Barbara Huntley and Horace Huntley

Recorded January 23, 2011 Archived January 23, 2011 40:18 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBX007638


Barbara Huntley (67) talks with her husband Horace Huntley (68) about childhoods, courtship, and children.

Subject Log / Time Code

B and H first met in kindergarten, but B doesn’t remember H until 11th grade.
H remembers courting B in spite of her strict father because he’d determined early on that he wanted to marry her.
H tells B a story about the “nerve juice” his grandmother infused in him.
B describes college life at Tuskegee and her pride when H earned his PhD after having gone into the military immediately after high school.
H and B recall when they became parents and some of their favorite memories from when their children were younger.


  • Barbara Huntley
  • Horace Huntley

Recording Location

MobileBooth East

Venue / Recording Kit

Partnership Type



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00:05 I am Horace Huntley 68 years old. Today's date is January 23rd 2011 in Birmingham, Alabama, and I am actually speaking to my beautiful wife is sitting across from me. I am Barbara Huntley. I am blessed to be 67 years of age. Today is January 23rd. 2011, Birmingham, Alabama.

00:33 An

00:34 I'm going to be interviewed by my husband Horace Huntley.

00:41 In a horse, I'd like to ask you a question. My question to you is why do you think it's important for me to be a part of this interview today?

00:53 Well, I think it is great for you to be a part and really both of us because what we actually doing is asking each other questions today and I'm thinking about Lauren and Camila 40 years from now. They're going to come to Birmingham and they going to survive on the foot Grandma actually. Yeah. Yeah and granddaddy doing on January 23rd 2011 and they'll have to go to Washington DC to find out unless they can find this ICD that we will have nothing is important for its people, people like you and I to tell their stories because those are the stories that make this nation and we are an intricate part of that and you know what her the truth of the matter is I think it's a great idea and I'm ready to be interviewed.

01:51 You know, but once I was thinking about when we were our parents our mothers tell us that we first met when we were in kindergarten.

02:00 Cuz we don't remember that but it's the first time that you remember meeting me.

02:10 You know how hers remembering you?

02:15 I think it was high school. I don't remember you in elementary school when you were a whole Patrol. I Met You in high school. I think I remember.

02:25 11th grade is what I remember you.

02:29 Bro, I remember to you in the 7th grade.

02:34 I don't think we have in the same class as I started started Riley see when I was in the first grade and I had from Raleigh to Wenona in the sixth grade, but you started Wenona first grade and I remember you you had the nice little dresses on skirts and Bobby Socks white bobby socks and white tennis shoes. That was a piece of our history. What do you remember most about your Elementary School Days?

03:17 What I remember was.

03:20 I was always a good student and a teacher thought I was a good student and was always focus on learning and we will always concerned about the Euro and I always knew the smartest girl would get to be the queen of the school.

03:39 So

03:41 What's the queen of the school and Charlie young? What's the king because we were the smartest kids in the school. And now I think that's the important. I think I probably thought I was important then but after that happened then when I had on this cute dress it was a mint green gown the first gal I ever had.

04:10 What was it like growing up in Crystal Heights?

04:18 What it was like was my dad is thought it was very important.

04:24 But us to learn but we didn't get to travel. My daddy was kind of strict very strict and he thought that it was important for girls.

04:40 To be at home.

04:43 And not make it bands has two young men. It was always a young man.

04:50 Responsibility to try to talk to a young lady never called me to always call you. That's right. I didn't call you. I didn't give you any gift because my dad said he is a young man like you you don't have to do those things and I really believe that to this day.

05:13 My father name was Dave Young.

05:16 Can you set a reminder horse a little bit more about what your father was like particularly when you were in high school?

05:23 My father my parents really. My father was Dave Young. My mother was Bernice Young and

05:34 The communities with very segregated at that time, I grew up in a segregated community and that's why our father kept us at home. My first date was my father took me to my first birthday party. My first concert was with my dad when he took us to

05:55 See

05:57 Dragon Ball Z. No, I took you to see Jackie Wilson. I don't know where you're wearing your daddy took you but I took you to see Jackie Wilson when we were in the

06:07 Probably 11 for 12th grade tonight.

06:17 The week before I was to take you.

06:21 I was going to do to be at your house at 9 every Sunday. We would date have a date at your house and I'll be there at 7, but I have to leave by 9 right the week before it take you to Jackie Wilson and I was going to ask him that next day. I think I stayed till 9:05 and he didn't like that but he put me out of the house. I vow to Van my best friend that I was not going to ask that man anything cuz I really was kind of afraid of him at the time. So we almost didn't make that date but then encouraged me to go on and ask and I asked him if I did take you to see Jackie Wilson.

07:03 Can you tell Barbara what it was like for you to meet her father?

07:08 Well

07:10 Initially

07:13 In the initial stages

07:18 I enjoyed meeting the family. See I had I had a game plan. I sort of figured that Barbara was going to be and I wanted her to be my wife and we were in the 11th grade probably when we were in kindergarten after I V that but anyway.

07:35 Well, she was cute. She was in addition to being a nice looking young girl. She she was smart and she all you know, you also was encouraging.

07:55 I don't know what that was. Just something about you that that I didn't see another and other girls young. So I thought that this it was necessary for me to cultivate not only relationship with you but the relationship with your family, so I said I was going to become your favorite but I also could become your mama said your dad is favorite and your grandmother. So I was such a favor your grandmother. She even allowed us to use her car to go on a date. Do you remember it? I do remember that.

08:31 She loved me and you know it and also.

08:38 Daddy, my parents were very supportive of the school. So, you know Daddy would cook when he needed someone to cook for the school. He's real good and those ways even though he's very protective of his girlfriend fat. Some people said that he was so strict that when we grew up we wouldn't do the right thing, but we all did so that's what now I look back on it said he was strict but being strict was good to protect us and make sure we went to school make sure you know, we dated the right young men. Of course. I never dated a lot of man. In fact, I think I only had

09:25 Three boyfriends, but in names only two other boys and you were the one I talk to because you went to church with me and I had to go to church I had to go to BTU.

09:40 Every Sunday Baptist training Union had to go trade and I love going to church. I absolutely love going to church then and now

09:51 Bro, I enjoyed going to church how so because you were there and that's where we got to be in church, but my grandmother who is Annie Scarborough was a great influence on me, as we called her. I never went to school. She could not read nor write couldn't read a name, but she was the wisest person I've ever known and I've gone through many schools through the PHD degree at my professors would not as wise as my grandmother was I Remember Mama telling me

10:34 One day we were as you said we grew up in a segregated society and we had a little store.

10:43 On the Block over from where we live that we patronize and it was a white own store and the people that own that store where noted Clans people.

10:54 But yeah, we had nowhere else to go. So we went to that store name is mr. So I would go out to the store and we would buy items several times a day. One day. I went out. I was about 10 years old and asked Mr. Pearce to mail a letter for me.

11:12 And I asked him to mail it because the postman would always come to that store, but I didn't have a stamp. So we normally go out there where we could buy stamps from the postman and mail letter he said to me.

11:25 Hi in are in a tone that I thought was very disrespectful. He said to me what do you want me to lick the stamp for you to so I didn't say another word. I just turn around and walk out and I didn't go back into that store for some time. My grandmother mama went would go to the store and she went out one day and mr. Sasso. Is that boy still mad at mama told him.

11:52 That boy has a mind of his own and when she came home she told me and she told me that I had done the right thing.

12:02 So I said that what I've done she was feeding me what I turn to be nerve juice and she was telling me I remember I'm going to say something like you have more nerve than the law loud and often wondered. What did that mean? And since then as I have studied history and culture, I realize that that is was really referencing black people particularly black men who would have relationships with those authorities in an apartheid set it in segregated town.

12:49 And the law did not allow black men to have nerve. So and that's what Mom was saying. She said you have more nerve than the law library and ask you a question.

13:02 I know you drove a mama's car. My grandmother's name was Emma Young.

13:08 Why did you feel it was so important to interview my grandmother and I think it's I really respect you for that, but why?

13:19 Well

13:21 When Mama died she was 102 years old, which meant that she carried.

13:28 102 years of History, I'm a historian and I wanted the history from Mama's perspective. Mama's perspective was not in the textbooks that we started as we journey through our through school.

13:52 I was but one of those that I thought was necessary to talk about.

13:56 Working class history mama was working class and she had the history. She talked about that on a very consistent basis, which I hope was vitally important for our children and their children of the children to understand that portion of History because someone said that history is a series of Lies agreed upon and I'm suggesting that there is real need for us to get some truth from a perspective from a person who was born in Wilcox County grew up in Camden, Alabama or like my grandmother who was born in Greene County, Alabama in Mantua.

14:45 Their opinions will never part of a text books as we read them. But now if since I've interviewed her and I'm just as we're talking with each other this becomes history this becomes evidence of of Our Lives. Otherwise, we just hit the lives of other people. So now we have allies with the life of Mama as well.

15:18 I agree Woody just said I think it's good because I'll grandchildren will be able to come to the Institute. And even though they would not even though they don't know grandmother. They need to be able to see and hear her talk about the history and she experienced it in, Alabama.

15:52 I want them to feel that I am a good grandmother. I'm prediction Ulm.

16:01 There's some things I don't believe in like young men wearing your rings young men wearing their pants down.

16:12 What about you? What about what the things that you want them to know about you that they wouldn't know otherwise

16:20 Things they would not know about me. Otherwise that I'm a bad. I always there two things. I always wanted to do I want to make a decision about whether I would be an educator or a nurse and I didn't believe that I could

16:37 Stay up.

16:39 Late at night to be a nurse. I think I could have been a good nurse, but

16:44 Mine, it was education been a principal for over 20 years and I'm focused on education and my grandchildren knows that about me cuz every time they come around I always have educational activities ready for them. I might be to focus on education, but I don't think he'll be to focus on education education cuz I know you want it you thought about going to Grady's in Atlanta, but you decide to go to Tuskegee for elementary education because

17:22 I really thought my father was extremely strict and I thought by going to Tuskegee going off to a college where I can be independent. I can just about do some of the things I really wanted to do.

17:37 I could get up when I wanted to get up I could.

17:42 Eat what I wanted to eat, but I realize that being independent doesn't necessarily mean doing what you think you want to do. I saw some kids doing things that I didn't think it was appropriate and I never wanted to do those thing. I think when you're brought up from being very small wood era standards that you used to they're going to stick with you and that Foundation is very important. So that's why even though my father was very strict.

18:23 I believed in it. And I still do to this day. Just some things. I want my kids to realize I am a traditional person I respectful but they have to respect me too. And I want them to be very successful in life Junior High School you and your boyfriend were voted most likely to succeed. What does that mean? That mean that I was going to do something great in life.

18:56 And being a principal for over 20 years.

19:02 You're not answering my question. I asked you. What did it mean when in the 11th grade when you were voted most likely to succeed? What does that put it at mean at that time it meant I was going to do something good in life. It meant that.

19:19 Whatever occupation

19:23 I wanted to secede and that's what I was going to do to your boyfriend.

19:32 That's what we thought we were thinking about. That's what the boys were thinking about. The boys were dating now. You'll probably be the most likely to get married and raise a family and live happily ever after most likely to succeed in life husband. I don't want something about a husband then I was thinking about going off to college and been successful. That was what I was focused on at that time and your plans from day one. What did what was supposed to be like tomorrow? I mean you and I know that we were

20:20 There Were Ten of us in our homeroom class that was the thought we were going to Tuskegee and we knew we were going to try to take it and I'll counselor told us that one of you will not go to Tuskegee and we want to know what is she talking about we knew everybody was going to turn out that she obviously had talked with my mother because I was the one that would not make it to suski and nine nine others Diego to actually join the Airforce after so what was it like going from Wenona to Tuskegee Institute at the time?

21:05 Black campus

21:07 With all those Scholars because that's what Tuskegee was known for.

21:13 I like my Independence, but most of all I like my classes. I was focus on graduating from Tuskegee in 4 years.

21:25 That was my goal. I know there was some kids who went to Tuskegee to find a husband. I didn't go to Tuskegee to find husband. I went to Tuskegee to graduate. I was always focus on that. I can damn. Well it was at home for that was in elementary high school when I got the Tuskegee.

21:45 That was my goal.

21:47 I like the experience. I like the activities they had but most of all my goal was to graduate from Tuskegee and fool he is so if you don't mind, can you tell Horace about the happiest moment of your life?

22:07 Or even just the first thing that pops into my mind when you hear that.

22:11 Happiest moment of my life

22:16 You supposed to save the day that we were married.

22:24 I have is more than my life was really when I got an opportunity to go to school and I'm telling you, you know.

22:35 We were dating at the time.

22:38 And when you decide to go in the service.

22:42 I really thought you should have gone to Miles college instead of going to the service. And so you decide to go to the service and I just accepted the fact that you know, you went to the service s you failed that financially you can go to Tuskegee and my dick is.

23:00 When a kid come out of high school, they should go to a college if they can but you did pretty good because I work programs at Tuskegee. I probably would have but I didn't know anything about that and mama told me that I could go to that won't send me into to my house with my mother. They felt they could not afford to send me the Tuskegee. So I decided if I could go to Tuskegee. I wasn't going anywhere. So I join the Airforce to see the world and they send me the Grand Forks North Dakota. And that's why I spent three years man wants 10 days in the military, but my my mother

23:42 Who was the LPN licensed practical nurse? I actually live with my mother my grandmother my aunts and that were five children over there with that. I had two siblings are brother and sister that two first cousins and there were five of us in the house and we just had a a great upbringings but some would call that a dysfunctional family, but it was obviously very functional because at the top of a of a ladder was the The Hope education then my my mother had gone to

24:24 What is a we know that we know the trade school and got an LPN registration of whatever it would be my license and my two of my aunts had gone on to Stillman College and both of them were teachers so they wanted me to be a teacher as well. So, but when I went to to the Air Force instead,

24:55 I guess they thought that that part of a Dream Within but fortunately you and I retain our relationship and we got married when you were finishing your junior year.

25:11 And you went back to Tuskegee to finish the seen you yet. I went back to the Air Force Fitness another year the final year and then we I'll first house where we lived together would be in Minneapolis where you get your first teaching position, and I then we're going to control that Institute where I would finish I was starting to First very first class or the Control Data Institute, and I work for a year and then but you always encouraged me to go back to the university and that is the way that I get back to University. Another proud moment was when I encourage you to go back to college

25:53 And when you got your Ph.D. That was a happy moment for me mainly because

26:02 For a while there. I think you were kind of debating about finishing up that dissertation and I had work.

26:11 Two jobs to help you get through college. Now when you got your PhD that was a happy moment for me cuz I believe in education and then when I encourage you to get their PHD over your friends, they had just gotten there a bachelor degree and you not encourage you to get your PhD to be the first one of your friends. Are you PhD at what's happening with dr. Hunt?

26:41 I want to ask you something else. Do you to remember when you became parents? Absolutely?

26:49 Bro, I know that I wanted a boy the first one to be a boy. And will I first of all I told Robert I want to attend children and she still looks me up and she's okay. Well, she'll have the first two and I can have that the next date so we stopped at 2. But anyway to girls I just wanted half hour and a healthy children in Florida was born. She was the first born people. That's what what do you want to guess? It really doesn't matter what you get long as it's blue and one for Lana the day that she was born. I saw that pretty round face. It didn't make a difference at all night was gorgeous. I just remember how sick I was the struggles. I have to make sure that I got through the pregnancy.

27:49 You were sick.

27:52 Yeah, those first few months in Minneapolis to go through whatever struggles I had to go through to make sure I had that child after we left Minneapolis and you were not sick anymore. Did you remember though that we had actually I was finishing up at Universal Minnesota and

28:20 We had volunteered for the Peace Corps to go to Ghana. We already been assigned to Ghana. We were going to Atlanta for orientation, but prior to that we were to take our physical examinations and we went down to take out. Physical examinations. That's when we found out that you were expecting that changed out entire life because we would have gone to Ghana and obviously we would have done something different then going and taking the the fellowship at Syracuse and then take the fellowship at Pittsburgh and teaching at Maryland. All that will change experiences. I enjoyed every minute of it.

29:09 Born in New York Marcus born in Maryland and Marcus was born. It was such a handsome little boy. And that's when you had that African ceremony on the campus of UMES and University of Maryland Eastern Shore was in Princess Anne Maryland, which was really way down in The Boondocks is about I guess maybe a 45 minutes an hour from the coast from the Atlantic ocean near Chincoteague and Assateague Island, Ocean City, Maryland and

30:02 We actually talked.

30:06 Marcus what both of them to swim there, in fact, both of them could swim before they can walk she took Marcus out of that bassinet and was running down the hall Marcus such a good little sister.

30:40 Great days.

30:51 If you think I'll never forget when Falana with Lana and Marcus did this, where would you feel in there? I'll never forget when we were in Maryland and all of the snow.

31:03 And Marcus on top of that little Hill Pittsburgh.

31:13 Screen because he didn't want to go inside after coming down that hill and all that snow kept going up the hill down here and Marcus was screaming cuz he didn't want to come inside to get dry. And I remember one for Laura remember Salon in the Christmas because Lana came down and she says she had all the toys a little kitchen and Bellona go not again, and she remember the Christmas before and she came downstairs and she saw all these toys again and she's big face again with her hands on her hips, and she was just excited to

32:01 Numbers staple on the wall in the alphabets in the room and every night we went upstairs and she will do her numbers. She amox Doodles with numbers going up the stairs and doing the consonants and every night before she went to bed just education all fine education and learning the five Great Lakes to buy beautiful legs by beautiful lady. I used to make up song so that they can understand all the things you did a great job with no words, but you remember when Marcus came home, he was a senior in high school. He came home and he said to us, I was just elected president of the senior class.

33:01 How is that why you didn't tell us that you were running? So well, I didn't want to tell you because I know you would try to help me and we always thought that Mark Martin really very reserved at home. He was quiet at home outside. He was not with his friends. He was a different person and we got to know that but I remember we had a

33:29 An old station wagon yellow station wagon. I remember I would take them to school every morning and Marcus told me one day he's a dead you can just take me into some secluded area and let me out there and I can walk from there and I thought he was just being sensitive because of so much traffic on the other side. I finally found out that he didn't want to be seen in the station wagon. So we were I would drop him about a block away from the school has Mark was so quiet and never shared. I will sit on the steps and as they were talk I would listen and so if they said something and they said something I didn't approve of her once they left and then wait a couple of days and I asked a question and Michael look at me real strength. Like how did you know that?

34:31 Let's call East lab if it's called knowing all about your children a year younger than most of her friends. She was fifteen. They were 16 legs go out on a date and they were part of the first party that Florida winter just like you said your daddy to you. I took Falana and it was a little it was a little party. They were having at the BJCC she and her cousin Mel going to this party. So I decided that I was going to be a chaperone doing that entire party. If I was on this side of the room, they would always be on the opposite side. They never want to be on the side where I was and that was rather insistent. We talk about that now something well also,

35:25 What we found out that Marcus was gifted. We didn't know Marcus was gifted. Well, his teacher came to us and I think Martha should be tested.

35:36 Anna because I think he's skipped it and I said, okay and so we had Mark has tested and I told you if Marcus is gifted felonious give the two so have her tested so they were both in the gifted program and I was proud I was proud that they were in the gifted program because I know when you want to give the program the teachers know that you can learn so they expose you to more activities in your more challenged. I don't want to see finished Tuskegee. Then she decided to go to dental school. That's right after 6 months of working after work I go to dental school and she had she had cooperated with the dentist. I get two years in a row, even when she's in high school and

36:37 What was really? I was really proud the day that she called me and she's been at Meharry for summer program in an October. She called me. She was excited. She said she had it that's what she said. I have found my Niche and she just loved Dennis or she played a trick on of us to you know, cuz she called me one day and she said that I have this friend's name is Fred.

37:09 Asin frezzo, where is he from? He said he's from Nashville.

37:19 How old is he said? He's 48. I think she was 22 at the time. I have to wait a minute 48 years old. That's what I'll be able to be up that is this weekend on the campus and ice. It was fun. I want to meet Fred. She's okay. Come on, and we went over to the lab. She's taking me to the way and we got in the lab and I said I want to know this 48 year old man talking to my 22 year-old daughter and she said okay Dad come on. I'm going to introduce you to her. I got in there and their Fred was they were

38:08 Experimenting on the nerves learning the learning the various nervous system the free it was already dead to me.

38:26 Because I had never seen a cadava and I want to see what you're talkin about the nerves and I was looking at him and it's amazing because looking at that body once they had experiencing. It didn't look like a human body. It just look like regular meat. I know but I'm saying in a different way, you know, you're thinking that you know, this could diver's it's not going to look like chicken but that's sort of how I look with all those things. And you remember I have a lot of cry when she was she was there because

39:07 My furnace work, then she was on the campus living on the campus and she wanted to move off campus and her daddy thoughts. That's a good idea and we went to that apartment and I knew we went to the apartment at 1 to Change My Mind by Falling living on campus and she lived on campus and came back and thank me because when it rained the kids have cars but come to her apartment to study remember that and I didn't change. This has been quite an experience and I have enjoyed learning all that I've learned about you and he's 40 minutes and I'm sure you learn another 46 years about me as well. So thank you for this is hardly for accommodating me experience. I really

40:06 I think everything turned out just fine. I've enjoyed it. And now I'm happy that we've done it together.