Jim Crow facilities prompt interest in a legal career
Beech's interest in becoming an attorney grew out of the hypocrisy of Jim Crow segregation at the city courthouse. The legacy of Jim Crow limited the conceivable possibilities of blacks' occupational choices.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Harvey E. Beech, September 25, 1996. Interview J-0075. 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
- ANITA FOYE:
So, as early as 1944, you knew you wanted to be an attorney?
- HARVEY E. BEECH:
Yes. I always did. The reason I wanted to be an attorney, was at Kinston
they had a courthouse on the corner of King and Queen, where there was
artesian water. Artesian water comes out of a
spring, naturally; no pump, no electricity or anything. It just comes
up. And they had captured it, and they had pure, artesian water.
Non-motorized or anything. And on one side, they had
"White," and on the other side they had
"Colored." And I couldn't understand it, in
front of the courthouse. And then on top of the courthouse, they had the
lady, what do you call it? The scales of justice? She was holding them
just as beautiful, equal justice to all, and right on, within 50 feet of
that, "White" and "Colored." I,
there was a great hypocrisy about what I see, as a child, this was when
I was in high school, and I just didn't understand that. I
told the Lord, I didn't understand why he was so unfair.