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Title: Oral History Interview with Carolyn Rogers, May 22, 2003. Interview K-0656. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Rogers, Carolyn, interviewee
Interview conducted by Van Scoyoc, Peggy
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 132 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-09-24, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Carolyn Rogers, May 22, 2003. Interview K-0656. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0656)
Author: Peggy Van Scoyoc
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Carolyn Rogers, May 22, 2003. Interview K-0656. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0656)
Author: Carolyn Rogers
Description: 169 Mb
Description: 35 p.
Note: Interview conducted on May 22, 2003, by Peggy Van Scoyoc; recorded in Unknown.
Note: Transcribed by Peggy Van Scoyoc.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series K. Southern Communities, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Editorial practices
An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been entered using double-keying and verified against the original.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
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Interview with Carolyn Rogers, May 22, 2003.
Interview K-0656. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Rogers, Carolyn, interviewee


Interview Participants

    CAROLYN ROGERS, interviewee
    PEGGY VAN SCOYOC, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
This is Peggy Van Scoyoc. Today is Thursday, May 22, 2003. I am in the home of Carolyn Rogers and we are going to try this again. We just recorded for about 45 minutes and for some reason it didn't work. I'm terribly sorry to have to ask you to repeat all of that, it was so wonderful, but we'll start over again. If you can start by you telling me about your family background, when they arrived in Cary and how far back they go.
CAROLYN ROGERS:
We came to Cary in ['59] and I had just finished my sixth grade year at Apex Consolidated High School, that is what it was called at the time. We lived in Green Level, which is right across the street from [Highway] 55. I go there now and I can't believe it's the same place. When I grew up it was farm and now it is subdivisions. So when we moved to Cary I entered the seventh grade. But coming to Cary was like going to the big city, as far as I was concerned, because here you have this little farm girl who is moving to a new house.
My dad told us we had a bathroom in that house. Well, I could not believe that because I was accustomed to outhouses. To think of a bathroom inside of the house, to me, an outhouse inside the house, I thought this house is going to smell so bad. So he actually had to take me to the house to show me how the bathroom actually worked so that you would not have any fumes in there at all. I thought, this is just amazing. We lived on a red dirt road. Evans Road at that time was just red dirt and it was a dead-end road. My Dad said he borrowed ten dollars from somebody, and I don't remember who, in order to buy the land to build a house on and he and my two brothers, James and Ernest, helped him build a house by hand, so they built it themselves. It was just a simple five-room cinderblock house but it was beautiful to me. It was a mansion.
We went to school in, at that time it was called East Cary. Now it is called Kingswood. I started school at seventh grade there. I actually have two sisters who were actually born in Cary

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so they are true Cary-ites, not a transplant. But we consider ourselves Cary-ites also because we just came from right across the street to Evans Road. After my Dad bought the land there on Evans Road, his brothers followed. So I have a sister who lives next door to my parents. I have a brother who lives behind my parents. My Dad's brother lives next door to him. His son lives next door to him across the street from Dynasty. Then my Dad's older brother lives across Evans Road down on Rochelle Lane. So the family just followed him.
We had a wonderful life in Cary. I was insulated from all of the segregation and that that goes with it. Our Cary Elementary days were just delightful days. Mr. E.F. Rayford was my Principal there. He used to teach us how to write correctly. I remember him saying, "You use your entire arm to write, not just your hand." He had a beautiful handwriting. He wrote with such a flair. We all would just be mesmerized by watching him with his handwriting. Mr. Davis was my eighth grade teacher and Mr. Roseboro was my seventh grade teacher there. I still remember the white building across from the main building where the cafeteria was housed. We had some classes in that building. It was just a white plank building with the wood floor, but we had some delightful times in both of those buildings. I remember the maypole, we used to wrap the maypole. Those were beautiful days, I remember that. But I don't want to just go on and on about that.
From Cary Elementary I went to Berry O'Kelley High School, still living on Evans Road. At that time because of segregation and the two races didn't go to school together, so the black kids would then catch the bus to Cary Elementary, the now Kingswood, and ride the bus from there to Method. Berry O'Kelley was housed right across the street from the fairgrounds, right off of Beryl Road, Method Road. That's where we went to high school. There Mrs. Carter was my English teacher that I just admired and wanted to emulate a little later on, when I went to college.

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When we first moved to Cary my Dad said, "I don't want you to feel like you're living in a city, so you're going to still have to work on the farm. He no longer worked on the farm, and he was a tenant farmer. He no longer worked on a farm, he then had started working at Southern Builders driving trucks. Then a little later on, as he was working at Southern Builders he learned how to build cabinets and he then became a cabinetmaker. Then he owned his own shop, and it was Farrar's Cabinetworks. He used to have an office, one was in the back of the house and then the other shop was up on Chatham Street in Cary. So we've come a long way, coming from nothing going to something. Because of his drive I inherited that drive. There's just something that he wants to do and by golly he's going to do it.
He was such a patriarch because he completely insulated his kids from all the horrors of segregation. I remember seeing the colored-only signs and the white-only signs, but it meant nothing to me because we didn't have to hear all of the remarks, didn't have to hear all of that. You just naturally needed to go to the "for colored only" water fountain. We missed a lot of the derogatory remarks from whites during segregation because Daddy would take us shopping on Pettigrew Street in Durham which was black businesses only. So we would go there to do our shopping, or we would go for our recreation we would come to Chavis Park in Raleigh. So that was the big times for us. You would get all the kids, and we called ourselves "Farrar's Army." Get all the kids in the car and you come down to Chavis Park for your recreation and that was black-owned too, so you see, we stayed in our own little world. So you were insulated from all of the other outside derogatory remarks. He and my Mom made sure of that.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Did you go to church too?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
We went to church, but we didn't go to church in Cary. We stayed at our home church in Apex in Chatham County, Holland Chapel AME Zion Church which is African

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Methodist Episcopal Zion, that's a lot to say, which is history within itself. So we didn't go to church in Cary. There were two black churches in Cary at that time. One was AME, Union Bethel was an AME church and the other one was Christian Church. I don't remember Mt. Zion being there at that time, it wasn't there at that time. But because we were Zionist we stayed at our home church in Apex. And they are still very involved with the home church in Apex. We never moved our membership to Cary, even though we moved there.
Evans Road was predominantly a black neighborhood, so you had your blacks there on Evans Road and over by Cary Elementary, but now Kingswood. That's primarily where we stayed and that's where our interactions were. However, when I went to college I did come back for the summer to work at Rogers Restaurant. We thought that was kinda funny that I was working at a Rogers Restaurant. I worked in the kitchen washing dishes and occasionally they would let me work out in the dining hall to wait tables and even then I didn't hear any derogatory remarks, but I would get a 25¢ tip. That was a lot of money.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
How much were other waiters getting?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
I don't know, you never heard any of that.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So you don't know if you got less than the other wait people?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
No, I don't know if I got less and wasn't inquisitive, because you just didn't. If they needed you to go in the dining hall to pour tea then that's what you did. But I never heard anybody say anything derogatory to me, even when I was out in the dining hall. So I pulled a few months working at Rogers Restaurant. Then I went away to college and went to Barber Scotia College in Concord, [South Carolina] and there I majored in English and minored in French. I left Scotia, which was like a finishing school, in my mind like a finishing school because they taught us how to walk, how to talk, how to set tables, how to interact with people and you carried yourself

Page 5
in a certain way. I hear people say now that I have this certain aura about me but that's coming from Scotia, that's Scotia's training. Because when the girls would go up town, and we had to wear gloves and carry our little pocketbooks and wear our little pumps, the store owners would say, "you must be Scotia women. You have to be Scotia women." Of course, you stand out, you look like that, you go uptown with your gloves and your pocketbook and your little pumps on, yes of course, we were Scotia girls. But I appreciate the training I got at Scotia. There again, because it was an all-girl's school I was protected. That patriarch made sure his little girl was protected.
When I graduated from Scotia I took a job in Sheraw, South Carolina at Robert Smalls Elementary School. Mr. Smalls, the man for which the school was named for, I found out was a naval officer and he was one of the first black naval officers. Here in Sheraw, South Carolina, this little small school, I kinda found really what I wanted to do, and that was to teach. That's my niche. I love school, still love school. I had some wonderful, challenging students and I learned from my seventh grade experience working with the seventh graders there my first year teaching, where I thought I knew everything and I didn't know anything as I found out. I had one challenging class of students who were low achievers and I didn't have any materials to work with. I went to the principal's office that particular day really depressed because I didn't think I was getting anywhere with the kids and he gave me this comic book on Robert Smalls. I used that comic book as a textbook and my kids just came alive. So I went from the comic book to comic strips from the newspaper and my kids learned so much, they were still getting literature. They were still getting the spelling. They were still getting the grammar, everything you would have gotten from a regular textbook, but this was not overwhelming to them. It turned out to be one of the most joyous years of my teaching career.

Page 6
I was married my second year in South Carolina and my husband decided that I would come back to Raleigh. For awhile I lived there and he lived here. So then he decided OK, this is enough of this kind of stuff so you're going to come home.
I came home and got a job at Cary Elementary. I think Aaron Fussell was Superintendent at that time. I interviewed for the job and they sent me to Cary Elementary to Mr. E.B. Comer who was the Principal at Cary Elementary at that time. During the interview he said something quite odd, I thought. He said, "What would you do if someone called you ugly names or someone made some derogatory statements to you. How would you handle that?" And then he looked me directly in my eye and he said, "What would you do and how would you act if someone called you a ‘nigger." It just took me aback because I was not ready for that. I had been insulated from all of that. Robert Smalls was an all-black school, I lived in an all-black neighborhood, went to college at an all-black school, went to an all-black high school, when to an all-black elementary school, so I had just been in this all-black world insulated from without, except for when I was living on the farm. When you live on a farm you live in a person's house because you're tenant farmers. You establish a relationship with them that is kind of cordial, it's a cordial relationship. So I had been insulated from all derogatory remarks. Now my Dad and Mom couldn't say that because they experienced it all. I'm sure they made a pact between themselves that said, our kids will never ever face what we had to face. They will never hear what we heard. They will never be treated the way we were treated. And they did just that. They were arm in arm and we were insulated, we were protected in every way that they could afford. So when he asked me, how would I respond or how would I react, what would I do, I said, "I don't really know what I would do. But I'm not going to let people reduce me to nothing. Because I know what the word means, I'm just going to consider them as being ignorant." He

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said, "That's exactly what I want you to do. That's exactly what impresses me. So you will begin work immediately." I started Cary Elementary that fall of '69.
Had a wonderful experience there. There was one lady across the hall from me, because I was one of three blacks on staff. Leverne Hairston was a P.E. teacher and Arthur Vines was the shop teacher at that time. Then lo and behold they hired this black lady to teach English. This was just the beginning of integration. So I'm on the rough edges of it. So this lady across the hall, Mrs. Violet Pruitt, old farm lady, taught English, lived in Chalybeate Springs which is near Fuquay, came across the hall one day and she said to me, "I want to ask you one question." And I said, "Yes, ma'am." "I want to know why you want to be in my school?" And I looked at her and I said, "Your school?" "Yeah, why do you want to be in my school? We don't want you here, you know that." I said, "Well, I was hired to do a job and I'm going to do that job the best I know how." Do you know, Mrs. Pruitt and I became the best of friends. She invited me to her home, she invited me to her daughter's home. She used to cook chicken and dumpling and bring it to me, and that was one of my favorite dishes. We just became the best of friends. Even when I was at East Cary, when we moved to East Cary, she stayed in contact with me. She would call me sometimes, even when she retired she would still call me in the afternoons and say, "How are you doing, Carolyn? I was just thinking about you. How are you doing?" And sometimes we would go back to that conversation when she asked me that. And she said, "That was just my ignorance, but you taught me differently."
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So she was able to talk to you about that day?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
She was able to talk with me about that, yes. Being an older person, she was brought up in that world where the blacks stayed in their place and the whites stayed in their place and never the twain shall meet. For her to be able to see that that's not the way it should be. We

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should all be together and that we can actually sit down and talk about it just made a big difference in her life and mine too, because as I said, she and I became best friends.
She was a very talented teacher and I learned a lot from her.
I had only one student who had a problem with my complexion. He came out one day, I parked my car along Academy Street just up from First Baptist Church. I taught Reverend Duke's son, as a matter of fact and he was the pastor at First Baptist Church at that time. I went to my car this particular afternoon and the windshield had been bashed in. They discovered that it was one of my students who obviously had a problem with me. He had taken a bat to it and he named his bat "nigger bat." So that was his way of getting back at me. I really don't know what happened to him. I've lost contact. I knew that they suspended him but after that I don't know. He never came back into my classroom after that. Obviously the problem was too deep that I couldn't handle that.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
How had he treated you before he did that to your car?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
I never saw any signs, no warnings at all that he had a problem with me. He was always low-key. I could never really bring him out to be excited about learning and that was my expectation of all of my students that we would just be excited about learning because there is so much there to learn.
My students would challenge each other. I had two black students in this particular class and one was very, very smart. He always challenged the smartest white girl in the class. The two of them were just neck and neck. When they got their tests back they would get in a little huddle to see which of the two got the highest score on the test. And then it just caught fire, the whole class became very competitive like that and that was an exciting year for me, just exciting.

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At that time we were paddling students because you had corporal punishment. I remember this big boy, he lived across the street. His name was Robert Riley. He was standing like 5'7" and I'm a little five-footer. And I had to paddle him and I hated paddling with a passion. But he had done something and I had to paddle him. He looked down on me and he said, "Mrs. Rogers, you gotta do what you gotta do, so just go on and do it and get it over with." And I'm going, oh my God, this boy's bigger than I am and I'm going to paddle him? I will never forget it, he just looked down at me and said, "You gotta do what you gotta do." I don't know where he is at this point either.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Did you have a wooden paddle that you all had?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Yes, we all had a wooden paddle and we kept it in our desk. I told him, I said, "I don't like doing this. I hate doing this." He said, "Well, if you don't do it you're going to lose your class."
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So he understood that.
CAROLYN ROGERS:
He understood. I think I gave him two licks and that was it. I couldn't handle that, I was not good at that. I would rather talk with the student, chastise the student than to use corporal punishment. I was so glad when that went out.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Do you remember when that was?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
I don't remember what year that was, no. But I was so glad when it went out. We left Cary Elementary because the whole school moved over to East Cary on Maynard Road and that was when it became an elementary school. Because at that time we were called East Cary Junior High. I called it Cary Elementary because that's what it is now. So the names kind of get confusing because the names changed so much. But it was East Cary Jr. High at that time because we were… It was a junior high in the main building and then the elementary was behind, the Dry

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building, all of that was elementary. So the middle school, the junior high moved over to East Cary's campus on Maynard Road and that was junior high, now it is middle school. I worked there for over twenty-five years.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
What grades did you teach?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
I taught eighth grade and ninth grade, language arts for eighth grade and English for ninth grade and I taught them at the same time, same year. All ability groups, and it was just wonderful. I had some challenging students again but not any who had a dislike for what I looked like on the outside. If I had any students who disliked me it was because I was a teacher, not because I was a black teacher. However, the parents were different. Even at Cary Elementary the parents were different. Because I had several parents who would… I had one parent who disguised himself and he came in and quizzed me as if I were in college. Come to find out he was a professor at State. He wore a pair of old overalls, so he was definitely in disguise. You never would have thought he was a professor at State, and he was an English professor at State.
Then I had another parent to come in, because she said that her child could not understand me. Being a black person you're not supposed to be able to talk, let alone teach English. Please, give me a break. So this [Italian] lady came over and she said, "My daughter cannot understand you and we need to talk about that." But because her accent was so thick I didn't understand what she was saying either. I was constantly saying, "Excuse me. Excuse me. Excuse me." She finally got the message and just went away. So she decided, I'm sure she decided because we talked about it later, that her daughter must have been making some things up because she understood me perfectly. I was having a problem understanding her.
Then when I went to East Cary I was the only black English teacher on staff for many years. And there weren't that many black teachers on staff so to be the only black English teacher

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on staff was just like, okay you're standing out like a sore thumb. You stick out. I had some parents, during open house I would always have the most parents of any teacher during open house. I would have standing room only. Naturally, they're coming to see if I can talk and if I know what I'm doing and if I deserve to be there. And I knew that because it was very obvious. We would have to bring in chairs from the other teachers' rooms into my room in order for my parents to be seated. But it was something you soon expect, you learn to expect that and you just do your job the best you know how.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Were any white parents ever ugly to you or disrespectful?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Oh, they weren't overtly ugly to me because of my complexion. I'm sure that had a lot to do with it but it wasn't… they tried to make it as low key as possible. They would claim things like, "Oh, you didn't grade this paper correctly." Or, "My daughter didn't understand what you were talking about." Or, "My son said this, and this is wrong." They would double-check everything I did, write little comments on the papers that this is incorrect and obviously you don't know what you're doing, those kinds of comments. But I knew what I was doing and I knew I was right. And sooner or later they would come back to apologize, and most of them, they would come back to apologize. I had one parent who sent out in August to give me a hard time, and she did all year, she did. As a matter of fact, she sent me a bumper sticker. You know, at the end of the year when the kids bring teachers presents or flowers, she sent me a bumper sticker that stated, "War Zone." Oddly enough, her daughter has graduated, went to Carolina, to become an English teacher. So you always have a way, you know. Things work out.
I had an illustrious career. Because I had such a great career, because I was such a strong person, I have strong faith in God and I would always pray before I went to school because I knew it was going to take that in order for me to get through what I needed to get through that

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day. That it has sustained me, and I had a terrific career. I was nominated as Teacher of the Year at East Cary and became one of the fifteen finalists. That within itself just told me that everything you've been going through, everything that you did, everybody who put these obstacles in front of you said, this is worth it. This proves it.
Then after I left East Cary I went to Davis Drive Middle School as an Assistant Principal under Dr. David Coley who has just been… He was an excellent teacher. Dr. Coley is now the Principal at Cary High School. He is just an excellent teacher. If you followed Dr. Coley's teachings and you implement them, there is no way you can fail. Mr. Luther Cherry who is now the area Superintendent was my Principal at East Cary and he was a dynamic leader, compassionate, professional. He would always say, and I tried that too, I took that into my leadership position, "Try it, if it doesn't work then try something else. No big deal. If you fail, you fail because you tried it and it didn't work. But just think what it would be like had you not tried it, you would have been more of a failure. So you get out there and try it. Try it." "So Mr. Cherry, I have this idea." "Well, let's try it. If it doesn't work, then we'll just go, oh well, we'll try something else. That didn't work so we'll just amend it and go on." He was tremendous. I have been so blessed by having great leaders. Mr. Comer at Cary Elementary, Maude Reese was my Assistant Principal who became the Principal of Cary Elementary for years, they were just dynamic leaders. Harry Stanfield was my Principal at East Cary also. I always said, the man was in charge. He ran that school. It was a tight ship. But when Mr. Cherry came on board, he taught us how to run your school and still be a compassionate individual and to treat people and have expectations of their professionalism. That's why I'm so blessed. I've had a variety of leaders. Each one gave me something very positive that I took from that and used it in my own life and even in my professional life, I used it. Both professional and personal.

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PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
That's fabulous. So then when you left East Cary, then you went… where did you go from there and what did you do?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
I went to Davis Drive as the Assistant Principal there.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
How long were you there?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
I was there five years, and then I retired. Now I'm playing. I do some workshops occasionally for Davis Drive and I conducted a class at North Carolina Central for the Guidance Counselor at Davis Drive. I believe in being an effective teacher because the students are what is important. They are our leaders but we need to give them a good, solid foundation. You never forget who you are and you treat kids accordingly. You always let them know that they are important, they can learn. We all learn differently, we all learn at different rates. It doesn't mean that because I learn this way and you learn this way that I'm an inferior person or I am an inferior student. It doesn't mean that at all. It simply means that I learn differently than you, and by golly, the teacher is to teach me the way I learn. That's what I expect teachers to do and I always told our teachers that. Kids are here to learn, you're here to teach and to help them be able to think for themselves. So you teach me the way I learn, not the way you learn but the way I learn, because that's important to me. Very important to me.
When Larry and I were married, we were high school sweethearts. We now have two sons. Aubrey lives in Fuquay and he has two beautiful girls and a lovely wife. She's from Nebraska, she's beautiful and she is a lovely girl. I could not have asked for a better daughter, and that is what she is to me, she's a daughter. And then our younger son Joel lives in Raleigh. As a matter of fact, he lives across the street from the high school that Larry and I attended. Small world, isn't it.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
How nice to have them close to you.

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CAROLYN ROGERS:
It is very nice. When Aubrey was in the Air Force he was away for seven years. When he came back home I said, Son, you're not going anyplace else. You're here to stay. And I know Christa wants to go back to Nebraska because that's home for her. Sorry, you can't go, can't lose you two. You'll have to stay here. And my girls have to stay here, yes. Where are my girls, there are my girls up there.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Oh, pretty pictures. Aren't they sweet. What did you see happening as black students were coming in to integrated schools and how did things change over time? What did they go through in the beginning and then how did that change?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
That's something that still touches me to this day. Because you have so few black students in a classroom and now that black kids are coming up with white students, there's no big deal. Okay. But then it was a big deal. You have one black student in a class of thirty white students. That child is all alone. There's no one who looks like him and you have three black teachers on staff so that black child is probably not going to encounter either one of those three black teachers all day long. So that child is like, in a sea all by himself or herself. Especially if you're not comfortable in that environment, you can't learn. There are too many other things going through your mind. It's virtually impossible to learn. You're not in a comfortable environment. You're not in a conducive environment good for learning, let's put it that way. So their test scores reflected that. But how are those test scores interpreted by other people, as black kids are inferior learners. Not true. If you put yourself in the same environment, if you are a white student in a class of thirty black kids, are you going to learn? No. It's impossible. But now that the kids are growing up together, like my younger sister who was born in Cary. She started kindergarten with white students, so there's no big deal to her. That's all she knows. If she's the only black person in a group of whites, it doesn't bother her at all because she's so comfortable in

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that. I'm comfortable in that because I grew to become comfortable in that. My career took me in that direction where I would be the only black person in most gatherings, so I had to learn to be comfortable in that situation. Believe me that's work, especially when the environment is not welcoming. There's a pretend welcoming, but it's not really welcoming. So I'm very comfortable if I'm in a group of whites or in a diverse society it doesn't bother me at all. My younger sister, it's an expectation so she's very comfortable in that. She now knows, and this is one thing that I tell teachers now too and that is, don't look at a black student and automatically decide that that student's learning is inferior. You need to be careful that you don't do that. Don't make that an automatic assumption. Today kids can learn but then there are so many other things that are interfering with their learning, not necessarily because they're black or that they are maybe two black students in a class now of all white students. That's not really the issue anymore, it's everything else that goes with it. I may be coming from a single-parent home. I live thirty miles from here and it takes me forty-five minutes to get to school on the bus. Those kinds of things contribute to their learning now. Whereas when, before when I started teaching in the Cary schools, and I say the Cary schools because I always felt like the Cary schools are an entity all by themselves, when I first started teaching there kids did not feel comfortable, because as I said, you will have one student among thirty other students. Now that we have an influx of other races it makes things a lot easier for black kids to deal with because now you're talking about Hispanics, Latinos, you're talking about kids from Czechoslovakia. And all of these different names, like your last name, that was just not here when I moved to Cary, it just wasn't. Of if it was, I didn't come in contact with them. You see what I'm saying. So times have really changed, and I think for the better. I think the more kids live in neighborhoods with each other, things are so different and they're so easy because you don't know anything different. My little sister knows nothing else

Page 16
but this lifestyle. Of course she had an easier time because my parents were doing much better now and when she came along than when I came along. They were dirt farmers. She doesn't know the same lifestyle that I knew.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
How did the white kids treat those few black kids in the beginning?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
They pretty much stayed to themselves. You may have one or two white students becoming friends with a black student, but outside of class you didn't see much interacting. So the black kids would find each other, go back to that comfort zone. So they would find each other and the white kids would go on about their business. Then the more I stayed in the system, the more I began to see the interacting of kids, no matter what the culture was. Kids don't see color, they don't. That's taught and they don't see it. Little kids are playing, they just don't see color. When they're taught to see it, it makes a big difference, and you can tell it. Kids are very forgiving, they're very honest and they're very loving to each other. But when the adult's teachings creep in then they start, because their little fighting is about something else, it's not about your color. "My Mom says you did this. My Mom says you look like this. My Mom says I'm not supposed to play with you." Or "My Dad said I'm not supposed to play with you." "Why." "Because you're black." Well, that's no reason to not play with each other. You shouldn't play with each other because you're not a nice person, not because you're black. We would handle some of those things. Sometimes you had to negotiate with kids and say, "Why is it that you're having a problem with this child?" And when this child said, "Because my Mom says this child is black" then you use it as a teachable moment. Because this child is black, what does that mean, really. And because you're white, what does that mean? If I cut you, are you going to bleed white? Is that child going to bleed black? "Well no, I don't think so." Well, then there's nothing

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different about you beneath the skin color. You're all the same. When intellect kids derive that themselves, come to that conclusion themselves, it's just awesome. Kids are kids no matter what.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Have you seen a lot of busing going on, and how has that impacted teaching and the students?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
I saw busing because I was bused as a high school student. By the time you get up and go through your routine at home you go to this school and you have to change buses at this school and get on the high school bus and drive thirty miles or thirty minutes to school, you're exhausted. And to be able to go and sit in a classroom and you're going to be alert and ready to learn? You think about yourself, when you travel a long distance what do you want to do? You just want to recline, relax. But we're telling kids they can't do that. You're going to go to school and you've got to sit in the classroom and be alert and ready to learn. Some of the kids don't get breakfast in the mornings. When you ride that distance you need to be refueled and that's why that breakfast program in my opinion is an important one. Because once they're refueled, they're re-energized and then they are alert and ready to learn.
But when you're tired… I had one little boy when I was at East Cary who lived in a satellite area. When he got to school, I had him in first period, he put his head on the desk and go to sleep, and I mean a sound sleep. You could not wake him up. We were very concerned about that. I tried everything I knew to keep him awake. He was a smart child. I used to call him my "Omega Psi Phi Man" which is a black fraternity on the predominantly black campuses. Anything that I could do to just make him alert and get him learning because he was very, very smart. So I would call him my Omega Psi Phi Man, you've got to wake up now. You've got to be an Omega Psi Phi. When you're an Omega man, remember we call you Q-dogs. That's what they called themselves, Q-dogs. I said, man you get down. Said, you've got to be alert, come on, wake up.

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So I finally called him Mom to find out what was going on and why he slept every morning. She said, you're the second person to call me this morning because the other school that the elementary kids are in had just called her too saying the same thing. It was because they had been up, the gunfire in the neighborhood at night keeps them awake until the wee hours of the morning. When they do fall asleep then it's time to get up. They don't have time to eat breakfast, it's time to get up and get on the bus and then ride.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Where were they coming from that there was gunfire all night?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
They were coming from one of the areas off of Western Blvd. I called the police chief at that point and told the police chief, I said, "You don't know me from Adam's cat and that's fine, but I have some kids… And it's because there is gunfire in the neighborhood and it keeps them up every night until the wee hours of the morning. Do something."
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
That's incredible. Was there that much crime in that neighborhood or was it just joy riding, and shooting…
CAROLYN ROGERS:
It was drug infested and the police chief knew that. He said, "I'll get somebody in there to clean it up because we cannot be losing our kids." That was Mitch Brown, certainly did, that was Chief Mitch Brown. I told him, I said, "When I have black students who show that kind of alertness and that kind of smarts and he's a black male, I have to do everything I can do to save this child and I need your help to do that." I said, "He's my Omega Psi Phi man." I don't what Chief Mitch was, I don't know if he was an Omega man or not. I said, "He's my Omega man and I've got to keep my Omega Psi Phi on the ball, got to get him alert." And he sent someone in there immediately because the next three days that child did not go to sleep. And he was so smart.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Do you know what happened to him, that child?

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CAROLYN ROGERS:
I saw him later and he was then in high school. I've lost contact with him since then so I don't know where he is now or if he actually went on to school, I don't know. But it makes a difference with the kids when you are forced to go to school distances away than when you do it by choice. Like kids in Cary choose to come to the magnet schools in inner city. That's a choice they make so it's not so difficult for them. Of course they're still having to make the ride, but it's a choice. When I don't have a choice in the matter, it becomes drudgery.
I get on my soapbox about people saying they live in… [unknown] Kids will say, "I live in the projects." I say, "What does that mean?" Because I had one little girl at Davis Drive to tell me that. She says, "I live in the projects, what do you expect?" She had been acting out that day, "What do you expect." I said, "What does that mean, you live in a project? You live in an apartment. Your apartment complex put out here in the Cary area would be called an apartment, an apartment complex and not a project. So what is it that you're living up to?" She says, "Oh, well I never thought about it like that." I said, "The project was just a term used by the Federal Government. It is a project for them to give you housing, affordable housing. It is a project just like you do projects for me. You do projects for your other classes. You do projects. That doesn't mean it should have an affect on your behavior unless it is in a positive one. If it is a positive affect that's fine but not negative. Don't let people tell you what you're home life is like. You think about it. Most of us blacks came from conditions that were not necessarily conducive, but we use that as our impedance to do better things, greater things. It's a project for me to go to school. It was a project for me to go back to college as an older woman to get my degree to be an administrator. That was a project." "Oh, well I never thought of it like that." I said, "Well, let's change the thinking."

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So it does make a difference. When you drive from, let's say Walnut Terrace which is a "project" in south Raleigh and they pass all of those beautiful homes on their way to the Cary schools, would I get an attitude? I'm sitting in class with this little kid who has no idea what I like, what it's like at my home. They have no idea what it sounds, like, the gunshots or seeing people standing on the street corner shooting up. They have no idea. Now I'm going to go in the classroom and compete with these kids? And then all the test scores are going to tell me that I'm not smart and not as smart. That's a hurdle. That's a big hill that you have to just chip away at constantly to let people know, I do have a brain, I can learn. My living conditions don't necessarily have anything to do with who I become. I can aspire to be anything I want to be. All I have to do is have the work ethics. And that's all I tell me kids, just have the work ethics. If you've got the work ethics and you have a dream, there is nothing that can stop you, nothing and nobody. I'll get off my soapbox now.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
That was a wonderful soapbox.
CAROLYN ROGERS:
I'll get off of it now. That's why I tell those teachers all the time, never look at a student and especially a black student, and now it has to be Hispanic students, never look at a student and assume that that student can't learn. Teach me the way I learn. That's a requirement. I think in order to be an effective teacher you have to teach that student the way he learns. I'm off my soapbox.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
That was great. Let's completely change the subject. I'd like to go back and talk about when you were a child and you were working on that farm or your parents were working on that farm. What was that like? What was going on in your world?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Oh dear, that was in Green Level, in Apex. You get up early in the morning before daybreak and you go out to the fields. I'm afraid of worms, I'm a person who my husband often

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says, for you to be a farm girl you were afraid of everything that runs, that crawls and flies. And I am. We would have to go out to the fields to pick those big old fat green worms off of the tobacco because they would eat the tobacco leaves. So we would have to go out and pick them off, and I'm scared to death of them.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Did they bite or pinch? Or they were just squishy worms?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
No, just squishy, fat, juicy, squishy. We'd have to pick them off and throw them down on the ground. And you would have to throw them in such a way that it would kill them. And you had to do it quickly because you've got to get this field done. Or if we were "putting in tobacco" which means that my brothers were out in the field "priming tobacco" which means they are breaking the leaves off of the stalk, putting those in what we called "sleds" and then the sleds with the horses would bring them to the barn. I "handed leaves" which means that I would have to gather three leaves together and hand it to the person who was looping it. The looper's job is to wrap this thread around the three leaves that I gave her and wrap it onto the stick. The stick then is taken to and hung up in the barn to be cured. We would have to do that.
There were many mornings where we would have to, after the tobacco is cured, we would have to get up at 3:00 in the morning, take the cured tobacco out of the barn and be ready to refill that barn by 6:00. It was not a fun job. You would be dirty, the gnats were swarming around you, the mosquitoes were stinging you. It was not a beautiful job. Then when I started dating and still working on the farm, I would call my Mom in Cary, on Evans Road, and ask her to please run me a tub of water so that when I got home I could just jump right in the tub, get all of that gum off of my hands and from beneath my fingernails, and by the time my boyfriend was there, arrived, I was just as priss and proper. And he never knew I had been in a field all day. Never had a clue I had been in a field all day.

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But you know, that takes me back to the kids. Kids who live in the satellite areas do the same thing. They do that kind of a change when they come to school. Those who are able to do that because you never know what their home life was like by the time they got to school. Now some kids would bring it to school with them. Other kids, you'd never know. Just like my date never knew I had been in a field all day, we never knew some of these kids were up all night and some of these kids were fathers in their homes and some of these girls were mothers in their homes because the parents are out working. You never knew it. It's just a change that you undergo in order to become what you want to become.
But it was not fun. Today my husband says, I want to build a home on a farm. And I say to him every time, that's when the divorce takes place. I'm not going with you. I've had it. He was not a farmer, he doesn't know what was like growing up on a farm.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
He has romanticized it.
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Yes, he's romanticized it and believe me, it was not romantic. It was if you owned the farm, and even then those kids worked on the farm alongside us and it was just as bad for them. But for me, it was not fun and I don't choose to go back under any circumstances. Even if I owned the farm I don't want any part of it. It was not fun, not a fun time in my life. Then when we moved to Cary and Daddy says, I don't want you all to feel like you are city slickers so you're going back to the farm, and he farmed us out during the summer.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
How long did you do that?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
I did it, let's see, seventh, eighth grade through high school. And then my senior year in high school is when I stopped. Because that summer I came back from college is when I worked at Rogers' Restaurant. I said, no more, this is it for me.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So he was no longer a sharecropper?

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CAROLYN ROGERS:
No, my Dad was no longer a sharecropper, that's right. He was then working at Southern Builders and a place in Cary called Proeschers Restaurant. I don't know how to spell that but it was right across the street from the then Taylor Biscuit Company. Daddy used to be a chef there. I didn't get a chance to work there but he worked there and then he worked at Southern Builders.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Before that though, when he was a sharecropper did he have his own block of land or so many acres that he did everything to, or was he one of the workers who, and they all planted and they all harvested the same crop in the same land?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
I really don't know that because Daddy was a very private person and you didn't know his business. So I really don't know if he "owned" a certain amount of land, I doubt it very seriously. I think he worked the man's land, and I refer to it as "the man" rather than to give you names. Then when it was time to harvest the tobacco to take it to the market to sell, I think is when he gave half of his profits to the owner of the land. I think that's the way it worked. I don't think he owned any of that land.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Right, or he wasn't leased a block of acreage that he was completely responsible for?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
No. I don't think it worked that way.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Did you live in housing that was provided by the landowner?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Yes we did. And the housing was like, I have a picture that the secretary at Davis Drive gave me and I don't know what I've done with it but it is very significant to me. It is a barn, because we lived in a barn. My parents fixed it up and made it look livable. They even painted the walls. But upstairs was where they worked the dry tobacco getting it ready for market and beneath it in what we called "the pit" which we would call the basement now, but it was called the pit then because it had to be very moist in order to hang the dry tobacco so that it would not just

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dry out completely. That was beneath us. When we went out our back door we went out into a pasture, horse pasture.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So the main floor of the barn then was your living space, and above you tobacco was being hung and cured?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Not cured, no. That's where they actually worked it, tying it.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
onto the sticks?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
No, this is the dry tobacco now. The dry tobacco is the cured tobacco. There they would wrap it into a bundle, okay. Like you would see a bundle hanging at maybe Big Ed's Restaurant downtown. He made have, in City Market, he may have a bundle of dried tobacco, cured tobacco. So you go from green tobacco to cured. The cured is ready for market that becomes cigars and cigarettes. So above us was the cured tobacco and my parents and I would go up there and we would have to tie it into little bundles to get it ready for market. Beneath us was the dry tobacco on the sticks. In other words when you took it out of the tobacco barn where it was being cured, you had to have somewhere to house it. So they housed it in the pit that was moist. Then we would take it from the pit upstairs for us to wrap it to get it ready for market. So it is the process, okay.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
But you had to take it through your living space?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Yes, unless you took it around to the back and hoisted it up to the loft, you could do that.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Was your living space divided up by walls? Did you have individual rooms? Was there a kitchen?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Yes, we had walls. There was a kitchen. There was a living room. There was my parents' bedroom and then upstairs a portion of it was our bedroom, so you always smelled

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tobacco upstairs, always. My parents' first home was a packing house also. Then this home where I grew up was a packing house, they called it a pack house is what they called it. Then we moved from there into a real house. That was nice, that was a nice house. It was painted, it had a living room and three bedrooms and a kitchen. We moved from that house to Cary. So prior to that we lived in a packing house.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
None of those farm-housing homes that you had had indoor bathrooms?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
No. I left out two other houses. One was a smaller house. Okay, when we left the packing house we went to Kenneth Mills housing. Kenneth Mills was the owner of these two houses so we moved to his farm. We lived in a smaller house up the hill. I remember that house and it was small, I think it was maybe four rooms. Then we moved from there down the road from that, still on the same farm, still in the same area. You could stand here and see the other house that we moved from. This was a big, two-story house but it was filled with bats. So we had bats for company all of the time and I was always so afraid to go to bed because you could look at the mantle and see a bat sitting on it. I was scared to death.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
How long did you live in that house with the bats?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
I don't remember, but it was… Those two houses were the typical farm that you see in pictures. That was the typical farm because we had the pasture with the big red barn and the cows and the horses, we called them mules, and a pond. And the tobacco barns were out from that. I was afraid of the cow and Daddy made me milk the cow one morning. That cow swished me with her tail and that did it. We used to kill chickens by wringing their necks and I would have to pluck the feathers from the dead chicken. We did that on that farm. I remember that and watching that chicken just hop around. Oh, it was just horrible. I remember all that. I remember sitting on the back porch churning milk with the churn where the butter would come to the top

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and we had to do that, my brother and I would do that. Then we left that farm and moved to, I've forgotten this man's name. I remember one man was Eugene Roberts but I don't remember this man's name who owned that land just before we moved to Cary. That's why Cary was city to me. Living in Green Level we never knew that anything existed past 55 Highway.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
East, east of 55?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
That's right. I never thought anything existed past that because we would go from Green Level go up 55 towards Durham. That's all I knew. Or you go down 55 toward the town of Apex, that's all I knew. So nothing existed past 55 Highway. I remember going to one theater, going to the movie one time in Apex. And that was when, because at that time it was segregated so you had to go upstairs to the balcony and it was, I think it was 10¢ at that time. I remember going one time.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
You didn't go to the movies in Durham, that you remember?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
No. I remember one store in Apex that we would all go to, and that was John Beasley's General Store. Many blacks would go there because that's where they traded. And the farmers went there, it was a general store. You could get barrels of molasses from there, anything you needed you could go there and they welcomed the black farmer. They welcomed what he could do. You come in and you put your name on the book and you get credit for this and then when the tobacco season came in you repaid your debt. So they welcomed the black farmer and that's the only store I ever remember going in in downtown Apex. Because I don't think we were actually allowed to go into the other stores. Now I was a child, that's all I remember. If we could go in the other stores we didn't go in them, as a child we didn't go in them. I remember those two stores, going to the movie one time and going to John Beasley's Store. That's it.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
And those were both in Apex?

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CAROLYN ROGERS:
Those are both in Apex. And in Cary, I never went to Rexall's Drug Store. I didn't go to Hobby's. I didn't go to any stores in Cary.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
None of the grocery stores?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Grocery stores? No. And I don't know where my parents got groceries from. Isn't that funny, I just thought of that, I don't know where they got groceries from. Oh yes I do, Terrell's Grocery Store on [Highway] 54. That was next door to where Mt. Zion Baptist Church is now, was at the corner of Academy and 54 Highway. I think there's a chiropractic office across the street from there. There was a store in the now church parking lot. There was a store there, yes, a little store like Grocery Boy Junior. And that's where my parents got groceries. Because Harrison Avenue wasn't there.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
How did you get to Durham and how did you get to Apex? Did you have a car?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
We had a car. Daddy had a station wagon, because he had so many children, there are eight of us. That's why they called us "Farrar's Army" because my maiden name is Farrar. People would see us and call us Farrar's Army not knowing that we were Farrars. As a matter of fact, I had a student to come through Cary Elementary one year. She had just transferred there. She was a white student, and her last name was Farrar. And I told her, I said, "Oh, your parents used to own my folks." She really didn't know what I meant. I said, "Oh your parents used to own my folks, my parents."
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Do you know the history, do you know what…?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
No, because she was not from that area. My folks came from the Chatham County, Pittsboro area so… Wait a minute, I think she did say some of her relatives were from that area.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Do you know if there was a plantation that your people came from in that area?

Page 28
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Daddy does but I don't. We've talked about it briefly because I got into the history part. Then they started remembering not so nice things and they shut it down. I could see Daddy getting angry. My Dad, he is not easy to anger so he was recalling too much stuff so I just…
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Too hurtful?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Too hurtful, yes. The treatment too hurtful, so I just let it go, dropped it, never picked it up again. I used to work for the Coopers, Coopers Furniture Store. I did some work for, I babysat for Dorothy Cooper and ended up teaching her son. Her son was in my class that particular year and I said, what is your name again? And he told me. I says, I used to babysit you. He was so either embarrassed or excited, he went home and told his Mom, he says, Mom, did Ms. Rogers really babysit me? Of course she doesn't know who Ms. Rogers is. She said, no. He said, but Ms. Rogers said she used to babysit me. So she came to see me and I had to tell her I am Carolyn Farrar, Leonia Farrar's daughter. My mother used to work for them so Dot hired me to babysit. Sure did. I thought, oh this world is getting smaller and smaller. It is very small.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
In those houses that you lived in on the farm, did the kitchens have running water?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
No, we had to draw water.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
From a well?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Yes, oh we hated that. I hated that. No, we had to go out there, and we would take turns. It's your turn, just like kids take turns washing dishes or unloading the dishwasher now. We would take turns, whose turn is it to go draw water? My turn, okay. You would go out, let the bucket down in the well and you'd have to draw it up.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
And you just brought it in and left it in the bucket until you used it?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
You brought it in, you left it in, well you pour that water into a bucket that you carried inside the house, because the bucket stays with the well because it's on a chain, right? So

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we would have another bucket that, after you draw it up then you pour it into this bucket and this bucket you carried in the house. It stayed in the house on the shelf until it was empty. Usually we would keep two buckets of water there. Or you had a pump where you would have to pump it.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Inside the house? The pump was inside the kitchen or outside?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
I don't remember it being inside the house. I remember one being outside the house.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
And no electricity, of course.
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Yes, we had electricity, yes we did.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So you had lights and an electric stove?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Yes, we had lights. We had, I think we had a wood stove because Daddy cut wood and we carried wood inside. Yes, we had a wood stove, in a barn. I remember that. As a matter of fact, my husband was talking about his Dad cooking stew beef on their wood stove in the deep well. I remember our deep well, we had one. I remember when Mama was making butter how she used to make the butter so pretty and round. It was fresh butter after we churned it. It was so pretty and round and she used to make the best homemade biscuits. Which is what I said about Cary-osity, when I saw they edited most of that out and I said to Cindi, I do not appreciate being reduced to a pan of biscuits. [laughter] I see my life as more important than being reduced to a pan of biscuits, okay Cindi.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Well now I'm very glad I'm here today.
CAROLYN ROGERS:
I wrote that in one of my papers at State, I took a workshop at State and I just remembered those beautiful, soft, fluffy biscuits Mama used to make when we lived on the farm from the fresh butter that we churned and from the buttermilk that we made. All of it was fresh, from somebody else milking the cow because I couldn't do it. I couldn't milk the cow, I just couldn't do that. That just felt so icky. Daddy says, you are a city slicker and I'm trying to make

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you a farmer. I said, I just can't touch that. Ooo, that just doesn't feel right. He said, well I'm going to make you a farm girl anyway. I do have some farm skills, I really do, but milking a cow is not one of them. I can churn but not milking the cow. But I would not trade those days for anything because those days made me who I am and gave me the work ethics. Being out looking up at the long rows that were never ending and you're out chopping tobacco, or you're throwing worms or you're taking the sucker. Sucker are little things that grew off from the tobacco stock that weren't supposed to be there because they impeded the growth of tobacco. So we'd have to get up in the morning and pull those off and throw those down. Or top the tobacco, the flowering part of the tobacco. We had to go out and do that and they called it "suckering," that was part of the suckering, break off that top. You'd go back home and you're so tired and miserable and you've got goop all over you, gum from the tobacco and it's just horrible.
We'd go to the store and sometimes now because we would get on the back of the truck and go to the store on the farm. Mr. Mills, he was the owner of the farm that we lived on, he owned this general store that, I think it is still there and I think they turned it into an antique shop. It's across the street from Green Level Baptist Church. We used to go in that store and get crackers, a can of pork and beans and a Yahoo soda. Now every once in awhile I'll have to go back to that. I'll go get a can of pork and beans and saltine crackers and just sit and eat out of that can. My husband is just like, I don't believe this. I just can't believe that you're eating cold pork and beans out of the can. He says, ooo. I said there's some things that you can't get rid of and that's in my background. Every once in a blue moon I'll have to do that. I'll just have that taste and it will not be satisfied until I get that can of cold pork and beans and crackers and sit there and eat out of the can. It's just unreal. Gosh, I have not relived this in I don't know when.

Page 31
So you see why moving to Cary was city. We arrived when we moved to Cary, red dirt road and all, we arrived.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Now you said many of your aunts and uncles also moved onto the road after your father. What where they doing for a living at the time? Were they also farming and sharecropping too, same thing?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Farming, they were all sharecroppers, yes. All of them, yes.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Did they all stay in the farming industry or …
CAROLYN ROGERS:
No. My Uncle Willie who was the youngest of the brothers worked for Roy's Rental for awhile. I don't know what he did prior to going to Roy's Rental. Like I said, he is the youngest brother. My Uncle Leroy who is, let's see, my Mom just turned 75, so Daddy's 76. Uncle Leroy must be 78, I'm thinking, who's the singer, talented singer. My Dad is a minister. I come from a long line of preachers and singers, musicians, long line of that. Uncle Leroy, when he left farming and he still gardens to this day. He has a huge garden usually in his back yard. Just recently, I'm not sure if he still has that tractor or not. Farming is in his bones, in his blood. I don't know what, he ended up working for Reynolds Aluminum. Uncle Calvin is a minister. He's the one who lives on Rochelle Road. He's about eighty-some years old. Uncle Calvin used to work for Mayflower moving company. Uncle Paul worked for J.C. Penney. He's now deceased, he died recently. He worked for J.C. Penney's in Durham.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So they all eventually left the farm?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
They all left the farm. When they moved to Cary was their signal to leave the farm and that's when they left the farm, coming to Cary. When you think about those rascals and they were such good, strong men. That's why you know that nobody can be subservient to another

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man. You just can't. These are very strong individuals and to be subservient. My Dad said, no, I'm going into my own business. I'm not having anybody else telling me what to do, and he did.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Does he have a church? He's a minister?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
He's like a superintendent, so he is in charge of ministers. I think he has maybe twenty ministers who work with him.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Has he been with the church a long time?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Yes. He became a preacher when I was in high school. I think it must have been my sophomore year in high school. He said that when he told us that he was going to be a preacher, he said I told him, I don't want to be the daughter of a preacher. Mr. Cherry used to tease me about that. He would say to me sometimes, I'm calling your Daddy, he needs to pray for you. He's been a preacher a long time.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So he was doing the cabinetwork alongside of it, both things for quite awhile?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Yes, yes he was. He taught my brothers to do cabinetwork.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Are they both cabinetmakers?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Yes, all three of them are cabinetmakers, all three of them. He said I want you to be able to have your own business. So eventually he turned the business over to them. Then of course the economy got so bad that they actually had to close. Small businesses can't withstand that. But it was very successful and they did a beautiful job and they did a lot of the work in McGregor Downs. They did a lot of their kitchens and baths. Did many homes. They did great work. As a matter of fact, my younger brother did these and they did my kitchen cabinets.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
You have built-in bookcases here with cabinets underneath, they are beautiful.
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Thank you. They did that for me and they did my desk.

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PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Oh, that's built in too, I see. Yes, that's beautiful. It's built around a fireplace chimney. What a unique design, that's beautiful.
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Thank you. Every time Daddy comes here he goes, that bookcase is just not right. I say, well yes it is right. No it's not, it's too tall. But what I wanted was, I have file cabinets behind that and I wanted the bookcase to be built so I could hide the file cabinets.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Which you'd never guess there were files behind there.
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Yes, and Daddy says, that's not right, every time he walks in here, it never fails. It's not up to code. But I say, it's up to my code. That's what I wanted and they had to do what I wanted them to do. Otherwise I wasn't going to have it. Daddy says, that's just not right. Okay, we understand it's not right but I like it and that's what's important.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
And your brother satisfied the customer and gave you what you wanted.
CAROLYN ROGERS:
That's right. But my Cary days are just wonderful days. I met wonderful people down there, the Evans, the Baileys. Herbert Bailey and I were in school together, we were classmates. That is mostly Evans, Evans Estates. All of that, all those folks, we all grew up together. All of us on a red dirt, dead-end road. And it's been an exciting life. We learned a lot. Mrs. Mary G. Carter was my English teacher in high school and she's the one that I really wanted to be like. Couldn't quite pull it off because she was so unique. She was just a unique teacher and she still knows us. I know she has to eighty-five. She plays the organ for her church and she plays for Lee's Funeral Home now. If you come in for a funeral, she'll say, Hey Farrar, how are you? Did you marry that Rogers boy? Wonderful memory, I don't have that kind of memory. I will recognize my former students' faces but can't always pull out their names.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
You probably had thousands of them in the years you've taught.

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CAROLYN ROGERS:
Yes, and I enjoyed every moment of it, even the challenging ones, when I had challenging parents. Elizabeth Rood was one of my students and the pink house now, next to the post office from the Methodist church? They lived in that house. That house comes with such history now, I understand. Elizabeth Rood was one of my students and I remember her particularly because she was brilliant, and I do mean brilliant. Her IQ had to have been at least 150 at that time. She made her first D in my class. It was such a joke and it was because there was some work she didn't turn in. She just wanted to know what it felt like.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
So she deliberately withheld the work?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
Yes. And it was just such a joke. 'Cause I looked at that and I'm going, this is not right. I made a mistake somewhere. This average is not coming out right. Not Elizabeth. And then there were just zeros. She just didn't do the work. She said I just wanted to see what it felt like. She could afford it, she had straight As from then from elementary school up to middle school. And it didn't hurt her overall GPA at all. It was just nothing to her.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Did she make it up before the end of the class, or that was her final grade?
CAROLYN ROGERS:
That was the final grade for that quarter. And you know her parents never said anything about it. Because usually the parents would come and just jump all over the teacher, how dare you. Never ever. And of course she ended up with the regular A at the end of the year because she was just that smart. She was wonderful. I would certainly love to know what happened to her. I would love to know what happened to her. There's history right there.
And Reverend Duke's son, I think he became a preacher, I think he did. And I taught Dr. Harmon's son, Dr. Harmon the dentist. Dr. Harmon was my dentist. I taught his son Skyler. I taught so many of those kids there. And we had such a wonderful time in classes.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Do any of your students come see you or contact you now?

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CAROLYN ROGERS:
I had one little girl who wrote me three, four years ago and she's now in New Jersey. She said, I just wanted to write you to let you know what a wonderful teacher you were and I still remember you.
PEGGY VAN SCOYOC:
Well, Mrs. Rogers, I just cannot thank you enough for this absolutely wonderful interview. It was fabulous. You did a great job. The information that you gave us is so valuable to the Town of Cary. We will definitely put it to good use. We will make sure that it gets out into the public so that it's available to scholars and it will be used for years to come. So thank you for all of your time and all of your memories today. We so truly appreciate it.
END OF INTERVIEW