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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Floyd Alston Jr., November 29, 1995. Interview Q-0002. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

A white man passes as black

In an interview that reveals the complexities of racial identity, Ethel Alston remembers the man who married her sister. This man looked white, but the Alstons assumed that he was biracial, the son of a white man and a black woman. He never revealed that both his parents were white.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Floyd Alston Jr., November 29, 1995. Interview Q-0002. 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

EDDIE McCOY:
Did you know Matt Jones before he married your sister?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
No, we didn't know him before he married her, but when he was grown.....
EDDIE McCOY:
You knew him then, that's what I mean, where was he living at?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I don't know where Matt Jones was living, when he married my sister.
EDDIE McCOY:
What kind of work did he do when he married...
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I know who he stayed with...
EDDIE McCOY:
Who did he stay...
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
He stayed with somebody over here, I don't know.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did he ever tell you who his mother and father was?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Let me see, I don't know, I really never known Matt Jones folks.
EDDIE McCOY:
Did he ever tell you his daddy was white or his mother was white?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh-huh, he didn't tell us that, we didn't know that.
EDDIE McCOY:
Huh?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
We didn't know that, but we just say he might have been come from a white man.
EDDIE McCOY:
Couldn't you look at him and tell?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Yes.
EDDIE McCOY:
Didn't he have all the features of a white person?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
Uh-huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
He didn't tell your sister that his parents was white?
ETHEL THORPE ALSTON:
I don't reckon, I don't what he told my sister, I declare, I don't know.