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Title: Oral History Interview with Robert R. Sampson, October 9, 2002. Interview R-0182. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Sampson, Robert R., interviewee
Interview conducted by Hornsby, Angela
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2007
Size of electronic edition: 92 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2007.
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2007-00-00, Celine Noel, Wanda Gunther, and Kristin Martin revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2007-10-30, Jennifer Joyner finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of recording: Oral History Interview with Robert R. Sampson, October 9, 2002. Interview R-0182. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series R. Special Research Projects. Southern Oral History Program Collection (R-0182)
Author: Angela Hornsby
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Robert R. Sampson, October 9, 2002. Interview R-0182. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series R. Special Research Projects. Southern Oral History Program Collection (R-0182)
Author: Robert R. Sampson
Description: 82.9 Mb
Description: 21 p.
Note: Interview conducted on October 9, 2002, by Angela Hornsby; recorded in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Erin Baker.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series R. Special Research Projects, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Interview with Robert R. Sampson, October 9, 2002.
Interview R-0182. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Sampson, Robert R., interviewee


Interview Participants

    ROBERT R. SAMPSON, interviewee
    ANGELA HORNSBY, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
ANGELA HORNSBY:
My name's Angela Hornsby of the Southern Oral History Program. I'm here with Dr. Robert Sampson at his pharmacy on East Market Street in Greensboro, North Carolina. The date is October 9, 2002; the time is approximately 7:00 in the evening. We're here to discuss Dr. Sampson's memories and experiences as a business owner along East Market Street as part of the Southern Oral History Program's "Remembering Black Main Streets" project.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
—-in this area, like in other areas or in other parts of town.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
What types of businesses? Can you give me some examples?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
[unclear] clothing stores, grocery stores, any kind of business that will improve the area and employ more people in the area.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Going back to the first renewal plan. Once the plan was announced, in about '59, I guess—.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
—in about '58, '59, along in there—.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
This is something in other interviews I've tried to get from business people—is what type or types of resistance there might have been on the part of business owners in protesting the plan. Do you recall any type of organized—?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No—.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
No?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
I don't think the businesses had much of a choice. The city decided that's what they were going to do. I think if some of the people didn't want to sell, they would get three appraisals on the property going back, and they'd have to move. The city has a law, I think, where they can condemn the property, then have I think it's two or three

Page 2
bids on it. Then they can buy your property for what it's worth, whether you want to sell it or not. It's just like over on the lower side of A&T, there's a lot of houses over there that people lived in. The city, state, or somebody—I think it was the state— where they had to sell their homes at the price that they said was the fair market price, and then they had to move elsewhere. All those houses now have now been torn down where A&T can expand.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
So did you get a sense then from other business owners and the relationships you fostered with them, that they, too, were skeptical about what might happen? Was there any way to gauge what other people were thinking about?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
The ones I talked with were skeptical also, very much so. Because they figured if they went out of business and are going to be relocated, they'd never get a chance to come back to Market Street in that particular area. And where I had the drugstore, that's where that big post office is, up the street there now.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
The reason I ask about this resistance question is because I was speaking to a professor at A&T University. He was in his teens during the "Heyday", as you spoke of. He was pretty involved in racial politics and activism at that time, and he said he remembers that there was organized resistance made on the part of some residents and a core of A&T students and Dudley High School students to try to save that area. And that there were mass meetings at area churches, like at Shiloh and things like that. It obviously wasn't successful, but that there was this sort of movement there. But you don't recall that?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No, I don't recall that. There might have been. A lot of things were going on then. [unclear] pretty fast. I don't recall that, it could've been.

Page 3
ANGELA HORNSBY:
But if it did, you weren't a participant in that?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
So how quickly did things start to roll?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
I think it was '61 or '62, along in there, when they really started tearing down everything. That Brown's Funeral home, that big funeral home up here, was on this side of Market Street, but he was in the way for the post office. And his building was relatively new. So the city bought a lot across the street, tore this building down, and he built a building (the same building— right across the street, where they could have space for the post office. And you know when they put a post office in there, these people who have been displaced can't come back in. But that's the way they did it.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
So was there a feeling on most of the business owners that there was really nothing that anyone could do to sort of stop the process?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
That was the feeling that I [unclear] a lot of people I talked with—that that's what they were going to do and nothing you could do about it.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
And for people who had been on that street longer than you'd been, how did that effect them from an emotional standpoint? How did that effect you from an emotional standpoint?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Well, I hadn't been there very long, and I was renting. But the people who owned their businesses, they were the ones that was really upset about it. And I guess they fought as much as they could, but there won't much they could do about it.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Who were some of the business owners who actually owned their property. Or if you can remember the establishment that they operated or—?

Page 4
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
There was a [unclear] Atlantic Service Station, I think he owned his property. And Hargett's Funeral Home owned their property. Mr. Hagan, he had a pool hall and a [unclear] , and he owned that property. Mr. Harris had a bakery, and I think he owned his property—.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Was this the same Harris who ran—? Was it John Harris, or a different Harris?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No, a different set of Harrises. Now the grocery store and the post office right beside my drugstore, I think he owned that building—.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Harris?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No, it was Hill—.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
The Hill Grocery Store. yes.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Right. And there was a little post office in the grocery store.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
So it effected those particular business people pretty hard.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
very, very hard.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Now of those businesses that you mentioned, were they able to relocate, or no—if you can recall?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Very few of them re-located, very few. Every time I went across town on Ashe Street or on Willard Road; they said they were going to bring them back in, but they never came back.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Did you have an opportunity to talk to some folks for whom re-location was not an option, who didn't have the resources to start anew in the same location? Were you able to remain in contact with these folks or get a sense of what happened to them, where they went, what their attitude was? I know that's a lot—. [Laughter]

Page 5
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No, I didn't, because I left the area and went over, several blocks over, moved my drugstore over there, so I kind of lost contact with people right in that immediate business area. And I did that before they started tearing the things down.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
So you're not exactly sure to what degree—We know that these people who, again, were sort of down on their luck and had to either move to a different part of town or just basically start from the ground up again—not sure basically what happened to them or how they managed, again, because you were away from that area.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
In talking to some other business owners, it seemed, when I asked them about their feelings about the urban redevelopment plan, they seem to have a sort of ambiguous response. On the one hand, they say, "Yes, it was terrible because it destroyed the unity of black businesses on that street"—and talked about how wonderful it was and how it fostered a cohesive atmosphere. But then, on the other hand, they said, "Well, there were other areas of East Market that could have stood some improvements." Do you agree with that perspective, or do you basically see it as—?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Yeah, I agree with that, because most of the buildings up in that area was kind of old.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
And by "old" what do you mean?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
I mean they'd been there a good while, and they were deteriorating. So that might have been one of the reasons the city wanted to do that. The Palace Theater was old too, and I knew people who said it was deteriorating inside and had bugs or something in there. So this was the tail end of the Market Street area—it was going down. Several years before was when it was really jumping. When I would come

Page 6
to Greensboro to a football game, I'd go into the area. That was several years before I came to Greensboro, and it was really jumping, then.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Was this like the early fifties?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Yeah. But the buildings were getting old, getting kind of dilapidated some of them, so they tore them all down. Claimed they were going to fix it up and bring the people back into the area. But after they got scattered, they never came back.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
And what did that do in terms of the black community? What impact do you think that had on this part of Greensboro?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Well, I don't know exactly what impact it had on Greensboro. But I think the people who had to move felt less about the city than they did before. But as I said, they had no alternative; they had to move. Of course, they were really improving the area, but if they could've let the businesses come back in after they did that, then it would have been much better for everybody concerned. But they didn't do that.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Why do you think they didn't?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
I don't know. I really don't know. Maybe they didn't want that many black businesses right together in a particular area. I don't have the answer for that—why they did it.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Is it safe to assume, then, that you thought that there were portions of the business district that could use improvements, but yet you objected to the final outcome? How could it have worked so that the businesses were improved, in your opinion, without what ultimately happened having occurred?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Well, they could have remodeled the buildings, and just remodeled the whole thing and brought it up to date. Some of it was kind of dilapidated. But I

Page 7
don't know what else they could have done, because as I said, the buildings were old and they'd been up there a good while. But all of them could have been remodeled and brought up to date and left it like it was.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
So you agree with someone else who I talked to about this who said that—she basically shared an opinion like you—that maybe it was, in some ways, a means of disrupting the black businesses—?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
I would say that, definitely.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Maybe you agree with her, then, because she also said that, in terms of thinking of alternatives, that they could have just simply assisted black business owners in re-furbishing.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Mmm-hmm.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
To your recollection, the city people—were they primarily white? Do you recall any black business-people or ministers who were residents who were in favor of this or who supported the city plan? Do you recall that, at all?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No, ma'am.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Do you recall anything about the city redevelopment people? There was a Bob Barkley, or something—.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Barkley.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Do you remember anything about him?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Now, I know he had his hands in everything, and he was the big man for the city. But other than that, I didn't know that much about him.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
So, if you could tell me again when you moved to the new establishment, what year that was?

Page 8
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
When I moved from Market Street?
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Yes.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
that was '61.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
did you make any further moves, or was that it? [Laughter]
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
yes, I moved to Garle Street in 1961. And I was on Garle Street until '66.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
And why did you move there?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
That was in the redevelopment, too. They was going to redo that area. That was one of the other reasons—back down on the corner of Market and Murrow Boulevard, they built a big professional building there. And they had a bunch of doctors in there, and I had a chance to move back down there. So I figured my business would be better if I got closer to the doctors. And it was a better area—that was a dilapidated building I was in over there, too. So I was down there from '66 to '76. Then a group of us got together, and we bought this land and built this building here.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Now from '66 to '76, where was your business located?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
107 North Murrow Boulevard. That's the building at the corner of Murrow Boulevard and Market Street.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
And then from '76—?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
From '76 up to the present, I've been here. I got tired of moving. A group of us got together and formed a cooperation. We bought the land and built this building here. And after we built the building, there was about ten or twelve originally. They started falling out for one reason or another, so it got down to the three of us that own the complex now.

Page 9
ANGELA HORNSBY:
As part of the second re-development that came in '61, were their arguments pretty much the same as the first one?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Right.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
And again, to your recollection, no necessarily organized resistance on the part of business owners?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Not as I know of.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
When you heard about this second plan, what was your reaction to that? Was it resignation?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Well, when I heard about it, I didn't hear exactly when it was coming. But I knew it was coming. So I had a chance to move from there to get into the professional building, a newer building in a better location. So I packed up and moved down on Murrow Boulevard. And about two or three years from when I left from over there, they tore up everything over there in that little business area; tore it down and built homes and whatnot, improved the streets and whatnot.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
I know it's sort of easy to gauge who lost this part of this plan, but who would you say benefited from what happened?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
I'd have to say the city and the government. I don't see that any people benefited from it. Greensboro, and, I guess, the federal government, since they built the post office.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Let's go on back to your memories about East Market Street. We talked about how some of the buildings were a little dilapidated and could've used some more work. Were there businesses that seemed a little underhanded to you that were operating

Page 10
on the street? Or were there any objectionable places that you could identify, in your memory?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No I don't remember anything like that. Everybody doing his little thing, but it was very cooperative, and everything [unclear] as far as I know. [Laughter]
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Even the dance clubs and whatnot?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Mmm-hmm.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Do you remember any type of street festivals or parades that happened along East Market Street?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
The only parades I remember were the A&T's Homecoming; they've been doing that for years.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
And what types of things occurred as part of that?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
I don't know what you mean.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
I heard—didn't the ROTC maybe strut down there or—?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Yeah, the ROTC was marching with A&T's band, floats, and the whole shebang.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
And again, the A&T Homecoming attracted A&T students, faculty, as well as people in the community?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Everybody.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Do any particular individuals stand out in your memory as being particularly colorful? I remember a lot of people have talked about Boss Webster and his hamburger joint. Do you remember any interesting characters that used to roam around or work within the district?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Boss Webster and—I guess—Mr. Hagan. He had a—.

Page 11
ANGELA HORNSBY:
I haven't heard too much about him.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Yeah. He had a pool hall, I think a cafe, and a little hotel-like thing. He was very colorful. He played a lot of golf, talked a lot of golf, and whatnot. I guess he and Boss Webster were most two that obviously stand out. Boss was famous for his bologna sandwiches. He could cook a bologna sandwich and make it taste like steak.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Really!
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Yeah, he helped a lot of A&T kids out, too. Those who didn't have any money; he give them whatever they wanted. I don't see how he stayed in business, but he was mighty free-hearted. [unclear] late hours at night, and he was right across in front of the school. So he had a good business. I can't think of anybody else that stood out above the others. It's been a long time.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Yes, it has been. Just a couple of questions about your business. At your initial location on 900 East Market Street, if you can recall, who primarily made up your consumer base? Where did your customers come from?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Well, A&T and most of the black neighborhoods. And most of the black doctors pretty close around in the adjoining areas, and the patients who would go and see them would come to us. That was before integration. After integration, the doctors started spreading out, and the patient goes to the nearest drugstore to where they live. You can't fault them for that.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
And you already told me that you were a tenant. You rented, correct?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Right.

Page 12
ANGELA HORNSBY:
I was also hoping you could sort of give me a sense of your typical work day. You know, when did you come into the shop? What did you do while you were there? Sort of give me a play-by-play of your daily routine there.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Well, it was nine to seven. And when you run a drugstore with one pharmacist, you do everything.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
OK, tell me about that.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
You fill prescriptions, run the soda fountain, be a clerk, clean the floor—.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
There was a soda fountain, huh?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Yeah, we had a soda fountain, then.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Interesting.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Yeah, making all those big milkshakes—.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
I guess you had vanilla cokes, [Laughter]
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
—banana splits, vanilla cokes, and all that good stuff.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
And it was just you in the shop?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
I had a fella and a girl helping me. The three of us.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Were they students or A&T students maybe?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No, they weren't students—working full time. So you do what needs to be done.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
And nine to seven. Was that Monday through Friday?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Monday through Friday. We started a little while open on Sunday, but we finally started closing down on Sunday to get a little rest.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Not because business was—?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No, business was good on Sunday, too.

Page 13
ANGELA HORNSBY:
On Saturdays, what were the hours?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Nine to six.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
In my other interviews, because of the proximity of North Carolina A&T's campus to East Market Street, there seemed to be a lot of opportunities for training students in particular trades. Dry cleaning, that type of thing. Did you cultivate a relationship with A&T students in that regard?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Yeah, we had a lot of students helping us part-time, especially those that wanted to go into pharmacy and other sciences and wanted to be around drugs and learn as much as they could about drugs.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Did this relationship continue even with your moves to [unclear]
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Yes. Wasn't as many after I moved to [unclear] as there was when I was right near the university.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
How did these type of apprenticeships work? Did they just come to you, knock on the door, and say—? How did that—?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No, the instructors [A & T] would call me and we would work out something together.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
so how often did they train at the shop? Was there a set time, or—?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No, they would come in so many hours a day, depending on what the schedule was. Two or three hours a day. And they would get credit for the training. And we had some from Dudley High School, also.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
How did East Market Street then cultivate a sense of community? Or would you say it cultivated a sense of community?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
I think it helped.

Page 14
ANGELA HORNSBY:
I'm trying to figure out what the costs were—economic obviously. There were economic costs to the black businesses which had to move. But what other things sort of made what happened still be sort of sour in your mind?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
I don't remember. Of course, I'm getting old, and it's been a long time. I'm not young and sharp like some people working on their PhD.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
You sound pretty sharp to me. I don't want to put words in your mouth. But in what ways did your presence on East Market Street and the other business owners'—how did that foster a sense of community? If it did, I don't know.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
I don't know. I can't give you a good answer for that. But the black person knew that they could go down in that area and find about anything they were looking for in the black community. If they wanted a medical doctor, dentist, service station, post office, grocery, play pool, cafe, movie, whatever.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Other than the moves that you've made over the years, were there any type of other changes—maybe internal changes that occurred—to the pharmacy over the years? In terms of services offered, or—?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No, we offer the same services. Yes, when I left Gorrell, I left the soda fountain over there, but everything else the same. When I went to Murrow Boulevard, the place wasn't as large as I had over there. And we didn't have room to put everything like we wanted to. But since I knew redevelopment was coming over there, I had a chance to get in a new building. There were several doctors in the building; I figured it would be an asset to move.

Page 15
ANGELA HORNSBY:
This is going back to the issue of urban renewal again. With the benefit of hindsight, what lessons do you think that the black community took from that experience?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
I don't know, unless if they decided to go into business again, they would pick an area where they figured they wouldn't be under re-development again—where you know you're there to stay. That's one reason I came up here. I got tired of moving, several coming into the cooperation were suffering the same thing. So we got together and built the building and said that this is the last time we have to move.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
So that was very important then, the sense of stability.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Very much so.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
So in a way that was sort of a form of resistance.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Mmm-hmm. It certainly was.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Maybe put things in place so that this doesn't happen again. This group that you talked about that organized. Do you remember some of the members, what they did?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Yeah, we had a barber shop. We had a beauty shop. We had an optometrist. Had two general practice medical doctors, one pediatrician. And we had a lawyer. And we had two psychologists.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Who organized the group? Whose idea was it to have this?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
It was several of us. Most of the people, like me, were tired of moving. And they started thinking that we better start talking, and we got organized.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
And this was in the sixties?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No, early seventies. We completed the building in '76.

Page 16
ANGELA HORNSBY:
And how did you raise the capital for it?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Each member had to give $10,000. And we borrowed the balance of the money from Nationwide Insurance.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
And do you recall the total cost?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
I think it was $315,000.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
For that property?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
For the land, the building, everything.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Interesting.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
So we put a downpayment, and Nationwide financed the balance of it.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
And again, this was a coalition of how many people?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
It was ten or eleven when we started. But they started falling out for various reasons. And when it got down to four, the fellow who owned the beauty shop, he wanted to run everything and didn't want to do it as a cooperation. So we bought him out—the beauty shop—and his stock in the building, and everything else. And that left three of us. Three of us that owned the thing.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
You and—who were the other two?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Dr. Kidd, the optometrist, and Dr. James, the—.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Dr. Buford Kidd? How's he doing? My partner's supposed to be interviewing him.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Yeah, he' doing fine, fine. Playing golf all the time and not in the office—.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
How old is he? Isn't he close to ninety, now?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Hmmm?
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Isn't he teetering towards ninety?

Page 17
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No, he's about eighty-two.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
That's wonderful.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
The way he gets around, you'd think he's fifty-two.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Real spry, huh?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Yeah.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
So, Dr. Kidd, and who's the other person?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Dr. James Dickson, medical doctor.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
So, the others fell out for financial reasons, or just changed their minds or something?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
They changed their minds, just got tired of being in the cooperation. Because people who like to run the show or call the shots, and a cooperation's not like that. And that was the reason they—. Well, I know that's the reason—Snipes, we bought him out, because he—.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
What's his name?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Clinton Snipes. He had the beauty shop next door, Snipes's Beautyrama. So we just couldn't get along with him, wouldn't let him run the show. He wanted to sell his shares. So we bought the beauty shop, bought his equipment, bought his stock, bought everything.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Were there women within this group or primarily all men?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
All men.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
As you recall your experiences in the 900 block, did it seem like there were a lot of women business owners, or did they seem like they worked with their husbands? Do you recall any female business people?

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ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
They worked with their husbands. I don't know of any females that owned a business. I think there was a taxicab—Marie McCrate Taxi. Her husband owned the business, he died, and she owned it then. I think that's the only one that owned a business.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
So in your memory, it seemed to be more women working with their husbands.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Right.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
What about—was it the Paramount Grill? do you recall that at all?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Oh, yes.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
That wasn't a female operation either? Because I remember a Margaret—I didn't get the last name.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
I'm not sure. She was in there, but I'm not sure whether she owned it or not. I'm not sure on that. Mr. Harris and his wife ran the bakery; Mr. Hill and his wife ran the post office.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
I spoke to a Mrs. Rose Vines. Her and her husband ran the Vine shop.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
They ran the dry cleaners.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Yes, the dry cleaners. And also the Burnett's—.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
The Burnett Cleaners. That was a little further down the street.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Were the people who ran businesses and were able to stick around, do you still interact with them?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Occasionally.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
What do you guys talk about? Do you talk about—?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
We try to forget about Market Street, we talk about current issues.

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ANGELA HORNSBY:
Yeah? Except when people like me come and—. [Laughter]
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Yeah, most of the people back in business then, most of them has passed. Most of them are gone.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Do you think it's important though, given the bad memories associated with your experience on Market Street, do you see any value in terms of re-living—? I'm hoping you'll say "yes" since you're talking to me about it. But. Do you see any value in re-visiting the past, in terms of what happened? I mean, the good times and the debacle of urban redevelopment?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Yeah, I reminisce a lot about the old times on Market Street. In fact, I have a book around here somewhere that I get out and look at the pictures and whatnot.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Is it the Market Street Booklet that came out about the early eighties?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
I'm not sure whether it's that one—.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
I know that had a lot of pictures.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
I'm not sure when it came out. But when you look at it, it sure revives the memories to what Market Street was like at that time. I'll have to look for it tonight and see if it's something that you could use, if I can find it.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
I may be wrong, but I'm hoping it's the same thing I'm thinking about, because there were tons of pictures, really amazing pictures.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Oh, you've been exposed to one of those?
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Mmm-hmm.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Yeah, it's probably the same thing.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
And so, when you look at that booklet, and you're reminiscing, what comes to mind?

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ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
The good times It was very lively, very lively. Anywhere you wanted to go, or whatever you wanted to do, you could do everything within three- or four-block area.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Do you feel that if urban renewal hadn't come that somehow East Market Street wouldn't have lasted much longer given the end to race segregation? How do you feel about that? If not for urban renewal, would it have been something else that might have led to the deterioration of what you remember as the jumping—?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
If it had not been for urban renewal, it would last awhile, but it would not last indefinitely. The buildings was getting old and deteriorating and whatnot, so you'd have to do something with the buildings. We'd have to remodel them, or tear them down, build them over, or do something. It wouldn't last much longer. '59 or '60 or '61 was the tail end of the thing.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Right. Once integration did come to the forefront, did you notice—or other business-owners notice—a fall-off in terms of your business, because many of your patrons were going elsewhere? Did you notice that at all? Was that a big issue at all?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No, that wasn't a big issue. Because when I moved, most of my customers followed me wherever I went. And when you move, you get a lot of new customers, so it didn't make much difference.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
So again, in your opinion, it was the urban renewal really that changed things? Definitely?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
Definitely.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
And yet, you're still optimistic about what's happening now?

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ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
I'm very optimistic. I think they're on the right track now, and I think they'll be successful.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
I think I'm done. But I was wondering if there's anything that we haven't talked about or that you'd like to express or discuss before we conclude? Any memory that may have popped up in your mind?
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
No, I think we've covered most of the things.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Well, I really appreciate you taking the time.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
My pleasure.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
I really do. So on behalf of myself and the Southern Oral History Program where I'm a Research Assistant, I'd like to thank you very much for sharing your memories with me. I have no doubt that lay people and students and researchers will be able to benefit a lot from what you've added.
ROBERT R. SAMPSON:
My pleasure. If we can be of further service, let us know.
ANGELA HORNSBY:
Thank you.
END OF INTERVIEW