Difficulties of segregation
In this excerpt, Enloe remembers how difficult segregation was for her. The racial slurs and the circumscription of daily life left her with strong memories of the era. West Charlotte High School was a haven for African American students like her because there, "you didn’t have to look over your shoulder."
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Alma Enloe, May 18, 1998. Interview K-0167. 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
PG: There must have been at that time some beginnings of the Civil Rights activities, back in the early sixties. Was that ever something that people talked about at West Charlotte, or that anybody did anything related to at West Charlotte?
AE: Yeah, they talked about it. I remember my church. People were so mean then, when you weren’t used to that. We couldn’t go to the parks. A lot of things we just couldn’t do because of segregation. They meant for us to stay in our place. As far as going to the drug store, sitting down, we couldn’t do that. It was just unbelievable. I was in the NAACP and took a trip to DC, Washington, and I met Bobby Kennedy. Shook his hand, and I was saying, “Lord, I won’t wash my hand again.” because his hand was just like cotton. And they called you than “N” word and all of that. It was just terrible during that time. But we stuck together. We didn’t go just by ourselves because you never knew what was going to happen. We didn’t know nothing about weapons and drugs and stuff like that. We’d sneak together beer or something like that, but too many didn’t do that that I hung out with. It was frightening during that time, looking over your shoulder, but you didn’t have to look over your shoulder at West Charlotte because you knew you were at home. Now, you might have looked over your shoulder when you went to another school.