Family Pictures USA


LOCAL: North Carolina | Family Pictures USA

Family Pictures USA heads back to North Carolina for a heartfelt reunion between series host Thomas Allen Harris and the inspiring people profiled in his new PBS series. Harris sits down with the cast of the NC episode to discover how being part of Family Pictures USA has affected their lives and families.

AIRED: August 12, 2019 | 0:26:46

[gentle orchestral fanfare]

[audience applauding]

- [Female Announcer] Coming up on "Family Pictures North Carolina."

Locals share their family stories and pictures

with host Thomas Allen Harris.

- You have this connection that you can make with a name.

My family would tell me stories about James.

At the time it was just a story

until you actually see the picture.

- We take photographs for granted.

They chronicle our lives.

- [Female Announcer] Next on "Family Pictures North Carolina."

- [Male Announcer] "Family Pictures North Carolina"

is made possible in part by

the Corporation for Public Broadcasting,

a private corporation funded by the American people.

ElectriCities of North Carolina, proud to be

the energy behind public power.

And Capitol Broadcasting Company.


- Hello I'm Thomas Allen Harris, host of the PBS series

Family Pictures USA.

Thank you for joining us for this special local edition

of the show.

We have three guests who here to talk about their pictures

and our shared history.

I wanna introduce you to our first guests

from right here in Durham, whose family was part

of North Carolina's rich tobacco history.

Let's take a look.

- Camera C, Interview 5, Lynn Gladstein Grossman.

I started working in my father's store

when I was 11 years old.

My father carried Frye boots, and he carry Levi jeans,

and dress pants and he had customers who were farmers.

When I was 11 I can remember ringing up a sale of socks,

it was fifty cent pair of socks.

Unfortunately, I rang it up for $50 and I was just horrified

that I had ruined the business for that day.

- Welcome Lynn.

- Thank you, it's a pleasure to be here.

- It's a pleasure to have you.

So your family had multiple stores,

this was probably not the first store right?

- My great-uncle started a store in East Durham

on East Geer Street probably around 1885.

He came to Durham in 1881, he was recruited in New York

as a cigarette roller by Buck Duke.

And he brought down with him, his name was Moses Gladstein,

he brought down with him about 120 Jewish, Polish,

and Russian cigar rollers.

And they worked in the factory here in Durham

until machines took over and they no longer had a need

for craftsmen who could roll cigarettes.

And Buck Duke gave pensions to the cigarette rollers,

most of whom left Durham and went

to various neighboring communities.

But my great uncle stayed and he brought

his brother Louis here, for whom I was named.

And they opened a dry goods store

and later it morphed into a men's clothing store.

- That you worked in.

- That I worked in.

- And then after my father met my mother

who was a manager at Lerners Clothing Store in Durham,

she encouraged him to buy the store from his father.

And then he was the sole owner until about 1974

when urban renewal eliminated that neighborhood of stores.

So it became a parking lot.

- So Lynn, you seem like the family community historian.

Or at least you're the keeper of the family photographs.

- Well absolutely.

And it's so timely because my partner John and I

this week have been going through 50 of my photograph albums

in my house.

And this has chronicled my family going back 75 years.

So it's a lot of photographs.

And we have just been eliminating all the photographs

that have no people in them.

So I'm going to digitize them and put them on thumb drives

and give them to my three children.

They have no interest in coming home

and looking through 50 albums,

but hopefully these photographs will be a connection

for them that they will always have these memories

that I have looking at my father

and my Uncle Harry is in the background

behind all the clothes that are hanging from the ceiling.

So this brings back fabulous memories.

Things that you haven't thought about in so long.

- Wow, so it's great that you have these photographs

to remember not only your family history

but the city's history.

And tell me why is it important for you,

or was it important for you to bring your family photographs

to Family Pictures USA?

- Well I was honored to be called by a producer in New York

as a representative of the Jewish community in Durham.

Because the Jews in North Carolina have been here

since the 1700s and I think a lot of people

may not know that history.

And Durham started as a city in 1869

and my family was here in 1881,

and by maybe 1890 there was already a synagogue in Durham.

So Beth El Synagogue.

And I was a fourth generation president

of Beth El Sisterhood, so I have deep connections

to my heritage and to Durham and I'm just a proud Durhamite.

- Now were there any surprises for you in coming

and sharing your family photographs

with Family Pictures USA?

Did you learn something from that process?

- Well I think I learned how we take photographs

for granted, but yet they are so important.

They are so much a part of our being.

About our experiences and they chronicle our lives.

And I think that we just wanna hold tight to them.

- Thank you so much Lynn, and continue! [laughs]

What a great gift for your kids.

- Absolutely, glad to be here.

- Up next we have an incredible brother and sister

with entrepreneurial roots.

Let's meet Owen and Anita Scott.

- Family pictures USA, sound file 8.

- My father, Joseph Scott followed in that path

of being a businessman.

- My father's business was a wholesale and retail

beauty and barber supply dealership.

So he took me to every beauty salon in the country.

- We were surrounded by many models

of black business owners, black families.

- I feel like I put my hands on a small piece of history.

I knew cosmetics even before I went to barber school

or cosmetology school, and I think America's sweethearts

like the late Miss Rue McClanahan,

they can pull that out of you.

We spent hours and I thought she wouldn't let me go,

[laughs] she made me stay with her.

And quite frankly I enjoyed the experience.

- [smacks lips]

- Welcome Anita and Owen, how are you guys doing?

- Doing well.

- Good.

- Glad to be here.

- So I know from knowing Owen's work,

he did my makeup tonight [laughs] that he inherited

some of the skills and passed down this tradition

of beauty shop and barber shop from your dad.

How did this history impact you?

- This history impacted myself, the firstborn in the family

and all of us, daddy always said you don't have anything

till you have your own.

And he got that spirit from his father

who was a large farmer in Wake County

as well as an entrepreneur.

He owned a barbershop, a cafe,

and what they called a tourist home back then.

My father worked in Durham in sales jobs

and other jobs until a famous entrepreneur,

black entrepreneur in Durham

known as Pops Turner hired him.

Pops passed, and passed the business

of Turner Beauty and Barber Supplies

down to my father and another salesman

who were able to maintain a thriving business.

He educated all six of us as a entrepreneur

and as my brother said on the tape,

he had a storefront business on Pettigrew Street,

which was part of Durham's urban renewal

so that storefront can't be found there anymore.

But he also ran a statewide business

including spilling over into South Carolina.

He was a distributor as well of beauty and barber supplies.

- So this Turner store had a similar fate

as Lynn's father's store.

They both suffered from urban renewal.

- Yes, Lynn's business, our father's business,

and 500 other businesses succumbed to urban renewal.

- [Thomas] And what year was this?

- For my father's business it was finally leveled in 1972.

The urban renewal plan was designed

as early as the mid-fifties.

It was planned that that corridor, Pettigrew Street

up towards Fayetteville Street.

Every business except for St. Joseph's Church,

which is now an historic site in Durham.

- I see.

Owen, when you look at this photograph,

first of all are you in this photograph?

- That's me at the end of the hood of that truck,

my father's only son out of six born daughters.

- I see, so you traveled around with him as a salesman,

or did you work with him?

- I did.

For me at that time it was more so a way to get away

from a bunch of girls.

[audience laughing]

I ended up going to every beauty salon

in the world [laughs].

There you have it.

- From the pan into the fire [laughs].

- Yes exactly.

In that picture I might have been 16,

but my father entrusted me into, maybe not that van

but one of several that was at least like that,

just loaded with cosmetics, the money that it took.

And I would go hours away, no cell phone, no email.

- So all over North Carolina,

or beyond the boundary of North Carolina?

- Beyond the boundaries.

Being in that business, there were often times

when we needed to be in other states for different reasons,

for workshops, and seminars.

My father was also very politically inclined

so as a small child I was asked

could I take these posters and put them in certain locations

inside the businesses to propagate political figures

that even as of today I get the opportunity.

I've made them up, and when I was a child

you were just a person on a poster.

So that photograph means a great, great, great deal to me.

- And how did it impact you, this experience

of working with your dad, now in your present career?

- As my sister Anita said, he said

you don't have anything until you have your own

so he as well as his brother and sister,

they were also barbers, and they told me

not that I even cared that much,

but I was respectful enough to listen and they said,

"You go to barber school and you'll always keep

some money in your pocket."

So even through college I went to barber school,

I went to cosmetology school.

I went to barber school while I was in college.

I made money as a barber while I was in college,

even though the college had a barber shop.

- And there's a long history of African American males

making money as barbers and having their own businesses.

- There is.

- Well I wanna thank both of you for sharing this photograph

and your story with Family Pictures USA.

And it's wonderful to have you here.

- Thank you. - Thanks Thomas.

- Our next guest hails from rural Eastern North Carolina

and brought her family to our photo-sharing event.

- [Crew Member] Sound file two.

- So this right here is about twenty-odd years

of research done for my family.

I love my family's history.

I find it's so important to be able to know

where you came from and I love to share that

with all of my family who has interest

in knowing that as well.

It's showing that person's life.

I can see it here in words, but to actually see

a picture of them changes the whole picture for that person.

James Wallace, so this would be your great-grandfather?

James Wallace I believe this would be his great-grandfather.

So I don't know if you can see or not but his face,

you can look at his face and just see the hardship.

His body is aged.

This right here is where the farm was,

and this is what he had to farm.

Even after he was no longer a slave,

his family was no longer a slave.

They still had to live.

They had to provide for their family of 10 or 12.

When you look at this photo right here,

the struggles that this man had his children grew up,

his children moved, his children are successful.

So just to know that his struggle was well worth it.

It's amazing and that's what I love

about this photo as well of James.

- That's good okay!

[hands clapping]

- Jewel, welcome.

- Thank you.

- So you've done a lot of work on your genealogy

and your family history.

- Yes.

- [Thomas] Was there anything that surprised you

when you came and shared your family photographs

at Family Pictures USA?

- What surprised me the most

was that everyone was interested in knowing more

about this book that I brought.

It was filled with years, 1830,

information about our family.

And everybody came over to see all the pictures

and the information and census records.

And to have that, sharing that with you guys,

and to see the love and the interest that everyone had there

about our family and our story,

it was a wonderful feeling to have.

- So you started this a while ago?

- [Jewel] Yes.

- Before the Internet?

- Well, little bit before came along

and all those other resources came along.

Basically you're writing information down

by word of mouth.

So a lot of stories were different

from someone else's story.

So that's where you come in as a detective

just basically trying to piece together the information

and then as the Internet became more available to us

and information, they're putting more stuff on there,

pictures now that they have, they're able to put

on the internet for you to have.

I'm seeing things and I'm able to connect names

with people and faces.

And that's to me all about a picture,

is that you have this connection that you can make

with a name.

My family would tell me stories about James

and where he lived but at the time it was just a story.

Until you actually see the picture,

and now you can see his face, you can see the struggles,

you can see where he lived.

You hear the story of my parents picking cotton

and now I see it, it's right there in the fields.

- Did you grow up with this image or did it come to you

as part of your research and how did it

affect your research?

- It came about through research.

It actually was an anchor for me

to just continue grabbing more pictures, to ask families.

But before I had what I had, but now that I knew I had this

I'm like okay, "Well Aunt So-and-So do you have pictures?"

"Oh, yeah let me show you."

And she would bring me over and she would show me

her whole book and she would allow me

to make copies of the pictures.

So it's all about asking, at the end of the day.

Not just sitting on what you have

but really asking family members to participate

in that journey with you.

It brings everyone in together, and that was a lot of fun.

- So your immediate family, your kids and your parents,

they've probably been watching you [laughs]

watching you passionately doing this research.

Were they affected by the Family Pictures USA experience

where you shared with strangers perhaps for the first time?

- My dad, he surprised me.

He was one of the surprises.

He shared how he felt about his grandfather,

which I had never known.

And to see that and to see the sincere passion

that he had about his grandfather

never being able to meet him and the stories that he had

about how he wish he was able to meet him.

But the things he heard about him,

and knowing that he was a good man,

and that was something that I really appreciate

him being able to be a part of that with me

with Family Pictures USA.

And my kids, my kids came along.

At first they were kind of nervous about being on camera.

Once they expressed their joy and their love for family

and for pictures, and you know the behind-the-scenes,

it was an experience for them and they still talk about it.

- Oh good.

So sharing your photographs with us, did it prompt you

to do additional research or to go on the lecture circuit?

- Yes it did actually.

I was able to connect another family to my line

after I announced to everybody that it was gonna be on.

And they says, "Oh you're an Ausby."

And I'm like yes.

And so they go, "I think we have Ausbys."

And so I was able to connect another line through that.

And also--

- And did you find more photographs that way?

- Yes, actually they sent me more photographs

of family members from that time period.

Names I'd seen in the census records,

but now the photos went along with it.

- Any surprises?

No, they all look the same [laughs].

- They were family [laughs].

- They were family, you could see the resemblance

in every photo and that was great to know.

And then we had our family reunion in May

and so I said well, "I'm gonna do a Thomas." [laughs]

So I went and I interviewed everybody

and I asked them to tell me their name,

where they're from, their family's name, date of birth,

grandparents if they could go back that far,

and it surprised them that they knew

or didn't know some information.

And so we were able to share that at the family reunion.

- That's wonderful, each one teach one [laughs].

- I pulled a Thomas.

- Pulled a Thomas [laughs].

Well Jewel, thank you so much for participating,

for bringing your beautiful family to join you

in your family share.

And we look forward to being in touch and continuing.

- Thank you.

- We have surprise guests in the studio.

- Let's bring up Laura Matthews and Charles Lindsey

to share their photo.

Laura and Charles welcome.

- Thank you for inviting me.

- Wonderful, well you've brought a photograph too.

- I did.

- And you brought a family photograph,

and that's wow what a great classic photograph.

So who is in this image?

- So this is my father and that's my mother

with that fantastic beehive hairdo,

I can't imagine how she managed it but it's great.

And so to the far right is my oldest brother Charlie,

and then there's me, and my middle brother Billy,

and then to the left is my brother Jimmy.

And he's the middle brother too.

- I see, so they're all dressed alike I love that.

- [Laura] Uh-huh, they are.

- Matching tees.

- That's right that's right.

- [Thomas] Now everyone looks really neat and prim.

Were you guys this way all the time?

- Oh my goodness, oh my goodness no.

- I think maybe I should ask Charles that [laughs].

- This is one of those things where you kind of just

try to decide whether, do I tell a lie right now or?

- [All] [laughs]

- Will I face the truth?

- So Charles, what is your recollection of this photograph.

And may I may I call you Charles?

- Oh sure.

- Okay, what is your recollection of this photograph

five minutes before and maybe 10 minutes after?

- Well that picture was taken when we lived in Charlotte.

Interesting little story about the children.

That's probably my best shot at it,

but at any rate you can see there's three boys

and one little girl.

And when it'd be a rainy day Laura would go in the boys room

to play with them.

And it wouldn't be about 10 minutes, she'd be crying.

I got tired of that, and I went in one day

and I lined 'em up by the bed and I says,

"Boys here's the way this is gonna work forever.

"But if I hear her crying y'all get a whipping.

"I know that the guilty party's in there somewhere."

- [laughs] After all, they're all dressed alike.

- [All] [laughs]

- [Laura] That's right.

- [Thomas] Did that work?

- That's my wife's doing, the dressing them alike.

- [Thomas] Oh, I see.

- It kind of goes back and forth, sometimes it worked.

Sometimes, not always.

- So, did it kind of the shape the way you were,

having three older brothers?

- Oh you know, yes I think it really did.

I think nothing bothers me.

Nothing bothers me.

I've lived through everything,

and there's nothing I think anybody can do

that would bother me.

So, I'm a very calm person now.

- Oh wonderful [laughs].

And so has there been a kind of a repeat picture,

an assemblage of the three brothers and your mom?

Did you ever do another one of these later on?

- Oh we did, we did a few years later.

And of course everybody was dressed

in the same matching outfits again.

So I didn't bring it with me but it's just so much fun

to look at how everybody grows and how everybody changes.

- What do you think this picture conveys to people today?

You know it looks so much different than the images

that we take, I mean it's black and white,

as you mentioned that's a beehive,

they've got the little boys all dressed alike.

What do you think, does it harken back to another era?

Do you think that for young people

if they were to look at this image what would they see?

- I think this image,

it's really a happy family.

Everybody's got such a nice look on their face,

you know we're all looking to the future.

We're all optimistic, that's what I think it shows.

And I think that families today see the same thing.

So people look different, everything's in color,

and we're all different.

Everybody's different, but everybody is still,

people are still optimistic.

They look to the future, and they're excited

about what's to come.

- Do you think that North Carolinians in particular

are optimistic about the future and is this photograph

characteristic of a North Carolinian kind of family photo?

- I think so, I think so.

North Carolina is such a great place to live.

There's so much opportunity here.

There so many things to do.

You can go anywhere and you can be anything

no matter who you are.

There's always a chance to do what you want to do.

So I think it's very representative of a family

in North Carolina and just a happy, smiling family.

- Wonderful, well you guys make me smile.

Thank you for being here.

- [Charles] Thank you very much.

- [Laura] Thank you.

- Thank you for joining us here at UNC-TV,

Public Media North Carolina.

We want to invite you to share your family pictures,

to create a national family album.

Go to or share them

on social media with #familypicturesusa.

And thank you again for joining us.

[audience applauding]

[lively music]


- [Male Announcer] "Family Pictures North Carolina"

is made possible in part by

the Corporation for Public Broadcasting,

a private corporation funded by the American people.

ElectriCities of North Carolina,

proud to be the energy behind public power.

And Capitol Broadcasting Company.


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