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Title: Oral History Interview with Asa T. Spaulding, April 14, 1979. Interview C-0013-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Spaulding, Asa T., interviewee
Interview conducted by Weare, Walter
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Kristin Shaffer
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2008
Size of electronic edition: 140 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2008.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2008-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2008-02-18, Kristin Shaffer finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Asa T. Spaulding, April 14, 1979. Interview C-0013-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0013-2)
Author: Walter Weare
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Asa T. Spaulding, April 14, 1979. Interview C-0013-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series C. Notable North Carolinians. Southern Oral History Program Collection (C-0013-2)
Author: Asa T. Spaulding
Description: 222 Mb
Description: 35 p.
Note: Interview conducted on April 14, 1979, by Walter Weare; recorded in Durham, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Dorothy M. Casey.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series C. Notable North Carolinians, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Asa T. Spaulding, April 14, 1979.
Interview C-0013-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Spaulding, Asa T., interviewee


Interview Participants

    ASA T. SPAULDING, interviewee
    WALTER WEARE, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
WALTER WEARE:
Well, I think we can reconstruct this, maybe just reading the letter. And I'll try to pick up the pieces. We'll proceed with the letter from Colonel Lowery.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
I shall now read a letter:
Earl C. Lowery, M.D., FACS, FICS
5403 Hardwood Drive
Des Moines, Iowa 50312
Now the Calvin Lowery, referred to by Dr. Earl Lowery, his sisters were Annabell, who was my mother, Debra, Nancy, Susan, and Maria, whose nickname was Bobby. The brothers were Henry, Abner, William, Canada, French, Edward, and Fuller.
WALTER WEARE:
This is all one marriage—all those children?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
All those children from one marriage.
WALTER WEARE:
The Lowery family then descends from….
ASA T. SPAULDING:
From Judge Henry Lowery.
WALTER WEARE:
And it was back in 17….
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Who arrived here in 1666 and settled at Hampton, Virginia, with his wife and three sons. And his family records show that he was born thirty miles from London.
WALTER WEARE:
And somewhere in that geneology, is it 1738, where one of the Lowerys married a Priscilla?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Yes. James Lowery Junior, married in 1738 in North Carolina. And he married Priscilla Barry, who was one-half Tuscarora Indian.

Page 2
WALTER WEARE:
So it's 1738 that the Indian-White connection is made.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
And the next we have there, William Lowery, who was a veteran in the Revolutionary War, and the file number for that is 6732. He married Betty Locklear. So that seemed to be the second. And then Allen Lowery, 1791-1865, married Polly Cumboldt. She was the daughter of S. Cumboldt—I guess that's ‘Stephen’—who was a veteran of the War of 1812. And she, of course, was white.
WALTER WEARE:
Now, we're not sure of who was Indian and who was not Indian, in those marriages that followed 1738. But that's the beginning of the Indian connection.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Well, we have one more: Henry Berry Lowery, who was the son of Allen Lowery. He was born in 1848. And we're not certain of just when he died, or where he died. That has not been discovered until now—or if discovered has not been revealed. And he married Rhoda Strong.
WALTER WEARE:
Do you think she was Indian?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
I'm not sure. It seems to me that there's something in one of these other letters that I received, that indicates her racial identity. Cut it off while I look in the book. [interruption]
ASA T. SPAULDING:
This gives his name, Stephen Cumboldt, soldier, War of 1812. So I was right in that. Debra Lowery, who was Indian, married W.R. Woodell, who was white.
WALTER WEARE:
Your mother, Annabell, was, according to that geneology, what relation to Henry Berry Lowery?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
It looks like here that Henry Berry Lowery was the son of Allen Lowery. Now here is where you need to tell me whether these are brothers of Henry Berry Lowery. I think they were. See that arrow pointing down here.

Page 3
They were brothers of Henry Berry Lowery, which means that Henry Berry Lowery was my mother's uncle. If her father was his brother, he would be his uncle, or she would be his aunt.
WALTER WEARE:
The Calvin Lowery referred to….
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Wait. These are sisters of Calvin Lowery. So therefore, if Calvin Lowery was the brother of Henry Berry Lowery—see he has Henry Berry Lowery then he points down here to Henry Berry Lowery's brothers. Isn't that the way you interpret that?
WALTER WEARE:
Yes. Then he has Calvin circled.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Because these are the sisters of Calvin.
WALTER WEARE:
Maybe Calvin, though, is the father.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
All of those would be brothers.
WALTER WEARE:
Yes.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Maybe these are the family children of Calvin Lowery. These are sisters and these are brothers. These could be Calvin Lowery's children.
WALTER WEARE:
Which would made Henry Berry Lowery, then, your mother's grandfather. No, no. It would make him uncle. Well, to kind of recapitulate this thing, the Robeson ….
ASA T. SPAULDING:
See here now. Here was Henry Berry Lowery. And he married Francis Pawley.
WALTER WEARE:
You may have to wait.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
For the book to come out, to go any further with this.
WALTER WEARE:
It's clear then that the Indian side descends out of this Lowery connection with land grants from the king of England. And that's in Robeson County. And the other side of your ancestry, that's clear not much before your grandfather.

Page 4
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Although they've traced it further back than that because I think John Andrew Spaulding that I told you about, I think he goes back beyond. Because his father and my father had the same father. John Wesley Spaulding married twice. My father was a son from his first wife. John Andrew's father was a son by his second wife. And he's the one who's gone back and done all this research. So I'm sure, in trying to trace it, he would try to trace his grandfather, which would be my grandfather, too.
WALTER WEARE:
You mentioned an L.L. Spaulding yesterday.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
He's the one who was supposed to be writing up the history of that whole community.
WALTER WEARE:
But he's long since died, I guess. Did he leave any papers, do you think?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
That's what I don't know.
WALTER WEARE:
Now where did he teach?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
He was teaching at Biddle University, I think, when he died.
See, after I left there in 1918, my knowledge of what was going on was limited. Because I was in school. You see, I came here. And during the summers I didn't go back, because I worked at North Carolina Mutual while I was at National Training School. That was from 1924 on. From 1924 to 1932 I was in school. Except the time I was working at North Carolina Mutual, the two years I was out, from '25 to '27. So I lost my connection, I mean this follow-up. And then after I got here, with all the work I had at North Carolina Mutual those first five or six years. Coming in and trying to set up an actuary department and trying to do all the research and the records. My days, sometimes, ran from eight-thirty in the morning to twelve or one o'clock at night. And from January first until March the first, I would go to work at eight-thirty in the morning, would have lunch up there, would come home for

Page 5
dinner about six or seven o'clock, go right back up there, and work. I have worked as late as three o'clock in the morning. And come home and get mabe four hours of rest, eat breakfast, and be back up there at eight-thirty in the morning. That was from January the first until March the first when we were working on our annual statement. Because it was all done manually then. I had to crank out the reserves on all the insurance on a Freeden calculator. We did not have the computers. So I know what work means.
WALTER WEARE:
This work ethic that we were talking about—we were talking about your father earlier—do you think that that comes from….
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Well, the job required it. Under the law that statement had to filed in the insurance department on March the first. And there were no excuses. And there was a penalty. I think the penalty was fifty dollars a day for every day it was late.
WALTER WEARE:
But you didn't have to accept that challenge. Not everybody would have been that ambitious.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Well, the job required it, and if you were going to hold the job, you had to do it. Because if you couldn't do it, somebody would have to. And after we got the original copy, we had to make copies for eight states and three or four copies for the office. And that had to be copied by hand. All of those schedules, all of the securities, all bonds had to be listed individually, all stocks, all mortgages, all real estate, all the different assets. That was all done by hand. So we had to get that statement out in time for copies to be made manually, to be filed in every state in which we operated by March first. I remember one Sunday, we met up there. Even the president was there. We had about thirteen copies. And each person had a copy of that statement. And we went line by line from the

Page 6
original, for them to check the figures.
WALTER WEARE:
Should we read that will? Let's do that.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
You will probably be interested in excerpts from the will of James Lowery, which reads as follows:
"James Lowery died in 1811 and left the following will, which is recorded, Book of Wills Number One, page 121, Office the Clerk of Court, Robeson County, State of North Carolina, in the name of God, Amen."
"I, James Lowery, of the county and state aforesaid, though weak in body, yet of a perfect mind and memory, blest be God, do this thirteenth day of March, the year of our Lord, one thousand, eight hundred and ten, make this my last will and testament as follows: first I recommend my soul to Almighty God, and my body to the earth." This is marked #3 here, so it's the third excerpt, I presume. "First I give and bequeath to my loving wife the plantation I now live on, and the Negores Peter, Jake, Betty, Fanny-Bob, and all the land in my possession but one hundred twenty acres that my son lives on, and one hundred acres that my son, William, lives on. During her natural life, and after her death, to my son, James Lowery. I also give and bequeath to my son, William, the plantation he now lives at and all the cattles and hogs in his possession at this time. I also give and bequeath to my son, Thomas Lowery, one hundred and twenty acres of land that he now lives on. I also give and bequeath to my daughter, Mary, the Negroes Violet and Harry. I also give and bequeath to my daughter, Ceily, the Negroes Jenny and Beverly. I also desire that all the stock of cattle, hogs, harness and sheep remain on the premises and if either of my daughters marries during their mother's life, to divide as she thinks proper. Signed, sealed and delivered at the presence of us." Signed James Lowery, and the 'us' are the witnesses, W. MacNeil, and Neill MacNeil, and Bennett Locklear. And you will remember in this geneology here, that William Lowery

Page 7
married Betty Locklear. And the first intermarriage between the Lowerys and the Indians was by James Lowery Junior, who married Priscilla Barry.
WALTER WEARE:
So, if this will is dated 1810, the Indian-White connection is well established and you have then these families who are mixed actually owning plantations and owning slaves. So that establishes that line, and the other line, as we said, is less clear. Back to your grandfather who was a landholder. And you're not sure how he came into possession of his land.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
No. But the thing about it, it was not only he, but all the families that lived in the area there, that were landowners. All the Spauldings, the Moores, and the group that's referred to in the noble ancestry here.
WALTER WEARE:
Do you suspect that they were one-time slaves who were either emancipated?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
All I know is that there were people there who reported never to have been slaves, and were referred to as free issue.
WALTER WEARE:
They might have originally been servants?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Well, I presume it means that they were born free. Some did buy their freedom later. But the earlier word that was passed down from hand to mouth, and different ones would be pointed out: ‘he's a free issue.’
WALTER WEARE:
Have you ever heard the tale that there may have been fugitive slaves who went to this interior area and then intermarried with Indians? The Indians provided a kind of refuge. This was true with the Seminoles in Florida.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
No, I haven't heard of that in Robeson County. Because, as a matter of fact, so far as I know, my mother was the first woman from Robeson County that married outside. The intermarriages there, into

Page 8
Columbus County. She was the first woman of any of the Lowerys, or any of those from Robeson County to come into Columbus County. And her first husband was a Reverend Mack L. Moore, who was from Columbus County. He was a minister, and was often invited to preach in Robeson County.
WALTER WEARE:
He would have been described as a colored man?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Yes. As a matter of fact, he was very fair; he had very good quality of hair; and I'm sure he was of mixed blood with whites.
WALTER WEARE:
And then she stayed in that area after her marriage.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
See, she had two children by him—two daughters. And subsequently my father married her. And from that union came five children. Three boys and two girls. The first child was a daughter, the second was a son, my brother. Well, she was my sister, too. Of course, I was the third child. And then I had a brother and a sister following me.
WALTER WEARE:
Did they stay in that area?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Only two of them stayed there.
WALTER WEARE:
Are any of them living now?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Yes. All but one is living. And that's the younger brother. He died about four years ago, I guess it was. He was still there on the farm.
WALTER WEARE:
They carried away, you think, the same values, or do you think you were exceptional among your brothers and sisters?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Oh, all of them had values. My brother lives right up here in the next block. You can go by there and see his home. And he has a lot there with the most beautiful flowers. That's his hobby, looking after those flowers. He worked for North Carolina Mutual from the time he came to Durham, until he retired. He retired as head of the printing department.
WALTER WEARE:
We were talking about this distinction between Columbus County and race relations and Durham and race relations, particularly in connection with

Page 9
your father, who ran this hunting camp. Let's recapitulate that. I think that's interesting.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Well my father had a lot of interests. He was a great hunter. He was enterprising. Because, in addition to farming and the principal crops—corn, tobacco, cotton, wheat, and of course peas, that were as cover crops as well as for gathering. From this the pea vines were cut and baled into hay for the feeding of the cattle. Some oats were planted also. And in addition to that, as a hobby, the aforementioned hunting. And in addition was that at one time, he and his half-brother, and his brother-in-law owned a sawmill together, later in life. But prior to that, he operated a general merchandisestore for the community. A community store. You could go there and buy clothes, cloth. A lot of the women did their own sewing, you know, and made what they wore. And he would order bolts of cloth from Wilmington, North Carolina. And he'd buy the flour by the barrels, sugar, all of the groceries, all of the staple foods. And it was a general merchandisestore. In other words, you could go there and get whatever you needed.
WALTER WEARE:
Was this just a country store out in the rural area? Not in town?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
No, not in town. He was at the crossroads, coming from another section—I guess about seven miles. A crossroads between Whiteville, North Carolina on the Coastline, which was south of where we lived, and Rosindale, which was on the Seaboard Railroad. We had the Seaboard Railroad on one side and the Atlantic Coastal on the other. Whiteville, which was the county seat of Columbus County, was about nine miles from the intersection of these crossroads where we lived. And his store was on what would be the northwest corner of the intersection. It was between five and six miles from there to Rosindale, which was the Seaboard Coastal Railroad.

Page 10
Rosindale was the station stop where we would take around the…sell, getting a little ahead here. He also operated a turpentine still. North Carolina is a great turpentine state. The turpentine was distilled and converted into rosin. And of course the liquid spirits of turpentine that you would buy in grocery stores, and can still buy, was another by product that came from this distillery. And, in addition to that, he had tar kilns. Of course he'd get people to help build these kilns, usually from heart pine. The longleaf pines in particular. And it was a circular kind of a thing, like some of the mud huts that you find in these foreign countries. It was cut in sections of about eight feet, these logs. And these sections were split just like you split cord wood today. And they were laid around in a circular fashion. And there was a pit at the center of this kiln. So when the kiln was lighted and the wood would burn slowly, the tar from the pit in the center, and channels led it out. They'd gather it on the outside. And when you laid this wood in that fashion, and covered it with pine straw, and then covered that with dirt. So it would be a slow process of sweating the tar out of the wood. In fact, there was so much of that done in North Carolina at that time, it became known as the Tarheel State during the Civil War, I think it was.
WALTER WEARE:
To whom would he sell all these products?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
He would take it to Rosindale. I think that's the reason that railraod station got its name, because it was a center for selling rosin. And shipping it to Wilmington. The merchant there would buy it, the rosin and turpentine, and ship it to Wilmington.
WALTER WEARE:
Would many of the farmers in this colored community do the same thing? Would they have a turpentine business?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
He was the only one who had the distillery for it.

Page 11
WALTER WEARE:
Would other farmers bring their products to him?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
They'd bring it there. So with those different activities going on, I always had an interest in seeing how it was done, and being a part of it. Even though I was only five or six years when he started with that kind of thing.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]

[TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]
ASA T. SPAULDING:
In addition to tar, there was another industry, the turpentine industry, in North Carolina, in which my father participated. And the process of gathering the turpentine, you would chip what you call chip boxes in the trees. What you did there was, you would cut a container into the tree cup-like, semi-circular on the outer rim, and, or course, in the form of container into the tree. And then at the beginning of that, you'd have what you call the chipper, where you'd chip the sap from the tree. The process is similar to the rubber plantations in Liberia today. Same principal in turpentine. And you'd have period, when you start that chipper, to go around weekly, and go up another section. And that turpentine would drain into that box that you had cut into the tree. And the collectors would come around with their buckets periodically. They knew just about how many days where that box would be filled. And would dip the turpentine out of the box and go on to another tree, and so forth.
WALTER WEARE:
And you were actually doing some of that work yourself?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
No, I wasn't old enough to do it then. But I saw it being processed, and converting it from turpentine into rosin.
WALTER WEARE:
Was this a family enterprise though, in which your brothers and sisters, or would you hire people?

Page 12
ASA T. SPAULDING:
There were hired hands that would go around and do the chipping.
WALTER WEARE:
People from the community?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Uh huh.
WALTER WEARE:
Would white persons work for him? Do you ever remember a white person working for him?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Well, white persons worked for us on the farm, chopping cotton and picking cotton. We all worked in the field together.
WALTER WEARE:
And that would violate any….?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
No, nobody thought anything about it. That's why this matter of discrimination or segregation to me, coming up there—I just was not aware of it until just a little before I left there. When I mentioned that my father operated this restaurant out there at Elkton. When he first started, he didn't have to have this dividing.
WALTER WEARE:
Do you remember when he started it?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
I left there in 1918. I would say that he was operating it at least three or four years before I left there. I remember another thing, on Saturday nights. he'd go home, and he had one of these long pocketbooks that the money was kept in. And one of my jobs on Sunday morning was to count his money. Separate it into the pennies, nickles, dimes, quarters. Right on. And then the paper money. To get it in form for him to bank it on Monday.
WALTER WEARE:
This restaurant. Was it a railroad stop?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Yes. It was in Elkton, North Carolina, which was another railroad station between Clarkton and Rosindale.
WALTER WEARE:
Did he own the land that that was on?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
No, I don't think he did. He rented it.

Page 13
WALTER WEARE:
Now, when he began this, there was no segregation, even for dining.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Not that I recall. Because there wasn't much dining. This was the first restaurant that I remember being opened for serving the public.
WALTER WEARE:
But then you mentioned, as time passed.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
I remember later there was this little divider between the section where the blacks ate and the whites ate. That developed just a little before I left. But it was such a thing. They could just look across it and see each other, you know. It was just something to separate. It was not even waist high.
WALTER WEARE:
Before this, when these whites came to your father's house on these hunting trips, would you eat together?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Oh, we would eat together all the time. They'd come there and come right on in the kitchen. We'd all sit around the table together and think nothing about it.
WALTER WEARE:
Would they tell stories to one another?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Oh, yes. And they'd each call each other by their first names. No differences were made.
WALTER WEARE:
What about the ‘Mr.’ and ‘Mr.’ for the colored population? Was that withheld in that area?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
They were called by first names. If your name was Armstead, it was Armstead, or if it was James, you were Jim. White or black across the line.
WALTER WEARE:
You were talking about the ‘Mr.’ and the ‘Mrs.’ yesterday in North Carolina Mutual.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Yes, well that was after I came to Durham. Naturally, you see, that was not the pattern in Durham. There was separation. They knew

Page 14
that the people living in the rural areas were called by first names. Just as I mentioned, in Columbus County, between my father and the whites that he dealt with, it was a first-name basis. And they were the people that I had come in contact with.
WALTER WEARE:
So he could call whites by their first names.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Sure. Like Jim Elkins, or John Elkins, or Walter Porter. They were all by their first names: Walter, Jim, John, James.
WALTER WEARE:
Politically: your father could vote?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Yes.
WALTER WEARE:
Was your mother politically active at all? Did she vote, do you recall?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
She voted at times. But, you know, she was of a retiring nature. The Indian traits were reticence and retirement, not being very vocal, and being more introverted. Now, my father was an extrovert. My mother was an introvert. So I guess I'm somewhere in between.
WALTER WEARE:
Did she stand out as different from the rest of the population?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Well, she had her good friends. But she was not a great conversationalist.
WALTER WEARE:
But she could participate socially, with the quilt making and such?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Oh, yes. And then, after all, they didn't have parties and things on the farms like they have in the cities. You worked six days a week and went to church on Sundays. What would happen: on the first Sunday, we would always have a dinner and invite our friends from the Rehoboth Church to have dinner with us. And usually most of them were Baptists. And we went to Sandy Plain, which was the Baptist Church, on the fourth Sunday. Some of them always invited us to their homes for dinner. And, of course, we would eat and sit around and spend the afternoon talking and discussing

Page 15
whatever community news there was, gossip, or whatever there was to discuss. So that was the type of social life we had. And we looked forward to going to church, not only for spiritual reasons, but for social reasons.
WALTER WEARE:
The church was a social activity; this quilting that you mentioned; the hunting. What about games? Do you remember any games you played while you were growing up?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
No. We didn't have games at that time. It hadn't reached that point or that area. Except for baseball. Football hadn't started, nor basketball. See, I was still talking about prior to 1918.
WALTER WEARE:
Yes. So the evidences of segregation would have been in the schools. You went to an all-black school.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
And I didn't recognize, or it just never occurred to me that we had the black school there. It was a community school. It was located in the community for the people. And it just happened that all of them were black. So, you see, there wasn't anything to cause me to think that this is a segregated school. It was a community school. Just like you talk about neighborhood schools? And the people in the neighborhood attended the school.
WALTER WEARE:
And the church?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
And the church. Now, as to whether or not there was feeling. See, kids, or the younger people, they don't see that or recognize it unless their parents drill it into them. My parents had no reason to drill this into us, or to call it to our attention, because we socialized and ate together. What is more intimate amongst blacks and whites than to sit down and eat together? It's taken us a long time, even in later life here, in the cities. When I came to Durham, I helped open the hotel here for blacks and whites to sit down together before the public accommodations proceedings were made.
WALTER WEARE:
This was in the fifties?

Page 16
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Yes. As a matter of fact, when I came back from Michigan in 1933, and shortly thereafter—I don't remember what the year was, or whether this textile riot in Gastonia happened.
WALTER WEARE:
1929.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Well, this was while I was away in school, at NYU. But I knew about it, and the tensions that rose and what happened. And after I came back to Durham—I don't recall whether it was a tobacco factory or a textile plant—they had this strike. And where the strike breakers were brought in.
WALTER WEARE:
You're speaking of Durham?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
In Durham. And the situation was very tense.
WALTER WEARE:
The strike breakers were black or white?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Well, if it was the textile industry, they were all white. And if it was the tobacco industry it was mixed, black and white. But I remember that I was very much concerned about it. While I was away in school, I would write articles for the Carolina Times.
WALTER WEARE:
This was the black newspaper?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
That's right. Periodically something would strike me and I would write an article on it, dealing with it. So when I came back—after I finished and came back here—I started writing an article occasionally on something that was of interest, that had happened in the community and I had a reaction to. I'd write an article and send it as a letter to the editor. And it would be published. And I remember while this strike was going on, I think I made reference to what had happened in Gastonia, and whether or not we wanted it to happen in Durham, and that I thought that the leadership should try to take a stand in trying to bring about a more favorable climate, to settle it without resorting to violence. And I remember one of the letters

Page 17
called for community unity, to get it together. And it attracted a lot of attention. There were comments on it. So much so, that I took it upon myself to go to some of the leaders in the community. I went to a member of the city council, one of the outstanding white leaders. And I went to the editor of the local paper. I sat down and talked with him along the same lines. And I tried to get them to take the leadership in forming a committee. It didn't matter with me whether it was a white committee or an interracial committee. But I thought that there ought to be a committee of the leaders to get together to discuss situations that were developing in Durham, and to provide leadership for the community. And I won't call names because all of them are still living, and holding responsible positions, and well respected. And since I was talking with them privately, trying to get them to project leadership, they all agreed with me that something needed to be done. But no one was willing to assume the responsibility of calling the people together. They were afraid to be rebuffed.
WALTER WEARE:
Do you think that was a genuine feeling, or do you think they were using that?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Well, they all agreed that it was not good for the community, what was happening, and problems that were coming up. And I took the position that if everybody is pulling together, it becomes easier for all, and progress can be made. Whereas, if you have a divided community and different ones are pulling in different directions, they offset each other, so, therefore, we stalemate. They bought my argument. But they were not motivated, whatever the reasons. And I won't try to read their minds. But many of them said, "I just don't know whether I could get any followship." There could be something to that. Because, you know, when you're staking out new ground, you can be left alone. And unless you can get some followship, you may lose some friends that you had before.

Page 18
WALTER WEARE:
Were they talking about other leaders or just about the white masses in general?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
No, we were talking about leaders. Because they were holding responsible positions in some of the businesses here, as well as public office and the publishing business.
WALTER WEARE:
White and black leaders could apparently sit down and talk, but you couldn't get much further than that?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
That's right. And then I think, as I began to gain stature, because of my being actuary of North Carolina Mutual—because, you see, the company has always been downtown from its very beginning. It's the only city that I knew of that you could go in anywhere, and find a leading black business in the downtown, in the heart of the town. Because, the post office was just one-half block west of us; Main Street was one block south; and the leading bank was just right around the corner; and the courthouse was probably just a little over two, two-and-a-half blocks southeast. As a matter of fact, the hotel was just one-half block west.
WALTER WEARE:
But there were certain things in that area that you couldn't do.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
But at the same time there were a lot of things we could do. You know, the dollar makes a difference. You take the stores. I remember shortly after I came back—the leading stores, the top stores—a black woman could go in there and buy a dress, but she couldn't try it on. She could have an account. I mean if they felt it was good credit. But they would address their bills to them by their first names. And one of the first confrontations I had was with the leading women's wear store. This was after I got married. I married in 1933. And my wife opened an account there. And I remember the first bill that they sent to her. It was sent to me. A.T. Spaulding. I sent it back and told them that evidently this was meant

Page 19
for Mrs. A.T. Spaulding, because I hadn't made any purchases there. And if, and when, they sent it to Mrs. A.T. Spaulding, the bill would be paid. And they did it. And then others began to take that position. And they changed their practise. And then when that company did, others fell in line.
WALTER WEARE:
Were there practises then that informally kind of fell away for people of your stature?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
They made a difference. You take, for instance, the Pullman accommodations out of Durham. Blacks couldn't get Pullman accomodations in the South at that time. But the top officers of North Carolina Mutual could. I remember when I got ready to go to New York University in 1927. I went down to the ticket office to get Pullman accommodations. And the ticket agent who had been selling Pullman accommodations to C.C. Spaulding, and Dr. Shepard here at the college, Mr. Ferguson. He was the ticket agent. He's still living. Way up in age though. And he sold me Pullman, sold me a berth. And then his successor, Mr. Bobbitt, same thing. From that time on I was always able to get it. And I remember when I went on the train that night. It left here at seven o'clock, or five o'clock. I've forgotten which. But anyway, when I went on the Pullman car, before entering the car, I heard conversations, with the passengers on there. When I walked in through that door, it got so silent. I went on to my seat and sat down. And it was some time before somebody started talking with his seat-mate, or the person across the aisle. I paid no attention to it; I knew I had my seat and I was going to keep it [Laughter] ; I was going to bed that night when the time came. And that's what I did.
WALTER WEARE:
So there was no overt action?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
No overt action, just everybody ignoring me. And later it got to the place where conversations would start between the passengers and me. And especially after I became actuary of North Carolina Mutual. So I've

Page 20
seen these changes take place. And, you know, people are still afraid of anything that's strange. If you don't know about it, you're uncertain, you know, and you just don't know how. And I think that's one of the curses of segregation and discrimination. It prevents people from coming to know each other. And I have found when people come together, they find a man is a man is a man is a man. As Gertrude Stein would say. Or a woman is a woman. And that the color of the skin has nothing to do with your ideals. You have some black grand rascals, and you have some white grand rascals, or scoundrels. And you have people of high ideals from all races. And the only way you can know, is by actual contact and conversation with the person. Just like I told you about those classmates of mine, that I had in Michigan. And once we came to know each other, we became fast friends. And I have found it as I have travelled around the world, or across this country. There isn't a time, hardly, that I get on a plane today that I don't either sit down beside someone that I don't know, or someone I don't know sits down beside me. And it's only a few minutes before a conversation starts. And when it does, both of us are sorry when we get to our destination. Because, fortunately—and I hope this doesn't sound that I'm bragging; it's not that, but to make a point. When a person finds that you're conversant on the things that are of interest, that you have ideas too, and you can back it up with some solid information and with experiences, whether it's on local issues or national issues or international issues, that you can hold an intelligent conversation with him. And you just get started in a conversation, one thing goes on to another, just like our interviews here. And you find that everybody has experiences—there isn't a person who doesn't have some experiences—different from the experiences of somebody else. That's the way we broaden our experiences. I remember one of the managers of our

Page 21
Philadelphia district years ago made this statement: When two people come together, each one may come with one idea. If they exchange those ideas with each other, when they go back, both are richer. Because each came with only one idea, which was his own. When they separate, they go away with two ideas—the one he brought and the one the other person brought. Then he has some comparisons that he can make.
WALTER WEARE:
Was there evidence this early in Durham that you were having black leaders, yourself included, having this kind of impact on white leaders? That is, were they changing?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Well, when I succeeded C.C. Spaulding as trustee of Shaw University—and I don't want to repeat something I've already said; I think I told you about…
WALTER WEARE:
I think we missed the part that you're getting up to.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
All right. They would speak at eleven o'clock and have a question and answer period that would extend it to twelve. I would always bring that speaker to Durham for two purposes: one, to give him lunch at North Carolina Mutual, and second, to have community leaders to come in and meet him, and have him to talk to them on any subject he wanted. Because all of them were people who were leaders nationally, in business, commerce, industry, banking, or what have you. Or international leaders. Jumping ahead, I had, for instance, I remember when I had Francis I. Dupont to come here. And I wanted him to meet the community leaders. He was supposed to speak at eleven o'clock and his train came around eight or eight-thirty, I think. So, anyway, I called I guess about thirty of the leaders, black and white, in to meet him, probably at nine o'clock in the morning, in our directors' room. They came because this was one of the Duponts. I don't need to elaborate on that. And to rub shouders with him, and to have him talk to them, and to be able to ask him questions. And I remember one of the things

Page 22
he said. Everytime they came out with a new product, they immediately, if they hadn't already started their research before, on some product to replace the one that they're just bringing out. Because they know their competitors are going to do it, and that's the only way they can stay ahead. And they had products on the shelf, or formulas, to bring out at the appropriate time. Already going through the experiments and everything else. And those kinds of things are something to business people: think ahead, plan ahead, if you're going to be competitive. And, you see, those kinds of ideas, people would come, who were doing things. They were glad to come. And the first time blacks and whites actually ate together: I started this. When I'd bring them here, I'd always have about eight or ten to meet with this person.
[END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
ASA T. SPAULDING:
I would select key white people to come and have lunch with the speaker and with the officers of our company. And, you know, I never had a refusal. They would come over here, and of course it was a private sitting, and they felt that they could come and not be exposed to the community. But that didn't last long before I had a photographer to come in a take a picture of it, for our records, and our history [Laughter] . And I remember we had an evening paper and a morning paper. The morning paper was a little more liberal. The evening paper was extremely conservative.
WALTER WEARE:
The Herald is the morning paper, and the Sun is the evening paper?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
That's right. So I said, let me start with the morning paper. I had developed a kind of comraderieship, I guess you would call it at that stage of life, with the publisher, C.C. Council. And he was one of the early ones that I invited. And he came. And by that time, I had already

Page 23
started having a photographer come in and take a picture. And his photographer from his paper came in and took this picture of us at lunch. And it was run in the next morning paper. Well, you know what that meant.
WALTER WEARE:
Now, who would be there? These are white Durham businessmen?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Yes. The publisher of the Durham Morning Herald was amongst the guests at this luncheon with us and the speaker who had been to Shaw University. He was glad to come, because he wanted to meet this man and talk with him. And it's just like today. People like to shake the hand of a celebrity. And I knew that. It went on so that I would have different ones. Then after this would come out that Mr. so-and-so was here, and these were the people who were at lunch, it got to the place where people wanted to be invited. I had no problem. I would always invite a different set of whites. Sometimes it was a lawyer and a banker. Well, you just go around the different representations of groups. Then after that, we would assemble in our directors' room, and I had a larger group—always about twenty-five or thirty people there, about equal distribution of blacks and whites. The black leaders in the different businesses and things they were doing. The publisher of the Carolina Times, the publisher of the Morning Herald, and all. In other words, I try to get all these counterparts. And in planning it, I would always arrange it with the speaker that he would be coming to Durham for luncheon after the talk at Shaw. And I would ask him if he would give about fifteen minutes talk to the community leaders. And they would all agree to it. And they would have a question and answer period afterwards. And those were the first forums between blacks and whites. Long before Duke started inviting the speakers that they're inviting in now. And this was the forerunner of the exchange, the interchange of ideas between blacks and whites in Durham. That was North Carolina Mutual.

Page 24
WALTER WEARE:
When they were assembled there, would they forget about race, do you think?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Well, I'm sure they were conscious of race, but at the same time….
WALTER WEARE:
Were they comfortable?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Oh, yes, they were comfortable. And especially as it went along. It was always published in the paper. There were always pictures of the group that were made. And that's why it was considered an honor to be invited. Because the speakers were of the calibre that you would want to have an opportunity to talk with them.
WALTER WEARE:
Would you have to be careful about a seating arrangement?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
No. They just took their seats wherever they wanted. I'd always sit at the head table. Or, even before I became president, I'd have the chairman to sit at the head of the table, and the speaker on his right, and I'd be on his left.
WALTER WEARE:
Did they ever confide in you personally after these experiences?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Oh, sure! They thanked me for inviting them.
WALTER WEARE:
But would they talk about the contradiction of one moment being togehter?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Oh, no, I never made it a point to discuss the matter of that. It was a matter of an opportunity to come together and meet people, and hear what's going on in the world, and what the current issues are, and what's being done. How, if they're at all being successful, what's the secret of their success and so forth. Whatever they wanted to talk about.
WALTER WEARE:
I was wondering if it had any psychological impact on race relations.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Oh, sure it was having a psychological impact, because they

Page 25
were doing something freely and anxiously that they had never done before. So it had to. And when I first started, I was always very careful to select those who had shown some liberalism. And that was at a time when the Durham Sun, the editor of the Durham Sun, was down on Paris Street, and would write his editorials on the block vote, you know, and the Paris Street Gang, those kind of things, you know. I mean there were some very vitriolic editorials. So I bided my time. And I'd invite Mr. Council of the Herald to all of them. And I just was imagining that he was wondering if he was ever going to get an invitation. So, I don't remember who the speaker was, but it was someone that I knew he'd be glad to meet. And he would be willing to sit down and eat with him. I thought he would; and I extended him an invitation. And, sure enough, he accepted it and came. And a picture was made of that [Laughter] . And after that we became good friends. When I was appointed to City Board of Adjustment, the person who was chairman of the board at the time retired. I made the motion that he be made chairman. And he was surprised. I guess you call it, ‘door opening’ or fashioning the key to unlock doors.
WALTER WEARE:
Was there ever any reciprocity? Was it possible in this etiquette to be invited back?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Well, this was the forerunner of the next step, of making it a community-wide thing. In the early fifties, my pastor used to have what he called ‘Goodwill Day’ and ‘Brotherhood Day’.
WALTER WEARE:
This is Miles Mark Fisher?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Yes. In February. So I suggested to him, whether or not he'd be interested in my getting (by that time I had formed these contacts, nationally and internationally and so forth) just a roster of people that I could extend invitations to and who would accept them. I remember shortly after

Page 26
Terry Sanford became governor, he was invited. He came over and spoke either at Brotherhood Day or Goodwill day—I forget which it was now. But even before then, I remember Irving Carlyle, a prominent lawyer in Winston-Salem. When the Supreme Court decision came down in 1954, and the governor of North Carolina took this opposition position, you know. And in Virginia, the resistence. And he had made a statement. He was the first white citizen in North Carolina to take an affirmative position on the Supreme Court decision. And I invited him here to be the speaker on one of these days. I'm going to let you read what he said.
WALTER WEARE:
This is Sandford?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
No, this is Irving Carlyle. Before Sandford.
WALTER WEARE:
It was following the 1954 United States Supreme Court decision outlawing segregated schools in public education, when many Southern governors and other state leaders were urging non-acceptance of the Supreme Court decision. And Mr. Spaulding invited attorney S. Carlyle, a partner in a prestigious law firm in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to be the Brotherhood Day speaker at White Rock Baptist Church. It was there that Mr. Carlyle said in part, "The decision of the Supreme Court of the United States on May 17, 1954, calling unconstitutional the compulsory segregation of the races in the public schools is one of the historic decisions handed down by that Court. On the pages of that Court's epic decision, national destiny has been written, so that all could read and understand, whether they agreed or not." Mr. Carlyle continued, "I have come to the conclusion that the decision is right and inevitable, and will be so regarded by history. Truth is on the side of the Court. The core of the truth is that all men are entitled to freedom through the compulsion of law, the power of religion, the abolition of racial discrimination in this country in due course is certain. And this will come

Page 27
about because law and religion operate irresistably on the conscience of men. In the 1960s Mr. Spaulding began interracial brotherhood and goodwill luncheons.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Well, that's the main part I wanted you to read.
WALTER WEARE:
So this is the step that led up to this.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
You see what I was doing: I was working on different fronts. Trying to change the attitudes of people. I take this position, that if you can really change the heart or the attitude of a person, you've made a change in an individual. If you change conditions through force, for a long time, to keep it, you've got to do it by force. But if you can get people to change, you've really done something worthwhile. And I felt that to bring people together, and to let them come to know each other, and to know that human beings are human beings, aspirations, and common goal, and common objective, that all of us are interested in building a better city, and things of that nature, rather than fighting each other. Because, when you're dividing and fighting each other, you're hurting yourself as well as somebody else. So, with that thesis I would invite these people. I had the ambassador from Costa Rica, the ambassador from Nicaragua, I think, the ambassador from Nigeria, the ambassador from Guana, the person from India who was the first Asian Catholic, I believe, who was privy council to the pope, to speak here. What I would do is, after these people would speak at the church, I would have a reception for them here, and would invite a certain number to come by and meet and shake hands and converse. And, you know, sometimes you'd have a line almost half-way that block.
WALTER WEARE:
Up the street?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Coming in here. Black and white. And then, after that, I took it to the hotel. Let me see, I think I have the first ambassador where we opened the Jack Tar Hotel, in 1964, before all these riots and things.

Page 28
WALTER WEARE:
That's the year before the public accommodations.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
That's right, before public accommodations. I want to show you that, and show you what that ambassador said at that luncheon, and who was a member. I set up a committee for brotherhood day luncheon. I went to see the manager and told him what I wanted to do. And before the hotel was opened, I had arranged with the manager for him to give him accommodations. And my pitch was that he was a foreigner, he was important to our international relations, and he'd be making a contribution by accommodating him. And the State Department would appreciate it, and so forth. Well, to make a long story short, he agreed to let us have it. And blacks had never eaten there, to say nothing about blacks and whites eating together. And I set up for that a committee, brotherhood day committee. The president of Duke University, Dr. Douglas Knight. I was the chairman, and he and the president of North Carolina College were vice-chairmen. And I had on the committee, the mayor of the city, the executive vice-president and president of the chamber of commerce, and a different group there formed this committee to serve as hosts, and to sit on the dais at the luncheon. And had open invitation for anyone who wanted to buy the tickets for the luncheon. And we would have a hundred and fifty people there, black and white. And when this ambassador, Udochi [unclear] , of Nigeria—it was 1964; wonderful talk—got through, Dr. Knight responded. And it was such an uplifting thing, and was such a significant thing, that everybody there just felt refreshed when it was all over. And I continued that until 1966, I think it was. So this was a forerunner of the softening up of the opening up of the public accommodations that followed later.
WALTER WEARE:
To summarize: it began in the thirties when you came back and you were concerned about violence coming up. Was there violence here in the thirties?

Page 29
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Well, there were some strike breakers that were brought here at some of the strikes, and tensions were pretty high. I don't remember that anyone was killed. But there was violence. So this is the first time this has ever been told, in the way that it is being told. But things were just done. Of course, news accounts of what happened were in the paper. And people came to know it. And I think that's one of things for whatever respect I have been able to build in the community. These are the things that help contribute to it.
WALTER WEARE:
Did any of this filter down, do you think?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Oh, I'm sure it improved relations. Oh, yes, it improved relations. We wouldn't have the blacks in public offices that we have today if it hadn't been…things don't just happen overnight, you know.
WALTER WEARE:
Was this also part of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation? Was that their ideals?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
They had one, but I don't remember anything that they did that had a lasting effect, really. They had a lot of what they refer to as ‘do-gooders’. My approach was not to invite a few people, except to that luncheon thing, you know. The thirty or forty people who would meet in the directors' room to hear the person speak, the leaders in the community, to come if you want to and not if you don't want to. But they always came.
WALTER WEARE:
You gave them something attractive.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
I had a magnet.
WALTER WEARE:
It would appear then with North Carolina Mutual and the leaders, that whites did not see all blacks alike in Durham.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
North Carolina Mutual has made a contribution to this city, state, and nation, that's immeasurable. There's no way you can measure it.

Page 30
Because of the leadership it has provided in all activities. You know, when they first organized the United Fund in Durham, blacks were excluded. They didn't even solicit blacks. George Cox, who was agency director—you know that story.
WALTER WEARE:
Go ahead, though.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
All right. He got solicited all of the officers of North Carolina Mutual and some of the key people in the bank and things of that nature, and collected, I think it was seven hundred dollars. I don't know what the amount was, but I think it was seven hundred dollars thereabouts. And they were having a hard time raising their goal. And he took it over to the office and laid it on the table. He said, "Here's a contribution." [interruption] From then on Negroes were invited to participate in the United Fund campaigns.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
The result was when the first mayor's committee was appointed, I was appointed as a member. And when the committee met, I was elected as vice-chairman of the mayor's committee, which I held until the… there was something that intervened; I don't recall what it was now. But anyway, then I was appointed the first black member of the board of adjustment.
WALTER WEARE:
This committee you're speaking of, the mayor's committee: what was the full title of the committee?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
I don't recall if it was called ‘human relations’ at that time: mayor's committee on human relations.
WALTER WEARE:
This was in the early sixties?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Yes. I served thirteen years on the city board of zoning. But anyway, these things as a result of what I had done in these interracial matters, they considered me a natural for the mayor's committee, for the early

Page 31
sixties. And I was still on that committee when we opened the public accommodations with Watts Hill's assistance. He [unclear] came in and was appointed a member, too. I believe Watts Carr ran for mayor, and I don't recall whether was appointed and won, or not. I think that's the way it was. And Watts Carr was—I don't recall whether he had been appointed to the commission, and was on it, or whether [unclear] appointed him. But anyway, the question came up as to whether or not he was going to stay on the committee, on the commission. And I told him one of the best ways, if he really wanted to make a contribution to the community and its pulling together, is not let your disappointment in losing your race prevent you from continuing to serve. That was a thing that changed his attitude and caused him to stay. I said, in so many words, between the lines, that not to do it would show that you are a little man; to do it would show your bigness. And that resulted in his continuing on. And then when Watts Hill came in, I remember we had the meeting and we were talking about it. And we saw what had happened in Alabama. I said now, "Durham likes to call itself ‘the friendly city’. Do we want to put a premium on violence? Or do we want to be smart and provide leadership? If we keep on letting violence force us to do things, we're putting a premium on it. Because people get to thinking that the only way you're going to make any progress, or bring about change, is through violence. But if we want to be smart, we'll take the leadership and bring about change without this having to happen." And we all bought it. Watts Hill, you know, once he decides to do anything, he rolls up his sleeves and goes at it. And, you see, he owned the hotel, he and his family. So he rolled up his sleeves. And he curses a lot, you know. He said, "Goddammit, we can't let these things happen here that happened in these other cities. We've got to straighten this thing out." And so we went to work on it. And within a matter of weeks, we

Page 32
had all the public accommodations open except the theatre. It was the last stronghold we had to break through. And we broke that through. So we prevented things happening here. And I don't remember if it was before that or after that that I was appointed to the city board of adjustment. I told you about John Barry, and my nominating him to be chairman of the board of adjustment. But I don't claim credit for the things that happened. But it's like Abram Harriman said, "It's not given to any man to complete the things; but it's given to every man to make a contribution." And this was a contribution that I was in a position to make. Both as being one of the major officers of North Carolina Mutual and the calibre of people I was able to bring into the community. And meeting together, and finding that they could come and we could sit down and talk together or eat together, and that the heavens wouldn't fall. You know, if it's something new, and you don't know what's going to happen. I remember when the Woolworth's store decided to open its counter, they had all kinds of dire predictions that it would put them out of business. And that first week, when they opened them, and blacks went in there and started eating, they were really nervous. And I think they were sincere. I mean, I think they were afraid that they would lose their white customers. But they didn't. Some may have stayed away, but gradually they came back, and nobody's thought anything about it since. So sometimes all it requires is the courage of leadership to bring about change. And that was my great disappointment in my first effort that I made in going to the leaders.
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]
ASA T. SPAULDING:
At that time, and in the community attitudes and all, the only

Page 33
person who could furnish any leadership, and get any followship, would be one of those persons that I contacted. Any my disappointment was that neither of them either had the courage or was willing to take that. And since that didn't, I started using other methods, whatever came along. I told you the story about Moses and the Red Sea, you know, and God asked him, "What's that you have in your hand?" And he said, "A rod." And he said, "Well use it, Moses. You have all you need to divide the Red Sea. Stretch it out over." So, I remembered that in every position I've been in, every opportunity. I looked upon my being there as something in my hand to use for the benefit of others. And when I succeeded C.C. Spaulding on the board of trustees, I felt I'm in a position, and I have a connection that I can use to bring people to here, to help open the windows of their minds, and the souls of these young people. To help see the outside world and breathe fresh air of the outside world. So, step by step, in every capacity.
WALTER WEARE:
Did you ever encouter really rugged opposition?
ASA T. SPAULDING:
No. Fortunately. And my approach, evidentally, has been such—and I've carefully thought the thing through. I would have to say—whatever the reason; I know not what; I guess the Lord is with me—the first time that I ate in the Jack Tar Hotel and took the matter up with the manager there was when I invited Lawrence Spivack to speak at Shaw. You remember him and his weekly program?
WALTER WEARE:
The columnist, yes.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
"Meet the Press". I don't remember how our connection developed, but it goes way back. But anyway, I invited him to speak at Shaw. This was in the early stages. And when he did, mayor Evans was the mayor at that time. He was Jewish. And I invited Spivack and his wife. His wife was

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with him. To come over and meet our mayor. And we went out to the mayor's home and had nice conversation there. And I had arranged for a dinner that night with Spivack and his wife, mayor Evans and his wife, and my wife and me, in the Washington-Duke room. So that was the first time. And then the next time was when I started this brotherhood day thing, and went to see. But before that, though, I had arranged for an African to stop in the hotel. Well, I'm going from one thing to another.
I guess it goes back to 1959, when Sehon [unclear] Touré came here. You know that story so I don't need to repeat it, with Hodges and all.
WALTER WEARE:
I think it's worth repeating.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
And I was invited to the White House for the dinner, as I recall. Now, I may be getting a little mixed up. But this other part I'm sure of. The State Department contacted me to see about hosting him. And John Morrow, who was the ambassador, and formerly taught at North Carolina Central University, and he was the ambassador to Guinea. And the State Department was anxious. See, after Sehon Touré became president, the Russians wanted him to visit Russia. We wanted him to visit here. And everybody was going to determine which way he was going to lean by where he visited. Morrow was called upon because his brother was in the White House at that time, Fred Morrow. So, through that and the State Department, he agreed to come to Durham. Now, he had asked to go to Atlanta. So they were in a pickle. There was no way they could get the governor of Georgia to receive him. Well, they couldn't stand for the head of state to be rejected by the governor of the state. So they got in touch with Hodges, who was our governor at that time. And Hodges agreed. While he didn't receive him at the mansion, he arranged for him to stay at the Carolina Inn, and they would have the dinner that night at the Morehead Planetarium. We were invited there. There were

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two places they wanted him to visit: North Carolina Central University. Morrow was interested in that, who was the ambassador, because it was where he had left. And he wanted to visit North Carolina Mutual. Or they wanted him to visit North Carolina Mutual because of the position that it held—a black institution, largest Negro insurance company in the world, and all that. And that that would make some impression on him, what a minority is doing in this country, which is a democracy as against a communist country. So we agreed to serve as hosts. I had the mayor to present him with a key to the city, and it was quite an affair. Following that my wife and I were invited to the dinner over at Morehead Planetarium, and of course they had a luncheon for him over at Duke—Dr. Hollis Edena— we were invited out there. And so on. But as these African countries began to gain their independence, and they would send missions over here. Especially agricultural ones. They'd come to North Carolina A & T University because of their interest in agricultural development in their respective countries. In every instance, they had the North Carolina Mutual on the agenda as places to visit. And we would entertain them. Mechanics & Farmers Bank, Mutual Savings and Loan Association, North Carolina Mutual would have a luncheon. And I guess you saw him going through the whetstone with different groups.
I was talking about what North Carolina Mutual has meant to our state and nation. And how you measure it in terms of goodwill. I don't know how you measure it. And because of the respect that it had—I think I told you the story of how I got Hubert Humphrey here to be the commencement speaker.
WALTER WEARE:
I think that's worth putting on tape.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Well, if you already have it.
WALTER WEARE:
Not on tape, we don't have it.
ASA T. SPAULDING:
Well, the first thing was our ground breaking. [text missing]
END OF INTERVIEW