Title: Oral History Interview with Geraldine Ray, September 13, 1977. Interview R-0128.
Interviewer: Navies, Kelly
Interviewee: Ray, Geraldine
Subjects: Family--North Carolina--Social life and customs--20th century North Carolina--Race relations--20th century African American women--North Carolina--History--20th century African Americans--Segregation--North Carolina Buncombe County (N.C.) Ray, Geraldine
Abstract: Geraldine Ray is a lifelong resident of Barnardsville, North Carolina, a small town near Asheville. Ray describes her childhood and young adulthood caring for her disabled grandmother, working on the family farm, and attending all-black segregated schools. She recalls racial segregation as relatively easy to avoid compared to the segregation and prejudice that her black neighbors practiced based on skin tone. She devoted most of her time to school work, raising livestock, cooking, and helping to plant tobacco. She learned these skills from her grandmother because her parents left the state while Geraldine was young. Geraldine briefly lived with her father in Cincinnati before returning to Barnardsville to care for her grandmother. She sacrificed her love of education and desire for a career to nurse her relatives and friends through several illnesses, though she also endured health problems. The interview ends with discussions about her marriage to childhood friend J. T. Ray, her two miscarriages, and raising her two children.