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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Jonathan Worth Daniels, March 9-11, 1977. Interview A-0313. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Black and white children reflected the separate and unequal philosophy of their era

Daniels explains that although black and white children played together, blacks held an inferior social position. Black children, in fact, were often used as surrogate nursemaids to protect white children from harm.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Jonathan Worth Daniels, March 9-11, 1977. Interview A-0313. 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

CHARLES EAGLES:
Getting back to your playing, you played with the black children in the neighborhood, too.
JONATHAN WORTH DANIELS:
Oh, sure. And they weren't intimidated by me. I remember there was one damn little black bully who tried to take all my candy away from me [laughter] , and he got away with it, too. At that age, equality was pretty well established, although, if they came to our house, they would come to the back door.
CHARLES EAGLES:
Did you ever go to their homes?
JONATHAN WORTH DANIELS:
Yes, I was taken by Harriet to their homes, and I was treated with kindness. You know this thing, "know his place." Well, that is a term that is now anathema. But in those days, you did know your place, and it wasn't regarded as shameful to know your place by the blacks. We had a lot of good friends among the blacks. There was a little boy that played with me; I think that was an arrangement. After you got too old to be tended by a nurse, you had a colored boy who was a year or two older than you as a kind of a playmate who was able to keep you from falling in the creek and such things. We had some great adventures. There was a storm sewer in Raleigh five feet wide and five feet tall that extended from right below our house up to the Sir Walter Hotel. And we would go through that storm sewer with torches. It was like going through a great cave. I don't know what would have happened to us if we'd gotten caught in there when there was a cloudburst, but we didn't have any troubles. We enjoyed it. It was an adventurous thing to do.