STEVE INSKEEP, host:
All across the country people are recording interviews for the oral history project StoryCorps. And we've been hearing those interviews on the air here on MORNING EDITION on Friday mornings. Today we hear from Mildred Bond Roxborough.
In 1953, she accepted what was supposed to be a temporary assignment with the NAACP. Now, over a half-century later, Roxborough is the organization's longest-tenured employee. And here she remembers an incident from her early days on the road.
Ms. MILDRED BOND ROXBOROUGH: I was making my way across the state of Arkansas in July and August, the hottest months, getting parents to sign petitions to get their local school integrated. I was supposed to speak to the branch - you always had to speak to the units - so I wanted to take a bath. And there was a tin tub, it was about two feet deep, and large enough to wash clothing in -that's what the tub was intended.
Anyway, I decided that I wanted to sit down and hit the water over me, because I was hot and dusty. But then I couldn't push myself up from the tub. I was just stuck. So, I called my host and she could not get me from the tub. So, she went out and conferred and they decided that they would take me into the backyard so they could pour the water from the tub.
The backyard had a wire fence and people were walking along the sidewalk — and they stopped to watch this spectacle. Eventually they were able to pull me up out of the tub. Then people applauded — and they put something over me and I went back into the house.
That night at the meeting, I was introduced by the branch president. And I approached the podium. And someone in the audience arose and he said, you know, Mr. President, we have already met Ms. Bond — we saw her earlier today. And she looks as good in clothing as she did with none on.
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INSKEEP: That's 83-year-old Mildred Bond Roxborough, who's been working with the NAACP for more 50 years. She chatted in New York with her colleague, Maxim Thorne, and their conversation will be archived at the Library of Congress along with all the other StoryCorps interviews. You can get the Podcast, of course, at NPR.org.
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INSKEEP: This is NPR News.
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