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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Josephine Turner, June 7, 1976. Interview H-0235-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Increasing residential segregation

Turner describes white flight. She remembers a less segregated neighborhood in her childhood, where even under legally mandated segregation, white and black children played together.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Josephine Turner, June 7, 1976. Interview H-0235-2. 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

KAREN SINDELAR:
I see. That's interesting. The East End community, is that black and white?
JOSEPHINE TURNER:
Yes.
KAREN SINDELAR:
Do both black and white work in the community organization?
JOSEPHINE TURNER:
Well, we haven't got too many whites in there because mostly, I don't know, they're kind of shy or something about coming out. But when we find one that will we bring him in. I'll tell you, a lot of them have moved out of this community.
KAREN SINDELAR:
White people?
JOSEPHINE TURNER:
Yes. They took flight. [laughter] Not too many whites left over here now, because they've moved out.
KAREN SINDELAR:
It used to be more white than it is?
JOSEPHINE TURNER:
Yes, yes, because when I was being raised up, you see, I never known what it was, this segregation stuff today, because we was raised over there on Bay Street and North Street. And that's where my grandmother lived, on North Street; and I lived on Glendale Avenue, you know, but I was between my grandmother's and my mother's. And there was whites that lived over there on Bay Street, and we was raised playing with them. We never knew this mess, you know. We fought together, go in each other's houses and eat together.
KAREN SINDELAR:
Did you go to school together?
JOSEPHINE TURNER:
No, no, no, no, didn't go to school, but we played and ate together, you know. Now like my mother, we lived right across the street from people that lived on Geer Street. And Mrs. Wheeler (I'll never forget the lady's name), she would bake doughnuts, and when she would give it to her children she would call us. We would go to the yard. We never went in the house. Some of those houses we did, some of them we didn't. We just went over there, and they would come to our house. And when my father died and when my grandmother died they was right there in our home with food and everything. And we never knew, I mean until I got older… They would call us "nigger". There wasn't such a word as "honky" then like they call them now; we called them "whitey," you know. And we would fight like kids do today, but the next day or two we was right back to playing together. We'd get mad, you know.
KAREN SINDELAR:
So even though you called each other those names it didn't really affect you that much?
JOSEPHINE TURNER:
No, it never went like it do now.
KAREN SINDELAR:
You didn't take it real personally?
JOSEPHINE TURNER:
No. I mean a lot of the old folks did. The kids didn't; we didn't. They'd call us nigger and blacky; we called them whitey and reddie, things like that. And we would fight, as I say, and we would eat in each other's homes. And if things would happen, if somebody got in trouble (my father got hurt before he was paralyzed), you know, they would come to my mother's call. So I never knew. And like Miss Cole, an old lady named Miss Cole: that's where my grandmother done all her grocery shopping. And my grandmother would buy us that fifteen cent bag of candy. And Miss Cole, we would go around there and she would give us an apple. You know what I mean, we just never knew. I mean, I was raised like that. But after I got older I saw the…