Jimmy Thomas was not always a Brockton resident. Thomas moved from Epes, Alabama in 1967 to stay with cousins in the North. At the age of 20, Thomas made this decision based on economic reasons.“It was hard to find a job in Alabama then,” said Thomas.
Before moving, Thomas witnessed a lot of segregation in the South contributed to his decision to move North. He went to an all-black school in Alabama as schools were completely segregated at that time. During this time, only whites could attend private school, he said.“I didn’t like seeing what my parents went through,” said Thomas.
Thomas stayed with cousins upon his move to the North for three years in Boston.Before beginning his 26 year position with the postal service, Thomas worked for the New England Candy Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. During this time, Thomas also moved to Brockton, Massachusetts.
Thomas also spent 20 years in the National Guard.
In 1969, he began working for the postal service in different towns such as Boston, Quincy, Jamaica Plain, and Wellesley Hills.Moving North was better for Thomas, but not perfect. Thomas said he also experienced racism in the North during this time.
“When I was working in Wellesley Hills, a man stood in front of my car and told me to get out of Wellesley,” Thomas said.The schools were still segregated in South Boston when Thomas first lived in Boston.
“I was afraid to go to South Boston”, said Thomas because of the extreme racism he faced there.In 2004, Thomas retired from the postal service after 26 years. He met his wife when he moved North. His wife moved to Brockton from Arkansas.
Most of Thomas’ family still lives in the South. When Jimmy left, his father had a good job so there was no reason for him to leave Alabama.Thomas visits family in the South about once a year.