Moses McCrimager and Steven Blay

Recorded October 29, 2008 Archived October 29, 2008 01:21:17 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBX004521


Moses McCrimager, 91, is interviewed by his friend Steven Blay, 35.

Subject Log / Time Code

Eljay was Moses’ orginal name that his mother gave him; named after his grandfather; changed his own name to Moses.
Uncle was well-off; running a 10 horse farm “half cropper,” went to Miami; had a big store.
1926 storm/hurricane destroyed everything in Miami and his Uncle lost everything.
“I was a grown man when I went back to Gainesville.”; bought 23 cars in his lifetime.
First black welder in Gainesville; story about getting the welding job; got paid the same as the white welders.


  • Moses McCrimager
  • Steven Blay

Recording Location

MobileBooth East



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00:03 My name is Steve Brule. I'm 35 years old. Today is October 29th 2008. We're in Gainesville, Florida and I'm interviewing my friend Moses mccrimager mccrimager. You read off that same stuff.

00:22 Read it all for nothing and she are my glasses good I start with telling your name and your age.

00:31 My name is Mose mccrimager.

00:35 And I born in 1917 the 10th day of July.

00:42 Today is today is October 29th of 2008. So that makes you 91 years old is the D. I'm 91 years old, October 29th.

00:59 We're here in Gainesville, Florida right, Florida. All right.

01:08 So you you called yourself Moe's is that the name that most people used to call you? They was LG LG LG, but I didn't like that name.

01:27 NFL got a big enough to transfer run myself will I hear that change?

01:35 Tumores mccrimager I want to be named after my grandfather. His name was Moses mccrimager. So what is LJ did that stand for for something? That was just one damn LG mccrimager.

01:49 So when you were born that your given name was LJ and you later changing the Moses.

01:57 What age were you when you changed it? Do you remember?

02:04 Tell him I got hold of papers or anything like that. That's the way I always shine at home.

02:14 What up, don't nobody know nothing about LG McClung with you. But my family people, you know, I was a small-sized boy. I hadn't got out from home or nothing like that put people on there to order them to change my name, you know to Moores mccrum Asia.

02:33 And after I got a big enough to get out to look out for myself what I just when they think when you changed your name, was anybody upset that you were going by a different name though. Nobody upset.

02:53 Did you know your grandfather very well. Did you text him? That's why you want to be named after make a good coffee out on the Fire?

03:09 Give me a good cup over should know how to do all the cooking and everything you do with it.

03:18 Eminem was a Oz Williams

03:21 Oz Williams who's his name? But my daddy was named Frank mccrimager.

03:31 So what was there anything else about your grandfather that did you really respect him or did you learn a lot from him mother name? Did they moved to different? Oh, well you say

03:49 UCA subdivision

03:52 No, but then they said quarters you move to another quarter and I stayed with him see from grandfather.

04:03 That was my Mother's Day Day. His name was odds, William.

04:10 What what kind of work did he do to remember him? He was sort of retired by that boy housekeeping.

04:27 So you said you liked his coffee, huh? He makes a coffee if you'd always have.

04:44 Bro, we was a little fellow.

04:48 I like it that you know if he was born in Gainesville also.

04:55 Imagine so so your family is really been around here for a long time. Then he would have been born. He was probably born back in the 1800 sometime. Yeah, yeah.

05:09 He's a very old fellow.

05:14 What are you now? You know right now, I mean gainesville's gotten to be a pretty big city. You know what that the university alone has about 50,000 students at I think what are what are some of your first memories of Gainesville? Was it a big city back then or was it more of a small?

05:38 Little Place Mall, please, but it's been growing ever since I can remember.

05:45 Big getting bigger bigger bigger and bigger and you see where it doesn't stretch to know.

05:51 It used to be a little small town, Gainesville, Florida, but no, it's a big town.

06:00 You got Presley everything going there two years anyways Health in the world.

06:06 That would have been when you were growing up. What's a this was 80 some years ago. Did did your grandpa have a car or how did you get around?

06:18 He didn't have no call but he had a

06:23 My uncle was a kind of a willow Feller use his boy.

06:30 New song I was going to wear yellow fellow. He had quarters and everything houses back in them days. Go see went to McDonald's and what the farming on there?

06:47 Got Hotel.

06:49 What number does 9 + PDM out everything they hadn't he come back home or pull guy? He had nothing. What do you mean by I didn't understand what what happened to him. He had a lot of money and then he was running or 10 horse farm know what a 10-horse phone with me know ahead 10 1/2 cropper's

07:15 I know you by the foot lies and sees and everything and they do the work.

07:24 And at the end of the year, you have a ceiling up.

07:29 That was 1/2 copper. I see so he would have to give half of everything he made off of the farm back to the person that actually owned it. And so he had where they call the 10 horse farm. Okay, but then how did he you said he had a lot of money and then somehow he lost it all.

07:54 Will he had all this in Gainesville?

07:57 This big stolen everything you sold everything, you know, you could mention close shoes.

08:07 Go farming equipment and stuff like that. He sold all of that large store.

08:15 Photo

08:18 He quit the home and knew you had about 40 acres of land.

08:24 La Quinta Palm and then went to Miami Don they and went the farming on there and then

08:32 The 26th storm you ever heard anything about the 1926 storm was in now. I haven't to Miami Hurricane.

08:45 And then he lost everything you had.

08:50 And he come back home.

08:53 I need to live there with my mother now. It would stay was staying in one of his houses here at sale of houses big houses.

09:04 And did they lose living in one of the house?

09:08 And after he got busted on it or when he come back home you eat taking sick and then he stayed with your mother and her husband, which was my father until he passed away, I say.

09:28 So when you were staying as you said you were staying with your grandfather, actually he raised you.

09:39 Till I was 10 or 12 years old something like that, then he pays and then I went back home with my mother now.

09:49 And were you still let's talk about school a little bit. Were you still going to school at that point? I went to school June eighth grade.

10:01 And I got to that.

10:04 You dropped out after 8.

10:09 Knock knock. We stayed home and got me a place to stay.

10:14 I was working.

10:18 Looking for filling it run up the phone and let me eat Belleville that was in there.

10:24 No, wait for him for.

10:27 Yeah, and then when I got on up

10:31 I left there and come to Brooksville.

10:35 And that's where I spent the balance of my life down the Brooksville, Brooksville, Florida. So are you saying you moved out of the house when you were right after 8th grade you moved out on your own and you weren't very old then 13 or 14 waking, you know, I wish I was there to a milk day, or maybe we go to work for in the morning.

11:06 Wake up buddy eat at night.

11:09 That was here for the waiting part.

11:14 And no.

11:17 Then on when I was old.

11:21 15 years old I married you got married when you were 15 assistant son married life.

11:34 And I'm married and I stayed with my wife to see us taking sick and die.

11:42 And then I left from there then.

11:45 Then come down to Brooksville, Florida.

11:49 How long were you married for but two years ago? That's all and then she got sick. Wow, what what happened to her? How long in the oven?

12:04 Space the week

12:06 So you were only married for two years as it. Was that the only time you were married no. Oh, okay.

12:18 What was your at your first wife? What was her name? Emily Emily and then your second wife. Were you married to her for a long time?

12:31 But he that she passed also.

12:36 When she passed or CC was in there another place she was at Brooksville.

12:43 And I stayed on the Brookfield 67 years.

12:49 Now and then when she passed

12:52 I didn't go back home to stay out of his seat on down there.

12:58 Okay. So then eventually you came back to Gainesville here.

13:08 A long time between the spaces of time

13:14 Well, I went back to Gainesville. I was a grown man when I went back to Gainesville.

13:21 Done for civil automobiles. I bought I bought and paid with 23 automobiles in my life. That was why did you need so many cars? How come you needed so many cars will always be good as one would would start to giving you trouble the best thing to do is to get

13:47 Table 23 calls. Vom

13:53 In my lifetime. Wow, you remember the the first one? What kind of car was O

14:02 Al-amal food dog have heard of those.

14:07 And the next one I bought was it.

14:11 36 shivling

14:15 And it is the entire in 36in about and you shoot it.

14:21 And I treated that shearling got to fold.

14:26 And there's a warning on like that I with.

14:29 Anytime one go to give you a little trouble. I'd trade it and get me another 23 cars.

14:45 When I took took an eye on sick.

14:55 Mo's, I want to go back to something else. I'm still amazed by you said that you moved out of your house after 8th grade. Was that something that was common back in those days cuz nowadays I mean no one would to move out on their own after 8th grade.

15:18 Lots of children didn't even go to school it is well known for their self and went to work somewhere. You didn't have to have no education then went back in them days. You just need to have no education who's most of it was from work. Anyway. Okay, and no.

15:36 I have no education to work on the phone wouldn't like it was in the later days in different things that you do now. You got to have education to do it enough Daisy.

15:52 If you could do the job, that's all they wanted.

15:55 They wouldn't didn't want no didn't need nobody else cuz you was already working for nothing practically. Anyway, yeah would like the night that

16:10 I was working when your phone is.

16:13 When the first show

16:16 Got to take a note Social Security going to the mine then and I had been working on a good wall. Maybe 5 years then what kind of mine was it you remember what they were signing you put on this route was fine Rock to crush it up the find rock and put it on the topsoil on the highways. Okay, the topsoil they call it six and sixteen. That was one of the main grades. Did you put on top to pull Doyle done for that? Pull that rock done eating at all and that made the hard surface for the top of the road and then they put put the the big size large Limerock put that under the foundation.

17:14 For the foundation on the highway. Okay. So do you remember what they how much did they pay you back then to do that kind of work well.

17:27 We was get paid in about.

17:32 Oh, I'm a good now.

17:35 The pay the dollar and $0.15 an hour dollar 15 an hour. That sounds like that was actually pretty good money back in those days wasn't it? I've heard people say even even less than that for a real farming jobs. I've heard people say a quarter an hour or $0.50 an hour. The more quit you was with it then use the equipment that had the more you got the more you get it for now. So if you were trained on how to use some of the Machinery a pool cause you don't know what that is the first thing I look with pulling cars.

18:27 That's a tough job. That's the man that pulled her up from the pit. She had a

18:34 Arre whole Dakota a re hold it don't that rock in them pit calls.

18:42 Pull it up to the plant by people in the car Wu's Robbie hold it up there with trucks. Don't put into the car. You pull it on up to the plan but enough to call him call it had four wheels on it. Railroad Wheels.

19:06 Big big car send me a hard card you pull them on up there by cable drums and cable.

19:14 You know.

19:16 That's the first thing I started to doing.

19:19 After I got onto the job and then pick me out to be.

19:26 A good fellow love kind of Heaven stop of you knowing it take to good man the pool and not doing that for years. Then I left that I went to pull in the rock out on the storage Park.

19:45 We had a dump called the bill to call is right there in the plane to the plant. They build their own card.

19:54 Four wheels on Omen movie

20:00 Put in a half bigger than seen him and that would be all that's what did we do rock by so much rock you going to call?

20:12 U-Pull-It auto phone again climb, we are in the dump up then.

20:19 You had a trip under the bottom of it open my slide door and open that up and all that rot. Pardon and you let it on back under the shoot reload it again. Pull it out like that. That's the way they kept her off.

20:35 Honor the plant there after they don't manufacture grinded up to the side. They won't that's the way they can take it out on the storage.

20:49 You know.

20:52 It was two men's two mens doing that because they had no more no more 16.

21:00 No number three no more whole number four number 6.

21:10 I don't know. What number six was this fine Rock.

21:19 Good to put on top of highways.

21:23 Not that hard rock real hard and it put it on the top report on along with a sprayer to spray their order on the road to top-of-the-line Time Rock and put that spray that are 16 greed rock on top of that. That's what the cause was going on. So why were talking about jobs here? You've told me that I've never heard you talk about that before but you've talked a lot about being a welder you go back to welding school at some point in the well in school and after I learn how to do well good. I got me a job or wedding first job. I got was running a machine.

22:11 You know, what? Are you like when she needs now? You don't never heard of it?

22:18 When are you doubt machine was supper machine that you could build up the bits with the drill down in the ground.

22:27 The blue the banks to shoot that rock with his show was the pick it up.

22:34 See you if you had a bit a bit about that, bro.

22:40 It is head Spurs all the way around on the rotors on there.

22:46 And when they use one so long, I'm those rotors.

22:51 Teeth get wet on then you build them back up. Will you lock machine is what you'd be a little more up with you had to well new dwellers hard stuff back on the

23:07 The bitch Ecolab it's okay. How do you get where you able to with welding school expensive. Did you have to save up your money to be able to go to welding school to go to welding school at night. How can I see you? Keep working during the day and night.

23:27 They go to school to 12 in the night. Wow. Hey, you told me at one point that you were the first Blackwelder around there ever. Is that true run run where I was at.

23:43 And you said you faced a lot of resistance to you you and I'm at a welder. Can you tell me a little more about that young white boys out there willing and some of them know what are the wheels someone was out there trying to learn and on and on like that it went.

24:07 So one day

24:10 I said to the suit antenna.

24:14 His name was old Ben Chapman.

24:19 I said mister benzi.

24:22 I've been working here a long time and my pee is. Louis. And what about giving me a job out there welding?

24:33 It will see you didn't know I had done with that was going too well in school to while I was working cuz I work in the day and go to Wayland school that night we go to school till 12 if you're not, okay, and no.

24:48 You say you know, what more or so or what?

24:53 You say if I was to give you a job at the Wellington?

24:59 Surreal

25:01 Maybe I'll let him wipe those with quit because you would be the one is black man out there willing.

25:10 I said do you really think that you said? Yeah, I believe that and what you think about us. I don't know I said we all work here together all the time and hard is it to put on phone bring them back on and things like that knew you were told me they were little when I don't see no reason should they feel like that about it?

25:34 He said well soon. That's the way I feel it would be you would dislike it because you was getting this much pain is there was getting

25:45 I don't feel like that.

25:48 You said well.

25:50 He will we try and see see how you come out and see what you think about it.

25:57 I said well, but one thing I don't want you to do.

26:01 I don't want you to put me out there.

26:04 Dwell

26:06 And don't pay me the same thing that you pay it now. Yeah, I wouldn't do that. You see if you can do the job for the job is what get the pay you see if you can do the job and do it like it's supposed to be you get the same pay day or year.

26:26 I'll see what I sure would like to try.

26:29 So he gave me a job a whaling.

26:33 And then from then on this girl with bigger and bigger bigger and bigger first knew, you know, you're at 10 or 12. So when you reported at work first day as a welder nobody quit, like he said they will go do you say Musa habakkuk me a pizza?

27:02 Ridgid cordless angle on maybe 16 inches long with 20 inches long 5 or 4 inches long something like that or I go cut it bring it back and keep it cool.

27:16 How could I could cut with a cutting torch but it couldn't well with the weather machine, so that's what I was trying to get up to the well with the welding machine, so that's what I did for you. You know, they had many colored. Well as it did White.

27:34 Yeah, man that took me I hope you realize how important it was what you did because you really open the door for other people to get better jobs to go after that. And neither is hard if you could if you went there for a job and could do the job meet. How are you? This is Venus is squeaking it would you yeah, that wouldn't what movie was who founded the job is what needed to be done.

28:04 And they will do you give me a job as quickly with the white man. So they started doing that. Then the head will lose all over the plant black and white see what year do you think this was when when this all happened?

28:28 Then I would have been.

28:33 2526 26th

28:39 About 20

28:41 But 27, I mean you were you were about 27 years old. So it's would have been maybe in the 40s. You think maybe the 1940s? Okay. So this was still quite a while ago. This was before a lot of you hear about civil rights in that I think that didn't happen till the sixties really might have been before then.

29:06 Put it all, you know was waking up to that. Yeah. Yeah.

29:17 Driving truck

29:20 You know the oldest black man out there driving.

29:25 Because so I could already drive already knows how to drive C.

29:30 No Donuts, black man. I did driving and it was a

29:36 8 trucks herb leave

29:39 8/8 truck cuz I need to eat who's 7 and bought another new truck, but they wouldn't give you it wouldn't give you being and you mad at me a new truck. They give me hear old truck you give me a hold of somebody else been driving it give that new truck to the white fella. Most also mentioned to me about just kind of while we're on the subject to that. So I'm back in the forties when you were doing these kind of jobs, and you told me that

30:19 Did it were still there were stores that black people weren't allowed to go into and I think that's interesting and even you know, you were you were a welder and a truck driver, but you still were you still were subject to that kind of thing where you you weren't allowed to go in the service stores because you were black and do you remember any did you have any memories of where there were some places you wanted to go that you weren't allowed to go to?

30:51 Who would need me say you're nothing in your wouldn't even wait on you in there.

30:58 Goodwill you going in Staten Island Staten Rock? Nobody said nothing to you know, how people can get it this just walk all around you doing action nothing was what you wanted up. Could I help you are nothing like that? Well, that's the Eagan you you know what I mean? Yeah. I think they didn't even see you there.

31:23 Yeah, I heard that they have plenty of time.

31:27 Noodling on you.

31:29 So you think I'm in general things have gotten better over the years. I don't know where you can go where you can go there. It might be some big Rich Cox up. The state might have stolen things that you couldn't go in. What city got them Big Stone things like that down here in the South. Now. Did you go to any store? You want to lose money is what county

32:03 The money but back in them days are money wasn't worth noting the colors what they was going by what color you was if you wouldn't money money don't mean nothing.

32:16 Do you could have the money but what color you were that's what I heard in the morning. Is it color?

32:25 Some old lady need to get that get that don't you can't come in here when you get to the door?

32:36 Do you think overall that has a has the world gotten to be is it a better place today than it was packed with people in the white people mixed together now everywhere you think the big bowl game? You see you see many black people sitting up to these big bowl games has all you do. Why? Yeah, it's too long years ago. You couldn't didn't see no black set standing or sitting around on the grandstand. You might see me standing the way over in the woods Down Yonder summary didn't even though I'm up there.

33:16 But all that integration is what they call it, and that's throw it out. So will we just I just like the boy, you know, you used to get it on the bus you you couldn't sit but one place on the bus and that's on the back to back in.

33:38 Who knows me because I read the bus so many times and that's where you had to set on the back that really wasn't that long ago, right? They didn't not doing that till ago people my age don't really have a a sense of how long ago that was, you know, cuz it all happened before I was born. I was born in the 70s, you know, I'm tight. As far as me. I wouldn't know if that was fifty years ago or a hundred years ago. But really it wasn't that long ago it when you get me told him about what's happening at that time, you know what I mean?

34:22 Automobile you could you couldn't park your car anywhere. You want to Park Uptown and lots of places really?

34:32 Lots of places you couldn't park there. No black part that. They even stole my car tag.

34:40 One night. I bought you called.

34:43 You know.

34:47 I told as soon tell me about it.

34:51 Deceive where you was talkin hold I told him where I was bothering you see a lot get your time. I'll get your tag.

35:00 That is on a Friday night and I told him Saturday morning and Saturday Danny broke that my tag.

35:09 OK Google who called they got they got you a new one, and I hope my tag was going I told her where I was parked at. He said horse y'all get your tag.

35:41 And the next day you come up with no tag, you hand it to me know before my time. I know the license plates are about this big TV, but that long is on the tag has money, but that's all it was.

36:15 Will know we've only got a few minutes left here and I kind of wanted to just ask you. You know, how do you feel you have any regrets in your life or are you is there any words of wisdom you want to share with young people like me that you want to pass on I would like for you to pass it on to treat the colored people know like that because so

36:46 It was just like I hate you. Give me say it so many places did it colored person couldn't even spend his money there. If he was black stay out black stay back as all that that was the word that people would use if you're black stay back you black get back. Yeah. Yeah.

37:06 And you couldn't go in lots of places and buy nothing and woke up to the walk in the front door. You might go round to the back and knock on the door and tell him what you want and pass it out to doing the door something that might would do that but four is going inside ordering what you want me to get some white pussy. No do that. They go in there and order it and bring it back. I didn't give it to you.

37:38 So it sounds like you're saying you want people to know about these times just so so we don't ever go back to those days again used to couldn't buy a good D's Nota mobile money or no money. They wouldn't say that time.

37:58 You know, there's a there's a saying that goes something like those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it. That's what kind of came to mind when he has you been talkin here is that it's important that you you tell younger people about these days just so so we don't ever go back to that time again.

38:23 You'll call.

38:26 You couldn't you wouldn't catch her a black person to ride Nina.

38:31 White man Carlos Vives in the back

38:35 Couldn't ride up in the front if you pick them up if you don't open the back door for me get in the back.

38:42 That's a week was with black people.

38:46 That's the facts.

38:49 Beautiful. Yeah, it is beautiful you go through this like I come to your house to see you.

38:59 I had to go around to the back door now.

39:02 Mulan knock on the back door

39:06 Who is that at their this move?

39:10 Would you want to know?

39:13 Well, I want to see mrs. Owen. So young boys you had to miss them the little boys like that mister so-and-so what like sitting all can I call you with your name or Steve know I had to say, mr. Steve woke up to nobody told my head. So and so should you getting one of the biggest Scrabble you ever been eaten by man?

39:52 Almost as we got to wrap it up here cuz we're running out of time. But I just I want to thank you for coming out here with me spending this time and talking with me about it. And I really appreciate you sharing your your your history in your words of wisdom with us, and I hope we'll get to do this again sometime for those ladies that secret what they could do by Dawn.

40:21 Me getting my pay for the time that I've had been in the nursing home and they promised admit money and I never did get it. Yeah, we'll look into that. Yeah, I'll help you look into that.