Lucinda Williams Interview

(L to R) Coach Edward Temple and Tigerbelles Martha Hudson, Lucinda Williams, Isabelle Daniels and Margaret Matthews display the medals the team won at a Moscow track meet in 1958.

Lucinda Williams [Adams] was a member of the Gold medal winning 400-meter relay team with Wilma Rudolph, Barbara Jones and Martha Hudson at the 1960 Olympic Games at Rome. Her nickname was Lu.

Listen to the audio interview here:

Lucinda Williams

“It was the spring of 1954 and I had run well as a junior for my high school in Savannah, Georgia at the Tuskegee Relays in Alabama one weekend.

Coach Temple was there and he said he was starting this junior track team and he was going to invite some girls to come to Tennessee State for that summer program.

We went back home and we started preparing for me to go off that summer. My parents put me on a Greyhound bus to Nashville with a box lunch. They had fried chicken and pound cake and all of that kind of stuff, and water because we couldn’t stop any place [as a black person during those years].

If you stopped any place you couldn’t get off the bus. And you had to sit in the back from the bus station in Savannah all the way to Nashville. Yes, it was a pretty good ride but my parents had prepared me for what to do and what not to do.

Well, stay in the back of the bus and mind my business. I didn’t have any reason to interfere with anybody else because when I grew up in Bloomingdale [near Savannah] everything was segregated there. In other words, at that time, you knew your place.

That first summer in Nashville was the only time I wanted to go back home. It was difficult. It was hard. But then it was also somewhat fun because the older Tigerbelles, Mae Faggs and Cynthia [Thompson] and Pat Monsanto – because those young ladies were there and in college, just kind of took us under their wings and guided us through.

They continued to encourage us but they also made it known that we were there to work. You learned time management, number one. You learned how to take care of yourself and your teammates because the team concept was born with the Tigerbelles in taking care of each other, and being sure everybody got about the same thing to a point.

We didn’t have very much but what we had, we shared it.”