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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Mildred Price Coy, April 26, 1976. Interview G-0020. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The relationship between Coy's grandparents

This passage opens with the story of how Coy's grandparents met and courted. As they returned to North Carolina following their marriage, the Civil War began, changing their physical reality but not their beliefs regarding race.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Mildred Price Coy, April 26, 1976. Interview G-0020. 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

MARY FREDERICKSON What about on the other side of the family, the Price's? Do you remember either of those grandparents?
I remember my Grandfather Price died when my father was about fourteen, fifteen. And my grandmother lived years and years. And when I lived in Miami, Florida, my grandmother kept house for my uncle, with whom I lived, because his wife had died. And my Grandmother Price was from Alabama. And she was born into a family that had a lot of slaves. And when she was quite young she met her husband, who was a tobacco. . . . He drove down to Alabama from North Carolina in a buggy, selling tobacco. He had a tobacco factory up there, a small one. And he told her that if she would marry him, they would go back to North Carolina and he would buy her a piano; she could play the piano. MARY FREDERICKSON [Laughter]
About the time they got to North Carolina, the Civil War broke out, and so he couldn't get her a piano. And Civil War was over, and he got her a piano, and she sat down to the piano and she played "Weber's Last Waltz." [Laughter] I remember her story. She just sat down; after years she started playing "Weber's Last Waltz." MARY FREDERICKSON Were they hurt by the Civil War? Did they lose property?
They lost all their slaves, of course. And my grandfather had a very ugly attitude towards the freed slaves. He was called over to Greensboro by the Freedmen's Bureau, and I don't know what he had done to the slaves, but one of them reported on him. So when he came out of the courthouse, she was standing right beside the door, and he spit tobacco juice in her face. MARY FREDERICKSON This was a story your grandmother told about him?
I don't know who told me, but it was common knowledge. [Laughter] MARY FREDERICKSON Do you think she shared the same feeling about the freed slaves?
She certainly did. She was a very conservative woman. I'm sure she did. She didn't have any social idea. She didn't know what it was all about, although her father sent her to school. She wrote a very nice hand. She did murder the King's English at times, as my father did, too. But no, she didn't have any social ideas.