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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Barbara Lorie, February 26, 2001. Interview K-0211. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Supporting racial equality on a personal level

Lorie's personal experiences and radical religious beliefs caused her to seek out intimate relations with blacks. She explains joining a predominately black church to know blacks on an equal basis.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Barbara Lorie, February 26, 2001. Interview K-0211. 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

BARBARA LORIE:
I think that our school board is totally racist. I think my superintendent here is totally racist. I think he's a real, oh man, I have no respect for this man. I finally joined a group called the Chatham County Political Reform Group, which is a multiracial group of people working to share stories, to share our lives. Just so that we could get past the initial racism we were all born with. I don't belong to it anymore, but I did belong to it for about ten years. I don't anymore because I've physically had to - I'm old, what the hell! I'm old. I've had to limit what I'm doing. So I've tried to cut back on some of the stuff I've been doing, and that was unfortunately one of the groups that I really had to, that I love, and had to withdraw from. Anyway, one of the things I did do was to join a black church. I mean, I'm real sick of… I'm sick of it, I'm sick of not knowing black people intimately, on an equal level. So this black church I belong to has been a very great revelation for me, just a wonderful opportunity for me to be with people on a daily basis, a weekly basis.
MELISSA FROEMMING:
What's the name of the church?
BARBARA LORIE:
Alston Chapel Church. And if you're interested, I'll take you there some Sunday. It would be a good experience for you. Have you ever been to a black church?
MELISSA FROEMMING:
I haven't. I've been invited on several occasions. I worked with a couple of African American ladies this summer. It was just a matter of time. I'm very active with my church, and so, they always went at the same time, and we could never figure out how we could work around it. But I would really be interested in doing that. It could only help with this project as well.
BARBARA LORIE:
Right, well then we'll do that. It's a charismatic church. It's not a traditional Protestant church. So lots of shouting and screaming and falling down and talking in tongues and stuff like that. I don't adhere to all the things that… I just feel Christianity has floundered as far as teaching what Christ, the messages of Christ. I just think we messed up totally. And even my church, I think we've messed up. Of course I don't say that to my church. I don't say it to the members of my church. But I don't find any church following the concepts that Jesus laid out. I just don't see it anywhere. So sometimes it's very hard for me to go to the church, because I don't feel that that church is meeting my Christian needs either. But it has allowed me to meet, and be with, and form deep friendships with some of the people in this church. And I'm deeply grateful for that. I am very very grateful that they have accepted me as a part of their community.
MELISSA FROEMMING:
Are you the only white person in the church?
BARBARA LORIE:
Yes, yes. Yes, I am. I am very - I have a reputation in this state. I am a left-wing radical feminist. That's sort of not what this church is looking for, they are very middle class, traditional, conservative, etc. So I come out with a few things, statements that they go, "There she goes again." But you know, it's good for them. They're good for me and I'm good for them. I'm an environmentalist, I mean, that's really my heart, that's where my heart is. And I'm probably a pantheist, if you really wanted to define me, what's my spiritual path - I'm a pantheist. That's all I think about, is what we are doing to the earth. In more ways than one. Okay, what else? That's it, that's enough, right?