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Catalog Data

Anacostia Museum  Search this
Anacostia Community Museum  Search this
Anacostia Neighborhood Museum  Search this
Collection Creator:
Anacostia Community Museum  Search this
1 sound recording (audio cassette)
African American  Search this
Archival materials
Sound recordings
Sound recordings
Oral histories (document genres)
United States
circa 1997
Scope and Contents:
Through an oral history interview, Mary Dawkins talks about growing up and being raised by her grandparents in Lusbee, Maryland. She talks about her enjoyment as a clam and oyster shucker and her ability to earn money to send her children to college. Prior to working for Warren Denton Seafood House (Calvert County, Maryland), Dawkins worked as cook for Parrens and as a shucker for Lores, which went out of business. Dawkins describes her experience working as a clam and oyster shucker in detail. She explains the changes in the oyster, clam, and crab industries, particularly the oysters and crabs are smaller and not as plentiful, and the diminished African American workforce. She talks about working with Mexicans and the changing demographics of the employees working at Warren Denton Seafood House.
Interview. Part of Behind the Apron oral history project. Undated.
Biographical / Historical:
Behind the Apron oral history project documents the experiences of Black oyster and clam workers in Southern Maryland. The interviews explore issues such as: the connection between land and water, between farming and the fishing industry; the communal spirit and camaraderie amongst oyster workers; the experience of women oyster workers; and the changes in the oyster packing industry resulting in a diminshed African American workforce. The audio interviews were conducted by Shelia Montague Parker in 1997.
Use of the materials requires an appointment. Some items are not accessible due to obsolete format and playback machinery restrictions. Please contact the archivist to make an appointment:
African Americans  Search this
African Americans -- Employment  Search this
African Americans -- Maryland  Search this
Oyster industry  Search this
Clam industry  Search this
Sound recordings
Oral histories (document genres)
Behind the Apron Interview with Mary Dawkins, Behind the Apron oral history project, Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
ACMA.09-007.28, Item ACMA AV005256
See more items in:
Behind the Apron: The History, Life, and Hidden Achievements of Southern Maryland's Black Oyster and Clam Workers
Archival Repository:
Anacostia Community Museum Archives