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Transcription: [00:29:00]
{SPEAKER name="Host"}
And we'll go ahead and start this workshop by asking him to tell us how in the world he first got involved in show business from a farm in Georgia.

{SPEAKER name="Willie"}
Well I can tell ya, I got involved because of the hard work on the farm, I can tell ya that. And, uh, I didn't like hard work.

And they used to have, uh, carnivals and tent shows come to my hometown, and when they would come, we would go out there and bring water.

See, didn't have- didn't have no running water. You had to bring the water there. We were bringing the water for the animals, and we would get in free.

That's the only way we got in there, 'cuz we didn't have money, we would get in free. They would let us in free.

And so one day, one'd come by, and he asked me did I want to go with him? And I told him, yeah. And that's the way I left Georgia.

{SPEAKER name="Host"}
So you left Georgia working with a show, then.

{SPEAKER name="Willie"}
Oh yeah, well--

{SPEAKER name="Host"}
You weren't entertaining.

{SPEAKER name="Willie"}
No, I wasn't entertaining. No, I was just- had been- keep water for the animals, and running uh- uh--

errands for the, for the performers and the people that worked the show.

{SPEAKER name="Host"}
Now, how was it that you got up there on the stage the first time, Willie?

{SPEAKER name="Willie"}
Well, uh, I didn't get up on stage. They asked me to come on, and when I got north, what we called north then,

when I got to Washington, when I was far enough, I left them. And I went on to Atlantic City.

I had an aunt in Atlantic City, so I went to her. And, uh, so she made me go to school one year.

She wanted to go more than one year, but that- that's when I started dancing.

Uh, started doing of the dance called the Snake Heel.

And, uh, me and my partner, that's when we started traveling on the road, but my partner was good and I wasn't so good.

So they wanted to let me go and keep my partner, but my partner told them if they let me go he was going too.

So I slipped off of my partner- he didn't know I was going. So then I come on back in to New York.

{SPEAKER name="Host"}
Now, how did you get back? First of all, what kind of show was it that you were dancing with then?

{SPEAKER name="Willie"}
Well at that time I was dancing with the, the Whitman Sisters.

{SPEAKER name="Host"}
Uh-huh. And where were you showing?

{SPEAKER name="Willie"}
Well we be showing- we had- we had played Washington D.C. We left there and went to, uh, uh, North Carolina.

We played Raleigh, North Carolina. We left Raleigh, North Carolina, went to Columbia, South Carolina,

and Augusta, Georgia, where they- where the-

{SPEAKER name="Host"}
So you're working in theaters?

{SPEAKER name="Willie"}
Oh that's the- we worked in theaters-

{SPEAKER name="Host"}

{SPEAKER name="Willie"}
At that time, that was work in the theaters.

{SPEAKER name="Host"}
So, you're down there in Augusta, Georgia, now how did you get back up to Atlantic City?

{SPEAKER name="Willie"}
Get back to Atlantic City? I- I didn't go back to Atlantic City. That's when I went to New York.

{SPEAKER name="Host"}
Okay. How did you get back up to New York?

{SPEAKER name="Willie"}
Well that time, another- Once you'll be going, then another'd be coming.

So that time, Butterbeans and Susie was coming by, and Ma Rainey. And I joined them and come on back up to New York.

{SPEAKER name="Host"}
Also in theaters?

{SPEAKER name="Willie"}
In theaters, with them. But when I got to New York again, you had to be real good to play New York. So they let me go.

Transcription Notes:
"Speaker 2" has a strong accent. Should this be denoted in the transcript? I don't think that's necessary Butterbeans and Susie and Ma Rainey were contemporary African-American performers.

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