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Claudia Lewis interview, 2019-11-25

Identifier: rwhc_ohp_2019_007.wav

Content Description

From the Collection:

Oral history interviews recorded by students in the Real World History class at Center for Inspired Teaching.


  • Other: 2019-11-25


Biographical / Historical

Claudia Lewis (née Claudia Johnson) was born September 30, 1937 in Ridge Spring, South Carolina. Ms. Lewis grew up on a farm in Ridge Spring with her parents, Charlie May Johnson and Ulysses Johnson, and six siblings. Though she was too young to do any serious farming, all of her siblings had to help operate the farm. In 1946, Ms. Lewis’s father made the decision that the family would move up north to Washington, D.C. Upon arriving in D.C., the family lived on Howard Road SE, but they soon moved to Northeast Washington. Ms. Lewis attended the Birney School on Nichols Avenue SE (now Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE) for a few months upon arriving in Washington, but after moving to Northeast during her sixth-grade year, she attended Burrville Elementary and later Merritt Elementary School. She went on to attend Kelly Miller Junior High before graduating from McKinley High School in 1956. Ms. Lewis then went to New York for a time before returning to Washington to begin a job at the Department of the Navy. She married her husband Elton Lewis in December 1969. After beginning as a mail clerk with the Department of the Navy, Ms. Lewis later became a secretary and remained there for her whole career. In 1992 Ms. Lewis moved to Prince George’s County Maryland. Ms. Lewis’s husband passed away in 2014, and Ms. Lewis currently lives with her daughter in Maryland.


From the Collection: 27.1 Gigabytes (DIG_0029)

From the Collection: 228 Files (DIG_0029)

Language of Materials



In this oral history interview, Claudia Lewis, discusses her life and experiences moving from Ridge Spring, South Carolina, to Washington, D.C. She reflects on her childhood in the South, her family’s move to Washington in 1946, and her educational experiences in Washington. She also discusses her experiences with work, church, and family in DC, as well as her move to Prince George’s County Maryland in 1992. This oral history interview was conducted by a DC high school student as part of a class assignment on the Great Migration in Real World History.

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001