Documenting the American South Logo
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Julia Virginia Jones, October 6, 1997. Interview J-0072. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Religious hypocrisy on social issues frustrates Jones

Interestingly, Jones was more bothered by her church's hypocritical response to integration than her school's implementation of desegregation. Her religious beliefs largely influenced how she envisioned issues of social injustice. As such, the practical racism of the church membership challenged her philosophical beliefs. Jones admits that college squashed her youthful rebellion.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Julia Virginia Jones, October 6, 1997. Interview J-0072. 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

So, throughout this time obviously you are still active at your church and you were in the band. Is there anything that you can think of, somebody that was influential. You talked about teachers. I just want to make sure that we cover what values were important to you.
I knew education was important. That was very very important. I also knew that you were supposed to treat people a certain way, and that was a way that you. . . you know the Golden Rule. Everybody in my family practiced it in spite of the fact that there was certainly racism. I would not be telling the truth if I did not say that there was racism in my church, in my family, in my community. That was one of the reasons I left the church, because I had such a hard time with the fact that the three slum lords in town went to my church. We were raising money to send to poor people in Africa, and I just didn't get it. It was kind of like, well why are we not raising money to have indoor toilets for these people that live between my house and the church? That is really what made me leave the church because nobody . . . . I asked the question of my teachers, and did not get a satisfactory answer. I talked to my father about it, and his answer is that you don't leave the good because of the bad. That you go to church to take care of yourself, and try to show by example. That was not good enough for me at that time. I think he is exactly right now. At the time I was too rebellious. I can remember my cousin who was my age. We were going to start our own church, we were so mad about this. We were juniors in high school. Then we went off to college and that was the end of that.
What was your church going to be like?
We were certainly going to have all races. We were going to raise the money to take care of people here. We were going to teach tolerance. So, that is why I left the church. It's interesting. I have talked to a number of people my age that had similar feelings about that time.