Phyllis Theresa Shepherd Interview

Dublin Core


Phyllis Theresa Shepherd Interview


Rosedale History Harvest, Rosedale Memories


Phyllis Theresa Shepherd describes her numerous visits to Rosedale to see her two sets of grandparents, who lived across the street from one another. She speaks of her time within the community, the churches in the neighborhood and the changes she has seen in past years.


[no text]


March 24, 2019

Oral History Item Type Metadata


Shae Corey


Phyllis Theresa Shepherd


Lee Community Center, Rosedale Alabama


SHAE COREY: So, if you wouldn’t mind starting just saying your name…

PHYLLIS SHEPHERD: Phyllis Theresa Shepherd.

SHAE COREY: Perfect, and have you lived in Rosedale your whole life or…how long have you lived here?

PTS: Well, I was actually a visitor, my grandparents, both sets of grandparents lived here and they lived across the street from each other.


PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: My maternal grandparents uhm lived on 25th Court and my paternal grandparents on 19th Street South.

SHAE COREY: Wow and so did both of your parents grow up here?


SHAE COREY: And where did they live after they moved, did they move away from Rosedale, or?

PTS: They did when they married. Uhm, when my parents married in February 1957, they moved to the Woodlawn area of Birmingham, that was more or less their first residence as newlyweds. They roomed with an elderly lady uh and they only stayed there maybe barely a year. And then they moved to the Titusville area of Birmingham.
SHAE COREY: Wow, so did you grow up there?


SHAE COREY: But you came and visited here to see your grandparents?

PTS: I sure did.

SHAE COREY: So, what did they tell you about Rosedale, like your parents and your grandparents?

PTS: They really, they you know always spoke about you know the good times, the fact that it was a traditional neighborhood. Uh it was a neighborhood in which uhm black people were very affluent, uh they had, many of them had their own businesses, and it was a—it was just really a very tight-knit community uh everyone knew everybody. Uh adults could chastise anybody’s child if they were doing wrong, that kind of thing. It was sort of like a community you’d see on T.V. like The Waltons or something.

SHAE COREY: Mhm! (Laughter) Yeah.


SHAE COREY: So, do you go to church in Rosedale or…


SHAE COREY: What church do you go to?

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: I go to Bethel A.M.E. Church on Mamie L. Foster’s 18th Place South uh and the street in recent times and uh the latter part of the twentieth century was named for educator Mamie Labon Foster.
SHAE COREY: Mhm, who was she? So, I’ve heard a little bit about B.M. Montgomery, I believe, but I don’t think I know anything about her specifically.

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: Yes, mhm. Miss Foster was a uh, she, she was an educator and she was also I think a member on the Homewood City Council at one time.

SHAE COREY: Oh, wow.

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: So, she was, she is very well known, very prominent. Later years, of course, she ended up I think uhm living with her niece in California.


PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: When she couldn’t, you know, take care of herself anymore.

SHAE COREY: Mhm. So, did your grandparents, or your parents ever talk about, like any problems within Rosedale? Or…anything like that?

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: Very few, I, I didn’t hear. You know there’s no place or no sense of people that are perfect but uh the problems to me were minimal. Not like now.


PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: They didn’t have the levels of violence within the community like now. No. Even, even uh, African-American white relations were different. As opposed to Birmingham. Uh when my father was growing up uh the police used to watch little black boys and white boys play football. There in the field for example. There was, however, surely discriminations as far as schools. They attended Rosedale High, which was all black. And of course, the white kids went to Shades Valley, Shades Cahaba. At the time, Shades Cahaba was actually a high school. Now it’s an elementary school. But uh, just in general, kids had a tendency to play together, believe it or not. Mhm.
(Microphone crackling)

SHAE COREY: The black and white students?

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: Mhm, yeah. In some of the neighborhoods, yeah at least I know that dad mentioned about the boys playing football, mhm.

SHAE COREY: Well—wow… so you mentioned that your grandmother was 105?

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: 105, that’s my paternal grandmother.

SHAE COREY: And she lived here her whole life?



PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: She moved here 19—around 1933. She actually was born in Barbour county in Eufala. Mhm.

SHAE COREY: Interesting.

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: So, I guess—that, she would’ve moved here I guess when she was about 23, 24 years old.

SHAE COREY: Mhm. So, did your parents and your grandparents talk a lot about Rosedale as uhm like did they ever talk about the changes in the community after uhm the end of segregation or anything like that?

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: Mhm. I would say mostly it would seem like they were losing uh a whole on the, so to speak, on the land, on the property. It seemed like it was slowly eroding away, people were selling out. Uh, land wasn’t necessarily being just taken or anything without compensation, people were just selling out. Uh, I don’t know sometimes when people see money they’ve never seen before…


PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: Some people have never seen fifty, twenty-five, even twenty-five thousand dollars at one time.


PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: They’ve seen it on paper, in figures, but that’s it.

SHAE COREY: Yeah, that makes sense.

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: Mhm, and so they just, they sell out and this is why you have the, the freeway you have because there were houses all down that way.

SHAE COREY: Mhm! What was, what do you think, if your grandmother was still here, what do you think she would say was her favorite part about growing up in Rosedale, or something that she just loved about this community?

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: I would think she probably would’ve said there was more love, everybody was close.


PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: Uhm, you could be, you know that was the thing, it was the type of environment where a neighbor could borrow a cup of sugar, a cup of flour—maybe adults could be out talking across the fence, so to speak and somebody could tell a child, “Baby, go in the house, go in my house and, and check on those peas that were on the stove and turn them off.” Uh, people didn’t lock their doors.


PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: People as a whole, they uhm slept on the porch if they wanted to when it was hot yeah during the summer because they had screened-in porches, lot of people did.

SHAE COREY: People used to sleep on the porch? And keep their doors unlocked? (Laughter)

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: Yeah. People, people didn’t bother them back then. They just didn’t bother folks.

SHAE COREY: So, I know earlier you mentioned different types of violence in Rosedale, now. Like what types of violence?

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: Mhm. I think even now, I, I still think this is a low crime area. Even, I really do. This is low crime as opposed to where I am in the Birmingham area unfortunately where it looks like every time you turn on Fox 6 it’s who got killed last night. It’s, it’s a different culture. Different feeling. It’s just different now.

SHAE COREY: Yeah, yeah. I think everywhere is a little different, now, probably.

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: It is, and I think it’s upbringing. That’s another thing, you know like I was mentioning earlier, uh you know adults could chastise other people’s children. And what would happen, and it was like that somewhat when I was growing up even in Birmingham. You didn’t bring shame to your family. So, yeah you were hoping word didn’t get out that Miss Brown or, or, or Mr. White had to say something to you. You were hoping it didn’t get back to your parents you know, yeah.

SHAE COREY: Yeah. A different culture of honor, I guess.

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: That’s true! That is so true, mhm.

SHAE COREY: Yeah. That’s very interesting. Well, is there anything else that…

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: I can’t think of a whole lot, but it just to me was so unique knowing that my maternal grandparents lived here on 25th Court and my paternal grandparents were on 19th Street, they of course, were neighbors they knew each other. My parents were five years, had a five-year difference in age. So, quite naturally they wouldn’t have socialized as kids because it made a difference. Dad was graduating high school and he went to the Korea conflict. He did enlist in the air force. And mom was back here in school, in high school. So, it made a difference. Yeah.

SHAE COREY: Yeah. So, did they meet when he came back from the air force, did he come back to Rosedale or?

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: Yeah. Yeah, he did for a while, because they married in ’57 and I was born during that time. So yeah, they hooked up so to speak.

SHAE COREY: (Laughter)

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: It was interesting.

SHAE COREY: That’s funny that they lived right across the street from each other and didn’t know.

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: Yeah. They didn’t—you know, they knew each other and all but, you know it’s, it’s different if a girl is five and uh, a boy is ten. You know, that kind of thing they have different classmates, different everything, yeah. Different friends.

SHAE COREY: Yeah. But they still fell in love!

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: I’m telling you.


PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: Still, it’s been really interesting. You know, we miss dad. Dad passed away in ’17. So, it’s been one of those things. Adjustments, adjustments. Yeah. That’s him on the screen over there.

SHAE COREY: Yeah. Oh, really, he got interviewed too?

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: Mhm, he was interviewed three times.


PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: It was a part one two and three. My grandmother’s on there too somewhere. They’re all on YouTube. And two other old Rosedale residents too. Miss Doris Cunningham, and Miss Mary Edwards, was yeah, mhm.

SHAE COREY: Cool. Well it’s kind of cool that you got to be interviewed too! Get your whole family.

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: Mhm. Yeah! Well it’s been enjoyable, it’s very nice what they have set up for you all. And this is a good project for you in school.

SHAE COREY: Mhm, absolutely well thank you so much for—

PHYLLIS T. SHEPHERD: You’re welcome.



OHMS Object

[no text]

OHMS Object Text

[no text]

Interview Keyword

[no text]

Sort Priority

[no text]



“Phyllis Theresa Shepherd Interview,” The Rosedale Memory Project, accessed June 25, 2024,


Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>