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Title: Oral History Interview with Nate Davis, February 6, 2001. Interview K-0538. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Electronic Edition.
Author: Davis, Nate, interviewee
Interview conducted by Gilgor, Bob
Funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this interview.
Text encoded by Natalia Smith
Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers Southern Folklife Collection
First edition, 2006
Size of electronic edition: 172 Kb
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
2006.
The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2006-00-00, Celine Noel and Wanda Gunther revised TEIHeader and created catalog record for the electronic edition.
2006-00-00, Natalia Smith finished TEI-conformant encoding and final proofing.
Source(s):
Title of sound recording: Oral History Interview with Nate Davis, February 6, 2001. Interview K-0538. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0538)
Author: Bob Gilgor
Title of transcript: Oral History Interview with Nate Davis, February 6, 2001. Interview K-0538. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Title of series: Series K. Southern Communities. Southern Oral History Program Collection (K-0538)
Author: Nate Davis
Description: 154 Mb
Description: 32 p.
Note: Interview conducted on February 6, 2001, by Bob Gilgor; recorded in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Note: Transcribed by Unknown.
Note: Forms part of: Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007): Series K. Southern Communities, Manuscripts Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Note: Original transcript on deposit at the Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Editorial practices
An audio file with the interview complements this electronic edition.
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Original grammar and spelling have been preserved.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
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Interview with Nate Davis, February 6, 2001.
Interview K-0538. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007)
Davis, Nate, interviewee


Interview Participants

    NATE DAVIS, interviewee
    BOB GILGOR, interviewer

[TAPE 1, SIDE A]


Page 1
[START OF TAPE 1, SIDE A]
BOB GILGOR:
This is February the sixth in the year 2001,and this is Bob Gilgor interviewing Nate Davis at the Hargraves Center. Good morning, Nate.
NATE DAVIS:
Good morning.
BOB GILGOR:
I appreciate your taking the time to let me interview you, and I'll start with just a broad question about, what was it like for you growing up here in Chapel Hill?
NATE DAVIS:
Well I think, you know, I think I had a pretty good life growing up in the Chapel Hill community, um, I was, I grew up off Church Street on School Lane, between, it was an apartment complex between School Lane and Caldwell Street extension right up from Northside Elementary School. I could look out my bedroom window and see the school, so I didn't have far to walk to school, but it, to me it was a good experience, you know, growing up in that community. I attended Northside Elementary School. We moved from the area probably when I was in the sixth grade.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you grow up with both of your parents?
NATE DAVIS:
Yes, grew up with both my parents. My father passed away about five years ago. My father moved here to North Carolina from South Carolina, I think probably in the late '30s, early '40s. My mom is from this area, she was a Trice. She's related to the Markham and Trice families in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area, so she grew up in this area. And at some point I'm saying they met at Northside Elementary School, which was Orange County Training School at that time, and they was married in 1946 I think it was, '46 or '47.
BOB GILGOR:
Do you have brothers and sisters, Nate?
NATE DAVIS:
I have five brothers and four sisters.
BOB GILGOR:
Ooh, big family!
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, a real big family.
BOB GILGOR:
Are they still here in the area?
NATE DAVIS:
Um, yeah all of them are still in the area, except I have one brother that lives in Chatham County—Siler City—but my other eight brothers and sisters live in this area.
BOB GILGOR:
And where did you fit into that group?
NATE DAVIS:
I was the third oldest, I had two older brothers. We did have one brother, oldest one, he passed away at birth. Actually not at birth but very young, you know, 3 or

Page 2
4 months old. So he passed away, so it was actually 11, but I was actually the fourth one out of four boys that was born.
BOB GILGOR:
What did your mom and dad do for a living?
NATE DAVIS:
Well my mom, with that many kids it's kind of hard to get away from the house and work a lot, so my mom kind of, you know, stayed at home and raised us. My dad, when we was growing up he worked at the Varsity Theatre as a janitor, and that gave us the opportunity to go and see some of the movies. As you know, back in the early '50s and the '60s and maybe up into the '70s, you know, you were not, African Americans was not allowed to go the movies. So we did have an advantage by going with my dad to work sometimes, to go in and watch some of the movies. I think dad probably worked there until I was abut 11 or 12 years old, then he started working at one of the fraternity houses in Chapel Hill, and he worked here until he retired from that, and then he did odd jobs. My dad was, he was pretty, not sick, but he was sick a lot. He was a diabetic, and I don't remember the exact year, but at some point in time both his legs was amputated because of that, and that's something that runs in my family. But he worked up until the time, probably until the year he passed away, even with both his legs amputated. He worked at the Chapel Hill Tennis Club maintaining the tennis courts for a long time. So yeah, both my parents was around, and my mom, she did do some work every once in a while. She worked at the Carolina Inn as a maid, and you know, odd jobs working in different homes and things like that.
BOB GILGOR:
Did she take laundry in, did she do ironing, things like that, or no?
NATE DAVIS:
No, no, she didn't.
BOB GILGOR:
She just worked out of the house?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, out of the house when she did work.
BOB GILGOR:
You mentioned that your dad worked at the Varsity Theatre and that African Americans couldn't get in there. Did some of the movie houses allow African Americans to come in and stay in the balcony?
NATE DAVIS:
Not to my knowledge. You know, we went with my dad when he went to work and he would turn the movies on. Never attempted to go when the movie was open to the general public, you know.
BOB GILGOR:
So you got to see the movies as a private showing?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, kind of like a private showing.
BOB GILGOR:
Who was the boss in your house?

Page 3
NATE DAVIS:
Who was the boss in my house? Um, my mom was. She kind of ran things, ran the house, 'cause my dad was away working and things, so my mom would get us up to get ready for school and prepare meals and things like that.
BOB GILGOR:
Can you tell me about the community in which you lived? Did you have relatives around; did you know your neighbors?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, we knew all our neighbors. We didn't have that many relatives that lived in the neighborhood where I lived, but you know, back then everyone was kin, you know. Like I say it was a duplex, and we lived on one side and the Wilsons lived on the other side, and down across the street in front of us Mr. Foushee, Ernest Foushee lived in that apartment. As a matter of fact we stayed in that apartment before we moved across the street to the apartment on School Lane. And then there was Miss Ethel Bynum who lived next door to our duplex and had this beautiful flower garden and we would, all the kids would be outside playing ball, and if a ball went in her flower garden, you know, sometimes she would give them back and sometimes she wouldn't. So I do know that Miss Ethel had accumulated a number of softballs and baseballs over the years because they had went into her flower gardens, and so, but we knew everyone that lived in the community, yeah. Where we grew up at it was like a small family because we went to each others' houses and things like that.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you play in the streets, or did you play in front of the school?
NATE DAVIS:
Well you know, there is a ballfield over at Northside. We played on that ballfield. Also there's a little side street which was School Lane, between the houses we played, you know, kickball and things like that , and we had our own bases because there were some rocks, those big old rocks are still there. So those rocks were our bases. And also we played on Caldwell Street, that was the main street. I remember in the summertime a truck would come by to water the road; we would run alongside the truck and get wet and things like that. And also it was an opportunity for us to go into Mr. Wilson Caldwell and Mr. R.D. Smith, and I think Mr. R.D.'s mother lived on the street also, and she was a Cub Scout leader, so, but they had the apple trees and pear trees and all that stuff, so we would go and climb the trees and get apples and pears and peaches and things like that.
BOB GILGOR:
You have a big smile on your face. Sounds like it was a happy time for you.
NATE DAVIS:
It was, you know it was. And we went swimming down at the catfish, I don't know if you know, that's Umstead, what's now Umstead Park.
BOB GILGOR:
And you swam down there?
NATE DAVIS:
And that's where we still swimming, we had our own swim hole. There was a pool at Umstead, the Exchange Club pool. We were not allowed to go into that pool but you know we had our . . .

Page 4
BOB GILGOR:
You got in in the creek down there?
NATE DAVIS:
Oh yeah, yeah. We went swimming in the creek. Unfortunately, you know, a lot of us went swimming but I never did learn how to swim that well. But we had fun, we would go down and catch the tadpoles and go swimming and things like that.
BOB GILGOR:
What would happen if there was an argument or some misbehavior when you were out playing ball? How would that be handled?
NATE DAVIS:
It all depended on whether we were losing or winning you know [Laughter] . We did get in fights, we did. We didn't try to hurt or kill each other back then, but we would um, maybe fight for two or three minutes and then we would go back and play ball.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you ever have any of the neighbors keeping an eye on you?
NATE DAVIS:
All the neighbors.
BOB GILGOR:
All the neighbors. Would they ever come out and discipline you?
NATE DAVIS:
Oh yeah, yeah. You had people like Miss Ethel Bynum, Mr. [unclear] Hargraves, Mr. John Bradshaw, Mr. Ernest Foushee. You know, all of them had kids that grew up in that community, so they watched all of us, 'cause from time to time were at one of their houses playing or eating or sleeping or something.
BOB GILGOR:
So what would happen if there was a problem then that was seen by Mr. Foushee or Mr. Bynum or one of the other people?
NATE DAVIS:
You'd get a whipping and then they'd take you home and you'd get another whipping. That's the way it was.
BOB GILGOR:
What was a whipping like?
NATE DAVIS:
All depends. All depends what you got into. You know, all depends whether your parents made you go outside and get your own switch, all depends whether you tried to hold the switch and break it, all depends whether you tried to crawl under the bed, and all depends whether you tried to say 'oh mama you done hit me in my eye ,' or whether—it all depends.
BOB GILGOR:
Say an average, run-of-the-mill misdemeanor with another child.
NATE DAVIS:
Um, well it, you know, they didn't try to hurt you. They were whipping and we were understanding why they was whipping us and what was going on.

Page 5
BOB GILGOR:
They would take a switch, and how many whacks would you get with the switch?
NATE DAVIS:
Then again it all depends on whether you tried to grab the switch, or you tried to break the switch, or what size the switch was when you went outside to get it. Now if your parents say you go get you a switch so you can get your whipping, and you come back with something small, they may go get something bigger, you know. It was not what people would consider abuse.
BOB GILGOR:
That's I guess what I'm getting at, I mean—
NATE DAVIS:
No, I mean we did get punished. You know we did get punished and you did get your whippings.
BOB GILGOR:
Was it more like three or 4 whacks, or was it 20 whacks?
NATE DAVIS:
Oh no, it wasn't a beating.
BOB GILGOR:
It wasn't a beating.
NATE DAVIS:
It wasn't a beating . It was not a beating, you know, maybe about 3 or 4. The same in school, if you did something wrong you got the yardstick, you know, you got 3 or 4 licks.
BOB GILGOR:
So you, I've had some people say to me that today it might be considered child abuse, but in your experience—
NATE DAVIS:
No, I think the worst part about it was when you're in the neighborhood, especially in the summertime your doors and windows gonna be open, the worst part about it is trying not to cry because you know everybody's outside listening. And you know, that's when you really got in a fight, after you got a whipping, you know, you're angry and you're upset, but you can't say or do anything to your mom, so you go outside and the guys are gonna get on you so you gonna jump on them, you know, but um, it was not abuse, you know.
BOB GILGOR:
And the neighbors could hit you with a switch also, if they saw any misbehavior?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah some of them could, yeah.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you ever end up talking back to the neighbors?
NATE DAVIS:
Oh no, uh-uh, no you didn't talk back. No, you respect for them, they're someone that was not there to harm you ,they were people that was there to look out for you and take care of you.
BOB GILGOR:
And the children understood that.

Page 6
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, yeah.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you feel that your neighbors loved you, trusted you, were wary of you? Did you have feelings about how your neighbors saw you?
NATE DAVIS:
They were there to take care of us. You know, we were like part of their family like I said, back then you know in the neighborhood, the community was just one big family. And you know, our parents knew that they was going to take care of us, you know.
BOB GILGOR:
What kind of an apartment did you live in?
NATE DAVIS:
What kind of an apartment did I live in.
BOB GILGOR:
You've got a lot of kids here, you know.
NATE DAVIS:
Okay, we had the kitchen, and then the hallway, and the bathroom, and the bedroom, and then a living room.
BOB GILGOR:
You had one bedroom?
NATE DAVIS:
We had one bedroom up to a point, and then I think the landlord added another bedroom on some years later. But it was not that many kids at that time. Let's see, my brother Bob, my brother Tom, myself, and my sister Willie May, yeah I remember Willie May 'cause she was the baby, 'cause I remember one night myself, Bob and Tom was all in the kitchen area with Willie May, and she was in the baby stroller and we saw this big rat run across the floor, and we all ran out and left her. So there was like four of us back then living in that apartment..
BOB GILGOR:
So you moved when you were like in 6th grade to Merritt Mill Road near the new high school, or where the new high school would be.
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, we moved to Merritt Mill Road.
BOB GILGOR:
Or where the new high school was at that time.
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, uh-huh.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you buy a house there?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, we did, we did. We actually purchased a house, my grandparents, they lived there, and they had another house built and we moved in to the house that they lived in.
BOB GILGOR:
And what kind of house was that then?

Page 7
NATE DAVIS:
It was um, we had two bedrooms then! We had um, you know back then everybody had a living room, they had a pull-out couch, and so some people did sleep on the pull-out couch, so we had three bedrooms.
BOB GILGOR:
You had a lot of togetherness there, with how many kids? Eight, or nine?
NATE DAVIS:
I'm trying to think, my brother, I think my sister Helen and my brother Kenny may have been born later on when we moved to Rangewood, out on 54 West when my mother lives now, but it was at least eight.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you feel poor?
NATE DAVIS:
No we didn't, we were, but we didn't, because we had all the love.
[Portion of interview excised.]
We had people in the community like Mr. Bynum Weaver that looked after us, you know that provided different things that people needed in the community that couldn't afford to buy, you know, as far as wood, kerosene for the stove, food.
BOB GILGOR:
So people in the community would just give things to—
NATE DAVIS:
I'm not saying everybody. There was some people, especially Mr. Bynum and Susie Weaver, you know, he gave everything. I think no one would, everyone knew that he gave to people but I don't think no one would ever really realize how much he did give.
BOB GILGOR:
What did he do for a living?
NATE DAVIS:
Um, he was owner of a little convenience store down on Brooks Street and also he owned the funeral home in Chapel Hill.
BOB GILGOR:
And what about Susie Weaver?
NATE DAVIS:
Miss Susie was in the funeral business with him and she also had a radio program, a gospel program on Sundays, and I think she was a beautician. I think she was a beautician
BOB GILGOR:
And she, she also worked at the funeral home?
NATE DAVIS:
Uh-huh.
BOB GILGOR:
Did she own it?
NATE DAVIS:
Mr. Bynum owned it. It was the Bynum Weaver Funeral Home.
BOB GILGOR:
So the two of them owned it. Bynum Weaver Funeral Home. Or you mean her name was—

Page 8
NATE DAVIS:
Oh his name was Bynum Weaver, his first name was Bynum.
BOB GILGOR:
I see.
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah.
BOB GILGOR:
So these two people were very giving. At least these two.
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, uh-huh.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you feel that was common in the African American community when you were growing up?
NATE DAVIS:
Oh yeah, back then you took care of each other, you know, you took care of your family. And family back then didn't necessarily have to mean that you were blood kin. You know, someone you knew, someone you cared for, someone in the community, you know, that was family.
BOB GILGOR:
And this was the '50s and '60s that you're talking abou?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, uh-huh.
BOB GILGOR:
Would you say there was much of a middle class in the Potter's Field or Northside community at that time among the blacks, the African Americans?
NATE DAVIS:
I think it really depends on what you're looking at as far as being middle class. I don't know if you're looking at financially or spiritually or what. Back then everybody went to church and everything. But yeah, we didn't feel poor. People may have looked at certain people and said well they're poor, they don't have, yeah, I think some people felt like that they was a little bit better or had more than other people, you know.
[Portion of interview excised.]
Yeah, my grandmom was a wonderful lady, yeah. She was the backbone of the family now. Yeah. Yeah, my grandma, yeah, uh-huh.
BOB GILGOR:
What kind of values did your grandma and your parents give you?
NATE DAVIS:
Well I think especially for my mom and my dad, they taught us to be honest, not to lie, cheat or steal, um, to be honest and to be who you are. To not try to pretend to be more than you are. And to love and to share. Yeah. My grandma, you know, take care of yourself.
BOB GILGOR:
Can you explain that a little more, when you say take care of yourself?

Page 9
NATE DAVIS:
Well, look out for each other, you know, look out for the family.
BOB GILGOR:
Take care of the family.
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, take care of the family, look out for the family.
BOB GILGOR:
Did that include your neighbors, because they were considered family?
NATE DAVIS:
Well yeah, when we moved down to on Merritt Mill Road, our house was here and then on the other side was my grandma's house, and on the other side was my uncle, my grandma's brother, across the street was my granddad's brother, then further down was my mother's parents, my other grandparents, so when we moved out Merritt Mill Road it was kind of, it was a big community but I had more relatives that lived down in that area, on Merritt Mill Road.
BOB GILGOR:
How much was education stressed in your home?
NATE DAVIS:
Education was very important. Very important, you know.
BOB GILGOR:
And who made it important?
NATE DAVIS:
I think everybody in the community made it important.
BOB GILGOR:
Did your grandparents stress it, did your parents stress it?
NATE DAVIS:
My parents did. My father did not graduate from high school, I forget how far he went in school. But my mom did. She graduated, as a matter of fact she graduated top in her class. She didn't continue her education, because she got married, you know.
BOB GILGOR:
Of all your brothers and sisters, how many graduated high school?
NATE DAVIS:
All except two.
BOB GILGOR:
How many went on to get college degrees?
NATE DAVIS:
Um, my sister Helen who is a schoolteacher now. She graduated, my brother Ollie, N.T., I attended North Carolina Central University, let's see . . . yeah, about four of us.
BOB GILGOR:
Out of a total of ten?
NATE DAVIS:
Ten, yeah. But um, you know all of them has good jobs, you know jobs good enough to support them and everything.

Page 10
[Portion of interview excised.]
BOB GILGOR:
Did you have books in the house?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah we had books, because you know, I spent some time back and forth, you know, my house and my grandma's house, and all of my grandma's kids except for my dad graduated from high school, and you know , they had material around, stuff like that. And they left, went up north, so there was stuff left there, you know, for us.
BOB GILGOR:
Is there anything else about your childhood that you want to share?
NATE DAVIS:
Um, not really. We, you know I think we had a good childhood. We didn't have everything that other people may have had, you know and things like that, but I think basically it was, I wouldn't say rough, you know it was difficult, we didn't have everything that we wanted or needed, you know. But we got things, you know, from time to time.
BOB GILGOR:
I don't want to focus on this, but I want to ask some delicate questions, and that is, was your father abusive?
NATE DAVIS:
No.
BOB GILGOR:
Was he a drinker?
NATE DAVIS:
Uh, was he a drinker—he did drink. You know, he worked. It's not like he came home every day drinking.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you ever see him drunk?
NATE DAVIS:
Did I ever see my daddy drunk . . . uh, no, not really. I've seen him drinking. Because my daddy [and] my grand-daddy, both of them drank. I would kinda hang with them sometimes, so I did have the opportunity to go with my dad to different of the houses that sold liquor, my grand-daddy's and stuff like that.
BOB GILGOR:
To the, uh . . .
NATE DAVIS:
. . . bootlegger.
BOB GILGOR:
Were they pretty common?
NATE DAVIS:
Oh, yeah. Yeah. I remember my dad started one one time. We were living on Mayberry Road. It was so funny. All of a sudden, Daddy wanted to make some extra money selling some liquor. Lasted one day. He started that morning, I'd say sometime early that afternoon, here come the police. They came in, they raided the house, and they poured all the stuff down the commode. And they said, "Bill,"—they called my daddy Bill—"Bill, don't do this again." And that was it. Never tried it again.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you see much alcoholism in your neighborhood?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah. There was. There were a number of houses, bootleg houses in the community.
BOB GILGOR:
Where there was, people were drunk?
NATE DAVIS:
We did see some, uh-huh.
BOB GILGOR:
I would like to ask you about Northside, but because of the limited time, I'd like to go on to your experience at Chapel Hill Junior High, and then if we have more time together, I'll go back and talk to you about Northside.
NATE DAVIS:
Okay.
BOB GILGOR:
But, you left Northside in sixth grade, and in 19-, did you say '62?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah.
BOB GILGOR:
In 1962 you went to—
NATE DAVIS:
Chapel Hill Junior High School up on Franklin Street.
BOB GILGOR:
Uh-huh, which was integrated the year before by, it was choice that the African American student could make to go there or go to Lincoln.
NATE DAVIS:
It was a choice, I think it was a choice that certain people in the community and your parents made.
BOB GILGOR:
So did you not want to go to the Chapel Hill Junior High School?

Page 11
NATE DAVIS:
Well in a way I did, because I got bribed by my grandparents [Laughter] . You know, back then some people thought this was a wonderful thing, and they, you know, some parents really felt proud that their child or grandchild was going to be a part of this.
BOB GILGOR:
Did the minister have any bearing on it?
NATE DAVIS:
I don't recall, I do recall Miss Gloria Williams who was a big part of this community, that passed away about a year ago, I think she was a part of it.
BOB GILGOR:
So you were the second class to enter Chapel Hill Junior High School that had some African American students?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, I think before that some had gone to the elementary school. I don't know when Stanley Vickers went, it may have been three years before then, but maybe Stanley Vickers and a few other ones.
BOB GILGOR:
And how many black students were there?
NATE DAVIS:
Um, myself, Keith Edwards, David Briggs, Pernell Jackson, James Britt, I do remember those five. There may have been some that didn't hang with us, but I do remember those five, let's see, Carrie, Keith, James, Pernell, David Briggs, myself.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you have any orientation before you went to—
NATE DAVIS:
Not that I recall.
BOB GILGOR:
So you just sort of showed up there in the fall or late summer and went to school?
NATE DAVIS:
Yes.
BOB GILGOR:
Do you remember it, your first day there?
NATE DAVIS:
I don't. For some reason I don't. I know I used to sit in class and cry a lot.
BOB GILGOR:
You would cry in class.
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah. Cause I was afraid of what was going to happen once I walked out of the classroom.
BOB GILGOR:
What sort of things did happen?
NATE DAVIS:
You were called names, some people wanted to fight, you know.
BOB GILGOR:
The names that you were called, was that a regular daily thing?

Page 12
NATE DAVIS:
For a while, yeah.
BOB GILGOR:
How long did that last?
NATE DAVIS:
It, well you know, most of that year. It lasted most of that year, um, seventh grade year, and then the following year they be at Guy B. Phillips, and a lot of it continued. As a matter of fact it was to the point where it was so bad my first year at Guy B. Phillips, no one was aware of it and no one probably cared, you know with the school system, I played hooky for about, not every day, but for about two or three months I stayed out of school. And you know, I just didn't go. And no one missed me and no one cared, you know. But then more people started coming to the junior high school and it got a little bit better, we had more teachers that cared about us, and kind of looked after us and, you know.
BOB GILGOR:
What happened if you played hooky from Northside?
NATE DAVIS:
The teacher would leave the classroom and walk across the field, or go to your house, get in their car and go to your house and see what was wrong, you know.
BOB GILGOR:
So you didn't mess around by missing school much at Northside?
NATE DAVIS:
No, because it was fun, you know, it was, you know school was fun back then. You had a good time.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you, so let me go back over this. You stayed at Chapel Hill Junior High School one year, and then you went to Phillips?
NATE DAVIS:
Went to Phillips.
BOB GILGOR:
Uh-huh, and it was the same at Phillips?
NATE DAVIS:
In a way, yeah.
BOB GILGOR:
And when did it end, this verbal abuse?
NATE DAVIS:
When does it end?
BOB GILGOR:
When did it end?
NATE DAVIS:
When does it end? [Laughter]
BOB GILGOR:
When does it end, maybe it's still going on.
NATE DAVIS:
Probably not as much, but I'm pretty sure there's still some things that are still being said. People may not be using the same language, and you know, but I'm

Page 13
pretty sure that some things are still being said about different races, whether it's white or black, you know. I'm not saying that all the whites and all the teachers were like that. We had some, I think one thing that helped me survive up on Franklin Street at Chapel Hill Junior High School was some of the white friends we had, male and female. You know, I remember I used to be sitting there in class, be crying and, you know, and I don't remember the name, there were these two white girls that used to just kind of, you know, just talk to me, and this was mainly in my math class. And I think the main reason I cried in that class was because I had just left my history class and we had a very, very mean history teacher, you know, and she wouldn't say "Negro," she said "niggras."
BOB GILGOR:
With an "i" instead of an "e".
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, uh-huh, I remember her.
BOB GILGOR:
Were there, was there any physical abuse?
NATE DAVIS:
There were fights, yes. There was.
BOB GILGOR:
So you got into fights?
NATE DAVIS:
Uh, some, yeah. But like I said I had this real close friend, a guy named Reedy Hilton. His father was the track coach at Carolina for a long time. So, and I think Reed still lives here in Chapel Hill, lives out in Chatham County now. He was a close friend and he would always stop us from fighting.
BOB GILGOR:
He was a white student?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, uh-huh. And this other guy named Kenny Rogers—I don't know where Kenny's at now—Kenny used to be a Chapel Hill police officer here in Chapel Hill, and I haven't seen him in a while, but um, you'd have people like that that would kind of intervene, and help out.
BOB GILGOR:
So you saw the best and the worst of what went on. You had students who taunted you and got into a fight with you, but then you had students who helped stand up for you, did you feel?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, I was an athlete, so kind of, you know, if you were an athlete you had a little bit of advantage. I didn't play much sports in junior high school up on Franklin Street, but once I got out to Guy B. Phillips I played basketball, ran track.
BOB GILGOR:
So you think being an athlete helped in your being integrated into this mixed—
NATE DAVIS:
I think it helped, yeah, uh-huh. It didn't help overall because when you went to another school to play, you know, and sometimes being the only black athlete out

Page 14
there on the basketball court, you get called all kind of names. And I think it had a real lasting effect on me because after that I was always nervous when I went out on the court, you know to play football, basketball, something like that. It didn't bother me when I was running track, but other sports it did, and it followed me through high school, and I was always nervous when I went out there.
BOB GILGOR:
This taunting stayed—
NATE DAVIS:
It stayed with me.
BOB GILGOR:
Even into Chapel Hill High School.
NATE DAVIS:
Yes, it did. Uh-huh, until I stopped playing sports.
BOB GILGOR:
You must have felt angry about this.
NATE DAVIS:
Sometimes I would get angry, yeah.
BOB GILGOR:
How do you get over that anger, of those experiences?
NATE DAVIS:
I think you get over it by protecting the ones you love and making sure that's not going to happen to them. That's where I get over it.
BOB GILGOR:
Yet from what I hear from you, you still think some of it's going on.
NATE DAVIS:
I would say so, yeah, maybe not in the same way, but yeah.
BOB GILGOR:
Maybe less?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah. And it didn't just happen in the schools, it was in the community back then. So you know, a lot of people look at integration and say the blacks had all these problems, but you know, we had those problems before we went into the school system, you know, when you left Lincoln you had problems. When you left y our community you had problems. When we left Merritt Mill Road, when we left Northside area, you know, and went downtown into the community, you know, you had those problems. So it was just not in the school system.
BOB GILGOR:
When you say you had problems, you're talking about segregation?
NATE DAVIS:
Yes.
BOB GILGOR:
Verbal abuse?
NATE DAVIS:
Yes.

Page 15
BOB GILGOR:
Fear?
NATE DAVIS:
Yes, uh-huh.
BOB GILGOR:
How did your parents teach you to deal with that?
NATE DAVIS:
I think back then the parents, you know, wanted us to stay in our place, you know, stay in your community.
BOB GILGOR:
Are there any other memories that you have of the junior high school or Phillips that you'd like to share?
NATE DAVIS:
Junior high school . . . I remember we, 'cause you had the junior high school here, then you had the high school, and it was separated by an auditorium, and then you had, in the back was the arts and crafts building, and then you had the gymnasium and the P.E. department was kind of in the back. We came out the door from the junior high school, myself and David Briggs and Pernell Jackson, we would walk across the street to the Exxon service station which is now McFarling's Exxon, we would walk down the street past where BW3 is now, used to be the old Belk's and feed store, and cross over to go to the gymnasium and to go to the arts and crafts building because we didn't want to walk behind the school. There was a big field between the school and there was a fraternity house, and sometimes the students from the fraternity house would come over there and bother us, not just us but all the students. So we would walk across the street and go down and come back across to get to class so we wouldn't have to go through the back where everybody would be. There was a snack bar back there so all the students would be back there, you know.
BOB GILGOR:
So you wouldn't get taunted or abused physically?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah.
BOB GILGOR:
You mentioned one teacher who you thought was prejudiced. Were, did you have any positive experiences with the white teachers?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, uh-huh, we sure did.
BOB GILGOR:
Any who stood out?
NATE DAVIS:
Miss Zora Rashkis.
BOB GILGOR:
Zora Rashkis.
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah.
BOB GILGOR:
What was it about Zora that, um,

Page 16
ND: She cared about everybody. She cared about everybody, she wanted to make sure that everybody succeeded. We had this black girl that was in my class, and um, she was always late, two or three minutes, whatever, five minutes. And Miss Rashkis kept telling her, you know, you need to get to class on time, and she said I can't do it, I can't do it. And she explained to her why she could not get there on time. And one day Miss Rashkis said, well, that's it, you have to be in class on time. The very next day she was in class on time. Miss Rashkis told her, okay, I understand why you were being late, now we can deal with that, we can work with that, you can be late. But I want you to try to get here on time. But I just wanted to show you that you could get here on time. You know.
BOB GILGOR:
One of the things that I heard from the other people I interviewed was that the teachers at Lincoln and Northside both taught values, and I'm wondering whether you felt that Zora Rashkis taught values.
NATE DAVIS:
She did, she did.
BOB GILGOR:
Can you explain that further?
NATE DAVIS:
Well she taught you, um, she made you feel a part of everybody. She wanted you to understand and to know that you could be just as important as the next person regardless of whether you're white or black. She opened her home up to all the students in her class, and she wanted you to know that you could succeed, you could do things. Just like the young lady that kept coming to class late, you know, she wanted her to prove to herself that she could be on time.
BOB GILGOR:
Did she also invite parents into her home?
NATE DAVIS:
I think Miss Rashkis probably invited everybody into her home.
BOB GILGOR:
Is that something that went on when you were at Northside, that the teachers visited your home?
NATE DAVIS:
Oh yeah, uh-huh.
BOB GILGOR:
So basically she was like your other teachers from Northside in a way.
NATE DAVIS:
In a way, yeah. Yeah, uh-huh.
BOB GILGOR:
Let's move on to, unless there are other memories that you have that you want to share of either Phillips or the experience at Chapel Hill Junior High.
NATE DAVIS:
Well you know, I got an education. That's one good thing that came out of it. I did get an education, and whether it was the best education a black student could have received at that time is debatable. I think it did hurt in a way because you

Page 17
was in an environment that you didn't want to be in, an environment where you couldn't really concentrate on what you was doing, concentrate on your work, because you had so many other things that would draw your attention away, whether it was that you didn't have money to do this, or you were afraid what was going to happen when you went to another class or left school that day or came to school the next day, or whatever. So you did get an education, but you know, there were some stumbling blocks and some things in your way that would not have been in your way if you was at Lincoln, you know.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you feel that the teachers at Chapel Hill Junior High or Phillips were giving you a harder curriculum, or it was more difficult at the white school?
NATE DAVIS:
See, I can't compare because I never attended Lincoln.
BOB GILGOR:
Well let's say; Northside.
NATE DAVIS:
Northside? Well it was a different environment, you know, you had, at Northside Elementary School you had a closer relationship, you knew the teacher, you felt comfortable. And you know all the students in class, so you had people to work with, people to help you out if you had a problem. And in junior high school it was more like you were on your own, you know. But you know, like I say, and I really hate to start calling names because there was a lot of good teachers, you know Miss Rashkis, Zora Rashkis, and Miss Stanford, really sticks out and there was a history teacher by the name of Mr. Vaughn I think, and you know, people like that.
BOB GILGOR:
So it was a mixed bag, was your experience with the teachers in the way of how you could relate to them?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, like this history teacher, I had her in the seventh grade and I said, God, I done got rid of her when I left Chapel Hill Junior High School and went to Guy B. Phillips, but I got her again out there in eighth grade. And we was in class one day, and this was when President Kennedy was assassinated. And she made a statement, she said, "I bet some niggra did it," you know, right in class. And um, she sure did, she said "I bet some niggra did it." And everybody, you know, sitting up in class, and you know.
BOB GILGOR:
So you left Phillips Junior High School and went to the new Chapel Hill High School?
NATE DAVIS:
New Chapel Hill High School, there was like a lapse, because the year that I played hooky for so long, I didn't pass my grade that year, because I just didn't do nothing. And I kind of like hung out in the woods. And um, and I think, one day, when you hung out in the woods you hung out near Lincoln, because you wanted to see everything that was going on. You wanted to see all the activities they was doing, like the May Day program, and the different activities they had, and the

Page 18
band practicing and the football team practicing, and you know, the students and people going to lunch and stuff like that. Everybody wanted to be a part of that. I think every black child in Chapel Hill grew up wanting to be a part of Lincoln High School. And they knew if you went to Lincoln High School you had to do what was right, because Mr. McDougle would not have it any other way. You know, he was the principal, and he would come by your house, you know, he would be driving down the street and he may see five of us, you know, some guys out in the yard, and he would stop by your house and talk to you, whether it was in the afternoon, or Saturday, or Sunday, or whatever. And everybody called him McDougle, you know. Because that was the name that, his name was Mr. McDougle. Some of the guys tried to be smart like they were saying, they would say 'McDougle,' and he would stop and come to your house and get on you and talk to you, and talk to your parents, and everything, even if you were not a student at Lincoln. So, but everybody wanted to go to Lincoln, but yes I did, when they built Chapel Hill High School, when it first opened I went to Chapel Hill High School.
BOB GILGOR:
Now did you think that the first year Chapel Hill High School was open, the new Chapel Hill High, that it was going to be integrated, or was it supposed to be all white for a while?
NATE DAVIS:
No we knew, we knew, and you know, a lot of people was hoping, myself for one, that that was the year that we were going to be able to go back to Lincoln, because everybody grew up wanting to play sports at Lincoln. I used to get up and you know, the football and basketball games, which I could walk to the gym, but on Saturday mornings when my two brothers would go play baseball and run track, you know the bus would come by the house and pick them up, and I'm sitting there wanting to go, couldn't go. Everybody grew up wanting to go to Lincoln, to be a part of that program. Whether the band, the drill team, the basketball team, the football team, or whatever. Everybody, every black child grew up wanting to be a part of Lincoln High School. And there was so much there, I mean, everything, you know, I mean it was so much we saw growing up. You probably had more people at practice than at games sometimes because everybody wanted to go see Lincoln. That's the way it was.
BOB GILGOR:
When you went to football practice at Lincoln, did you see some of the graduates come back and help out?
NATE DAVIS:
I don't remember all of them, but there were some that came back.. You know, I don't remember Coach Bradshaw that well, but I do remember Coach Peerman, because that's the time that my brother was playing.
BOB GILGOR:
I understand that at one point the team, the football team would jog around the stadium and then come into the center, to the 50-yard line, and can you tell me about what they did?

Page 19
NATE DAVIS:
I don't remember all that. I do kind of have a vague memory of that happening, but I don't remember all of it, because back then, you know, the football team, once they started playing football, we watched the football game. But before football games, we watched the bands. You know, we watched the band, the majorette, the bandleader, and all that stuff. Football—
BOB GILGOR:
They performed before the game. Did they perform at halftime as well?
NATE DAVIS:
Yes, uh-huh. Yeah. So we watched, you know, football game, game started we watched that, before that we watched the band. But I'm pretty sure there was some time that they did you know, march in, the football team, but I don't remember, I don't remember all that.
BOB GILGOR:
You remember the bus?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, uh-huh. RG: Can you describe that?
NATE DAVIS:
It was an old bus, a bus that people thought wouldn't make it from here to the top of the hill. It was kind of like the bus that we used to have for the Recreation Department when I first started working here.
BOB GILGOR:
What color was it?
NATE DAVIS:
I think it was yellow. I'm not for sure. Yeah.
BOB GILGOR:
Did it have the tiger on it?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah.
BOB GILGOR:
So they painted the tiger on the side.
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah that bus would, they would park that bus in the back of the stadium when they went out to the football stadium on Fidelity Street to play football games on Saturday, or on Friday night.
BOB GILGOR:
What was the name of the stadium along Fidelity?
NATE DAVIS:
You know I never knew the name of that stadium. But it was used by Chapel Hill High School and also Lincoln. I think by the Recreation, we had some Recreation games out there too.
BOB GILGOR:
So you sat out a year and then went in '66 to Chapel Hill High School.
NATE DAVIS:
Yes, uh-huh.

Page 20
BOB GILGOR:
And what was it like there the first year?
NATE DAVIS:
You had more blacks out there. As we looked at it, you had the guys from Lincoln that came, so we felt like then that, hey, we got our protection out here. You know, you had the people like um, Thurman Couch, Rudolph Farrell, Charles Farrington, Larry, it was Henry Campbell, Henry McCray, you had all those guys and more that was coming out there. And these were like the big, which there was only like a year apart in our age, but we just felt like we, uh—
[Portion of interview excised.]
Well some of that had kind of gone away, because my ninth grade year at Phillips I played basketball. So since I played basketball I kind of you know had more friends, um, but I do recall going back a little bit, one day at basketball practice, myself and there was two other guys, Jesse Chavis and [unclear] , was on the JV basketball team out there, and some of the guys said let's go to the store, you know, and we were going to walk from Phillips down to the bottom of the hill, where the Texaco service station is now. There used to be a little store there, Brady's. So on the way down the street, these guys kept whispering at each other, and um, kept, you know, Bob Andrews was, well Billy Andrews and a guy named Bobby who was Coach Carleton's son, who was a high school coach, and Jimmy Vann and all those guys, you know, they kept whispering to each other, and I'm trying to figure out, what are they, what's going on, didn't know. We get to the store, and one of the guys says well Nate, let me have your money. And I should have known, but you know, I had, some time, you know back then some of us kind of got in a position where we kind of forgot you know where we had come from and everything, and I think that at one point in time I'm out there playing basketball with them, I'm a basketball star, and what they do I can do. And on this particular day thought that I could walk with them to the store and go into the store, you know. And I couldn't go in.
BOB GILGOR:
In Brady's? In '66? I thought desegregation was—
NATE DAVIS:
No, this was my ninth grade year, so this was like '65.
BOB GILGOR:
Oh, okay, before the civil rights, the federal civil rights law.
NATE DAVIS:
Well you might have had the federal civil rights law, but there still was some people that would tell you you couldn't come into the store. And I'm, you know, I don't know the owner of the store but the little store on the corner, I don't think it was Brady's restaurant then.
BOB GILGOR:
Oh I see, it was like a candy store, soda store.

Page 21
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, so they said well give me your money and we'll bring you something back out, and I says well what's going on, and they said well you can't go in with us. So I turned around and walked on back on up the hill to the school, and they went in the store. You know, and like I say, I don't remember the name of it and I don't remember the owner, and what I don't want to do is throw some names out there that's not true, you know, some people that might not have been a part of some negative thing that was going on.
BOB GILGOR:
What was it like in the school, with the teachers that first year, and with the relationship, your relationship with teachers and your relationship with the white students at the new high school?
NATE DAVIS:
Well you know with the teachers, they brought some of the black teachers out, you know, Mr. McDougle came, Mr. R.D. Smith, so we had some people that we could go to, people that we could talk to if we had a problem, um, people that was out there that was going to make sure that we got a good education and we was treated, you know, fairly, that we was not mistreated. So we had people like that. You had Coach Culton who was the football, basketball, track, swim, golf, he coached everything. He was there and kind of, you know, took care of student athletes.
BOB GILGOR:
So you felt he was fair to all races.
NATE DAVIS:
Coach Culton?
BOB GILGOR:
Uh-huh.
NATE DAVIS:
I would say so, yeah. And Coach Peerman was out there also.
BOB GILGOR:
What was your feeling that Coach Peerman, who had been so successful with the sports program, was now assistant coach? Was that bothersome?
NATE DAVIS:
He was assistant coach, he was JV coach. Um, in a way it did, but also, um, by me being a sophomore, I played JV football, so I got the opportunity to play under him, you know.
BOB GILGOR:
Uh-huh. What kind of a coach was he?
NATE DAVIS:
As far as, he was a good coach, he was a good person, you know, a good role model, he looked out for everyone. He was a fair coach, whether you was white or black, you know, um, with all the blacks that came out to Chapel Hill High School back then, I think they kind of felt like that they was gonna be mistreated. Like Mr. McDougle, he was assistant principal, I think he was in charge of books.
BOB GILGOR:
So you sort of expected, when you say that others expected to be mistreated when they went to the high school.

Page 22
NATE DAVIS:
I think so, um, I mean I'm pretty sure that we was, and other people was not thinking that hey, this is a big change for us, it's for the best, and everything is going to be just fine.
BOB GILGOR:
Did it bother you that almost all the core curriculum teachers were white, and the black teachers were in peripheral courses?
NATE DAVIS:
Well, see, I had had that for the past, you know, three years.
BOB GILGOR:
So it was nothing new to you.
NATE DAVIS:
No, it was nothing new. And I think people kind of expected, I'm pretty sure people knew that, this community knew that all the black teachers at Lincoln was not going to be brought out to Chapel Hill High School and also, you know, Lincoln stayed open for a while as a school, as like an elementary and middle school, so there was still some classes at Lincoln, so some of the teachers stayed down there.
BOB GILGOR:
Um, what I'd heard from others is that tensions seemed to get worse over a couple of years, and I wonder if you could tell me what your feelings were about what happened at the school leading up to the riot that occurred.
NATE DAVIS:
You know, I don't remember a lot about the riot, probably for a couple reasons. Because we had teachers that wouldn't let us out of class when the thing really broke out, you know, we'd be sitting there, we'd say we hate all white people, and she would say, well do you hate me, and we'd say no, we don't hate you, and she'd say, but I'm white. Yeah, but we don't hate you, we just hate the white people, you know. So, and, like I say, I don't remember a lot of it.
BOB GILGOR:
Do you remember the issue that sparked the riot, or the issues that made the black students have this hatred?
NATE DAVIS:
I think the black students wanted to be a part, they wanted to be heard, to let people know that they were part of the school. And I think the main thing, they wanted it to be their school also. You know, I can remember the first year in '66, we had an excellent football team. And we went to Roxboro, and played Roxboro, and they beat us. They beat us. They really beat us. And we, the next week at practice, Coach Culton walked out on the field, and he was real quiet, you know, and he had this letter in his hand. And somebody at Roxboro had wrote him a letter, and this is what it was saying, 'Do not never bring those niggers up here to try to beat us in football again.' You know. So, you know, things like that happened, and we would go places, and play games, you know. There were some teams that still didn't have any blacks on their teams, so we encountered a lot of hatred from that. And I think it just kind of carried over and, what had happened, you had basically taken something from both races, you know, you had the white

Page 23
race that felt like Chapel Hill High is our school, you know, and you had the black race saying well, Lincoln High was our school. So you took Lincoln from them and you also took Chapel Hill High from the whites. Because they grew up saying, you know, this is my school. And we grew up saying Lincoln and Northside is our school. So it's not, you know, I feel like you just didn't take something from the blacks, but you also took something from the whites, also. And so you probably had a lot of hatred and a lot of hostility and anger built up in both races.
BOB GILGOR:
When you ran into this racism on the football field, did you feel you had support among the whites on your team and the coach on your team?
NATE DAVIS:
Some you did, yeah.
BOB GILGOR:
Some you did.
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah.
BOB GILGOR:
Some you didn't.
NATE DAVIS:
I would go as far as to say, if we ran into any type of hostility, racism from another school, I would say you had the support of um, if not all, most of the football members. You know, we, you know, Chapel Hill was a small place, you know. And a lot of people grew up in Carrboro and Chapel Hill. So we knew some of the people that we went to school with and played football with, and it was not like, you know, every day someone was running around calling us niggers and stuff like that, or we walked into the locker room, you know, and there's only one . . .
[END OF TAPE 2, SIDE B]

[TAPE 2, SIDE A]

[START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
NATE DAVIS:
...so yeah, you know, it's not like we couldn't sit down beside him, or when we walked into the shower everybody, all the whites would walk out, um, it was not like that, you know. There were some problems; there were a lot of problems. There were some things that, you know, some people want to forget, but there was a lot of things taken away from both races.
BOB GILGOR:
Do you remember the issue of the marshals around the time of the riot?
NATE DAVIS:
I don't, I don't recall that. I don't know why.
BOB GILGOR:
Do you remember what year the riot occurred in?
NATE DAVIS:
No I sure don't.

Page 24
BOB GILGOR:
Was it your last year at the high school?
[Portion of interview excised.]
Do you remember how long the riot went on? Fifteen minutes, an hour, half a day?
NATE DAVIS:
Not sure at all.
BOB GILGOR:
Did anything happen after-so that was the year that you graduated, which was '69?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah. I do remember, I don't remember, there may have been other riots that went on.
BOB GILGOR:
Did anything happen positive after the riot?
NATE DAVIS:
As far as what?
BOB GILGOR:
As far as what the black students, what the African American students wanted changed at the school. The feeling that-
NATE DAVIS:
I think that you may have had some things changed, as far as representation on the yearbook, representation on the student body, representation as far as Homecoming queen, you know, and things like that.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you feel it ended up, well you weren't there afterwards to know.
NATE DAVIS:
No, no.
BOB GILGOR:
When you went to the new Chapel Hill High, were the school colors and the mascot those of Chapel Hill High or Lincoln?
NATE DAVIS:
It was Chapel Hill High.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you have a school song?
NATE DAVIS:
Don't remember what it was, but we changed the mascot, we voted. It was the Wildcats and the Tigers, and there again, I can't remember what it became in '66.
BOB GILGOR:
The pictures from the yearbook said Wildcats on the shirts, the jerseys of the basketball team, so if they changed the name, they didn't change the jerseys.
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, Wildcats, yeah. Well, we voted, you know.

Page 25
BOB GILGOR:
So you remember very little about the riot, and you weren't a part of the in group that was responsible for the riot, but you must have heard some things.
NATE DAVIS:
I can't remember. I'm pretty sure I was a part of it, because we all grew up together, and we stuck together. I may not have been there when it actually started, and I think the day that the Black Panthers came out to the school, that was the day that we was kept in our classroom. Yeah.
BOB GILGOR:
Was that the same day as the riot?
NATE DAVIS:
I think so. For some reason I just can't, I can't remember the-
BOB GILGOR:
Were you involved with any other schools? Did you ever go to the school up in Hillsborough, or over in Durham?
NATE DAVIS:
No, uh-uh.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you feel that the death of Martin Luther King, and all the demonstrations that had taken place in the South around that time, had any bearing on the feelings of the students?
NATE DAVIS:
White or black students?
BOB GILGOR:
Yeah. Both. Either.
NATE DAVIS:
I think you probably had a lot of white students that was afraid, you had black students that was angry. No one knew what was going to happen, you know, you probably had some white students that was trying to get across to their black friends, yes, this did happen but I'm not a part of it; you know me, you know who I am, you know what I believe in, you know I've been your friend. And I think there would have been less racism coming from the white students if it was not for some of their parents. Because a lot of the students that we had problems with, or that I have a problem with now, or back then, are my friends, I would consider them friends. But someone I have sat down and had lunch with or had breakfast with or whatever, that I see in the community and things like that, you know, so I think that it was something that they grew up with. It was something that was taught. And it took them a time to learn that this is not the way it should be, this is not the way I want to be.
BOB GILGOR:
What did you learn from your parents about whites, how you should feel about them?
NATE DAVIS:
I think back then, growing up, that was something that was never discussed. We knew that if you went certain places you would be discriminated against, but as far as your parents telling you, well don't trust this white person because they're going to do this to you, you know, it was not the person but the situation you were

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put in, where you went, you know, how you handled yourself when you went certain places. And we had everything we needed in our community, so we really didn't have to go anywhere, you know. We had our school, we had our churches. I was not lucky enough to be old enough to go to the movie theatre that used to be up here in Carrboro, but you know, back then they had the movie theatre, and we had Hargraves. Hey, you got everything you needed at Hargraves. I been coming to Hargraves since I was five years old.
BOB GILGOR:
This was a meeting place, huh?
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah.
BOB GILGOR:
Was that, even after you were at Chapel Hill High that you came back here after school?
NATE DAVIS:
Oh yeah, yeah.
BOB GILGOR:
Do you have kids in school now?
NATE DAVIS:
I have one, a seventeen-year-old son.
BOB GILGOR:
Thirteen?
NATE DAVIS:
Seventeen. I have a 26-year-old and a 24-year-old son that graduated from Chapel Hill High.
BOB GILGOR:
What do you hear from your 17-year-old son about race relations at the high school now?
NATE DAVIS:
I don't hear so much about race relations, you know, as with any institution these days they are good and positive. My son is a pretty good student, he's an athlete, so he may not encounter some of the things that the other black kids may encounter. And also with Chapel Hill, some people may deny this and say it's not true, but it's who you are, and that's the way it is.
BOB GILGOR:
Who you are. Can you explain that a little further?
NATE DAVIS:
Uh-huh. It all depends on how you were treated.
BOB GILGOR:
But who's treated good, and who's not treated good? Who's treated with respect, who's treated with high aspirations and who's treated-
NATE DAVIS:
The person that's treated with respect, all depends on who you got, who's got your back, and that's the bottom line. You know, if you may have a student out there that may have one parent in the home, and the mother's working three or four jobs, but if the community is behind you, you're not going to have too much of a

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problem, and I'm not saying the community's going to be there to support you, well they'll be there to support you, but to hold your hand when you do something wrong that you shouldn't be doing, but if you're mistreated, you know, in this community, if the powers that be know that you may have someone that's going to look out for you, they kind of lay off you a little bit more. I'm not saying that you get away with doing anything wrong. Like when I was growing up, well and I'm not that much younger than Fred, but you know, you had people like Fred Ballard and Hank Anderson, Hilliard Caldwell, and people like that, and there's others out there, you know, that's going to take care of you. You know, we came to Hargraves and our parents had come to Hargraves, we didn't have nothing to worry about. They knew we was at Hargraves, you know. Miss Lucille Caldwell was here when you was at Hargraves. And there was a certain time she was going to send you home when you was supposed to be home. And they knew what you were going to get into over here.
BOB GILGOR:
Were you saying in some ways that it depends on who you are at the high school-
NATE DAVIS:
Not just at the high school but in the community, yeah, it's not just a school issue. But um, and I'm not saying that's a good thing or a bad thing, because I think there's certain people in this community that look out for all the young people. As for myself, if you want to, if you really want to get my dander and get me angry, you know, mistreat a young person. And I still have to catch myself sometimes from getting too angry. Like some people may say something like, 'those people' that live in public housing, or 'those people,' or 'that child,' you know. And I really get angry when people say that, regardless of who it is. Because they're labeling those people, and to me, it makes me feel like that they feel like they're better than they are, you know. One thing about Hargraves, if you come here, you can be treated the same way, regardless of who you are. And I think some kids kind of take advantage of that when they come over here, because I may, they may do something and I may, it may seem that I'm getting angry, you know, and they'll stand there and look at me and say well, he's not going to make us leave, or he's not going to do that, and they say well if he do, let's just go stand around the back of the building about five or ten minutes and then he's going to come looking for us. But this is a place for them to come and have fun and be protected or whatever, but yeah, there's a lot of people in this community that take care of the young people in this community, and the same thing with the school system. You have to go there and be an advocate for them and speak out for them, and make sure they're not being mistreated. Like I say, it just all depends on who you are and what you're doing and who you know. I reckon it's the same way everywhere, with just about everything.
BOB GILGOR:
So maybe that's a good place to end, although if you have some more time-
NATE DAVIS:
I have a little more time.

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BOB GILGOR:
All right. I'd like to go back and talk to you about Northside and what Northside was like for you. What are your memories about Northside?
NATE DAVIS:
My memories of Northside? My memories of Northside. Getting up, going to school, having about two or three classes, going out for recess, going outside to play. Bernard Scotten bringing his weights to school every day, and at lunchtime and at recess, outside lifting weights and everybody lifting weights. Looking forward to going outside for recess and lunch, you know, going to the snack bar. You know, buying Popsicles and stuff like that. Looking forward to going to the auditorium to a good play and things like that. Going to class and looking at the beautiful black females that was there, the beautiful black teachers, you know. Miss Peace and Miss Gerald and all that. That was a good time.
BOB GILGOR:
How often did you have assemblies in the auditorium?
NATE DAVIS:
I don't remember. But we had it, we had different plays and things like that. I don't remember how often.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you feel that performance was important? I guess—
NATE DAVIS:
Well yeah, it did. Feel like performance was important, and the students and the teachers, I remember we had a play one time and there were some people in the play that was doing an African dance. And a lot of us started laughing. Back then we really didn't know, you know. And I can remember Mr. James Peace stopping the play, and coming on stage, you know. And at that time I think that's when most of us realized, you know, where our ancestors had come from, and back then some people looked at certain things, African dance and things like that, and thought it was funny, something to make fun of. And a lot of people may not tell you this, but it did happen.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you, was the rockpile still up when you were at Northside? A huge group of rocks where you sat and looked at the baseball games? Do you remember that?
NATE DAVIS:
The rockpile still up? Is the rockpile still there?
BOB GILGOR:
Well it's not there now, but was it there then?
NATE DAVIS:
Well there was a hill, you know, I mean when it rained you didn't go on the ballfield and you didn't go by the rockpile. Some of those rocks are still there, you have some rocks down by Mitchell Lane.
[Portion of interview excised.]
BOB GILGOR:
Any other memories of Northside?
NATE DAVIS:
Memories of Northside...all of them is fond memories, you know.

Page 29
BOB GILGOR:
Did you know the teachers outside of the classroom?
NATE DAVIS:
You know I think back then, most of the teachers like lived in rooming houses, so a lot of them were not from Chapel Hill. You know, up here on the corner of Church and Davie Street there's a big house where Mr. Rollie Wilson lives now, I think a lot of teachers stayed there. But we knew them, yeah, we saw them.
BOB GILGOR:
Did they go to church with you?
NATE DAVIS:
I think some of them probably did, yeah. Some of them were from Chapel Hill, like Miss Peace, and Miss Smith and others. I can't think of who else—
BOB GILGOR:
Did they make visits?
NATE DAVIS:
Miss Manley. Oh yeah, they came to your home.
BOB GILGOR:
And what did they do in your home?
NATE DAVIS:
Talk to your parents about, you know, how you're performing in school. They didn't have to wait until the parents called for a parent-teacher conference, stuff like that. One thing I hated about elementary school over at Northside, and I don't remember exactly what year it was, but that's when I reckon the Health Department came in and said we gotta make sure these kids have good medical attention and stuff like that. And they brought this truck over, I think it was the Health Department, and they would come over and they started examining all the kids to see, you know, how their teeth and stuff were doing, and I just felt like they would just come in and just yank them out, you know, you got a rotten tooth, don't try to save it, we're just gonna pull it out. I do remember that. I remember that, you know. I don't know if it was teeth that they thought was gonna grow back, or what.
BOB GILGOR:
So they didn't do any fillings, they just yanked them out?
NATE DAVIS:
Not that I remember, I don't remember.
BOB GILGOR:
Or if they gave anesthetic.
NATE DAVIS:
Probably didn't, cause you weren't standing there that long, so you know.
BOB GILGOR:
Were your parents active in the Parent Teachers Association?
NATE DAVIS:
You didn't need, you really didn't need, well I'm not going to say you didn't need to be, but you had contact with the teachers, because like I said, the teachers came to your home. See, I lived, if you walked out of, you know where the building is now? If you walk out that side door, across, straight across that field? That

Page 30
apartment? That's where I lived. So you know, the teachers didn't have far to come to my house. And if I didn't go to school, I couldn't go outside, because when everybody came outside, matter of fact all my classrooms, two of my classrooms were on that side, like the first grade and third grade. Second grade I moved down to the bottom, the new building they built. So yeah, it's right across the field, you know. And when the teachers left during the day, if they didn't go down McMasters Street they would come down Caldwell Street extension, they'd pass right by my house, the only thing they had to do was stop, walk up the hill a few steps, if I didn't come to school.
BOB GILGOR:
So if you did anything at school that, um, was not good, you got a visit that day from the teacher?
NATE DAVIS:
You got punished that day from the teacher. They took you back in the coat room and they would bend their hand back and take that yardstick, and they'd give you some licks, yeah. Or you didn't go outside for recess. And everybody wanted to go outside for recess.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you have a cardboard box in the cloak room with clothes and shoes, do you remember any of that?
[Portion of interview excised.]
NATE DAVIS:
My dad had two sisters that lived up in New Jersey that, you know, we'd look forward to them coming down because they'd always bring us clothes. And Girl Scout cookies! My aunt worked in a factory up in Newark, New Jersey that, I don't know if they made them, but they boxed Girl Scout cookies. So we never had to buy Girl Scout cookies, probably up until maybe ten, 15 years ago we got Girl Scout cookies. Probably about 15 years ago. They would always bring Girl Scout cookies to us. And my mom's two younger sisters, when they finished high school my mom started working some because they would come over and keep us.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you join any of the clubs at Northside, were you into acting, singing, or band, or sports at Northside?
NATE DAVIS:
We didn't have sports. We had sports, you know we went out for recess, but we didn't have any organized teams.
BOB GILGOR:
Well I've asked you a lot of questions. Is there anything that you want to talk about that you remember that I haven't asked you?
[Portion of interview excised.]
The Stormtroopers were what, a motorcycle gang?

Page 31
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, and well my cousin, my first cousin, James Lewis, got killed. Matter of fact, when he got stabbed, right there at the Pit, um, I was working down at the Student Union, and there was another guy working there and I knew where he kept his car keys, I ran inside and got his car keys, left there, I went down Johnson Street were his mom lived, told her that he had got stabbed, left there, went on Graham Street to his grandma's house, told her, went back down and he was still like laying there.
BOB GILGOR:
Was he alive?
NATE DAVIS:
Um, I don't know, when I got back.
BOB GILGOR:
So no one called the rescue, no one took him to the hospital?
NATE DAVIS:
At that time, I feel like that um, the campus police were more concerned about getting the motorcycle gang members away.
BOB GILGOR:
Rather than saving his life.
NATE DAVIS:
Yes, uh-huh.
BOB GILGOR:
Could they have, uh—
NATE DAVIS:
The only thing I remember, when I went back, there was a, right now today I don't remember who it was but I think I know who it was, there was a Chapel Hill police officer that came, and he said well how long has he been laying here, and somebody told him, and he picked him up and put him in his police car and took him to the hospital. So I don't know if he could have survived if they had gotten him there a little bit quicker, or what. I'm pretty sure he was still alive, because if he had not been alive, I don't think the officer would have moved him.
BOB GILGOR:
And did anybody get prosecuted for that murder?
NATE DAVIS:
No, they, it went to trial, everybody was found not guilty. Myself and a couple other guys was right there and saw what happened, they called witnesses that really was not there, involved in the fight or knew what was going on. I was told that the reason I was not called as a witness was because we was cousins, you know, and so they found them not guilty; and then, after the trial there was demonstrations, the fire bombings in Chapel Hill and things like that.
BOB GILGOR:
I hate to end it on something like this; give me a good memory that we can end it on, Nate.
NATE DAVIS:
You know, I'll offer you a good memory, I'll say hanging out at Hargraves [Laughter] , you know.

Page 32
BOB GILGOR:
What you're doing now.
NATE DAVIS:
Yeah, yeah, that's what I'm doing. I'm still, I've been hanging out at Hargraves ever since I was about four years old. I'm still hanging out at Hargraves, so you're talking about almost 50 years. I'm 50 years old now, so I've been hanging out at Hargraves for 46 years.
BOB GILGOR:
Well I appreciate you talking with me, and thank you very much.
NATE DAVIS:
Well you're welcome, you know, you have any other questions let me know.
END OF INTERVIEW