ZEPHRA M CRAWLEY
“..I’m an East End Smoketown girl. My grandmother is Thelma May from R.G. May and Son’s Funeral Home. My mom is Zephra May Miller, known as the Bag Lady of Louisville. Yeah, pronounce it right or I’ll be upset (joking). Mr. Joe Hammond, to me still is a member of St. Peter Claver Church on East Lampton Street (Smoketown). He looked after the young and young at heart. A man of class and distinction and his wife a classy lady.
We had a group named Zephra May and Family. We were an acapella singing group. A gospel group. There was 4 of us. My mother, my sister, my brother and I. And we used to sing all over Louisville. My family competed at the Kentucky State Fair Gospel Quartet Competition one year. We were the first African American group to compete. Mr. Joe Hammond helped my family to be involved in it and helped us purchase some clothes. He said to me, when you dress the part you act and do your part. Growing up that meant a lot. We had clothes but when you step in the lime-light you want to look a certain way. We competed at the Gospel Quartet Competition and he was so proud of us. We didn’t win, but he was just ecstatic for us to be involved. He was just smiling and just proud of us. He believed in the community. That’s just the way he was.
Walking into there (Joe’s Palm Room) you felt welcomed. There was no fighting. You might have some heavy discussions, but not much cussing, everybody being themselves. It was a relaxing atmosphere. You had a good time. I think they had a pool table, darts, drinks, music. It was just a sociable gathering place. A place you can go and take your friends to have a good time. To me it was just real nice..”
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