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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 >>

Persistence of community segregation

Threatt reflects on the persistence of segregation outside of schools in this excerpt. Churches remain highly segregated, as do private clubs like golf courses. This kind of segregation continues to stunt business and professional relationships for African Americans, the kinds of relationships Threatt was able to form as a gifted black student who integrated a gifted white class. Desegregating sports might have helped launch some of those relationships, Threatt believes.

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

How much connection and relationship do you think it takes for people to not have to worry about prejudice?
I think it needs to be more than just school. I think it needs to be through religious institutions and through other social related organizations, because socially to a much greater degree than we are in schools . . . because schools can be controlled; you can pass a law that says that schools have to be integrated. You can't pass a law that says a church has to be integrated. The saying is that the most segregated time in Alabama is Sunday morning. So, the overwhelming majority of churches in this state are still all white and all black. You go to some mixed race churches where it will be predominantly white with a few blacks and Asians or Hispanics, or predominantly black with a few whites or Asians or Hispanics. The majority of churches in this state are all white or all black. You can't enforce that, there is no way you can pass a law that says a church has to have white members or has to have black members. Other social organizations; country clubs-Shoal Creek is a perfect example. When the PGA tour was playing here, people protested it because Shoal Creek was a country club that didn't have any black members. So they went out and made a guy an honorary member so they could keep the tournament. One of my clients now is the first black paying member of Shoal Creek. He's forty seven years old. I bet still they don't even have ten black members. When you start talking about having access to people in business and stuff like that you need to be able to belong to the Rotary Club and Kiwanis and country clubs and stuff like that. I would dare say there are almost no black members at Mountain Brook Country Club. That's where you get the opportunity to develop the relationships that then translate into business and professional opportunities, and you can never penetrate that if the only interaction you have with people is strictly business.
So in your case, schooling helped you to achieve that.
Sure because I know those folks, because I went to school with them.
What do you think could have been done differently to help people who weren't in gifted programs to have that sort of experience?
Interracial athletics. Up until 1969 I think it was against the law for black and white students to participate in interscholastic high school athletics in this state. They had a black high school football championship, they had black high school championship and they had a white high school football championship and a white high school basketball championship. It was just in either 1968 or 1969 that there was ever a game between two of these segregated schools. It was when Banks High School played Parker, they beat them like fifty five to three, down at Legion Field. Beat the tar out of them. They had better coaches, better facilities and better equipment. The black schools got used books, they got the football helmets the whites had used already, they got the uniforms, unless the parent's association or booster club raised the money, they got the stuff that the white schools didn't want.