top of page
Story Link.gif

L'overture Carter


     I was born in New York City on August 14, 1928 at Lincoln Hospital.  My parents were Ozie B. Oxford Carter and M. Wade Carter.  My mother was raised on the farm of my maternal grand parents, Mance and Sarah Ann Oxford in Parrott, Georgia.  My mother had been a student in Miss Reddick’s School and then the Helen Gurr “Colored” school in Parrott.  The Helen Gurr School was located behind Macedonia Baptist Church.  When my mother was 18 or 19 years old, she married Wade Carter.


     My father had been raised on a farm in Americus, Georgia (a few miles north of Parrott).  He lived with his mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. Brantly Carter.  After my father and mother got married, they moved to New York City.  They went there in search of opportunities to make a better future for themselves.  There was no future for blacks in Parrott outside of farming and sharecropping.  I remember going to school in the North.  My brother Reggie was born in 1931 in Jersey City, New Jersey.  My mother went there for his birth because my father had family there.  When my mother was pregnant with my youngest brother Robert, she became ill.  Robert was born in 1933.  We lived on the 6th floor of a New York City apartment building and my mother hated walking up and down the stairs.  My mother was a very religious woman and never really liked the secular/urban life of the big city.  Eventually, in 1936, she and my father separated and she took her three boys back to Georgia.


      For about 6 months we lived with my paternal grand parents in Americus, Georgia.  After that we moved back to Parrott with my maternal grand parents, Mance and Sarah Oxford.  My grandparents in Parrott were not sharecroppers; they owned a large farm with many animals.  During the Depression, grandfather Mance had difficulty getting the loans that farmers need to get them through a planting and harvest season and he had to sell his farm and most of his livestock.  He bought a smaller farm.  My grand parents lived on the second farm for the remainder of their farming years.  I left the farm in 1945, when I was 17 years old and went to live with my aunt and uncle in Orlando, Florida.  I didn’t want to spend my life working on a farm.  There didn’t seem to be much of a future there for me.  My mother and brothers moved to Atlanta shortly after I left the farm.  (My Aunt Nan lived in Atlanta).  My middle brother, Reggie, joined the Army in 1948.


     In Orlando, I first lived with my aunt and uncle, Arie Oxford Fordham and her husband Uncle James.  I lived with them for 3 months.  I then moved in with my Uncle Otis Oxford who also lived in Orlando.  My first job in Florida was with Sears and Roebuck.  After that I worked for a bakery.  From there I went to work for Thomas and Howard Grocery Company.  In addition to his regular job, my Uncle Otis was involved with the “numbers racket.”  I played the numbers occasionally.  I remember that once I hit the jackpot for a lot of money.  I sent some large denomination bills to my mother and told her that I had “hit” the number.  Several days later she sent the money back to me and informed me that she didn’t want any money from gambling.  That was my mother; a strict, straight laced and religious person.  After waiting a while, I changed the denomination of the bills and sent the money back to her and didn’t tell her that it was money from playing the numbers.


     In 1947 I left Florida and returned to my grandparent’s farm in Parrott, Georgia.  I only stayed there for one week.  Still searching for a job with a future, I went to Philadelphia to live with my Uncle Johnny L. Oxford and his wife Aunt Lucy.  I got a job with Campbell’s Soup Company for about 9 months.  From there I got a job working on the docks.  I still hadn’t found a job with a future.  After a while I decided to leave Philadelphia and go to Hartford, Connecticut to live with my Uncle Velma Oxford and his wife Aunt Dolly.


     In Hartford I got a job with the Union Manufacturing Company.  I stayed with that job for a little over a year.  In September of 1950, a man by the name of James Butler recommended me for a job with the Hartford Dispatch and Warehouse Company.  The job involved driving a truck and making deliveries.  I even joined the Teamster Union local.  It was a job that I truly loved.  I worked for that company for the next 41 years.  I retired in 1991.  In 41 years I only missed 15 days from work, and that includes time that I took off for funerals of relatives and friends.


     I met my wife, Fleta James Carter, through a friend, Willie Gardner.  She was the sixth child of Rufus and Eliza James of Plains, Georgia.  Ironically, while Plains is only a few miles from Parrott, we had never met.  She had moved to Hartford in the early 1940s.  She and I joined Bethel A.M.E. Church in Hartford.  She was a stewardess and a member of the church choir.  She was a graduate of the Connecticut Institute of Hairdressing.  We were married in July 1950.  We had one daughter, Renee.  We were married for more than 41 years.  Fleta died in October 1992.


     During my retirement years I have remained active in numerous civic activities.  I am a member of the local NAACP and Urban League, and I am active in my church.  I am also a Shriner, and I like to travel.


     My advice to the younger generation: Work hard. Save your money. Get as much education as you can. Respect yourself and treat others fairly.  Do those things and you will prosper.

bottom of page