Charles Hudson, Interviewed by Lindsey Marolt, November 15, 2012
Location of Interview: Cooperstown, New York
Charles Hudson was born in New Jersey in 1937. He worked as a physician and psychiatrist, and moved to Cooperstown in 1974 to work at Bassett Hospital. His mother came from an Irish family in New York City, but moved to rural New Jersey with her husband to raise their family while working as a nurse. In this clip, Dr. Hudson talks about his mother’s life.
CH: My mother was a person of firm will. She didn’t know it at the time, but she was a feminist. She did things in public and the community. But she couldn’t get along with her stepmother and got angry at her father, so she left home at the age of fourteen and went to stay with her brother in Pittsburgh, having no real plan and thinking about what to do. My mother was Catholic. She went to a Catholic nursing school in Pittsburgh, St. Joseph’s and applied there. She was fourteen and she was supposed to be sixteen, but she fibbed about her age and went through nurses training and she was a nurse the rest of her life. But to show you the kind of person she was, in the area where we lived, of course we didn’t all live together, there were black people living in one area, and there was prejudice. She, in the 1940s, joined the NAACP to be an advocate for black people, and that came up very sharply once. Every year, the eighth grade school would plan on a trip to Washington, DC, and we would go with a couple of teachers, stay overnight or two and visit all the great sights. My mother was in charge of that one year and she started calling down there looking for places to stay. It turned out that nobody wanted the black children; nobody wanted black children to stay in their hotel or their motel. I don’t know how she did it, but she rang all around with one place for a while and finally they agreed, but they said, “Keep them out of sight. Keep them out of sight.” Well, I don’t think my mother made any great effort to do that because she wasn’t the kind of person to lie down and roll over for anybody.