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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Jessie Lee Carter, May 5, 1980. Interview H-0237. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Strict parenting raised well-behaved children, a dying breed

Carter and her siblings were well-mannered children, she remembers, because her parents raised them very strictly, administering whippings when they misbehaved (though only Carter's mother whipped the children). This strictness has waned since her childhood, Carter believes, and children have become ill-mannered.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Jessie Lee Carter, May 5, 1980. Interview H-0237. 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

ALLEN TULLOS:
Tell me a little bit about how you were brought up and what you were taught—how to behave.
JESSIE LEE CARTER:
Now, we knew to behave. We had manners then. It ain't like the children now. We didn't say, ‘yes’, ‘no’, and ‘what’ and ‘ain't going to do it’, and all like that. We had to say ‘yes, m'am’, and ‘no, m'am; yes, sir’ and 'no, sir!. Lord, if we ever said ‘what’ to anybody, we would have got a whipping then. Everybody was raised that way then. All the children were. They wasn't like they are now. Lord, I never spoke back to my parents. And now they talk awful to their parents. I tried to raise mine like I was raised. My children was always good to mind me. But we knew to mind. I said if we'd ever run out to those old T Models, if one'd stop out there, and my daddy'd see me run out there to see who was in that car, I guess I'd a gotten a whipping of my life. 'Course my daddy never licked me in my life. But now, my mother did. They didn't allow us to jump up and see who was coming. We sit still until they got out of the car and come in the house. They let us look at their cars, but now, we didn't run out there. I know I got some grandchildren that does it. They're the first to the car when it stops. They're just not raised no more like they were.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Why do you think that was a rule that your parents had?
JESSIE LEE CARTER:
They had a strict rule.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Why was that? Why do you think they didn't want you to run out when somebody was coming?
JESSIE LEE CARTER:
Because they had been raised that way theirselves. And so they raised us like they was raised. They was strict on us.