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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with John Hope Franklin, July 27, 1990. Interview A-0339. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Black scholars prevented from eating in segregated restaurant

Franklin remembers a meeting of the Southern Conference of Human Welfare in Durham, North Carolina. Black participants were not allowed to eat at a restaurant there. Franklin recalls that the group's meetings in North Carolina drew a large number of people, both black and white.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with John Hope Franklin, July 27, 1990. Interview A-0339. 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

Yes, and we had one here. I must have been teaching at North Carolina College by this time in Durham because there was one at the Washington. . . I don't think it was a national meeting, maybe a North Carolina group. Maybe Frank Graham was there, I'm not sure. I got to know him in this general period. Very, very fond of him. But this group met at the Washington Duke Hotel, the old Washington Duke Hotel downtown. Everybody there was rip roaring, you know, egalitarians. I remember it got to be lunch time, and they tried to get us all in to have lunch in the Washington Duke Hotel in the dining room. Of course, they said "no you can't bring those people in here."
Okay to meet but not to eat?
Yeah, they might not even, up to that point, I don't know whether they knew we were up there meeting as far as that's concerned, but certainly not to eat. So everybody got up in arms and furious, said, "Well, nobody will eat down there then." They went out somewhere and got food and brought it in, so we could all eat together. This is the period of people like Charlie Jones inaudible over at Chapel Hill. He's now quite old. Have you met him?
Then there was a group—I don't think it was the Southern Conference of Human Welfare—but there was a group, there was a Unitarian Church in Raleigh where there was a lot of interracial goings on, meetings, you know, and everything. They would have a big symposium every spring, and that's the first time I saw Lillian Smith. She spoke at the sort of closing night thing. There were a lot of blacks and whites at these meetings. I'm trying to think of the pastor of that church in Raleigh. But that was a very lively group, and so was the group, the North Carolina chapter of the Southern Conference for Welfare. I'll call it that for want of a better name. It was not the national group yet. They were very lively and active, but it wasn't large. Those meetings in Raleigh would draw a large number of people. The Southern Conference meetings, well, were working meetings. Trying to make some plans about how to approach this problem.