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Imonee White: Today is July 17th, Friday, 10:56 a.m. I am Imonee White, and I am performing this interview for Fred Royal the third. Hi Mr. Fred Royal, how are you?

Fred Royal III: I'm doing good.

Imonee White: OK. I just want to ask you a few questions about your childhood as far as your, you know, your birthdate, you know, place of birth or were you born here?

Fred Royal III: I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 19th of 1977. Grew up here, entered the military shortly after high school. Traveled a little bit after that and then came back to Milwaukee.

Imonee White: OK. What was the occupation of your parents as a child? Do you remember?

Fred Royal III: Worked for -- well, my mom she worked for several different companies, Sears and things like that. My father mainly worked at the plant, 1:00Delphi. I can't remember the name, but it wasn't Delphi back then.

Imonee White: OK. Do you remember your places of residence as a child?

Fred Royal III: Yeah. We grew up around 22nd and Nash like 20th and Capitol, around in that area. My grandmother still stays over there. So the majority of my childhood was around that area. And then we moved up to 57th and Nash. And I spent the majority of my teenage years there --

Imonee White: Are you religious?

Fred Royal III: Yes.

Imonee White: And what is your religion?

Fred Royal III: I believe in a higher power. I believe in Jesus. I believe in God.

Imonee White: OK. Was the role of religion played family's going to church as a kid?

Fred Royal III: During my childhood we went to church, you know, regularly, 2:00every Sunday, I guess.

Imonee White: What were some family activities that your family did? Like holidays? Fun things? Sports?

Fred Royal III: Holidays. Everyone got together either at my aunt's house or my uncle's house. Pretty much just like any typical family I guess.

Imonee White: OK. Now we’re gonna go to your education. What are the names of -- do you remember any of your grade schools and high schools that you attended?

Fred Royal III: I went to Benjamin Franklin down on Nash. Middle school was at Wilbur Wright, and then I graduated from John Marshall High School, which is now -- I think they changed the name to something.

Imonee White: OK. What were your favorite subjects while you were in school?

Fred Royal III: Art.

Imonee White: Art?

Fred Royal III: That's about it

Imonee White: If you did participate in any school activities what were they?

3:00

Fred Royal III: None.

Imonee White: Nothing?

Fred Royal III: I did nothing. I didn't do anything.

Imonee White: I feel you.

Fred Royal III: Yeah. I mean unfortunately I didn't do anything, but in retrospect I should have done something though.

Imonee White: OK. Did you graduate from high school?

Fred Royal III: Uh-huh.

Imonee White: You did say that you did.

Fred Royal III: I graduated in 96.

Imonee White: OK. Did you go to college?

Fred Royal III: No. I went to college after I exited the military.

Imonee White: OK. I just want you to tell me a little more about your adult family, I mean, are you married? Have you ever been married?

Fred Royal III: Married, two kids, nine and 15.

Imonee White: OK.

Fred Royal III: One is in high school, the other one is -- she's still in grade school.

Imonee White: You live in Milwaukee?

Fred Royal III: Correct.

Imonee White: I don't want you to tell where you live. Do you do any activities 4:00with your children at the moment? Any special activities?

Fred Royal III: Well, during the summer we do most of our traveling and we go different places, so we were scheduled to go to Baltimore, but we had an unexpected loss in the family, so we had to cancel that trip. So we just do pretty much our traveling during the summer.

Imonee White: OK. I'm going to ask you a few questions about your work experience. What was your first job as a teenager?

Fred Royal III: First job as a teenager was working at Kohl's Department -- I mean Kohl's grocery store pushing the carts.

Imonee White: OK. What was your first job as an adult?

Fred Royal III: As an adult was the military like I said.

Imonee White: OK. And if so, years, how many years were you there from the time, how long were you there?

Fred Royal III: I did four years in the military as a machinist from 96 to 2000.

5:00

Imonee White: OK. What did having a job mean to you? What did it mean for you to be in the military?

Fred Royal III: Well, in the military -- I mean it gave me responsibility. It kind of shaped me for the adult world, so -- because immediately after high school I wasn't ready for college. So psychologically it just kind of allowed me to grow up a little bit.

Imonee White: OK. Well, if you could go back to the military, would you do it again?

Fred Royal III: No.

Imonee White: No?

Fred Royal III: No.

Imonee White: Never again?

Fred Royal III: No. I mean it was cool, but it just wasn't for me. I mean it was cool, but if I would have known exactly what I was doing, you know, what type of job I was doing or what is was all about, then maybe yes, but I enjoyed traveling. That was about it.

Imonee White: What was it like in the military? I never knew anyone to be in 6:00there. What was your experience like? What was it like?

Fred Royal III: It's like working a regular job. You get up in the morning about 7:00 and then you get off at 4:00. That's during the time that you are in port, and I mean in port as far as like not at sea with the Navy, because I was in the Navy. So -- but during the times you were out at sea, that's when you actually had to work, so, you know, it was different, different divisions that take care of different things on the ship.

Imonee White: Do you know anyone that like enjoy the military?

Fred Royal III: Oh yeah. A lot -- I mean -- I'd say about 80% of my friends that were actually in there enjoyed the military, but it just wasn't for me.

Imonee White: OK. Are you currently employed?

Fred Royal III: Yes. I work with NPS paraprofessional.

Imonee White: OK. We're going to get into the reason we brought you here. I understand that you experienced a plant closing?

7:00

Fred Royal III: Correct. In Oak Creek

Imonee White: OK. Do you -- what is the name of the company you were working for?

Fred Royal III: The name of the company was Delphi.

Imonee White: OK. So how long ago was that?

Fred Royal III: I want to say over five years now. It may have been longer.

Imonee White: Your answer is pretty short because we have people come in and it's about 20 some years ago.

Fred Royal III: OK. Yeah. It wasn't that long. It wasn't -- it hasn't been that long. It's been about five, maybe longer. Might have been six. Maybe.

Imonee White: OK. So, I want you to tell me any and every thought that you had about the plant closing of Delphi. Was it just abruptly? Did you know of it closing, or what was your thoughts about it?

Fred Royal III: Yeah. Well, in preparation going into the actual job it was 8:00already known that it was going to be closing. So, it was kind of a what if situation, maybe it was a possibility for it to stay open, but then they let it be known that it was a good possibility that it was going to closing. So it was a situation to where we moved back from Pensacola, Florida to here. So it was perfect for me because it was employment.

Imonee White: OK.

Fred Royal III: At the time.

Imonee White: And why did Delphi close?

Fred Royal III: The automotive industry and I guess the states wasn't -- it wasn't producing as much as what they needed, so I mean as far as what we seen, you know, there's been a lot of companies not only in the automotive industry, but just period in the United States has been closing.

Imonee White: So, how much notice did you all receive as far as employee, knowing about it. Did they tell you all "Oh, this is going to close on this 9:00day," or did they just say "Oh, we're done." Did you come to work and then it was just closed?

Fred Royal III: No. It was expected. Yeah. It was an expected -- they -- I guess they were going through like negotiation process still to find out if that actual plant was going to be closing or staying open because there were other plants that stayed open. And a lot of people that came from Oak Creek ended up relocating to those other locations, but they eventually closed also.

Imonee White: OK. How did you feel about Delphi closing down? Did it affect you just financially, or did it affect physically, emotionally, mentally? How did it affect you?

Fred Royal III: More emotionally than anything else that you named, because of -- it was a pretty good job. I mean it was a nice structured job, you know, everybody had a part to do and, you know.

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Imonee White: OK. With you being the man of the house, because you're married, two kids, did you feel at all that you weren't able to care for your family after this abrupt close, or was that not only the only job you were working? Were you working other jobs while you were working for Delphi?

Fred Royal III: That was the only job. It was a little bit of -- well, I mean as far as -- they took care of us as far as like the severance package. So you still had enough time to provide for your family financial wise, and then you still were able to go to like an educational institution is you choose afterwards. So, I mean, the plant closing actually helped.

Imonee White: OK. So, the plant closing -- did it cause any chaos in your marriage or in your family?

Fred Royal III: No. No. I think more or less it was more traumatizing for the 11:00individuals that had been longer, that had been there longer -- had been there for, you know, close to retirement. There was a little bit of resentment for us coming in as new guys I guess you could say in the work environment. But, I mean, you know, eventually they got over it.

Imonee White: OK. What exactly did you do for Delphi? What was your occupation? What was your --

Fred Royal III: I worked on the dock bringing in the trucks, loading and unloading the trucks, and picking up parts around in the plant.

Imonee White: Did that ever get exhausting?

Fred Royal III: No, it actually made time go by quick, so everything was kind of like on a set hourly schedule, so you knew what trucks was coming in at what times and what needed to be picked up. So it was actually very well organized and it was a good job.

Imonee White: How can you compare Delphi with your previous job? Is there any comparison whatsoever with the job before you worked for Delphi?

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Fred Royal III: You mean as far as with the military? Completely different. It was more or less -- a lot more relaxed. It still had structure to it. You still had to be organized. But I just say that more or less like a -- I want to say friendlier environment. But it was just a more relaxed environment. I mean work shit had to be done, but it was just a more relaxed environment.

Imonee White: So the military isn't that recent, is it? Very recent -- what year did you enter the military? What year did you depart?

Fred Royal III: I came in 96 and then I exited out four years later, 2000.

Imonee White: OK. So it wasn't that recent. I thought it was very recent.

Fred Royal III: No.

Imonee White: OK. Are you familiar with union memberships? If so, which union?

13:00

Fred Royal III: They had a union out at Delphi. UAW I believe.

Imonee White: OK. What were your feelings about them, if you have any?

Fred Royal III: I mean I support the union because they're actually, you know, it's an organization to help negotiate workers compensation and worker's needs. So, I'm for the union.

Imonee White: OK. What was your pay like if you wanted to say for Delphi? What was it like?

Fred Royal III: I think it was like $17.00 an hour.

Imonee White: Really?

Fred Royal III: Yeah.

Imonee White: That was a nice job.

Fred Royal III: Yeah.

Imonee White: Did you have to be skilled or was it OK to be unskilled to work for Delphi? Did they accept you unskilled or did you have to be skilled?

Fred Royal III: Yeah. Unskilled. So you just had to know a little bit about manufacturing and you -- I mean it was pretty -- it wasn't a hard job. It was a 14:00pretty simple job. And they trained you very well, so.

Imonee White: OK. Did the plant closing for Delphi have any long-term effects on the community? Did you see any?

Fred Royal III: Since the closing I haven't been back out in Oak Creek, but I think they changed it into like a Woodman’s or something like that. So I'm pretty sure that with any plant closing you have some type of community affect as far as, you know, foreclosures on homes, just, you know, because that's a major source of income for a lot of people in the area.

Imonee White: What -- are you still in contact with any coworkers that you worked with at Delphi?

Fred Royal III: Yes.

Imonee White: So if I was to ask you if you could have any of them come in to do an interview like you, because they experienced the plant closing just as well 15:00as you did, would you be able to get in contact with any of them.

Fred Royal III: I could. I'm thinking of one particular person. I know he has a semi-busy schedule, but I could possibly reach out to him and take a shot at it.

Imonee White: I want you to tell me what are your opinions about opportunities for making a good living in Milwaukee.

Fred Royal III: Opportunities for making a good living in Milwaukee?

Imonee White: Yes.

Fred Royal III: Education. I mean you really have to do your research, and depending on what type of job -- what field that you want to go into. I mean, for me personally, I guess with the recent increase in like violence and everything like that, I don't plan on staying here. I'm like looking at like a 48 month type of transition.

16:00

Imonee White: I'm glad we caught you before you left.

Fred Royal III: Yeah. So, I mean as far as jobs, I mean it's like I said, it depends on what field and I would most definitely recommend education, getting your education in whatever field and just pursue that.

Imonee White: OK. Well, I want you to tell me what do you think should be done to help improve job opportunities and life for African Americans in the city of Milwaukee?

Fred Royal III: What needs to happen?

Imonee White: To help improve job opportunities and life for African Americans in Milwaukee.

Fred Royal III: I think a lot -- they need to have a lot more mentor type of programs for young adults. I think that would help. As far as like people actually speaking to the, you know, the younger community and kind of directing 17:00and guiding them because, you know, that's kind of where it starts. As far as for adults just educate and, you know, finding -- like I said, finding a field in what you want to do.

I mean social work, nursing, I can't see too many manufacturing positions that I'm just not aware of right now.

Imonee White: And you said you're currently employed with NPS?

Fred Royal III: NPS.

Imonee White: How's that job for you?

Fred Royal III: I love it. So, it's a teacher assistant position, working with special needs kids. I'm currently going back to school to get my bachelors to become a teacher, because I, you know, I enjoy it so much.

Imonee White: Really?

18:00

Fred Royal III: Yeah.

Imonee White: So you want to be a teacher?

Fred Royal III: Right.

Imonee White: What subject would you like to teach?

Fred Royal III: I like special education because you're kind of dealing with what people say are the troubled kids. And it's kind of like you, you know, it's just a different group of individuals that you kind of need to know how to talk to and, you know, like really work with.

Imonee White: Yeah. That's funny that you say that because I have a sister that's on disability. She's 25 years old. She graduated from high school and stuff already, but she -- have you ever heard of this company called Easter Seals? And she attends that every day and sometimes we drop her off and I'll take her in the building and stuff, and sometimes you see if you know of some people that could be very arrogant or --

Fred Royal III: Right. Just ignorant.

Imonee White: Yeah.

Fred Royal III: Just ignorant because you don't -- they don't understand. They just don't understand the conditions and it's -- I mean there's several types of, you know, classes of learning disabilities and things of that nature

19:00

Imonee White: Yeah.

Fred Royal III: Not to put you off.

Imonee White: I've noticed so many people been so ignorant to it, but when I walk in the building I just see so much love being -- to the kids. Most of them are adults, but it's just like they interact so well and I know people that -- grown men that are scared of those people like they don't scare me at all.

Fred Royal III: Right. Exactly. Exactly.

Imonee White: Like I don't know, I just think that's really wonderful that you interact and stuff like that. Is there anything else that you wanted to share with me before we end the interview that you wanted to be on your interview for other people to know?

Fred Royal III: I think just for me personally that the plant closing was helpful, being that the transition that was going on in my life.

Imonee White: It was helpful for you?

Fred Royal III: Yeah, it was helpful, because it allowed -- I think it allowed me to gain employment for the time that we relocated back to Milwaukee. And 20:00then, you know, the benefits that came after that as far as being able to go to school. So, it wasn't a bad thing for me.

Imonee White: I think that's a first ever.

Fred Royal III: I mean it wasn't. It wasn't - I can’t say it was.

Imonee White: I'm glad it wasn't a bad thing for you. So, thank you for coming in and doing the interview.