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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Geddes Elam Dodson, May 26, 1980. Interview H-0240. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Race and racism in a textile mill village

Since his mother worked much of her adult life, Dodson's family hired an African American domestic to help with the housework. When she began baking their bread, Dodson worried that eating the food might contaminate his whiteness, a concern his family indulged instead of correcting. Surrounding this segment is a further exploration of the work his mother did and how she balanced her family and her job.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Geddes Elam Dodson, May 26, 1980. Interview H-0240. 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

I remember when my mother was drawing in over there at Woodside, we had a black woman that cooked for us and kept house. And back then I wouldn't eat nothing that a black woman cooked. I thought that black would come off in the bread. [Chuckle] And my mother gave me a many a dime to go out to the store and buy me a little pack of soda crackers, get a pack for a nickel. And I'd go out there and get me a pack of soda crackers and a can of sardines and eat them rather than eat the black woman's cooking. I thought that black come off in the food, when she was making up bread. A can of sardines was a nickel. We had an old washpot right down there, and had an old rub board to put in the tub and rub and scrub. I've got the old rub board still out there in that little old room on the back porch.