Shelf Life Community Story Project
Amplifying community voices, learning from neighborhood stories, and interrupting narratives of erasure in Seattle's Central District.

I Don't Want White People Telling Me What To Do

Leslie Womack

Photo by Jill Freidberg

Photo by Jill Freidberg


My grandmother on my maternal, on my mother's side, came here to work. She was an entrepreneur, so she owned a dry cleaners, and eventually owned a record store on Madison. The Little Record Mart. And I started working for her when I was seven. I sold records! I sold records. And she kinda specialized in jazz. She featured penny candy. That was her kind of thing that brought people in, cause she would have penny candy, and people would always come in for that, but then she would have things playing, and they would end up buying a $.99 45, but she had a huge album collection as well. One of the reasons that she was an entrepreneur was that she didn't want, she goes, "I don't want white people telling me what to do. And the only way that that's going to happen, is for me to have my own business." 

You know, the grocery store, our dentist, our doctors, our dry cleaning, we bought our records, our entertainment, was all right here. So even though we were redlined into this area, we still managed to provide and get all of the things that we needed here.