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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Thurman Couch, February 12, 2001. Interview K-0537. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

African Americans in Chapel Hill lack the courage to resist racism

Couch claims that Chapel Hillians are not brave enough to resist racist oppression, and that racism in general is alive and well in the United States. Couch believes so strongly in the cultural depths of discrimination that he counseled his son against becoming a chemical engineer, concerned that racism would cripple his career.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Thurman Couch, February 12, 2001. Interview K-0537. 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

RG: So you lost a generation and a half, maybe two generations of college-educated blacks from this community, is the way I see it. Talking to people. TC: Oh, listen. I could tell you, most people in Chapel Hill, mealy mouths, it’s the worst place I ever been as far as backbone. For real, now. I don’t know about what any of the, I don’t know about who, Harold Foster is the only stand-up guy that I speak on of all the names that you’ve named off on there. I wouldn’t slate another person on there, another anything. ‘Cause I don’t think there’s another person that got another backbone to do anything. That’s my opinion. My opinion. And the real fight has never got mentioned. Again, you know. It’s okay in the community, I mean, you know, they let the white, the white man always give a few blacks a little something to keep them, keep the salt in the pepper. But you know, some of us guys know that it’s all B.S. Pure B.S. You know. It’s going on right now. My son, he told me he’s going to become a chemical engineer, I told him you must be kidding. How many chemical engineers you know black. Uh-uh, you going to law school. Continue the law business we got started. That’s where you going. You’re going to create some jobs. You don’t know how to take care of yourself. Got a bigger fight to fight, man. It’s a big fight. You know, Florida can change the vote. Come on now. I’ve been out there. I’ve worked in Washington. I know that the Lord has blessed me, I know I’m blessed. I’ve worked in New York, I’ve worked all over.