"[My son] went in the Navy first, and when he came out of the Navy, he went to work for us. And I would put him on the hardest thing on the job, and that’s why he’s such a brick mason, such a good mason. Every corner or curve that I had, I would put him on."
- Albert Washington
Albert Washington - On his business, church, and growing up in Northside
This interview is part of the Marian Cheek Jackson Center’s Oral History Trust. Albert (Bruce) Washington, III grew up in Chatham County with his mother and in Northside with his father and extended family. He was an only child, but grew up in the context of many cousins, aunts, and uncles who cared for him whenever both of his parents were at work, working long shifts in fraternity houses at UNC. He graduated from Horton High School, where he began learning masonry, and went on to work for several major masons and significant mentors in the Triangle area. He then went on to start his own business with his partner Barry Kelley, Washington and Kelley Masonry. They ran this successful business together for 37 years and taught a lot of people the trade of masonry. Albert reflects on his life growing up in the church at Hamlet’s Chapel as a young member of the Male Chorus there, and his return to the church at St. Joseph’s CME later in his life with his wife, Elaine Washington. He shares about starting the Male Chorus at St. Joseph’s along with several other key church leaders, and serving as a Trustee for the church for over 20 years now. He shares about how both his mother and father came to own land in Chatham County and Northside respectively, and the importance of preserving that property as long as possible now that he owns the land. He reflects on the early days of his business and the challenges and success over time, along with the joys of teaching his nephews and son (and many others) to be great masons. He shares stories of growing up in Northside and Chatham County surrounded by family, with such a close network of family members, and summers spent playing with cousins and neighbors at Hargraves. He describes his experience working at the University after he sold his business, first in housekeeping and then in the masonry department, and compares this experience with that of running his own business. The interview concludes with reflections on his mother and his great love for his mother, including the sadness of her passing and the joys of being so close to her throughout his whole life. He shares about her kind, strong personality, and the love that so many had for her – and her great love for his wife, children, and grandchildren.
"We’re writing our own history, thank you!"
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