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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

ORAL HISTORY

Carolyn Johnson


It was 1972 when Carolyn Johnson, a farm wife, decided that she wanted to work outside the home. She answered an ad in the paper that brought her to Chuck’s Barbecue in Wynne, Arkansas, and within a couple of years, she and her late husband purchased what is now called Big Johnson’s. The family always worked the restaurant. She recalls that two generations have napped on the chest freezer in the back.

In 2003, Carolyn suffered grease burns on a large part of her body while working at the restaurant. Her employees dowsed her with yellow mustard to help with the burns until medical help arrived. She was out of service for two years. Today, Carolyn has taken a back seat and her son and grandchildren run the day-to-day operation of not only Big Johnson’s, but also a Johnson’s Fish House and Diner, and the barbecue trailer, Little Johnson’s.

Date of interview:
2011-05-24 00:00

Interviewer:
Rachel Reynolds Luster

Photographer:
Rachel Reynolds Luster

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