Title: Oral History Interview with Leroy Beavers, August 8, 2002. Interview R-0170.
Interviewer: Taylor, Kieran
Interviewee: Beavers, Leroy
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.