble. I could have went to Philippine but I didn't I didn't go and have to cool down anything. But God was there for me and I don't use this term. He introduced me to his son. I said that way you're there so I brought me I'll just hold it. I was in and can get out of my own and did so from that time on I've been trying to serve him and do those things that I need to do. Have I seen this and said, yes.

10:33 But I don't love doing it to Homestead to Extended. How long did you serve in the 20 years and 7 months was that your time was up or you just decided to come out? How did my time was up at both outside to come out? Also I was going to be in for 30 years, but I was having marital problems. So how's it going to retire? So you were married while you were in the military just say okay how

11:06 Which were you Stateside for your spouse was or were you for a while but in Petersburg the most of my time but separate from them out because overseas or we could afford to be together but calls from my ranking will make enough money, you know, and then my in-laws allowed her and my kids to stay with them see so that's it helped a lot. How does she feel about you being in the military with first? Okay.

11:42 Did you have any close friends in the service?

11:46 Well, no. Close friends. But I can sit up close friends. I have Associates soldiers that we hung out together. We'd we have a singing group called the sheets. We sing together Cecil but a foolish friend.

12:01 So there's there's no one in particular that you keep in contact with now from those times.

12:13 And he's about to want to do is tell used to stay in contact with another guy named Maggie, but the one in Columbus I go see him, but I was glad that maybe twice a week give me twice a month, but I have been down. There are call Clarence Rhymes and Marlene virus his wife. I met him at 1970 at Fort Benning.

12:33 Do you have any particular memory from the service that was either a good experience or bad experience it say, but then after the first day I felt a little bit so I can see the benefits.

12:50 That I was receiving that I never had in my life and I got a chance to be exposed to the world.

12:58 And that's how I learned some things that I found it went to school and got my GED and

13:06 I don't think a lot and when I was in the environment where I didn't know what they was talking about, I just sit and listen to conversation came up that I had some information that I could be part of that conversation since it was it was good. I love it a lot to talk to me about your call, but I was not just when I went to military. I just don't know what to do.

13:41 Or our particular time when you had to learn discipline, will you thought they were doing something just crazy doing basic training?

13:54 Am I your toon leader Squad in summer squash?

14:01 As we do some push-ups

14:09 They might come to come out of cap and once he's doing like never forget him. He's going to meet head isn't media to get on then give it to you when I get into push-up. That's out. That's all I'm doing, but

14:22 After I left basic training and served about a year and I fell in love with it then.

14:28 Would you do basic training, Fort Jackson, South Carolina?

14:33 And on my way to Fort Lee for my Technical Training.

14:37 And then when I retired I retired also.

14:41 Logistical and seal, Fort McPherson

14:44 What time was the NCO vocal that was over the transportation all the logistics at Fort McPherson? I was assaulted over that I did a lot inspection and stuff like that. So what kind of job did you have after you left the military if I work 40 hours part-time while I was going to school at the Atlanta area tech for Brick Mason, tree.

15:08 I wait to see us all time low trucks not blowing truck. Did you have a hard time adjusting from the military life back to civilian Marquess and I do I will say yes because I didn't really really want to get out.

15:28 Because I don't have the Mystic problem so I had to get out and

15:34 The just what. Was is for my family members, especially my kids and spouse that I didn't read comfortable with.

15:47 Imma, imma disciplinary it myself

15:50 I believe an organization you do if you got something to do let's go ahead and do it and get it over it. My kids when I was at home. They just a little bit on Saturday send it was on the floor doing whatever they need to do. And that's what she's going to do. What you want to go ahead and go back to sleep, sleep but I would have just been having that was the hardest thing for me to give her my kids understand. Why you think you still love you think you still know me, but I know it's just interesting hearing you say your disciplinarian because you did not used to be a disciplinarian and you didn't like discipline it only to survive. This is what you have to do. You mean I want to do it, but you have to make yourself more and now and then and then with the young man today trying to teach them.

16:38 You know if you want to be successful in life, you got to sacrifice.

16:43 So you can keep continue to do your thing. And you haven't you been doing it for 10 years. It ain't got a place. You need to change the way that you're doing nothing, but that I was I was out there.

16:56 How long did it take for this transformation to come about?

17:00 Where is that if you don't I was angry a lot.

17:15 Anna

17:17 Always believe that was located to be angry, which it is cuz God get angry, but it's how you handle it and I don't know whatever came up came to take me awhile, but I said I'm not going to forget. I'm not going to be a 360.

17:36 Because if I do if I feel if I did the 360 then I'll be doing what someone else want me to do and then I'll become not on but but it's another word for where is that old would you say I'm not going to be your

17:51 Rude for you to walk down that like a doormat. That's it.

17:57 And as long as I can help somebody with it, and then every time I eat your time, we talked he always thanking me for what I did. Although he didn't like it, but you don't have some fun. Tell us how you became. Detrie. What were you to Detroit temporary y mitad y mitad minute women.