White and black Augusta leaders address the inequality of local public services
White and black community leaders in Augusta denied any race relations problems until Foreman mentioned the lack of public services in black neighborhoods. Then both sides realized they had avoided an issue that could be resolved.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Clark Foreman, November 16, 1974. Interview B-0003. 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
- CLARK FOREMAN:
I became the secretary for the Committee for Georgia. Arthur Raper talked
about it yesterday a little bit. And set up these committees around the
state. For instance, I went to Augusta, Georgia, and went to see some
people there. I went to see the leading white people that I knew about
and talked to them. And they said "Look, we don't have any
trouble in Augusta. Everything is fine here. We have the best niggers in
the South. No trouble at all." Then I went to see the Negro
leaders and talked to them and they said more or less the same thing.
"We don't have any trouble in Augusta. Everything's fine here.
The white folks just treat us fine. Everything's good." I said
"Well, I noticed when I came out here, that the paving stopped
when it got to the Negro part of town." "Oh yes,
that's true, and there's no water, no sewer . . . " There were
no public facilities for the Negroes who lived in Augusta. So I said,
"Isn't that something that we should do something
about?" They were all very interested in doing something about
that. Then I went back to talk to the white people and told them, the
white leaders. And they didn't know about it at all.
They claimed they didn't. Sort of like the Germans didn't know about the
Nazis, you know.
What kind of leaders? Were these church leaders or business leaders,
- CLARK FOREMAN:
Both. Church, largely. I don't think there were many bankers in the Negro
community in Augusta at that time.