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Rebecca Clark - Race Relations

In this oral history excerpt, Rebecca Clark describes working in Chapel Hill as an African American woman during the early 1930s.

Audio File: 

Rebecca Clark Oral History - Race Relations by ncdigitalhistory


Audio Transcript

Rebecca Clark
I would run home and eat and go back eating. I had a relative that lived right up here at the corner of Merritt Mill Road and Crest Drive. He was saying, "Rebecca, the way you working, I want you during your lifetime in a day, to lay down and stretch your body for ten minutes, because you need it." But we were then doing what we was taught to do, was work for a dollar. And I almost had no choice. Because when you were even doing, before the laundry, doing domestic work, if your child got sick and you couldn't come in, they'd tell you, "If you can't come, I'll have to get somebody else." They didn't have no sympathy for you. And they didn't have no meals for you. ( ), you left it there for supper. Your meal wasn't included in that. And most times, your lunch wasn't included in that.So coming up, the relationship between white and black, I guess everybody respected everybody, but there wasn't a lot of hostility because we knew we had to work and they knew they had to have some help. Back then, there wasn't that many black folks in Chapel Hill. During that time, in 1931, '32, '33, about five thousand people in Chapel Hill. There wasn't that much more than that were students.

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