skip to main contentThe University of Texas at AustinLift Every Voice, A Toolkit of Texas African American History, a resource to teachers, students, and scholars celebrating the lives and contributions of African-Americans in Texas
Home > Oral Histories > Mrs. Dorothy McPhaul

African-American Oral Histories

Mrs. Dorothy McPhaul

Listen to curated clips of this oral history:
Clip 1: African American Owners I
QuickTime Player | Real Player | Windows Media Player
Transcript

Clip 2:African American Owners II
QuickTime Player | Real Player | Windows Media Player
Transcript

Clip 3: Austin During Segregation
QuickTime Player | Real Player | Windows Media Player
Transcript

Clip 4: Brown vs. The Board Of Education
QuickTime Player | Real Player | Windows Media Player
Transcript

Clip 5: Kinship And Race
QuickTime Player | Real Player | Windows Media Player
Transcript

Download Teacher Questions for this oral history in .pdf format

Biographical Notes
Mrs. Dorothy McPhaul was born in Austin in 1933.  She has lived in East Austin her entire life.  She attended Blackshear Elementary School, Kealing Junior High School, and Old Anderson High School.  She attended Prairie View A&M University where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education with a double minor in Science and Elementary Education.  For many years she taught school in La Grange, Texas.  She was one of the first African American teachers to be brought from a segregated to a desegregated school in La Grange after the 1954 Supreme Court decision to desegregate schools, Brown v. Board of Education.  After she retired from teaching, Mrs. McPhaul worked full-time in her family’s antique business, which was started by her grandfather, Simon Sidle, and continued by her mother Ilesta Sidle Alexander and her aunt Iletha (later Theresa) Sidle Mays.
                                        

Abstract February 21, 2005
Mrs. McPhaul talks about her family and their move to Austin from Pflugerville. She discusses her family’s early life in Austin, and her grandfather’s, and later aunt’s, antique business.  She describes the circumstances under which the City of Austin bought their store and property on Red River Street to create Waterloo Park and the purchase of the building at 911 E. 6th St. where her store, Johnnie’s Antiques, is still located. She talks about her long teaching career in LaGrange. She discusses being a small business owner, a Black business owner in Austin, and what it is like to be in a field that is dominated by White business owners.  Near the end of the interview she talks about her son, Tanny Nance Overton, who will succeed her in the antique business as the fourth generation to be involved in antiques. She tells a funny story about buying a reproduction of a valuable piece of porcelain and the lessons she learned from that experience.

Abstract February 28, 2005
Mrs. McPhaul talks about how she got into collecting fountain pens and then Bakelite jewelry.  She gives a brief history of Bakelite.  She also talks about the effect that the internet has had on her business, and her opinion of it as a marketplace versus her brick- and-mortar shop. She tells stories of her years as a teacher, and her priorities as an educator.  She describes a lot of her specific merchandise, and the things she likes to collect. She talks about her family, and her three children: Pamela, Frederick, and Tanny.  She describes how important work is to her family and how everyone in her family has worked to make ends meet.  When Mrs. McPhaul retired from teaching she began caring for her mother full-time and she tells stories about that period.

Abstract April 7, 2005
Mrs. McPhaul explains her relationships with her mother’s employers.  Her mother first began working for the Ludeck family, and after the older generation died, she went on to work for two of the daughters in the family: Miss Moore and Miss Pansy.  Later, she worked for the Northrup family, who had two girls younger than Dorothy and for whom Dorothy babysat.  She tells stories about her relationship, as an adult, with both Miss Moore and Miss Pansy.  She also talks more about her mother’s car accident when her mother lost her leg, how her employers supported the family during this difficult time, and more about her mother’s catering business.  She fills in some details about her family’s history in Austin and their business in Pflugerville.


Disclaimer:
“Oral Narrative as History.” Students received class credit for this work, and were under the supervision of Dr. Martha Norkunas, director of “The Project in Interpreting the Texas Past.”

Every effort has been made to transcribe the audio recordings exactly. On occasion a word, or phrase, was difficult to hear and this is indicated by a question mark in brackets.


Dorothy McPhaul

Interviewee:
Dorothy McPhaul

Interviewer:
Amber Abbas

Date of Interview:
February 21, February 28, April 7, 2005

Place:
Mrs. McPhaul’s home Austin, Texas

Recording Format:
16 bit .wav file recorded using a Griffin iTalk microphone adapter plugged into a 2004 20GB Apple iPod.

Transcriber:
Amber Abbas