Doretha McDonald

As interviewed by C.M., March 10, 2019

Doretha McDonald: In Her Own Words

Doretha McDonald describes her experiences during the civil rights movement.

Believe it or not, in 1954-55, even being a teacher in the area, you couldn’t go sit at a football game. I went with him [Lee McDonald] one afternoon. He said, “Wanna watch the game?” -- and I thought we were going around the gate. But he said, “No, we can go over next to the school and park by the railroad tracks and we can watch the game.” And after the football game if you wanted to get something to eat, you had to go to the back door, and that’s where you would order what you would want, and then they would hand it to you, and you would just pay them at the door. And that’s the way it was.

At this point, Mrs. McDonald describes her experience riding a bus with her one year-old daughter to New Orleans.

He rechecked my ticket because there were other people getting on from that particular town, in Waco. We got on the bus and we sat down, and I am not in the first seat from the driver at the front, i’m in the seat right in front of the long back seat. And I was approached with the words, “I need my seat.” I said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t know that you were talking to me.” and I got up. Taron was still a little fussy, and he asked me to get up not for a white lady, for a white man. That’s a fact.

So, I got up, and after I got up he walked on back up to depart from the bus station. And the minute that he asked me to get up for the white man, he said “Lady, you take the seat back.” The bus driver had gotten back up to the front and was cranking up the bus, getting ready for departure, and the man said, “You can’t stand up with a baby.” And I paused and looked at him for a moment, and he said “I really mean it -- you take the seat back. You can’t stand up with a baby.” And I said, “Thank you sir.”