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Oral History Interview with Leroy Beavers, August 8, 2002. Interview R-0170. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Leroy Beavers Jr. recalls segregation and integration in Savannah, Georgia. Beavers walks the reader through a history of the city, from its golden years in the 1950s, when African Americans thrived in a self-contained community, to the decay of the 1960s and the damage he sees as having been brought about by integration. Beavers condemns integration, calling it "a genocide of a social life . . . where people had just a pure natural respect for each other." Beavers maintains that the closely-knit black community unraveled because new opportunities tempted African Americans and the spirit of self-reliance faded. A proud community slumped as drugs and crime infested black neighborhoods, and African Americans began to discriminate against one another. This crowd of social pathologies gathers on Martin Luther King Street, a name choice Beavers bitterly condemns. A bristling attack on integration, this interview provides an interesting perspective on the legacy of integration in a southern city.
    Excerpts
  • 1950s high point for black Savannah declines into 1960s decay
  • Black children excluded from stores
  • A street named Martin Luther King
  • A damaged black community
  • Segregation prevents a black lawyer from practicing law
  • Black nightclubs
  • Parents prevent teenager from joining civil rights protests
  • Segregated upbringing makes relating to whites difficult
  • Integration destroys the black community
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  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.