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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Serena Henderson Parker, April 13, 1995. Interview Q-0073. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Light skin protects African American ancestors from enslavement

Parker's grandparents' and great-grandparents' light skin tone protected them against enslavement in the antebellum South.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Serena Henderson Parker, April 13, 1995. Interview Q-0073. 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:
OK. Was your grandparents free blacks, or—?
SERENA HENDERSON PARKER:
Uh-huh.
EDDIE McCOY:
They was never slavery.
SERENA HENDERSON PARKER:
Never slavery. Not even their parents because on my daddy's side, it wasn't no slaves on his side. And on my mother's side, they weren't ever put in slavery because they were real fair blacks, you know.
EDDIE McCOY:
Mulattos, or had white mother or father?
SERENA HENDERSON PARKER:
Yeah, uh-huh. They were real—they were white. And they didn't ever have to go through that. Just like [Nick]'s parents. They didn't ever have to go through that, either. As long as the parents was white, like the Robersons and all, they didn't bother them.