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Ethnographic Paper

Yolanda Wyche
Wayne State University

My Family storyry

My mother is from Hopewell Virginia. She came from a big family. It was originally twelve
siblings in her family two of her siblings died during childhood. One brother and one sister. My
mothers parents Jacob and Ida wyche were married in June of 1915. My grandmother was
originally from North Carolina she had several sisters and a brother. She came from a mixture of
ethnic groups her mother was part Cherokee Indian and her father was African American with
Irish. My grandmother left North Carolina with her mother Julia Pearson and moved to
Hopewell Virginia. (Blanche Luster 2014). My grandfather Jacob Wyche moved from Norfolk
Virginia to Hopewell Virginia where he met and married my grandmother Ida Pearson. My
grandmother had a sister name Florence Pearson who married Robert Robinson. She lived on the
same block as my grandparents. My grandfather was a religious man. He was a deacon at a local
church named Union Baptist Church. He and his wife raised their children in the church. He was
a tall and muscular build gentleman with grey eyes everyone called him Jake. He was a farmer
who loved the land and planted everything on his farm. My grandmother died at an earlt age
before he did. He died around ten years later. My mother was still a young teenager at the time so
she went to live with her older sister Blanche Mcdougall who had married a couple of years
before my grandfather died. My aunt became the caregiver of her younger siblings which was
two younger brothers and one younger sister who was my mother Florence Marie Wyche. One
other younger sister that was younger than my mother went to live with a neighbor that was very
close to my grandparents. (Blanche Luster 2014). My eldest aunt Blanche began her employment
with a local factory Firestone tires she started this her career there in 1960 she started out as a

line employee she was very liked and moved into supervision. She was the first black woman
supervisor at Firestone Tires Inc. By 1970 she worked at her job for twenty years ten of those
years in supervision. She remarried in 1975 to Donzell Luster. My uncles who also lived in
Hopewell Virginia began to marry and have children. The oldest son who name is Jasper began
his career at another local factory in the same town he worked there from 1959 to 1990 he
retired. He was an avid bowler who competed in numerous tournaments across the south. He had
one son that he went to the U.S. Navy and he made a career in the U.S Navy. Jasper wife Helen
is a member at Union Baptist Church and a retired plant worker and school teacher assistant. The
family continue to keep the tradition of their father Jacob Wyche to attend church and work hard.
The second oldest son began his career in the same local factory as his sister Blanche he too was
very well liked and had a long career until he retired in the plant he is a faithful church member
who decided to switch doctrines and he left the family church home and went to Church of
Christ. This decision lead to a family disagreement that put a small rift in family unity for a short
time. The third oldest brother worked at the same local factory Firestone Tires Jacob Wyche Jr.
He followed in his fathers footsteps and became a Deacon at the church. He married his High
School sweetheart and had four daughters that he sent to college. His wife retired as a Plant nurse
who went back to school in her forties. She received her R.N. degree. Jake was an athlete from
his High School career who had a chance to go to college to play basketball He decided to work
and not pursue his basketball aspirations but he continued to play on adult leagues for years into
his adult life. He was also a traveling choir member who went all over the south singing in
different church groups. He moved to a rural community in one of the counties of Virginia and
had a home built on some land that was given to his wife by her family. My mother family grew
up in the fifties and sixties so they had experienced some forms of racism and prejudice but there

faith is what held them together and the good common sense of their father who did not believe
in drinking, smoking and gambling. My grandfather taught his sons to be good men and have
good values and a good work ethic. He taught them that they could have the American Dream if
they kept on the straight and narrow and kept faith in God. These are the values and principles
that the older siblings grew up believing. The younger siblings did not follow the same exact
pattern but, they still remained to be Christians. My mother two younger brothers went to the
U.S. Army and then one went to a junior college and the other younger brother went to a
construction trade schools. Both brothers did well .The youngest one became a construction
foreman and skilled craftsmen and member of various clubs and organization. And a lover of
motorcycles who still rides Harleys and he is approaching sixty. The brother thats a little older
than the youngest became a machinist and married his college sweetheart who became a High
School teacher and Girls basketball coach. (James Wyche 2014). James love sports and played
on adult leagues and went to support his High School amateur. He volunteers at the local schools
in his spare time he was also a bus driver for a local school district after he retired. These men
grew up eating the typical southern diet collard greens, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white
rice, brown rice, cabbage, corn pasta, fish ,chicken ,beef ,pork and sometimes wild game like
deer meat. Some of my uncles are good cooks one like to make desert dishes. And one likes to
grill on holidays and will tell you that his barbecue sauce is the best in his circle of friends
. My family child rearing practices are the old fashioned spanking method. That is the
method that was used on me and my cousins. The second generation does not use that method of
discipline. Parents in the second generation including myself use a more subtle approach we use
the democratic style of parenting. I might say your father and I feel that you should not go to
your friend house today due to your bad decision to stay out to late (Yolanda Wyche 2014). The

actual hitting a child seems to be exhausting and ancient. Hitting or smacking is too abusive in its
nature and it really does not always bring the desired results.(Wendy Miles 2014). My sister
Wendy feels the same as I do concerning discipline and there is no recollection of seeing anyone
else in my age range that practice that form of discipline in my family. The men and women
generally co-parent as a couple. The single parents scream and shout at their children more than
the married couples do. The parents that are not married but live together usually take the same
course of action that the married couple take in discipline forms they talk to their children.
The approach that is used for help seeking behavior varies however, It depends on the situation
One cousin had a drug problem his parents did not do anything at first they were in denial. As the
bad behavior and deterioration of this young man continued he was finally able to listen to a
friend who suggested that he enter a treatment program my aunt and uncle seemed to be
embarrassed that their son was having a problem. His mother who is my mothers sister was very
upset but she encouraged him to stay in rehab until he could cope with his problems. His father
who is a retired military man seem to be very distant and unconcerned in the beginning . He
eventually began to participate with the process and became very supportive to his only son.
(Richard Barnett 2014). Overall when someone shows signs of needing help from a counselor or
therapist the first reaction is that that person really does not need help. The stereo typical fear of
any kind of psychiatry is prevalent. The idea of someone being prescribed many different
medications that will change the natural personality is the fear that the family has about help
seeking behavior. On the other side of the scenario my aunt did have a child in her teens that was
born mentally retarded or severly mentally challenged and she did not feel that she was equipped
to handle her daughter so she made a choice to have her child become a resident of the local state

hospital for mentally challenged children and it is looked at as acceptable practice and way to
cope with a problem as private and unique as this is to a family.
The migration patterns that are a realistic part of life is moving away from your
hometown and pursuing dreams and goals or following a mate to a place with better
opportunities. Some of my family members did leave Virginia. One aunt moved away when she
was a young lady in her twenties .She married a military man and travel with him to several
different states. She enjoyed meeting new people and made lifelong friends. She went to Hawaii
and other interesting places. She eventually moved back to Virginia when her husband career in
the U.S army ended in 1978. The year he retired. She enjoyed back home with her siblings.
The youngest aunt along with her sister my mother migrated to Detroit Michigan in 1968
The two women liked living in the city The youngest sister followed her husband . He is
originally from Atlanta Georgia she met him in Virginia while he was then a U.S army soldier
He did not want to pursue a career .He came to Detroit where he found employment at the local
factory one of the big three. He liked Detroit from the beginning and made it his home. The
couple raised their children and met people in the community where they lived. The various
ethnic groups that lived in the community enriched the experience of living in the city for them.
They embraced the cultural differences of their new neighbors some were Jewish ,Italians, and
Polish. Detroit was still a vibrant city. The riots took a toll on some businesses but everyone had
not moved out of the city, White flight was just really beginning.
The interview with my mother Florence Wyche :
Me: Mom how old were you when you moved to Detroit

Florence : I was twenty three

Me: Why did you move here?
Florence: I always wanted to live in a big city and meet different people. I followed my sister
and her husband here.
Me: How different was it from where you grew up?
Florence: It was very different it was more people and the jobs paid more than the jobs in
Me: Was it easier to get employment?
Florence: I think it was a variety of different kinds of employment at that time . Manufacturing
was good but, there were many fields of work that one could pursue.
Me: Are you glad that you came here?
Florence : Yes bit sometimes I think about if my life would have different if I had went
somewhere else.
Me: Thank you for your time.
My mother had ten children that she raised as a single parent. She did alright with such a difficult
task, I have eight sisters and one brother. My siblings all grew up in Detroit Michigan. I lived in
Virginia as a young girl and then moved here to Detroit.