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Oral History


In this interview, Vernon Coleman is interviewed by Kern Jackson at his home in Mobile, Alabama. Mr. Coleman describes growing up in Mobile, and talks about his family history and their connection to both the Down the Bay and Maysville neighborhoods, including the history of a street named after his family: Coleman Lane. He discusses the Down the Bay neighborhood, its boundaries and community dynamics, some of the businesses that used to operate there, and the changes in the community after integration and urban renewal. Mr. Coleman mentions some of his family’s musical history and connections to the Excelsior Band, and then the conversation transitions to his experiences in the US Army, including serving in the Vietnam War. Mr. Coleman served as an intelligence officer. He also describes his work with the city of Mobile after his discharge from the Army, and he reflects on the role of colorism and the tensions between Black and Creole identity Down the Bay and in wider Mobile. Mr. Coleman also shares memories from his experiences getting a master’s degree from the University of South Alabama.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.