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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Lawrence Ridgle, June 9, 1999. Interview K-0144. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Impact of rapidly growing Latino population in Durham

Ridgle discusses demographic changes, arguing that within a few years Latinos will outnumber African Americans in Durham, North Carolina. Although Ridgle identifies some tensions that characterized relationships between the two groups, he expresses his hope that they could get along with one another. Ultimately, he describes Latinos as the more industrious of the two groups and explains that he hopes African Americans could learn from their example. His comments are indicative of the types of tensions and presumptions that characterized relations between various ethnic and racial groups amidst rapid demographic change.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Lawrence Ridgle, June 9, 1999. Interview K-0144. 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

LAWRENCE RIDGLE:
In this particular community I figure in five years, no more than ten, at the rate that the Latinos are coming, this particular community blacks are going to be in a very small minority. Down the next street in that direction they've got quite a few little streets down there. And most of it is Spanish people. They've got a whole big housing area right back down there. All of that. And any Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday night they turn up the loudest music. I know a song one time. I knew the tune. I don't know it but I know it when I hear it. It's called "Caffatan". And they play that so loud. And you think it's a—I've heard sounds like this in Vietnam on a fire fight. Sometimes they shoot and they've got a lot of Latinos stay on this side down that street. And they're creeping up the street slowly but surely. They're going to—and they have a lot of noise: cars. If you were over here around four thirty, five o'clock until about ten or eleven o'clock at night, maybe twelve, this is a raceway.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Down Juniper Street?
LAWRENCE RIDGLE:
No, on Faith Street.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Down Faith Street. Really?
LAWRENCE RIDGLE:
Juniper, Hyde Park—and they're—and like you said—somebody was telling me that the Latin woman has gotten here and learned how to drive.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Right, yeah. We were talking about that.
LAWRENCE RIDGLE:
Well they drive every day up and down this street. Sometimes they're flying. And then they've done picked up the black thing. You know how the blacks will come around—. Well, they've done outlawed it in Chapel Hill and Raleigh, about playing loud music in cars.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
Oh. Uh-huh.
LAWRENCE RIDGLE:
The blacks, you hear them come by "dup, dup, dup, dup, dup" and "the so and so and the so and so." And now they've got some Latin music. They come by just as loud. Two and three cars right behind each other, same car might pass at least ten times, probably more. That's every night. Well, that bothers some of the older people in the community. The shooting—and I guess they have a right to because blacks sure mistreated them by robbing them because they feel like they don't, you know, keep their money in the house. They don't put too much money in the bank. And, for instance, Durham had a rash of that, you know. For that part, I sympathize with them. I hate that happened because I wanted, and I noticed, that the Latins are coming here. They're coming to a predominantly black area. And I would love to see blacks and Hispanics bond, to become friends, to be able to trust each other. But because of that era that they had where they were doing all that robbing—and some guys even raped the women and all that kind of stuff—that's sad. And I hope that that doesn't—which I think it will—but I hope it doesn't put up a permanent barrier between the two races. I love them for what they are doing as far as the work force is concerned. I'm hoping that somehow young black people will see how they're doing, like we used to do. See because Spanish people can come here and stay three months and he might buy himself a new automobile. But we've got some black men who all their life they can't buy a bicycle, you know. So there's a lot—and I mean grass roots stuff—that blacks can learn from the Hispanics. Not that he doesn't know about it, but he done forgot it, you know. And I think they—and even the little vice that I see that they have.