Mary Ann Smith-Tucker interviewed by Camila Washington and Owen Longacre, 2023
This oral history is an interview with Mary Ann Smith Tucker conducted by Camila Washington and Owen Longacre for the Lucy F. Simms School Oral History Project. Camila was a student in Owen Longacre’s African American history course at Spotswood High School. The interview was conducted on February 22, 2023, at the Simms Center.
Mary Ann Smith-Tucker attended the Simms school from 1958 to 1966. In this oral history, Mrs. Smith-Tucker describes a close-knit community where teachers, parents, and students had strong bonds. She fondly remembers the May Day programs, choir activities, and the Girl Scout troop initiated by a local beautician to provide opportunities for black girls during segregation.
Mrs. Smith Tucker describes the school as the main community center for African Americans in the area, and she credits her time there for inspiring her love of teaching and shaping her teaching style, which is modeled after the dedicated teachers she had at Simms. She describes the teachers at Simms school as strict but caring, with a deep commitment to providing a quality education to the students.
Mrs. Smith-Tucker also discusses the impact of desegregation on her education as she moved on to Thomas Harrison Junior High School, as well as the mixed feelings about integration among parents and students in her community. She says that while they desired improved opportunities, there was also uncertainty about how the transition would unfold. They felt the loss of friends and teachers from the community as a significant consequence of desegregation.
Interview and Transcript
Click here to download a copy of the transcript.
The transcript presented here has undergone a rigorous review and editing process undertaken by Kayleigh Bishop, Kirsten Mlodynia, and Leonard Richards to ensure its accuracy and authenticity. After the completion of the oral history interview, we provided Mrs. Smith Tucker with the opportunity to review the initial transcript and offer feedback, corrections, and additional insights. This collaborative effort between Mrs. Smith Tucker and our team at James Madison University has resulted in a final version that faithfully reflects the participant's own words and recollections.