Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with George Esser, June-August 1990. Interview L-0035. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Some progress, but enduring underrepresentation, for African Americans in North Carolina

After years away from North Carolina, Esser returned in the 1980s. There, he found evidence of social progress, but believes that African Americans are still underrepresented in the political and professional world.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with George Esser, June-August 1990. Interview L-0035. 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 the years since, I gather from our earlier tape, have been very exciting and productive since you came back.
GEORGE ESSER:
Yeah. Well, listen, yesterday I talked to this young man up in North Hampton county and they now have sixty-one out of seventy-eight beds occupied in their nursing home facility. They've got all of the housing occupied. They've got the senior center. And one of the things I hope to do this spring is to write the report on the coverage of the last five years or the last six years, because it's only been in the last year that the things have gelled. And now I've got five or six very successful case studies to do. So we made the right decision coming back here. But I do think that…. But you know, it's interesting. It was very hard to impress on people at the National Academy the importance of black membership and women membership and I had a lot of problems in insisting that every year when we elected fellows that they had to have both black and women on the ballot and that if they weren't elected by the membership, the board had two or three it could elect. It had to elect. And I think that finally, it began to penetrate. But professionally, I don't think that equality for either minorities or women—I mean racial minorities or women—has really taken hold in this country.
FRANCES WEAVER:
Yet.
GEORGE ESSER:
Yet.
FRANCES WEAVER:
That's a grim note on which to terminate this.