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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Fran Jackson, March 23, 2001. Interview K-0208. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Unifying nature of an all-black community

Jackson describes Chapel Hill's all-black Northside neighborhood as a nurturing and supportive environment for blacks. Regardless of economic stratification and intraracial conflicts, she explains the solidarity of the black community.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Fran Jackson, March 23, 2001. Interview K-0208. 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

Okay it was an all black community. I thought that it was a very nurturing place to grow up. We knew everybody and everybody knew us. We grew up learning to speak to everybody or every black person that you saw and it was kind of funny because when you go outside of your area you still have that tendency. We also grew up with certain kinds of a-oh little mannerisms that people taught us such as you put a handle to every adults name. But rather than saying the person's last name we would say the person's first name. Like for example in my church there was a lady named Ms. Eva Barnett, but to this day I still call her Mrs. Eva. Most people in the church I knew by their first name. Ms. Nelly or Ms. So and So and to this day it is really difficult for me to call them by their first names. I can not do that without that handle to it.
Okay. Would you call the community tight knit? Was everybody pretty much getting along together?
It was very tight knit. It was a very supportive community. And uh people were-. They knew, as I said, they knew each other they were very helpful to one another. If anybody in the community died or they had extended family to die then everyone in the community would do something. You know, bring a-. As we say bring a plate over or bring dinner over. They would do something in commemoration to that family that experienced the loss so it was definitely a tight knit community.
Let's see and what did community mean to you at the time?
Community to me, in my opinion, was almost like an extended family. Now this is not to make you feel that it was all ideal and there that were no problems, there were and there was also some class division. And I think there was some division based on color and that kind of thing. But it was all; again it was still like a family. And what I mean by that is even within your family if think about there are some cousins that you may not get along with, but still if somebody attacked that family member you would jump in to support your family. And so I think that was sort of like our community we knew there were people who felt that they were a step above because of occupation or socioeconomic status. But in the final analysis it was interesting when if something happened we would all pull together regardless of what uh-of those barriers that we erected.