George “Jack” Pettiford grew up in a mostly white neighborhood in Greenfield in a still segregated Ohio. After playing baseball with his white friends, he could not go to a restaurant with them afterward. When he joined the Navy in World War II, he was pressed to enter a white unit and had to insist that he serve with blacks. He and his wife, Jacqueline Diggs, raised four children in Columbus. He attained a supervisory position at the Rockwell Corporation only after many disappointments because of discrimination. He and his wife and his sister Ann Medley participated in the very first interview of the Getting Word project in 1993. While the women were criticizing the sexual behavior of Jefferson and other slaveholders, Jack raised his voice to say, “But overall he was a great man… And he's history. He's history and he's great.”
28 Dec. 1993, Chillicothe, OH Interviewees: George Pettiford, Jacqueline Pettiford, Ann Medley, Patti Jo Harding, Tony Medley
"In your mind you just go back"
George "Jack" Pettiford and Ann Medley describe visiting Monticello and thinking about their ancestors' lives on the plantation.