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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Terry Sanford, May 14, 1976. Interview A-0328-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Economic migration patterns for white and black North Carolinians

Sanford recalls more whites than blacks leaving North Carolina for better jobs, notably into Detroit's auto industry. He argues that the state's remaining blacks made a lateral move economically.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Terry Sanford, May 14, 1976. Interview A-0328-1. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

BRENT GLASS:
Had the exodus of black people to the North started up in your section of the state in the 20's?
TERRY SANFORD:
I wasn't looking at it from the point of view where I could tell whether there was an exodus or not. There were plenty left. I suppose I was taking "Rural Sociology" in Chapel Hill before I knew about the exodus. But I remember a great many people. I actually remember more white people leaving to go to, as they called it, "De-troit" to get jobs in the automobile industry. And I don't remember a great many, but I remember one family of Coopers where one of the brothers went up there, then several others went. They seemed to do very well. They certainly had high-paying jobs compared to what they were getting working on the farm. This, as a matter of fact, was an old family of Revolutionary ties that just, like so many people in the farming business, had fallen on bad days. There was a great deal of mobility among the blacks that was visible, but I had the impression mostly they were moving from farm to farm instead of leaving the country entirely, though I really wouldn't have had much way to get a feedback on that. I don't know that there was much feedback. They probably went and disappeared.