Comparing southern and northern segregation
Delany draws comparisons between the type of segregation he witnessed in Raleigh, North Carolina, and in New York, where he lived for most of his life. According to Delany, New York was just as segregated as the South in terms of social and cultural spaces, but there was more interaction between African Americans, whites, and people of other ethnicities than there was in the South. Despite more interracial interaction, however, Delany notes there were still wide discrepancies in wages and job opportunities.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Lemuel Delany, July 15, 2005. Interview R-0346. 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
- KIMBERLY HILL:
Did you feel any difference being out of the segregated South?
- LEMUEL DELANY:
Segregated in New York too. It was segregated in New York too. I was,
here again, back in Black New York, Harlem. I wasn't in white
New York. I was in black. The only difference was that you accumulated
job friends. In Raleigh, you accumulated friends. In New York, you
accumulated job friends. In other words you worked together. You sat
down and ate lunch together. When five o'clock came to get
off work, you went your way and they went their way. East is east and
west is west and never the twain shall meet. That started again the next
day. But if you wanted to say you were comfortable around the white boys
that worked on the job and the Jews that worked on the job, okay. For
that eight hours that you were there, you were comfortable around them.
They always had the better positions, but my daddy said, when you agree
to take the job here for "ABC" number of dollars, you
ain't got a damned thing to do with this man over here makes.
If you aren't satisfied with the salary they offer you,
don't take the job. You don't have anything to do
with what this man makes. But I didn't, I didn't
pay that too much attention. I didn't pay that too much