The Manhattan Project

In partnership with the National Museum of Nuclear Science & HistoryNational Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Pasco

Collene Dunbar's Interview

Cynthia Kelly: Okay, why don’t we start by having you tell us your name and spelling it?

Collene Dunbar: My name is Collene Dunbar, C-O-L-L-E-N-E, and it’s pronounced Coll-ene.

Jeffrey Nalezny: And your last name is spelled?

Dunbar: D-U-N-B-A-R.

Nalezny: Thank you.

Kelly: Great! Thank you very much. Now we’re here to talk to about your life, your life in Richland. So can you tell us when you came here and why?

Collene Dunbar

Collene Dunbar first arrived the Tri-Cities in 1950. She spent her childhood there while her father worked in construction at the Hanford Site. In this interview, she recalls her experiences growing up, and describes local perceptions of Hanford. She details discrimination faced by African Americans, local agriculture, and how the area has changed over the years. Dunbar also recounts her time working in construction and maintenance in the 200 East Area at Hanford, and shares her impressions of how secrecy and security were maintained at the site.

Virginia Ballard

Virginia Ballard was born in Charleston, West Virginia. Her parents immigrated to the US from Scotland. In 1944, Ballard’s family moved to Richland, Washington where her father worked for DuPont. After attending college, Ballard went to work for GE and Exxon Nuclear. Her last job before retirement was as executive secretary to the manager for Siemens. Ballard had two children – Bruce and Diane – with her husband Del.

Jackie Peterson's Interview

Cindy Kelly: It is Wednesday, September 12, 2018. I’m in Seattle, Washington, and I have Jackie Peterson with me. My first question to her is to tell me her full name and spell it.

Jackie Peterson: My name is Jackie Peterson. It’s J-a-c-k-i-e Peterson, P-e-t-e-r-s-o-n.

Kelly: I’d love to know more about yourself and how you got involved in this. Maybe you could start by just giving a brief bio, where you were born and when.

Jackie Peterson

Jackie Peterson is an independent curator and exhibit developer in Seattle, Washington. She curated an exhibition called “The Atomic Frontier: Black Life at Hanford” at the Northwest African American Museum from October 2015-March 2016. In this interview, Peterson describes the exhibition and what she learned about African American experiences at Hanford during the Manhattan Project. She explains how African Americans came to the Tri-Cities, the kinds of work they were able to obtain, and the (largely informal) segregation they faced.

Herb Depke's Interview

Cindy Kelly: Okay. I am Cindy Kelly from the Atomic Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC. It is May 2, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina. I have with me Herb Depke. Could we start with you saying your full name, Herb, and spelling it? 

Depke: My full name? 

Kelly: Full name. 

Depke: Herbert Walfred Depke, H-E-R-B-E-R-T, W-A-L-F-R-E-D, D-E-P-K-E.

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