1. What is your name? Maiden and Marriage?
“Bonzell Rush(Maiden) Triplett(Married)”
2. Where were you born?
3. Where did you grow up?
4. What were your parents’ names and occupations?
“Ruby Inell Houston(Mother) and Henry Lemar Rush(Father)”
5. Do you have any siblings? Yes or No, names?
“(9)Sisters and (6)Brothers”
6. What was your life like growing up as a black girl in Louisville?
“It was very hard. We had to work all the time so there was no time to do anything else.”
7. Did you ever encounter racism? Explain?
“No, never any problems with racism. I would sometimes hear “white” people using the “N” word but I never had any direct problems with racism.”
8. What privileges or setbacks do you feel that you experienced growing up a black female in the North/South?
“I had the privilege of having honest, fair parents and a united loving family. But also, a set back was that I felt that as Black people, especially females, did not get a chance to receive much eeducation.”
9. What, if anything, do you remember your parents telling you about race?
“My parents never really talked about race but we knew that there was a difference and we were to always treat others as we wanted to be treated; and especially watch what we do and say around white people when I was growing up.”
10. What did your parents tell you or instill in you regarding being a woman, specifically a black woman?
“My parents told me that in order to be successful, then as a Black woman I have to work 3 times as hard as a Black man and 10 times as hard as a White person.”
11. Did you attend school? Yes or No, why or why not?
Yes, I attended what is now our “Eiland Middle School” which was an all Black school.
12. Talk a little bit about those days...
“This all black school was just a combination of all grades because we didn’t have an all black elementary, middle, and high school. Since everyone was the same race, the only problems occurred were amongst ourselves. Ten we worked all day on the plantation at home. ”
13. What was it like in school for you as a black female?
“I did not have any problems particularly as a black female because every other female was black as well.”
14. Did you graduate and attend college?
“No, I stopped school in the ninth grade because with sixteen children we worked a lot. My family lived on a plantation (Garrigues Plantation) where we picked and pulled cotton as well as corn and whatever needed to be done. Also, there was no restroom so we had to go in the woods. The white boys would try to sneak up and watch us so my sisters and I always went in groups.”
15. Did you get married? To who? When?
“Yes, I was a single parent and I married Gene Autry Triplett in 1982.”
16. Did you have any children? Yes or No? How many? Why? Was this a choice or just happened?
“Yes, I have five children; Angela, Charlene, Dexter, and Jermaine and Gene (twins). During this time I did not know much about birth control so I just really did not take many precautions.”
17. Where did they work as an adult?
“I was still working in the cotton field and I later on began working at a clock factory (a clock factory).”
18. Ask them about their adult life and what it was like living as a black woman?
“As a black female, I did not have many problems in adulthood. Mostly, it was hard to find work without a good education.”
19. Ask them if there are any specific stories that they would like to share regarding their adulthood life and being a black woman.
“I moved around a lot as an adult before I had my twins. I left Mississippi and moved to Chicago and stayed for a few years and worked in a nursing home. Then I left because the neighborhood became worse and I did not want my children growing up there. Then I moved backed to Mississippi and stayed for a couple of years. There were not many jobs so I moved to California which also did not have many jobs. I could not take all of the earthquakes and mudslides so I finally moved back to Mississippi and stayed. I traveled to all of the places each time by bus.”
20. What were their relationships like with other women?
My relationship is normal with other women. My girlfriends (best friends) and I used to always hang out and even party. We all still stay in touch with each other.
21. Would they consider themselves friends with white women? Or do they have friends that are of another race?
“Yes, one of my best friends is white woman. My parents even during their time were great friends with many white people; therefore, we were brought up with many white friends. That’s probably why we never really discussed racism or had any problems with it. I also have Indian friends. It did not matter what color the person’s skin, more of who they were as a person.”
22. What type of relationship do you have with black men?
“Black men during my time worked hard to take care of their women and children and I applaud them. Today, you do not see it much. Many men today depend on the woman’s paycheck that she brings home.”
23. What do you think is the role of both black men and women in relationships and inside of the home should be?
“The woman and man should be equal role models for their children in the home. Also, in my view, the man is the head of the household but both man and woman should compromise in their decisions to better their life.”
24. What do you think about people dating outside of their race? Black men marrying white women and black women marrying white men?
“In the beginning, I thought that this was weird and maybe a little wrong because I did not see that much while growing up. However, I began to see it more and more and it did not bother me. I believe that it’s your right to be with whomever you fall in love with.”
25. What issues do you think most affect black Americans today?
“Money mostly affects Black Americans because that is what everyone is chasing. Then, there are many Black American who are out of work and staying home fitting the stereotypes.”