Photo by Gayle Krughoff

Frances Slaughter

Frances Slaughter joined Wee Care in the mid-1980s and became the beloved “Miss Frances” to two generations of neighborhood pre-schoolers. 

She was brought up by a large and close family, in the quintessential “village” neighborhood of Capitol Hill. Otherwise she has seldom strayed from home, except once during a year-long job as a nanny in Nigeria. For her contributions to the community, she was awarded the Community Achievement Award in 2005, and this interview with Stephanie Deutsch was recorded in anticipation of that year’s award ceremony.

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Interview Date
February 2, 2005
Stephanie Deutsch
Betsy Barnett

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Interview with Frances Slaughter

Interview Date: Interviewer: Transcriber:

February 21, 2005 Stephanie Deutsch Betsy Barnett

This interview transcript is the property of the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project. Not to be reproduced without permission.

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005


[Editor’s note: references to background noises and comments made to others in the house have been removed from this transcript.]

DEUTSCH: This is Stephanie Deutsch on February 21st. I’m sitting with Frances Slaughter at her house at 633 Lexington Place NE. Frances, just say hello.

SLAUGHTER: Hello. [Laughs.]
DEUTSCH: Okay. We’re recording.
DEUTSCH: Okay. So, you moved to this house in what year?

SLAUGHTER: Well, I think it was either 1955 or 1956. I don’t know the month or anything like that. I remember when my mom and dad—or I think it was with my mom. I was a little person and my brother and my sister, we were kind of looking in, just looking in the window. I remember that.

DEUTSCH: Looking in before you bought it?

SLAUGHTER: Right. Before my father bought it.

DEUTSCH: Where had you been living before?

SLAUGHTER: Housing Place in Southwest. I remember that. I remember that my father had built lawn chairs. There was one for my mother and one for him and one for my brother and myself.

DEUTSCH: Had built lawn chairs?
SLAUGHTER: Yeah. When we lived in Southwest. And it was out on the lawn. I remember that. My

father and mother tell me—well, I know I was born at Georgetown Hospital.DEUTSCH: Oh! Like my children.
SLAUGHTER: And my father told me that I was one and a half pounds at birth.DEUTSCH: Oh, my gosh!

SLAUGHTER: And I had to stay in the hospital for a long time.DEUTSCH: You must have been premature.

SLAUGHTER: Right. And he tells me—what was it he had to pay? Before I left the hospital I think he had to pay like $500 or $600. Before I was released from the hospital. [Laughs.] Which was, I guess, you know, pretty expensive.

DEUTSCH: I’m sure you were worth it. [Both laugh.]SLAUGHTER: So, you know, that’s what he tells me anyway.DEUTSCH: How old were you when you moved in here?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: Hmm. I must have been around about, let’s see, maybe—ask my father. I must have been around about I guess two or three.

DEUTSCH: So, you were pretty little.

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. Two or three years old.

DEUTSCH: And what was your dad doing then? What was his work?

SLAUGHTER: My dad was, I think, a laborer at Cameron Station in Virginia.

DEUTSCH: Uh huh.

SLAUGHTER: And I think during that time all of that was affiliated with the military. I think the Army but I’m not really sure.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.
SLAUGHTER: He probably could tell you much better than I can. He’s 93 but he’s pretty sharp.

[Laughs.] Just turned 93 yesterday as a matter of fact.

DEUTSCH: Oh, boy.

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. And, yeah, I think that’s right.

DEUTSCH: So, where’d you go to school when you started school?

SLAUGHTER: Well, I started school in pre-kindergarten and during that time pre-kindergarten was a half day.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.
SLAUGHTER: At Ludlow, which is down the street.
DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.
SLAUGHTER: And, then... And, then, I went to Goding, where they have Prospect now.DEUTSCH: Goding. G-O-D-I-N-G. Yeah.
SLAUGHTER: Anne M. Goding.
DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.
SLAUGHTER: And, when they cut the ribbons.
DEUTSCH: To open the school?
SLAUGHTER: Uh huh. And, at that point, I think I was in kindergarten.
DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.
SLAUGHTER: And, of course, it was half day kindergarten, also.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

DEUTSCH: But, you know in those days not everyone went to kindergarten, I think. Was it required kindergarten?

SLAUGHTER: No, no, no, it wasn’t required, you know.DEUTSCH: So, you went to kindergarten at Goding.SLAUGHTER: Right.
DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: And, that’s where I went to elementary school.DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.
SLAUGHTER: Because my mother had eight children.DEUTSCH: Oh, boy.

SLAUGHTER: And, it’s kind of funny, ’cause I never went to a sitter. Because even though I had older brothers and sisters that had already started on their family by the time I was born, my oldest sister had one child and she was married and my brother had one child and he was married. But anytime my mother and father said they needed to baby-sit or watch us, they had to watch us even though they were married. They still had to watch us.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.
SLAUGHTER: So, basically, a lot of times my nieces and nephews—it was sort of like we were brothers

and sisters because all of us were, like, together.DEUTSCH: Growing up together.SLAUGHTER: Yeah.

SLAUGHTER: And my niece—we even dressed alike, you know, during Easter time and Sundays. We had dresses alike and all of that.

DEUTSCH: She was the same age?
SLAUGHTER: Right, pretty much. Yeah, I think she was a little, just maybe a year or two older.DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.
DEUTSCH: So, you grew up with that big family.
SLAUGHTER: Yeah, yeah. And after leaving Goding, I was at Stuart.
DEUTSCH: Was it a junior high school then?

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SLAUGHTER: It was a junior high school then.DEUTSCH: So, it started in...
SLAUGHTER: Started the junior high?
DEUTSCH: You started in seventh grade?SLAUGHTER: Yes. And I stayed there seventh and...DEUTSCH: Eighth?

SLAUGHTER: ...eighth. Part of eighth, I think, or eighth. And, then, after that I went to St. Cecilia’s.DEUTSCH: Oh! For high school.
DEUTSCH: And how was that?

SLAUGHTER: It was different as far as being around all girls.DEUTSCH: Uh huh.
SLAUGHTER: I had the...
DEUTSCH: Was your family Catholic?

SLAUGHTER: Well, my mom was. But she married my dad so she pretty much went to the church that he went to, which was Greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church where Imani Temple is now.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.
SLAUGHTER: And, I think my mother was very, not a traditional type mom whereas she really let us

make decisions.DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: And choices, we had choices. And she would always tell us, well, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: So, we could talk to her about anything.


SLAUGHTER: And a lot of times my girlfriends would come and talk to her about a lot of things as opposed to talking to their moms, because she was very open.

DEUTSCH: How did she get to be like that?
SLAUGHTER: You know what? I guess with her mom, with her parents—and she had a big family, too.

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

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DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: I don’t really know. But, it’s kind of funny because she used to tell us she didn’t care what church we went to as long as we went to somebody’s church. So, we had to go to church. And I can remember growing up we would go to St. Joseph’s, because that’s where my brother and my sister, we made all of our sacraments there.

DEUTSCH: St. Joseph’s, okay.

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. And then we would go across the park and we would go to Sunday School at Greater Mt. Zion. [Interviewer laughs.] You know. We had to go to church but she didn’t really say we had to go to this church or we had to go to that church. She let us pretty much make our own decisions about that part.

DEUTSCH: So, were you involved—so, did you make the decision then to go to St. Cecilia’s? Was that your choice?

SLAUGHTER: Yeah, yeah, it was. It was. And my mother and my father, they supported me in that decision.

DEUTSCH: Had your sisters gone there?

SLAUGHTER: They went to Stuart and Goding and Dunbar, my brother and my sister. Because it was, like, my older brothers and sisters—and then after that, after my older brothers and sisters, then it came to be myself and my sister and my brother. So, I was the baby of the older set of children and the oldest of the younger set of children. So, I was really basically in the middle.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm. So, you went to St. Cecilia’s.

SLAUGHTER: Mm hmm. And it was fun, and it was an experience. It was small, which was great because Stuart at that time was small, too, as well as Goding. So, everybody in the community knew everybody. My mother and father did a lot of work within the PTAs while we attended the schools that we attended. And, so, it was like a family type of environment community. A lot of the people that lived in the community, like, knew me when I was very, very young or when I was—some people knew me when I was a baby, when I was born, if they came from Southwest. They still carried on that relationship as a community. Because, let me see, there is my father, Miss Lil, who lives down the street, my mother, and their—couples used to kind of hang together and go to parties together in Atlantic City and outings of that sort. And my parents, when they had social times, parties with neighbors and, well, we call them extended family members, everybody would come, even the children.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.
SLAUGHTER: So, basically [Interruption in the taping for a telephone call.] So, it was just a very

close—we’re a very close community.DEUTSCH: And this is such a nice little street.SLAUGHTER: Yes, yes.

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

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DEUTSCH: That makes for a nice community, I think.

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. My mother and my father and Mr. & Mrs. Ransom, along with Mrs. Ruth Hammett and Frances Hammett and the Matthews family, we had, like, a block club before it was even, like, fashionable, I guess, to have block clubs.


SLAUGHTER: And we had block parties. We, as the children, the parents would have us cleaning the streets and cleaning the alleys, just making sure that everything was up to par when we were growing up. We had to listen to our neighbors. I know my sister and I, we were out in the back because we used to go out back a lot and play in the garage and have dress up and everything. And, my sister and I had a disagreement and Miss Louise—she’s dead now—she was looking out of the window and she said “When you mother comes home and your father comes home, I’m letting them know.”

DEUTSCH: That you were fighting.
SLAUGHTER: Yeah. And I said ohhhhhhh. So, of course, Miss Louise had something to say to us about

it and then, of course, when my parents came home we were in trouble again.

DEUTSCH: Oh, dear.

SLAUGHTER: [Laughs.] So, it was like that. And, we would help neighbors with their groceries. That was something that was expected that we had to do. My parents used to always tell us to be aware when we were traveling on the bus back and forth to school or wherever we were going that you never know who might be watching and you never know who we know. And, so you kind of always kept that in the back of your head. And, we would go to the store for the neighbors or shovel their front or something like that if they didn’t have children. I know Miss Lil and Mr. Charlie, they were husband and wife. They didn’t have any children so a lot of times when you didn’t have any children they could call and—she would call and say “Eloise, can you send one of the kids down for” so-and-so-and-so? And, then, of course, we had to go. Whether we wanted to go or not. That wasn’t a choice.

DEUTSCH: Sounds like you had a pretty strong family.


DEUTSCH: A pretty strong community.

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. Very, very, very. It’s kind of funny because Frances Hammett—I ride with her sometimes when she’s taking her granddaughter over to Watkins.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: Well, her children and I grew up together.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: And, we were talking the other day, as a matter of fact, and she was—we were talking about colleges and stuff like that. She said “I remember when your mother made me come over and fill

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

out your applications for financial aid” and stuff like that. And, she said my mother was telling her “You have to learn this, you have to know this. So, you need to come over and help me fill out these papers.” ’Cause she had children. And, so, that was kind of funny. We were talking about that the other day.

DEUTSCH: So, St. Cecilia’s. You’re at St. Cecilia’s.
SLAUGHTER: Mm hmm. And, after leaving St. Cecilia’s, then I went to Benedict in Columbia, South

DEUTSCH: And, how did you choose that? Was that—was there any...SLAUGHTER: Well, um.
DEUTSCH: ...Had any of your brothers and sisters gone there or...

SLAUGHTER: No, no. As a matter of fact, I think secretly my father wanted me to go to Virginia, the University in Virginia, because his parents and his family are originally from Charlottesville, Virginia. And, I think that he really wanted me to go there. But, I really didn’t want to go there. ’Cause I still have aunties, and at that time there were more aunties and uncles and cousins and I just kind of wanted to be out on my own.

DEUTSCH: Near family? Oh....
SLAUGHTER: Yeah. Just, you know, kind of without family and a lot of people and stuff like that.DEUTSCH: So, you could have that in South Carolina.

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. Well, my mother had some relatives in South Carolina. I can remember a cousin coming to see me when I was in Columbia, but it wasn’t like—I knew them but I didn’t know them as well as I knew my father’s siblings. Just because I guess they were closer in distance and like that, I guess. So, that was an experience. Because a lot of people from New York and New Jersey and Washington, D. C., and all over, they were there in Columbia, South Carolina. And, of course, that’s the capital city of South Carolina. And, I had a chance to visit a lot of places that I never heard of before. But, before I went to college I took time out for a year in New York.

SLAUGHTER: And, my brother’s children lived in New York. And, so, I spent time with my nieces and

nephews there.DEUTSCH: In the city?

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. In New York. And my sister-in-law. For a year. I took some time out and, then, after that year...

DEUTSCH: What were you doing?
SLAUGHTER: Well, I was working. What was I doing pretty much? I worked at a book store there.DEUTSCH: Was it actually in the city, were you living in the city?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. What’s that address? I can’t really remember the address, but it was actually in the city.

DEUTSCH: That must have been a huge change.

SLAUGHTER: Yeah, it was. It was an experience. It was funny ’cause me, being an auntie, my nieces and nephews were very kind of protective of me in the city and stuff like that. About where I went and how I dressed and all of that kind of stuff. Which was kind of funny now that I think about it. And, then, after that year...

DEUTSCH: Then you went down to Benedict.SLAUGHTER: Yeah.
DEUTSCH: And that must have been a big transition, too.

SLAUGHTER: It was. You know what, it really was because I think when I—I knew about—one thing about this neighborhood and being on Capitol Hill during that time, when I was young we went to school with blacks and whites, Hispanic—even though—and Asians. But, it was sort of diverse and we didn’t— as a young person growing up, I really didn’t have a problem with it and I didn’t really feel different or run into any hostility as far as that was concerned. But, I did have a few, I guess, situations in South Carolina that I wasn’t really used to or uncomfortable with [ed: situations that I was not comfortable with]. I know—I remember...

DEUTSCH: Was the school primarily black?SLAUGHTER: Mm hmm.
SLAUGHTER: It’s one of...

DEUTSCH: The historically black colleges?
SLAUGHTER: Right. Exactly.
DEUTSCH: So, it would be out in the community that you maybe ran into...

SLAUGHTER: Right. A friend of mine, and we’re still friends now as a matter of fact, she’s originally from Hilton Head, South Carolina. And, so we see each other at least once a year. We were walking along down the street, or something like that, and I guess we were coming from the drug store, or something like that, and a pickup truck of guys, they were kind of yelling obscene things at us. And, all of a sudden I just kind of just started yelling back at them and stuff like that, and my friend, I guess who was pretty much used, who was used to that environment and stuff like that, she kept saying, “Come on, Frances. Don’t do that. Just come on.” You know. I was just, you know, feisty like that and I, you know—stand up for yourself type of...

DEUTSCH: And you hadn’t been used to it, so it was shocking to you maybe.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: Right, right, right, right. So, whatever they were saying to me I was just kind of saying things back to them and ready to just kind of stand my ground. And she was kind of pushing me along. That was really kind of the only big thing that I experienced when I was there. But, basically, it was—the people were very warm and hospitable. And a lot of people I met when I was there that were originally from South Carolina I still communicate with them. And like I say, one person in particular I see her quite often. And, then, we ask about each other, who we went to school with and stuff like that.

DEUTSCH: What did you major in?
SLAUGHTER: Elementary education.
DEUTSCH: Mm hmm. That’s not too much of a surprise, I guess.SLAUGHTER: Yeah, yeah.
DEUTSCH: So, you were already thinking about being a teacher.

SLAUGHTER: Even as, growing up, how children play house and somebody’s always the mother and somebody’s this and somebody’s that, I was always the teacher. And, it was funny because another friend of mine who lived around the corner, her name was Linda Reed, she was always the nun. And she’s a nun now.

DEUTSCH: Really.
SLAUGHTER: [Laughs.]
DEUTSCH: I guess those games have a lot of truth in them.

SLAUGHTER: Yeah, yeah. That’s really funny, you know. So, I was—yeah, I always wanted to be a teacher. We were always around children, nieces and nephews. My older sister had eight children, my brother had four. My other sister had one. So, there were always a lot of children and a lot of people. I had an aunt and uncle that lived—well, my mother’s, one of my mother’s sisters lived around the corner, close to that apartment that’s near Union Station before you pass the gas station.


SLAUGHTER: She lived in that apartment. I remember her. And, then—Aunt Hazelene. Then another auntie lived down the street and, then, another aunt and uncle lived at that corner house on Lexington before you cross the alleyway.

DEUTSCH: So, you had relatives all around.
SLAUGHTER: Yeah, yeah.
DEUTSCH: Had your mother grown up here?
SLAUGHTER: Yes. She grew up in the Brookland area.
DEUTSCH: Just getting back to schools, what was the racial makeup of St. Cecilia’s? Was that mixed?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: It was mixed. Yeah, it was mixed. Yeah, it was, because when you crossed East Capitol Street and you’re going into Southeast, there were a lot of things going on on Pennsylvania Avenue. They had a boutique there on Pennsylvania Avenue. Of course you know the movies was there, Penn.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.
SLAUGHTER: And the other one that was across the street, called—what was it called? The Penn

DEUTSCH: Across the street on Pennsylvania...SLAUGHTER: Right.
DEUTSCH: ...there was another movie?

SLAUGHTER: Yeah, there were two movie houses. One was the Penn Theatre and the other one, I can’t remember the name of it. So, that was something that we did on Sundays. As long as we went to church and did all our chores, we could go to the movies. If we didn’t go to church, and we were too sick to go to church, then we couldn’t go to the movies.

DEUTSCH: Then you were too sick to go to the movies.

SLAUGHTER: Right, right. We walked—it’s amazing to me now about how many children actually walk, because we walked every place. We walked to the Capitol, to Union Station, even down to the White House. We walked everywhere. Or either we took the bus. And, we went to the museums. We just—on the 4th of July we would either go down to the monument or we would go up to the attic and we could go on the roof and we could see the fireworks from there.

DEUTSCH: That’s fun.

SLAUGHTER: But, it’s amazing to me now that the children, they don’t really walk a lot. They ride a lot. And, it’s sort of like I don’t know whether they’re secure about their boundaries or environment. And so that’s one of the things that I really try to do when I have the little ones, to make sure that we go out to the community so they can experience their environment and the community. I feel that that’s very important. Instead of, you know, they just ride off.

DEUTSCH: We’re very protective.
SLAUGHTER: Yeah, yeah.
DEUTSCH: Okay, so after you graduated from college.

SLAUGHTER: I stayed in South Carolina for a little while and then I came back home. Once I came back home, I told my parents, well, you know, I have an apartment and I think I’m going to move. It crushed my father. My mother, she says “Okay, well, that’s a good thing.” My youngest sister, she wasn’t happy about it at all either.

DEUTSCH: How old was she then?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: You know what, I’m not really sure. She wasn’t young young. But, I guess she was almost coming out of high school or something like that.

DEUTSCH: So, she wanted you around.
SLAUGHTER: Yeah, ’cause she told me a while back, “You know I was really angry when you moved

out.” She said something like that. I said “Okay.”
DEUTSCH: So, you moved to an apartment. Where was that?SLAUGHTER: In Southeast on 29th Street, off of Pennsylvania Avenue SE.DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: And it was funny because when I moved of course my mother went with me. And I showed her the apartment and everything. And she says “Gol-ly.” Because on one side of the street, there was a sidewalk and on the other side of the street it was like a dirt sidewalk. And she says “Gosh, you’re living in the country.” You know, and she kind of laughed. And I said, “No,” you know. We had a kind of joke about that. But, my father was just really crushed. He didn’t even say, he didn’t say—and I have to laugh about it sometimes—he didn’t say “Okay, well, good luck” and, you know, yadda-yadda-yadda. He just said, “If you need your keys, you have them, if you need to come back.”

SLAUGHTER: [Laughs.] So, he’s always been sort of very protective of all his children, but especially

the girls, I guess. And that’s how he grew up and the time and the era that he grew up in. So...DEUTSCH: Mmm. That’s kind of nice.

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. So, he would have loved it if I’d just stayed forever. But, I’m back now, so... [Laughs.]

DEUTSCH: Yeah. So, where were you working then?

SLAUGHTER: Actually, I was working before I even moved and had my own apartment but after college. I started working at the Smithsonian, at the National Gallery of Art, and I was working with the audio tours and that’s what I was doing.

DEUTSCH: So, you weren’t teaching.
SLAUGHTER: No, I wasn’t teaching right then. And, I enjoyed it for a while because it was around

people and stuff like that. But, then after a while, like, two or three years...DEUTSCH: What were you actually doing? Were you, like, giving the tours or...?

SLAUGHTER: Well, how they had it set up then, you could have a tape and the recorder and you would just kind of do your own...

DEUTSCH: I think they still have those.SLAUGHTER: Yeah.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

DEUTSCH: Now, it’s the thing you... Yeah.
SLAUGHTER: Right. And, you could just do your own tours so I was, like,...DEUTSCH: Helping.

SLAUGHTER: In charge of that. And, I did that for around about a couple of years, I guess, and then I decided—I said, you know, I really want to do something else. And I really went to school to be with children and I need to be with children. So, I started working at this nursery school. It’s called Tiny Tot and it’s up on Rock Creek Church Road NW. It’s still there, as a matter of fact, and I was director there and teacher. And, that was fun and I really enjoyed myself there with the children. After—I don’t know how long I was there—but after leaving there, let me see, I went to Garden Memorial, which wasn’t that far from where I lived. It was on Minnesota Avenue. I was a teacher there. They had children—because during that time—and it’s so funny because it doesn’t really seem that long ago—they didn’t—it wasn’t—because you didn’t have to go to pre-kindergarten and you didn’t have—they didn’t really have a pre-kindergarten, I don’t think. Or that many pre-kindergarten classes. But, because it wasn’t mandatory that you went to kindergarten, a lot of the programs were from two to five years old in the centers.


SLAUGHTER: So, first, when I went to Garden Memorial, I started working with the two year old class, but then I sort of moved up to work with the five year olds and, then, become assistant director there at Garden Memorial Presbyterian Church.


SLAUGHTER: [In the middle of a sentence.]. . . site was, I don’t know whether they still are, but that particular site it was also a part of Friendship House. They had a center at that site after it was no longer Garden Memorial. It was a part of Friendship House. So, they had a site over there at that building.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: Well, and during all of that time when I was at the museum along with at Tiny Tot, I was still taking, like, early childhood courses at, it was Federal City [College] then. And, then—well, it was D.C. Teachers, Federal City, and then it changed to U.D.C. [University of the District of Columbia].

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: So, I’ve always taken courses in early childhood and workshops. So, I was doing that also. And that’s—I think that’s when I really sort of got interested in the very young children. Very early on.

DEUTSCH: So, then, at what point did you come up to the Hill to work?
SLAUGHTER: Well, once I left Garden Memorial, there was an ad in the paper and—about they needed

someone to—there were a group of parents—as a matter of fact, two of them, we still communicate, two page 13

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

families we still communicate. They were looking for a teacher for their children to start a small playgroup.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm. Who were the families? Do you remember?SLAUGHTER: Okay. Marcia Teisan, Marcia Coling, C-O-L-I-N-G.DEUTSCH: Oh, Marcia Coling?

DEUTSCH: I remember her.
DEUTSCH: She had two little boys.
SLAUGHTER: Yeah. Gene and Morgan.DEUTSCH: Yeah. They played hockey with my boys.SLAUGHTER: [Laughs.]

SLAUGHTER: Bloom, her last name was Bloom.

DEUTSCH: Deborah? Deborah Bloom?

SLAUGHTER: No. Wait a minute. She lived over near Chamberlain which is now Friendship Edison.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: Was it...

DEUTSCH: Oh, Darryl Bloom. Darryl.

SLAUGHTER: That’s right.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm, okay.

SLAUGHTER: And who was the other parent? That’s one, two, three—and another parent, but I can’t really remember. They got together. They wanted to start a playgroup and they wanted to hire a teacher.

DEUTSCH: And they wanted to hire a teacher.
SLAUGHTER: Mm hmm. And I answered that ad. And it was at Darryl Bloom’s house.DEUTSCH: Mm hmm. On Potomac Avenue.
DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: And that was great. That was really great. So, I think I had five children, toddlers. And that went on until she moved.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.
SLAUGHTER: And, we—as a matter of fact, during that time, I think that’s when the Cluster [Capitol

Hill Cluster Schools] started being the Cluster.DEUTSCH: About then.

SLAUGHTER: Or working on being a Cluster. ’Cause I can remember Marcia Teisan selling cookbooks and each child had to give their favorite recipe. I have that book somewhere in my basement.


SLAUGHTER: [Laughs.] And, so, they had to sell the books and stuff. And I can remember buying one from her son Daniel. And Joan Schwartz and Jack [Schwartz] and all of that, that’s when I got to know them. And I see him quite often riding his bike still and he’s still at the Library of Congress. And I see Joan Schwartz every now and then. And they have grandchildren.

DEUTSCH: Oh, my gosh.

SLAUGHTER: That’s really—’cause I—there were two Daniels, Daniel Teisan and Daniel Schwartz. And, so, I just saw him around about a year ago with his father. And he was, of course, showing me pictures of his son and that was something. But, Elizabeth was in the play group. Elizabeth and Gene and—did Darryl Bloom have Deborah? Was that her daughter?

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm. Yeah, her daughter Deborah, because she was in nursery school with my son.

SLAUGHTER: Okay, okay. They were in the play group; they were in the play group. And like I say, Marcia, I talk to her every, twice a year, Coling. And Marcia Teisan she mails off emails and letters to me. At that point, Marcia Teisan got an offer to go to Africa and it was kind of funny because I had been offered a position, like, twice to go to Africa. And I didn’t go. So, the third time, when I got that offer, I said “I’m going to take it.”

DEUTSCH: So, what was the offer, to be a teacher over there?SLAUGHTER: To be a nanny...
DEUTSCH: To be a nanny.
SLAUGHTER: ...for Daniel and Elizabeth.

DEUTSCH: Uh huh. Wow.
SLAUGHTER: And, Marcia was going over to work on this program through the Department of

Agriculture called Green Thumb or something like that.DEUTSCH: What country was she going to?SLAUGHTER: She was going to Nigeria.

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DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: So, we were going to Nigeria and she wanted someone that her children knew that she felt safe with because she would be traveling all around Nigeria. And, since her children, they didn’t know anyone and that would be new for them as well as for myself and her, she just felt better. And, so, she put it out there and I accepted...

DEUTSCH: Mmm. Wow.

SLAUGHTER: ...the position. I can remember she was saying “What should we pack? What should we pack?” And I said “Legos.” So, we had, like, suitcases of Legos—because we had to stop in London, and I guess we stayed in London for, I guess, almost a month.

DEUTSCH: Do you remember what year this was?
SLAUGHTER: You know what, I’m awful with...
DEUTSCH: Well, it was probably in the early ‘80s, my guess is, early to mid ‘80s.SLAUGHTER: Mm hmm.
DEUTSCH: Yeah. So, you’re on your way to Africa.

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. And I was so excited and I just felt that, you know, that was my destiny to go that time, you know. And I was thinking, I said, “You know, if I don’t do it this time, I’ll never get a chance to go.” And, of course, my parents were worried about that.

DEUTSCH: Yeah. So, you were a month in London, doing Legos with the kids.

SLAUGHTER: Right, right, Legos. And we were sightseeing and all of that. And it was funny ’cause the milkman still came around. And I thought that was great ‘cause I can remember as a child when Thompson’s milk truck used to come on this street. And, so, it was really nice that the milk truck came around. It was so cold there. It was funny, because I had packed all summer clothes.

DEUTSCH: For Africa.

SLAUGHTER: Right. No realizing that it would be cold there. But I kept telling them when we were at the hotel to cut the heat on. And I guess they were wondering who’s this crazy American woman saying cut the heat on—’cause they never did—and I could put my milk outside of my window and the milk would stay cold. But, it wasn’t cold to them. So, I ended up having to buy wool socks and a wool sweater. So, that was pretty much my attire along with my sandals.

DEUTSCH: [Laughs.] I bet you looked great.

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. Until we got to Africa. Once we arrived in Africa, we went to Lagos. So, you know that’s been a long time because Lagos is no longer the capital. At that point, Lagos was the capital. And it sort of reminded me of New York...

DEUTSCH: Big city.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: ...because it was a lot of people and I mean a lot of people and just a lot of things going on. It was kind of busy. And it was funny because they had a sign “U.S,” I guess “Nigerian,” and “Other”, or something like that. So, of course, when you do your passport...

DEUTSCH: In the airport?
SLAUGHTER: Right... I got into the U.S. line. And, one thing that was kind of frightening is that a lot

of the countries I didn’t realize were very military...DEUTSCH: Yeah.

SLAUGHTER: ...and they carried guns. Even though they have guns here, they carried guns, like, openly on their shoulders and stuff like that.

DEUTSCH: And at that time we weren’t used to seeing that here.

SLAUGHTER: Right. Exactly, exactly. And, so, that was kind of scary at times. But, once when I was at the airport, there was a guard standing there. And so he was kind of looking at me real funny and so—and it was funny because I guess looking back on it, I didn’t think about it then—I was wearing a lot of African garb and jewelry and all of that. And, so, braids and all that. I was, you know, doing that way before I went to Africa. And, so, once I got there and the guy kept motioning me to go over to the Nigerian line...

DEUTSCH: He thought you were African.

SLAUGHTER: Right. And, so, I’m saying—and I was pointing to the U.S. sign—and so I opened my passport and then he kind of threw up his hands like that, like “Oh, well, who would have known.” And it was really funny because most of this time when I met a lot of people in that group—some people were in the Peace Corps and all of that—naturally they thought, the Brits and the whites from the United States thought I was African because of the garb and...until I opened my mouth.

DEUTSCH: As soon as you started talking.
SLAUGHTER: Right. And that was really a nice experience. We ended up living in Ibadian.DEUTSCH: Living in?
SLAUGHTER: Ibadian, Ibadian. It’s I-B-A—what is it?
SLAUGHTER: Yeah. I-N, I-A-N, I think. Something like that.
DEUTSCH: Or D-J? Is it Ibajama?
SLAUGHTER: No, Ibadan.
DEUTSCH: Ibadan. Okay, I can look it up.

SLAUGHTER: And, now, that place was sort of like, it reminded me of the suburbs pretty much, even though the houses weren’t that far apart. And during the time when I got there, that was during the time

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

when they were having Ramadan. And that was something to see. There were a lot of people with all their finery going to the mosque and...

DEUTSCH: Is it a primarily Muslim country? Or is there...

SLAUGHTER: You know what. There were—it was, but then it wasn’t, because I went to—it was funny because I did have a chance to go to the mosque, but also I had a chance to go to a church where there was a Jehovah Witness. I went to a traditional African church.

DEUTSCH: All different.
SLAUGHTER: Yeah, yeah. But I guess that primarily it was Muslim, but it was still other, which was

kind of funny.
DEUTSCH: So, how long were you in Africa?SLAUGHTER: For a year.
DEUTSCH: Uh huh. What a wonderful experience.

SLAUGHTER: And, during that time I had a chance to go to Ghana and Togo. When we were in Togo, we were in Lomé and that’s the capital. They mostly spoke French there, which I didn’t know French that well anyway. I just knew how to say “hi” and “bye” and just a few simple words. I was walking down the street with the children when we were in Togo and there were a whole lot of guards. And they came and they were, you know, questioning me and I didn’t know what was going on. I found out later that I was walking on the side of the street where the president lived and no one was supposed to walk on the side of the street where the president lived. That was kind of scary. I didn’t... [Laughs.]

DEUTSCH: Who knew?

SLAUGHTER: And they kept checking my passport, so I didn’t know whether I was going to get a chance to go back to Nigeria or not, you know, at that point. I don’t know whether they thought I was trying to find out information or what. But that was...

DEUTSCH: Frances, I want to make sure I have the name of the family you’re with.SLAUGHTER: Marcia...
DEUTSCH: Is it Teisan?
SLAUGHTER: Marcia Teisan.

DEUTSCH: Is it...
SLAUGHTER: T-E-I-S-A-N. Something like that, I think. Is that right? I have to look it up.DEUTSCH: And Marcia? M-A-R-
DEUTSCH: C-I-A. And was there a dad in the family? Or was it just her?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: It was a dad but during that time I think they were going through a divorce or something or a split.

DEUTSCH: He wasn’t there in Africa.
SLAUGHTER: No, he wasn’t there in Africa.
DEUTSCH: And who were the children? What were the children’s names?
SLAUGHTER: Daniel and Elizabeth.
DEUTSCH: Daniel and Elizabeth, right. So, after a year did you all come back? Or did they...

SLAUGHTER: No. That was really sad, because, you know—they were really—I was crying, they were crying. Actually, I had already told Marcia that, you know, I would go and help her out but I didn’t know whether I was going to stay the time that she was staying. Just because of my parents and my family and...


SLAUGHTER: I still had my apartment and all that stuff. So, once I did leave that was a very teary moment. My job, basically, there was not only to look after the children and care for the children, but also to interview people to run her household and to interview people that could take of the children. They had a day guard and a night guard and a housekeeper, which was kind of hard for me to—I’m running around making up my own bed and this person was supposed to be making up the bed for me. And that was kind of hard to get used to. I could get used to it now, [Both laugh.] but I couldn’t get used to it then. So, that was kind of a different mindset for me. And then also to look at other schools for the children.

DEUTSCH: Was there an American school there?
SLAUGHTER: There was an American school. And they ended up going to the American school even

though I had looked at the American school as well as a lot of other schools.DEUTSCH: Well, I can imagine how hard it must have been to say goodbye.SLAUGHTER: Yeah.

SLAUGHTER: Yeah, yeah.DEUTSCH: So, you came back?

SLAUGHTER: I came back. I noticed that—one thing about it was that—and Nigeria, it was a Muslim country pretty much and they had more than one wife. They could take more than one wife. But, the thing about it is that they had to make sure that they could care for them. So, it wasn’t like, it wasn’t like just having a lot of wives and you could just go on and marry more and not be concerned about their well being.

DEUTSCH: There was some responsibility.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. They had to be responsible as far as taking care of their children, as well as their wives, which I thought was—okay, that’s a bit much. I don’t think I could deal with that, but that was something to see. Very friendly, the people. Whenever you would enter someone’s house—and it was amazing to me how much alike we were as a people. Because when you went to their houses, they would always offer you food and it would be, like, an insult if you didn’t say “Okay” and “Thank you.” That part of it sort of reminded me of home. And the way grandparents and parents and extended parents took care of the children and made sure that the community was okay reminded me of home.

DEUTSCH: That’s sort of nice.
SLAUGHTER: It was funny because they drove kind of crazy and it was my understanding that more

people died from car accidents and childbirth.DEUTSCH: Well, that’s kind of different.

SLAUGHTER: Yeah, yeah. But, I was blessed. I never got sick. I lost a lot of weight but I—[Laughs.] But I never got sick, because I was really very...

DEUTSCH: Were you careful?

SLAUGHTER: I was very careful. I was very careful, especially since they, you know, we talked about the hospitals and I don’t think they were the greatest places. So, I was just kind of very careful because I didn’t want to get sick.


SLAUGHTER: But, once coming home, it was like a whole different mindset. It was funny because I think at one point, I don’t know whether the washing machine or the dryer broke down or something like that. And a person finally came out around about a week, and I’m saying “Okay.” And they were saying, they were just smiling, it’s fine, it’s fine, it’s no problems, it’s fine. I know that on the project where a lot of Europeans and Americans, they were used to filling in a time sheet and stuff like that. The Nigerians, they weren’t really used to that. They would come and do what they had to do but they didn’t—time was, like, it didn’t mean anything to them as long as they got the job done.

DEUTSCH: Different sense of it.

SLAUGHTER: Right, right, right. So, once I got back home, everything seemed very fast.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: Because I had come from some place that was very laid back and kind of relaxing. Even though all of the people had their jobs and things to do it wasn’t sort of that kind of stressful like feeling.

DEUTSCH: Schedules.
SLAUGHTER: Right, right, right. So, I had to kind of adjust.DEUTSCH: So, what did you do when you came back?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: Well, I had a little break when I came back, to sort of get things in order. My own house all in order and to make sure that my parents and everything were okay and get back into the family thing. And, then, I started looking in the paper again. And that’s when I came across Wee Care. And I answered the ad.

DEUTSCH: Well, we can tell what year that was ‘cause my daughter went to Wee Care in 1986, I think. She was born in ‘84 and I think she was two when she came to you, two or three. Or maybe even younger. Maybe she was one.

SLAUGHTER: Well, Ann Kane was the director when I went there.DEUTSCH: Yeah.

SLAUGHTER: And Merrie Gilbert didn’t become the director—she was Merrie Marstiller then—she didn’t become the director until after Ann had left.

DEUTSCH: Was it Ann Kane?
DEUTSCH: Yeah. So, how many years were you at Wee Care?

SLAUGHTER: Mmm. Let me see. I think—I’m not sure because during that time when I was working at Wee Care I came in as a floater. So I was with the two year olders sometimes and the three year olders sometimes. Because they had two preschool classes. One were the younger preschoolers. It was a toddler, preschool 1, and preschool 2. So, I was with all of those classes at some point. And while I was doing Wee Care, I was doing a play group.

DEUTSCH: A private play group?
SLAUGHTER: At Marcia Coling’s house on G Southeast. I think that’s G. What’s the street that’s cross

Potomac Avenue subway station? It’s...

DEUTSCH: Hmm. Yes, G Street SE.

SLAUGHTER: Right, right. G. She lived on G. And, at that point, Gene was going someplace else but I had Morgan in that playgroup along with Lauren Wells, I think. No. I think Lauren Wells and Gene, they were together. Yeah, I think I had Lauren Wells and I had Marty Breeding. She went to the Day School for a short time, too.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: And, hmm, was Gene—I guess Gene might have been there. Peter Raimo.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: And somebody else. When I first came back. And so I was doing that, too. So, I would do that a half day and then afterwards I would go over to Wee Care.

DEUTSCH: Okay. And was Wee Care—Wee Care was over in the Church of the Brethren.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: Right, exactly. ’cause the toddler class was downstairs near the Soup Kitchen. And, then, the other two classes were upstairs. Yeah. And I was doing that and that was fun because it gave me a chance just to be out there with children again and sort of, kind of to get myself back into the swing of things so to speak. Of course, getting an invitation from Marcia to come to Thailand...

DEUTSCH: Oh, dear.

SLAUGHTER: ...because they had gone to Thailand. And I told her I didn’t think so. And she kept saying “Well, you know, it will be a great thing for you to start a school in Thailand.” And, so, we were kind of going back and forth with that.

DEUTSCH: But, you said no.

SLAUGHTER: I said no. Let’s see, actually, to go back a little bit—over on Mass[achusetts] Avenue, there’s a building there, but that was Friendship Settlement House. Christ Child, it was Christ Child Settlement House. That was my very first job as a teenager working with children. And I remember that because I saw a young lady who introduced me to her daughter. And what she said to her daughter—I saw her at Seven Eleven—and she said to her daughter, “This is my very first summer camp counselor.” [Interviewer laughs.] And, so, I sort of laughed about that. Her parents, they were the Tates and they lived over on E Street. And, so, of course, she was asking me about my parents and so I was telling her my father was still alive. He would be 93 soon. And she was asking me about my brother and my sister and everything. And that was funny because I said, “Well, my niece Cherie, who is my sister’s daughter, is out in the car now with her baby.” You know. So, we kind of laughed about all of that.

DEUTSCH: Do you remember what street that Christ Child Settlement House was on? It was on Mass. Ave.?

SLAUGHTER: It was on Mass. Avenue. It’s a building there now. I don’t know what they use it for now.

DEUTSCH: Oh, yes. I know the building.SLAUGHTER: But it was Christ Child Settlement House.DEUTSCH: Yeah.

SLAUGHTER: Which was really great because we did a lot—my parents and the parents here in this neighborhood, they had a lot of meetings there. Before it was a Stanton Park Neighborhood Association, they had a lot of meetings there and community projects going on there and children playing there and they had camp and day care and all of that. That was my first summer job as a teenager. My second summer job was Little Sisters of the Poor, where the Children’s Museum was, which was different because you’re working with seniors. And, I guess that was my first...

DEUTSCH: Was that a convent there, Little Sisters of the Poor?
SLAUGHTER: It was a home for the aged and the nuns lived there also. They took care of seniors.DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

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SLAUGHTER: It was a Catholic...

DEUTSCH: Charity?

SLAUGHTER: Mm hmm. And that was sad. That was my very first encounter with seniors because a lot of times they would want you to dress them up and clean them up and everything. And they would just sit and they would be waiting for their children. And sometimes their children would show up and sometimes they didn’t. That was very sad for me as a teenager.


SLAUGHTER: And at St. Joseph’s I was in so many programs—we were in the C.Y.O., which was a Catholic youth group, and we would do a lot of things in the community and put on programs and musicals and stuff like that. I think I did—I had another summer job as a teenager doing—there was a home for children on Euclid Street NW, right across the street from Banneker.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: And I can’t really remember the name of that. Because I was a volunteer for the Red Cross also, one of those candy stripers, and so I can remember going there. And that was different. I think that was my first time really being around children that weren’t in traditional family settings. Or, because when I say traditional, with this community...


DEUTSCH: Hello. Okay. Continuing with Frances Slaughter, February 21, 2005.

SLAUGHTER: I think at that point they didn’t—that was my first encounter in realizing that they were children that didn’t have family settings or community. All of that backup, I guess. And, you know, I really didn’t think about all of that until once I got older. Of course, when you’re a teenager you don’t really think about too much.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: But, then when you kind of really reflect and stuff like that, that must have been very hard for the children, because they lived in a home with other children. I do remember adults being involved, but it wasn’t—I don’t remember it being warm.


SLAUGHTER: And, I’m not saying that they were mean or anything, but I just don’t remember it being warm like a neighborhood, like this neighborhood is and was. Even with extended family members and family members.

DEUTSCH: Yeah. It’s different.

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: Um hmm. It was really different. Those are the three jobs that I remember going outside of my house that I went on, like summer employment or under the Catholic Youth Organization. There were certain things that were required, sort of like, that we did.

DEUTSCH: Social service.

SLAUGHTER: Right. And I don’t think it was for school as much as it was for church during that time. And because during the time when I went to school we had Glee Club and violin lessons and piano lessons and ballet and tap and Charm School.

DEUTSCH: Charm School?

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. Girl Scout. I had Charm School down here at Mt. Calvary Episcopal Church.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm. On Eighth Street, I think. Yeah.

SLAUGHTER: Mm hmm. And, of course, I can remember my father and mother coming to see us perform and all of that. [Both laugh.] Whoa!

DEUTSCH: Yeah, whoa. So, when did you go over to Watkins?
SLAUGHTER: Well, initially, the nursery school, we were at—when I was with the nursery school—

Okay, I started at the nursery school when we were housed over at the Lenox School building.DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.
SLAUGHTER: And, during that time, the Capitol Hill Montessori was there.
DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: They were initially housed in that building. Also, some of the Chamberlain students were housed in that building. We were on the third floor. That was my first year there. We were on the third floor. It was so hot that I let the children go without their clothes and they had their panties on.

DEUTSCH: [Laughs.] So, this was...

SLAUGHTER: I was still doing some things at Wee Care. I had stopped doing the play group and was still doing some things at Wee Care, still teaching at Wee Care. And, since the nursery school was half day, that suited my schedule.

DEUTSCH: Okay. So, was this the Capitol Hill Cooperative Nursery School?SLAUGHTER: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: Let me see, who was there? Who was the president then? Deana or Dana Greene? I think that was her name. She was the president then. As a matter of fact, she lived on E Street in that corner house and when you cross the alley there’s another house. But, then, going into the alley, Christ Church is right back there.

page 24

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm. Okay. Yeah.

SLAUGHTER: Her last name was Greene and was spelt with an “e” on the end. But, I can’t really remember her first name. [ed: perhaps Dinnie Greene] And I started and I think Ann Breeding was one of the officers on the steering committee. Her daughter was Marty. She went to the Day School for a short time.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: And we were at the Lenox School building. That was my first year there. Susan—I can’t remember her last name—that was after Trixie left and they needed another teacher. Because how they had it set up was that one teacher would have a Monday-Wednesday-Friday group and another teacher would have a Monday-Tuesday-Thursday group. And how they had it situated was that each group would have a chance to come on a Monday. And how they had it situated was that they would. . .one Monday one group would come and then they would switch Mondays. Like that.

SLAUGHTER: But, then, as time went on I can remember them having an evening—a morning group,

an A.M. group, and a P.M. group. Which didn’t work out very well because children were still napping...DEUTSCH: Yeah.

SLAUGHTER: ...when they did it that way. But, that didn’t happen until we moved from the Lenox School building. Now, I stayed in the Lenox School building for two years, I think. And under the leadership of Linda Norton that’s when I think Mrs. [Veola ] Jackson, who was the principal for the Cluster then, talked with Linda Norton about moving the nursery school over to Watkins. Once we moved over to Watkins, we had that whole front area, like, when you enter Watkins where the offices are now.


SLAUGHTER: That’s where our nursery school class was.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: And at that particular time, the Capitol Hill Montessori was still over at the Lenox School building.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: So when we came over, we spent a year—Mrs. Jackson, as a matter of fact, once we got over there and I got there, Mrs. Jackson saw me working with the children and she wanted me to come on board and be a part of D.C.P.S. [District of Columbia Public Schools], the Cluster, to take a pre-k—I don’t know whether it was a pre-k or kindergarten class. Because one of the teachers who was a kindergarten/pre-k teacher was leaving, going back to school so she could become a counselor.

DEUTSCH: So, she needed—Mrs. Jackson needed another teacher.

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: Mm hmm. And I declined. Because I had—when you do the nursery school, you sign a contract. And one thing my parents always told me was that you might not have a lot of money and you might not get a lot of money, but your word is your bond.


SLAUGHTER: And, so, I had already signed my contract with the nursery school, so I decided to stay with the nursery school. She also wanted us to officially become a feeder program into the Cluster. And the parents, they had their meeting and they declined.


SLAUGHTER: But, unofficially, we were like a feeder program. Which meant that if officially we had become a feeder program, then the nursery school would have become a part of D.C.P.S. And I think the parents wanted it to stay...

DEUTSCH: They wanted to maintain some autonomy.
SLAUGHTER: Right, right, right, right. And I’m glad because when I look back on it they have—

D.C.P.S. has a lot of rules and that’s understandable.


SLAUGHTER: For their protection and the protection of the children. But, when it snows outside, to me that’s a learning experience for the children and so we go out. We do snow angels and throw snowballs at each other. They go out every day, rain or shine. And I tell the parents all the time to please have the children come dressed...

DEUTSCH: To go out.
SLAUGHTER: go out. And the only way that we won’t go out if there’s a blizzard or a hurricane or

tornado. [Laughing.] But, otherwise, we just go out.
DEUTSCH: So, because you’re not part of D.C.P.S., you can have school on...SLAUGHTER: We can move freely.

SLAUGHTER: We can move freely. Anytime we might hop on a bus and go down to the Mall so the children can ride the carousel. Or we walk up to Eastern Market and just tour the Market. So, we have that freedom and that’s a good thing.

DEUTSCH: You wouldn’t have it. Yeah. So, you’re still employed by the parents.SLAUGHTER: Right. Exactly, exactly.
DEUTSCH: Mm hmm. So, you’re the director of the nursery school.SLAUGHTER: Right, right.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

DEUTSCH: And are there other teachers there? There must be.

SLAUGHTER: Not now. Not now. It was—there were two teachers when Trixie and Susan were there. And, then, Trixie left and Susan and myself were teachers. I don’t know how it became that I was the only teacher. I don’t know how that worked out. Maybe you can talk to, I guess, Linda Norton or Susan Oller or somebody that has a long standing—that can remember. But, I don’t know why I became the only one after that point. But, I just did.

DEUTSCH: So, how many children do you have there?SLAUGHTER: There are a total of 20 children.DEUTSCH: Oh, my gosh.

SLAUGHTER: But, what happens is on Monday all of the children come. And that means two parents are on duty. And on Tuesday-Thursday, ten, and on Wednesday-Friday, ten. And only one parent comes to co-op.

DEUTSCH: That’s perfect.
SLAUGHTER: Right. So, once we moved to Watkins—and I guess we stayed there maybe a year or

two—we left. Mrs. Jackson wanted us to be at Peabody.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: Because that was when Peabody actually become an early...

DEUTSCH: Childhood center.

SLAUGHTER: Center. Right. And it was just easier for us to be there. And we stayed there for a long time. A very long time. I can’t remember how long after that. And...

DEUTSCH: It’s convenient for you. It’s just...

SLAUGHTER: Right, right. And it was nice because a lot of the children had a chance to meet my mom and my dad. And, when we would go to the library, once my mom passed away—which was 1990 of March—I would always come periodically to check on my father. Just because. My mother was gone and they were very close and I just wanted to check on him.

DEUTSCH: So, the children would come with you?
SLAUGHTER: And the children would come with me. I remember one...DEUTSCH: What a wonderful experience.

SLAUGHTER: I remember one time my father and I had a big argument and I was getting ready to go to school and I felt terrible about it. So, I was sitting in the time out seat and the children wanted to know why was I sitting in the time out seat. I said, “You know what. I feel real bad.” And they asked me, “Why do you feel bad, Miss Frances?” And I said, “Because my father and I had a big argument and I feel sad about that.” So, after I sat in the time out seat for a while and we had our little morning meeting and we

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

were getting ready to go to the Northeast Branch Library, and, so, I said we need to make a stop first. So, we came here and I gave my father a hug and told him I was sorry and he was very happy to see the children. He started taking out doughnuts and the children started taking off their coats. Then, I said, “Dad, you know, we’re not staying.” I said, “They’re getting ready to go to the library.” He said, “Oh, well, let them take a few doughnuts with them.” So...

DEUTSCH: They probably learned more that morning. You know.

SLAUGHTER: [Laughs.] Yeah, yeah.

DEUTSCH: I mean, that was a good morning of learning.

SLAUGHTER: Yeah, yeah. So, we went on to the library and I had a good day that day. But, I had to—I really felt bad about it. So, I had to come home to apologize to him. We...

DEUTSCH: So, at that point, you’re back living at home.

SLAUGHTER: No, not yet.

DEUTSCH: Not yet.

SLAUGHTER: Not yet. Well, once before my mom died I had moved back home because my brother had died. And that’s when I kind of realized that my parents were kind of moving on up there.

SLAUGHTER: Getting up there in age and everything. Even though my mother died when she was 70.

That was pretty young.

DEUTSCH: When she was 70? That was young. What happened to her?

SLAUGHTER: She had surgery, heart surgery.

DEUTSCH: Oh. Heart bypass?

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. The heart part went out fine. It’s just that all the complications that happened after the surgery. . . Yeah, it was pretty, a bit much. But, anyway. . . I have a son.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm. How old is he?SLAUGHTER: He’s 22 now.DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: And how that happened was my niece was schizophrenic and she had a son. And my father and mother decided that instead of him being in foster care, and he was a Slaughter, they wanted him to come and live with his family.

DEUTSCH: Oh, my gosh.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: And, so, they had him when he was an infant. And my mother was still alive then. He had a chance to experience Wee Care. He went to Wee Care. Merrie Marstiller, then, and Valerie Carroll were his teachers and I was working at Wee Care then. It was funny, because we hadn’t had children in our family for a long time, whatever he wanted, he was a prince. And, so, whatever he wanted, of course, my parents would give it to him. He didn’t have to talk and ask for it. He would just—they would know that he wanted it and they would give it to him. And after coming back home just for a visit like you would come in to visit for the day and stuff like that—’cause I still had my apartment on 29th Street—I said, “You know what, Momma and Daddy, it’s time for Brendan to go to school.” So, my father would take him to Wee Care every day.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.
SLAUGHTER: And he loved it. As a matter of fact, I think he was the second or third African American

child at Wee Care. During that time.


SLAUGHTER: And, he had a great experience there. Loved it. And then he went to Peabody. And my father would take him to school there. And that was a very good experience for him. And all during that time, of course, I was the person designated to go to the PTAs, even though my mother was still doing what she does as far as children is concerned—going to all the meetings and putting her advice and input in on everything. Once my mother and my father, having gone to court to have permanent guardianship...

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm. ‘cause his mother was really...SLAUGHTER: Right. Well, she’s schizophrenic.DEUTSCH: Yeah.
SLAUGHTER: She’s still around...

DEUTSCH: Seriously.
SLAUGHTER: ...but I haven’t seen her in a long time. Yeah. You know, because you have to take your

medication and if you don’t take your medication you’re just, you know, out there.


SLAUGHTER: So, my mother died in 1990. And all of that time she had been going back and forth to court, her and my father. And, once my mother died, my son’s lawyer decided that that was enough and pleaded with the judge and the judge agreed. And, I guess it wasn’t even a year after my mother died, my father and I became his...

DEUTSCH: Legal parents.

SLAUGHTER: Mm hmm. And, of course, they wanted to—I was just thinking about my father, but then the lawyer did tell me that, because Daddy was older now and it would be very slim for the courts to say okay to just him.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

DEUTSCH: Yeah, it had to be.
SLAUGHTER: And, would I be willing to be his parent. I said, “Sure.” So, I have a son. I love him very

much and I’m very, very, very proud of him.
DEUTSCH: Where is he now?
SLAUGHTER: He lives in Southwest. He’s in the military.DEUTSCH: Mmm.

SLAUGHTER: He was in Kuwait.

DEUTSCH: Is he in the Army or...

SLAUGHTER: He’s in the Army, he’s in the Reserves, he’s military intelligence.

DEUTSCH: Oh, boy.

SLAUGHTER: He was in Kuwait...

DEUTSCH: At the start of the war?

SLAUGHTER: Mm hmm, yeah. That was funny, on a different note. When he—he went through Wee Care and Peabody and Watkins and Stuart-Hobson, and he went to Eastern High School and graduated.

DEUTSCH: Mmm.SLAUGHTER: And graduated.DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: He never talked about the military. We talked about college. He never talked about the military and, then, when he was at Eastern in almost his junior year, he came home with this recruiter and wanted me to sign the papers for him to go into the military. Because he was still...

DEUTSCH: Right then? When he hadn’t graduated yet?

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. I said. . .I’m not going to tell you exactly word-for-word what I said, but I said “The military.” And I was just kind of fussing at him, and I said, “And the Army, the Army does grunt work.” And, so, [Laughing.] I was just kind of ranting and raving. I guess being a mother.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: And I said, “You weren’t even in the R.O.T.C. You never mentioned the military to me.” And, so, he really wanted to do this. He said that he wanted to have money when he went to college and he didn’t want me to have to worry about it. And, so, he wanted to do that. And, finally, after just a lot of questioning—it took around about—I don’t even think that I made that decision on that particular day. I waited until the next day. And, then, I said, “Okay.” I told him, I said, “If I sign this paper, then that means that you make a commitment. This is a contract. When you make a commitment, it’s not like I don’t want to play anymore, it’s too hard....”

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DEUTSCH: I’m going home now.

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. “. . . once I put my name on this paper.” And that’s what I told him. And I said, and then I told him, I said, “Remember when you used to play soccer and you were real good at it and everything. But, then after a while you lost interest in it.” And I had already signed the papers and already paid my money. “So, what happened?” And, so, he answered, “I had to go through with it.” I said, “Okay, this is the same thing. This is the same deal.” So, he did it. He did his basic training at Fort Jackson in Columbia...

DEUTSCH: So, he signed up after his junior year? Or in his junior year?

SLAUGHTER: No, in his junior year. It was a special program they had going on. And he signed up in his junior year. He had to do his basic training. So, after school that summer, he did his basic training. So, he arrived at school in his senior year kind of late because he had to finish up his commitment with that.

DEUTSCH: Oh, so he was still in school while he was...SLAUGHTER: He was still in school.
DEUTSCH: He was like a reserve officer.SLAUGHTER: Right.

DEUTSCH: Yeah, I see.
SLAUGHTER: And, then, after he graduated from Eastern, then he went on to do his advanced training

in Arizona.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm. So, he’s still in now?

SLAUGHTER: He’s still in now and I think he has two more years.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: He was supposed to do eight years and he’s done that. So, I think he has two years left out of the eight.

DEUTSCH: I guess when you have that advanced training...SLAUGHTER: Right.
DEUTSCH: lengthens your commitment.SLAUGHTER: Right.

DEUTSCH: They’ve got an investment in you.

SLAUGHTER: Right, right. And he’s gone—he’s taken a few college courses before he was deployed. And, then, I guess he was there more than a year, over in the Middle East, and, then, he came home. And, of course, he has his duty weekends once a month, however that’s set up.

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

DEUTSCH: So, he has a regular job...
SLAUGHTER: He has a regular job.
DEUTSCH: ...but he’s in the Reserves.
SLAUGHTER: He’s in the Reserves. But, he still can be deployed anytime.DEUTSCH: Mmm. And you probably see him often.

SLAUGHTER: Yes. Well, I see him often. As a matter of fact, he was here last night.DEUTSCH: For the birthday.

SLAUGHTER: Well, yeah, give my dad a hug, his dad a hug and give him a card and just kind of check on both of us to see how we’re doing and everything. He’s very—I’m kind of flippy, he’s kind of really kind of conservative, like my father. [Laughs.] And his father. So, that’s my son. And, once we moved, we were at Peabody—after Mrs. Jackson died, there were a lot of changes, which you probably know since you’re from the community.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm, yeah.
SLAUGHTER: As far as leadership and stuff was concerned.DEUTSCH: Yeah.

SLAUGHTER: But, while Brendan was at the Cluster, I was vice-president two years running for the PTA at Stuart-Hobson. I did a lot of volunteer work with the teachers at Watkins as well Stuart-Hobson. My mom and my dad did more volunteer work at Peabody.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: When he was at Peabody. I can remember my...

DEUTSCH: What’s your dad’s name?

SLAUGHTER: Walter Slaughter.

DEUTSCH: And you said he grew up in Virginia.

SLAUGHTER: Charlottesville. And my mother was Eloise Slaughter. And she was raised in Washington in the Brookland area of Washington, D. C.

DEUTSCH: This is nice. Our three honorees [winners of the 2005 Capitol Hill Community Foundation Awards] are all basically from Washington.

DEUTSCH: Yeah. That doesn’t happen very often.

SLAUGHTER: [Laughs.] Well, that’s probably true. It’s a lot of people that are really surprised when they know that I’m a Washingtonian.

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DEUTSCH: Yeah. And, not just a Washingtonian.


DEUTSCH: From right here.

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. And, they laugh because I hug a lot, but they don’t realize that Washington is just townsy. It’s...

DEUTSCH: Villagey.

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. It’s very small. It’s sort of like Peyton Place. [Interviewer laughs.] I don’t know. Maybe not that drama like Peyton Place, and it probably is in some places. But, it’s funny, ’cause, well, I guess four years ago they started a retirement fund for me. And, not saying that I was going to retire, but just starting a retirement fund. And, so, everybody just thought that I was going to retire. So, I was getting phone calls all during that time in the summer. “Are you going to retire? I have a child and they’re supposed to come to the school,” and yadda yadda yadda. And I said, “No, I’m not retiring.” So...

DEUTSCH: You threw panic into the parents of Capitol Hill.

SLAUGHTER: [Laughs.] So, it was really, you know, it was kind of funny. And, even when they didn’t have a retirement fund somebody was saying that I was retiring. And, so, it’s sort of like when things happen, people sort of know about it. Or when it’s not happening people still know whatever they know.

DEUTSCH: Is there anything...
SLAUGHTER: It lets you know when Cathy Pfeiffer died and Mary Rush and even Merrie Gilbert and

Cornelia, it lets you know how small where you are, the place where you are, how small it actually is.


SLAUGHTER: And, especially, if you’ve crossed paths with those people and they were a part of your journey and they’ve been a part of your journey, it just lets you know how small things are. I ran into—I can’t remember—I ran into somebody’s parent and they told me that they had gone to China and evidently they were grandparents of children that I’ve taught and they remember me. And they were asking a parent was I still teaching. And they laughed about it and I guess they swapped stories and they said “Yes, she is,” and, you know. And they sent their regards. So, it’s really nice. It’s really nice and it just sort of lets you know how small everything is and how everything connects and comes in full circle. Things that you don’t think about when you’re young. Not that I consider myself to be old, but you just don’t really think about it, you just do it.

SLAUGHTER: Because you know that you have to do it.

DEUTSCH: Do you see any differences now in the way the kids are being raised or any changes— anything you’re doing different than you used to do with the children in school?

Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: You know what, I think I listen more, but, basically, I think that I’m the same. I think— at least that’s what they say. But, I think I kind of listen more...

DEUTSCH: To the parents—or to the children?SLAUGHTER: To the children. [Interviewer laughs.]


SLAUGHTER: [In the middle of a sentence.] ...are the same. I think a lot of times when you’re rushing—and that part has changed where everybody is just going, going, going and they have so many things planned out for themselves and their children that they—they’re just so busy with activities for their children that the children they sort of need that kind of quiet time to kind of relax and reflect and just to be themselves as opposed to—it’s fine for them to have activities, but just to see who they are and who they want to be and while they’re playing what they want to play and the things that...

DEUTSCH: Like you played teacher.

SLAUGHTER: Right. Like, the things that they’re interested in you need to kind of have a feel of what they’re interested in as opposed to the parents putting them in a whole bunch of stuff that they might not be interested in, just so they can—it’s very important to learn through play.


SLAUGHTER: That’s one of the important things. It’s very important for them to know their community. So I feel that that helps them to become good citizens and have some empathy about their surroundings and their people. I tell the children in my classroom, I said “Well, you know you have a lot of family.” And I’ve explained to them this is your school family.

DEUTSCH: Mmm mmm.

SLAUGHTER: I said, “So we’re all one family here and so we have”—’cause I have children that have known each other since infancy. So, they’ve been together. So, they have their special person who they want to sit next to all the time or who they just want to play with. And I help them to understand that all of us have feelings, that all of us are together, and that all of us are family. And sometimes you may sit next to the person that you want to sit next to, but, then, other times you have to sit next to other people and be partners with other people.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: And, so, hopefully, that teaches them that they need to become a good citizen. They need to care about other people. I think that that’s very important. I try to lay the foundations so that they will, once they start school-school, then they will enjoy it and want to be there and not put a lot of pressure on them. A lot of times a lot of parents, they don’t choose the nursery school because it’s not academic enough. It’s not...

DEUTSCH: Mmm. Yeah.

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: ...I think strict enough. I have them on a routine but I really feel that in order for them to appreciate school, once they start school, is to have the enjoyment and the understanding of the world around them, their environment.

SLAUGHTER: And their environment is the Safeway, Eastern Market, the Mall, going down to the

DEUTSCH: The merry-go-round.

SLAUGHTER: Right. The merry-go-round. Enjoying their community. One thing that I enjoy doing with the children especially during the holiday is that the parents they come in and they incorporate whatever they do at their house at Christmas time and bring that into the classroom. I really push for them to do that. Also, since Pardoe [Coldwell Banker / Pardoe Real Estate] has started their little window, Christmas window setting, that’s one of the things that we do...

DEUTSCH: Uh huh.
SLAUGHTER: ...during the holiday. And I take them and we go and we look at the window and talk

about it and I tell them the story about when I was a kid and how we’d go downtown for the windows...DEUTSCH: Woodie’s. [Woodward & Lothrop department store]

SLAUGHTER: Yeah. Woodie’s & the Hecht’s [department store] and how my mom and dad would take me downtown and all the windows would be dressed and stuff like that. So, I let them know about that and, so, we do that. But, I try to do as many things in the community if it’s no more than us going to the Post Office Valentine’s Day or before Valentine’s Day and mailing off cards. And making banners when the children are sick or making banners for their moms and their dads when they’ve been sick or for birthdays. And talking about their grandparents. Their grandparents come and visit a lot. And a lot of times we send cards and things to the grandparents that have visited the classroom. We just had one of my students—her name is Georgia—her grandparents came to spend the day with us because one of her—her dad had a doctor’s appointment, her mom had an appointment with D.C.P.S. and, so, her mom’s parents came to spend the day with us. And the children loved it. And they were saying, “Granddaddy, can I have” so-and-so-and-so-and-so; “Grandma, can I have” so-and-so-and-so-and-so. And we really kept them busy. And I told them once they went back to their daughter’s house that they would probably have to take a nap. I found out the next day that they did take a nap.

DEUTSCH: [Laughing.] That they did.
DEUTSCH: Do you still go to St. Joseph’s? Or are you...

SLAUGHTER: Sometimes I go to St. Joseph’s. Sometimes I go to Christ Church. I just kind of wander around. [Both laugh.] Sometimes I go to St. Peter’s. Sometimes I go to Christ Church. I think I have my mother’s...

DEUTSCH: Ecumenical streak?

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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: Right, right. Sometimes I—my father now, since greater Mt. Zion Baptist Church is no longer in existence, he’s a member of New Abundant Life, and so...

DEUTSCH: Where’s that?
SLAUGHTER: That, actually that, let me see. It’s on—it crosses—I can’t think of the street. It’s a small

church on the corner of—is that 18th & Isherwood? But, I’m not really sure, so don’t quote me on that.DEUTSCH: Yeah.

SLAUGHTER: But, they come to have service here. My father has gone a couple of times for service over there. And when he goes, it’s a big production. And when they come here, it’s a big production.


SLAUGHTER: So, sometimes—a couple of times I’ve gone there. But, during the time when Mrs. Jackson died, the Cluster has gone through a lot of principals. A lot of principals. And the last principal that they had before having Jennifer Smith was Mrs. Woodard. And, after being over at Peabody for so long, I think she wanted me to come over to Watkins, which I really didn’t really want to go over to Watkins, just because of the convenience part.

DEUTSCH: Of being right here.

SLAUGHTER: Right. Of being right around the corner. But, she really wanted us over there. And, so, the nursery school, we moved over to Watkins again. And, this time we moved right on the same floor with the Capitol Hill Montessori.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.
SLAUGHTER: The Capitol Hill Montessori became a part of the Cluster or D.C.P.S. I guess two years

or a year or two after we had been over at Peabody.
DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.
SLAUGHTER: I think they were having some type of financial problems.
SLAUGHTER: So, once they moved in, we had been settled over at Peabody. So, let me see. What else?DEUTSCH: Well, you’ve had a wonderful career.
DEUTSCH: It’s not over yet.

SLAUGHTER: It’s been fun. It’s really been fun. I’m happy to be here for my father’s 93rd birthday. I have a living sister; her name is Marketa Slaughter Cook and her husband is Howard Cook. And, as a matter of fact, her husband is a Washingtonian and a neighborhood person.


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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: He lived around on Sixth Street, right around the corner.DEUTSCH: So, they met in the neighborhood?

SLAUGHTER: They knew each other. They knew other. Of course, him and my brother hung out a lot. My brother’s Delonte Clyburn. And they hung out a lot. And, so, they knew each other. We knew his father and his mother. His father still lives around the corner, as a matter of fact, on Sixth Street, in the same house. So, she married someone from the neighborhood.

DEUTSCH: Where does she live?

SLAUGHTER: They live in, let me see, Waldorf or Upper Marlboro, Maryland, now. They have three children, well, three young people. My sister has a daughter that has a daughter and a son. The son was born, I guess, December, I think December. But, he’s still a baby. The son Howard Slaughter Cook went to Peabody and Watkins and Stuart-Hobson. Now he goes to a school in Maryland. And a daughter that is getting ready to graduate from Potomac...

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm.

SLAUGHTER: Maryland, on a basketball scholarship. And, it’s my understanding that their team, Potomac, did very well this year. And, then, of course, numerous nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews. One of the nieces that—I’m close to all of them, but I’m really close to her because I cared for her daughter, helped to parent care for her daughter when she was an infant, Brianna. She’s also the light of my life. She’s five, she’ll be six, as a matter of fact, February the 27th.

DEUTSCH: Mm hmm. And where does she live?
SLAUGHTER: They live in Washington. They live on Isherwood Street NE. Brianna went to...DEUTSCH: Brianna’s your great niece.

SLAUGHTER: She’s my great niece. And she went to Peabody. Well, she went to Watkins, not Peabody. So, she was in Montessori and Ms. Bennett was her teacher. And now she goes to Rock Creek International and she takes Arabic.

SLAUGHTER: So, I’m very proud of her.

DEUTSCH: Well, if I had another whole tape here, I would ask you how you feel about Montessori. But...

SLAUGHTER: I love it.DEUTSCH: Yeah. It’s different.

SLAUGHTER: I’ve referred—even when we were at the Lenox School building, I referred students from my group to Montessori that I felt that would do well in that program. It’s a great program.


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Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project Frances Slaughter Interview, February 21, 2005

SLAUGHTER: Mmm. And all the children seem to do very well once they go to other places. But, we are fortunate on the Hill because at one time we had the Day School, Peabody. Well, we had the Day School, the Cluster, St. Peter’s. There was the Capitol Hill Montessori and there was another Montessori school. Can you remember the name of that one?

DEUTSCH: No, but, I...
SLAUGHTER: This was at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church.DEUTSCH: Yeah.

SLAUGHTER: So, there were a lot of people and a lot of children. So, the great part about what’s happening now is that it’s sort of almost like it used to be, as far as so many children, so many people, so many families. ‘cause I think that that’s what it’s all about.


SLAUGHTER: The families.


SLAUGHTER: So, it’s kind of gotten back to that again. And, where we have more schools and more families.

DEUTSCH: Yes, it is nice.
SLAUGHTER: To see it kind of go back, full circle.DEUTSCH: More like the way it was when you were younger.SLAUGHTER: Right, exactly.
DEUTSCH: Well, that’s probably a good enough place to stop.


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