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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Modjeska Simkins, May 11, 1990. Interview A-0356. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Most whites are decent folk

Here, Simkins describes herself as a "hell-raiser" and describes an unpleasant encounter with a white preacher who declared himself to be a Ku Klux Klan member. Nevertheless, Simkins thinks that even most of "that old trashy kind of cracker crowd" are all right.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Modjeska Simkins, May 11, 1990. Interview A-0356. 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

JOHN EGERTON:
You were a social worker?
MODJESKA SIM KINS:
I was everything from a busy body to a hell-raiser. Yes, I would say I was a social worker when I started out. My parents were people that were always concerned about others, or the disadvantaged or under the pressure of being mistreated. They reared us that they and they also reared us to believe that no one was better than ourselves unless they behaved better than we did. So I never suffered from an inferiority complex. And in these days I would curse out anybody—trashy white folks and the press.
JOHN EGERTON:
You just don't take any lip off anybody?
MODJESKA SIM KINS:
No, I never have. I don't try to get anybody to get into anything, but if put in a corner I'll fight my way out.
JOHN EGERTON:
Well, when somebody is courteous to you you are always courteous back to them.
MODJESKA SIM KINS:
Yes.
JOHN EGERTON:
I never knew you to ever be just mean to somebody . . .
MODJESKA SIM KINS:
No, I wasn't reared that way.
JOHN EGERTON:
No, you've got good manners.
MODJESKA SIM KINS:
I had a policemand said he was a Klansman, call me one day. I said, come on up here as long as you stay on the sidewalk it's alright. I said if you get on my property somebody might inaudible that cat [laughs] . And then one called me once and he said he was a preacher. We talked the longest and finally inaudible he started cussing and I said you are a preacher and you cuss. inaudible He came down and he started talking all right again inaudible Well, my folks were saying way back, don't get no further back than they knock you back. But the average person—people are all right you know, a lot of times they have to try, try you out and see what they can do. Trial and error, you know. But now after that old trashy kind of cracker crowd, you know, after awhile they just, they're all right, some of best friends. They all come over, do things, bring this, do that. And I have good connections with the press and you know, people at the University.