Interview with railroader Tom Watson

Date: August 23, 1988

Source: S1618 , Container 4 , Tape 8-9

Type: Sound

Download: MP3

Download: MP3


  • Two audio cassettes. Tom Watson, a railroad worker for over 30 years, worked for the Jacksonville terminal between 1950 and 1974. He then worked for Amtrak until 1988. In the interview, he discusses growing up in Jacksonville; the history of Florida rail lines and the railroad business; his career with Amtrak and the Jax Terminal; the various rail lines operating in Florida; labor strikes; a typical work day as a ticket taker; education at Bethune Cookman; a description of the old terminal; civil rights and rail integration; various jobs available to rail workers; the different opportunities for whites and blacks; pranks on the job; baggage sent on trains; mail on the rails; changes in the industry; mail; women employees; socializing with employees; and unions. The Folk Arts in Education Project in Duval County was a joint venture between the Duval County School System and the Florida Folklife Program. It was started in 1984 by folklorist David Taylor with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts to add to existing social studies curriculum. The project consisted of field research to identify local traditions and folk artists, a series of five two-day seminars to acquaint teachers with the use of folklore and folk arts, in-school programs conducted by a folklorist and traditionalist, which included visits by local folk artists. Taylor ran it until 1986. In 1988, Gregory Hansen re-initiated it with minor changes.

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