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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Sam Parker, December 5, 2000. Interview K-0252. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Difficulties of child abuse investigation in a closed society

Here, Parker recalls the challenges Madison County's ethos posed to him as a child abuse investigator for social services. In the 1970s, Madison County was, in Parker's estimation, a "closed society."

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Sam Parker, December 5, 2000. Interview K-0252. 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

And I went to work for the social services. I investigated two or three child abuse situations, one of which I got called a "revolving son-of-a-bitch" on. That's probably what she really wanted me to do, because that was coming into vogue at that point in time. Madison County, at that point in time, though-by gosh-was still a very patriarchal society. And a closed society. I mean, gosh, there were six or eight families in this county. Almost a closed society. "Who's boy are you? Who's your daddy?" So it was kind of tough to get out here. One of the first investigations I did was up on Spring Creek. Pulled in-the guy was sitting on the porch. The son had been seen in school and had his legs strapped up or something, and Miss. Ramsey wanted me to go and see what was going on. Interestingly enough, pulled into the guy's yard. Here I am, not known from Adam's house cat in Madison County. Pulled in the yard, pulled up to the porch, ran over the guy's pup and killed it. The pup, of course, before it died, ran around the place a time or two screaming and yelping. [Laughs.]. And I thought, "Boy, I'm off to a perfect start here!" [Laughter]. ROB AMBERG:That was a $500 dog! [Laughs.] SAM PARKER:But you know, dogs in this county were important parts of the county. It worked out. I don't remember exactly how, but it worked out okay.