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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Glennon Threatt, June 16, 2005. Interview U-0023. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Life in segregated Birmingham

Here, Threatt describes some of the limitations that segregation placed on African Americans in Birmingham, from proscribing where they could eat to restricting where or when they could watch movies. Segregation limited Threatt's interaction with white people; his first exposure to whites came at age ten or eleven when he sold peanuts at a local stadium.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Glennon Threatt, June 16, 2005. Interview U-0023. 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:
Had you been around white people much before you went to Elyton?
GLENNON THREATT:
I had, but the relationship that you had with white people then was very, very different than it is now. You could go to stores for instance and shop down town. You couldn't try on clothes. You couldn't eat at the lunch counters. They had black and white bathrooms, colored and white bathrooms. They would usually have a bathroom for white men, a bathroom for white women and then one bathroom for colored. When we would go to movie theatres here you would have to pay in the front and then walk around to the back of the theatre and go up some stairs to sit in the balcony. Sometimes they would have segregated shows where they would have just shows that were only for colored, at the time and then whites would go to the theatre at different times. So, I had been exposed to whites. I had ridden on public transportation and stuff, my parents lived in the city-oh and the other major exposure that I had to white people was because my dad had a concession stand at Legion Field, which is where the University of Alabama used to play their home football games in the 1960s. So, I had a lot of exposure to white folks then because I used to sell peanuts and popcorn and sodas to them. I started working there when I was ten or eleven years old. My dad got me a job selling peanuts at the stadium. I had my first jobs when I was ten and eleven years old, so I had exposure to white people that way. [another person speaking interruption] I had always had exposure to whites because of my jobs, because of my dad's involvement-because my father worked for the Birmingham Housing Authority and also because there were lots of Italians that owned businesses in the black community and we would go there and shop because they would serve us. My first exposure to white people, I guess were to the Italians that were shop owners and business owners in the black community.