Browse Exhibits (2 total)
Born in Mobile, Alabama, Charles Vance (1902-1988) was just nine when his mother died and his father relocated the family to Whistler, Alabama. Unable to support his family earning two dollars a day, Vance’s father moved North in 1917. Vance’s father told Charles not to follow and that he would send for him. The next day, Vance, then just fifteen years old, struck out on his own and spent the next six years working in the coke ovens, levee camps, and railroad track crews in the South before making his own way to Philadelphia in 1923.
Born in Danville, Virginia, James Plunkett (c. 1896-1986) spent much his early life moving from job to job as tobacco farmer, bricklayer, railroad worker, and bartender. Over the course of three interviews conducted in 1983 and 1984, Plunkett recounted his childhood in Virginia, his move north at age 20, and the “sporting life” that he enjoyed once in Philadelphia, going to speakeasies, drinking bootleg liquor, chasing women, and playing the “numbers racket.”