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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Vivion Lenon Brewer, October 15, 1976. Interview G-0012. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Isolation of poverty inhibits local awareness

The physical and social isolation of high poverty black neighborhoods cause few Arkansan whites to notice and help alleviate economic disparities. Brewer exposes the persistent stigma attached to low-income people, acknowledging local whites' oblivion to the institutional racial struggles of blacks as a bulwark to meaningful racial change.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Vivion Lenon Brewer, October 15, 1976. Interview G-0012. 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

IVION LENON BREWER:
For the first time in their lives, the families who are occupying these recently built houses have running water they hadn't had at all. Many of them carried water for what to us would be a couple of blocks, you know. And if they had a pump in the yard, it froze in the winter, you know, and all of this. And yet, somehow or other, white people don't realize what this does to a family.
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
That's right. That's right. I know that from my own experience. I know that I grew up thinking if black people wanted a better life, they would work to have it. And I had no understanding of the . . . Well, this shouldn't all be going on the tape (laughs) , but I had no understanding of what black people were up against.
VIVION LENON BREWER:
It might be good for it to go on, because it shows that even in your generation we have had this.
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
Yes. Oh, yes. And among my friends in Little Rock now. Of course, I went away and had a series of very challenging experiences which opened my eyes. But among my friends who have stayed here, that has not happened. There haven't been
VIVION LENON BREWER:
And it's been interesting to me that Scott is really an isolated community. You can't imagine how I had to work to get anyone in Little Rock to come down to see, even.