Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Lawrence Ridgle, June 9, 1999. Interview K-0144. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Benefits of African Americans, Latinos, and poor whites working together

Ridgle argues for the benefits of African Americans, Latinos, and poor whites allying with one another. According to Ridgle, it would be in the best interest of each of these groups to work together for the common good. In addition, he stresses the importance of political representation for marginalized groups.

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

ALICIA ROUVEROL:
I just wanted to ask one last question here. And that's the number of people out in California where, you know. Of course, Latinos moved predominantly there before they moved here—have talked about how Latinos and African Americans actually if they could build alliances between them, you know, in some ways, if some people have said, not—I don't know. I don't want to say common enemy. But they have—they're fighting a lot of the same fights for rights in the white community as African Americans are and vice versa. What do you think about that, about alliances?
LAWRENCE RIDGLE:
Not only the Latinos, but the poor whites.
ALICIA ROUVEROL:
That's a really good point.
LAWRENCE RIDGLE:
They've got to come together and realize, you know, that the struggle is against all of us. And there is strength in numbers, you know. And I believe if enough minorities get together they might be the majority. And I don't mean just to dominate whites but just to get what's our God given rights, you know. Fair practice in labor, freedom to—really free to go where you want to go, you know. I don't never—I ain't never had the idea that I'll go sit up in the country club. But I believe there's going to come a day if I want to and I had the means—. Because there's always going to be something that ain't nothing but a monetary thing that might keep you separated. But that would be the only thing. Just a fair share, you know. Like the Latins now, they don't really—. And you can talk about people being, you know, fair and just. But where a race of people is concerned, you need a representative. Our government said that, you know. I remember what Patrick Henry said about the tea party: "No taxation without representation." And if I pay taxes, I should have a representative. Somebody that—. See I can feel for a white person because we're human. But to feel what he has experienced? There ain't no way in the world I can do that, you know. And it's going to take a representative, a really by my peers, you know, to actually represent me when something comes up. He knows how I feel. He knows what I've been through. He knows what I'm subject to. And he might can be my voice. And without that—. That's what made Durham a little better. See one time we had a black mayor. We had a black police chief. We had a black fire chief. We had black men on the bench. Black people on the bench, women and men. And, of course, all of it is, in a sense, a charade. But you do get better treatment with that representation. And the Latins by them coming late, they don't have any Latin policemen. They need to put some of them on. The people that qualify. And I think they should—. In a few years they should be on the city council. They should be in the mainstream.