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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Leroy Beavers, August 8, 2002. Interview R-0170. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

A damaged black community

Beavers recalls one Savannan who closed his restaurant rather than serve African Americans. He kept his liquor store open, though. As he remembers one white Savannan's willingness to sell "poison" to African Americans, he describes a decaying social structure in his city that has failed its sick and its elderly citizens.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Leroy Beavers, August 8, 2002. Interview R-0170. 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

The Porzios restaurant over there and his family. Let me tell you about this guy Porzios. Porzios is on Thirty-seventh and Montgomery. That's right behind West Broad Street. When integration came around, this man elected to close his restaurant instead of serving blacks, but he also elected to keep his liquor store open and sell alcohol to black people.
There was nothing wrong with that, huh?
No, pretty much. Look here. I can get them drunk, but I'm not going to feed them. So let's keep poisoning them. That's what it was. It was poison. It was selling us poison. If you go to some of these grocery stores around here now, it's nothing like it used to be. You could get prime cut meat one time around here now. Now you go it's a lot of smoked meat, lot of fat pig meat and nothing wrong with pig meat. I like it, but—
It'll kill you.
Right. Exactly. Seems like no one's thinking about the social structure around. There's a lot of sick, old, elderly people around here. I can tell you right now, you cannot go to a grocery store within a block of this place. They've got two or three grocery stores around here, and you can't get any diet food. These people have to go to Kroger up town, not Kroger down on Ogeechee Road. These people have to travel to get their diet meat. Hell, they're catching hell with prescription.
That's another thing. These pharmacies.
We don't even have one. Savannah Pharmacy, they tell me it's back in business again, but look at the price. They've got to survive.