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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 >>

Awful history of slavery

In reflecting on white allies, Simkins offers some commentary on the history of African and African American slaves in the United States. Despite her graphic description of the evils of slavery, Simkins says that she does not hate white people.

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:
Can you think of anybody white during that period of time, 30's, 40's, 50's, anybody white you met in or out of South Carolina that you felt like was trying to do right by black people in this country?
MODJESKA SIM KINS:
The ones I would have met would have been in organizations like the Southern Conference for Human Welfare.
JOHN EGERTON:
Like Dombrowsky and so forth.
MODJESKA SIM KINS:
I was with the old civil rights conference, that was organized by black workers.
JOHN EGERTON:
Like Frank Porter Graham or Jim Dombrowsky;
MODJESKA SIM KINS:
Yes, Graham was with the group that helped organized the Southern Conference for Human Welfare.
JOHN EGERTON:
Right. Mrs. Durr?
MODJESKA SIM KINS:
Yes, I still hear from her quite a bit.
JOHN EGERTON:
Back then, were you able to think of those people as being allies with your cause?
MODJESKA SIM KINS:
Yes, we did. They were pressured by their own people for just saying that a Negro was a human being. We weren't considered human beings until the Emancipation and that was only in the north. It wasn't in the minds of some people. They bred us just like they did cattle. They put Negroes on the plantation in time for the woman to be in heat so to speak. They bred them just like they do cows and hogs and sheep. I tell them history books don't include those things. I had to laugh one of the last times I was down in Carolina. A lady asked me down to her place. "I hope you're not on tight schedule because some people in the other classes heard you were coming down and they want to come hear you." Most of them young white fellows, young boys. You see they're not teaching history as it was. When I go I tell them like it was, like I'm telling you today. They treated Negro women just like cows. Men just bred them like they did the pigs. And I tell my folks, "You don't have to hate white people for what they did back then, they were doing what was the matter of course at the time." They say, "I don't like Jews because they crucified Jesus." I say, "Uou don't even know whether Jesus was crucified or not."
JOHN EGERTON:
They don't know so they've got no right to say it.
MODJESKA SIM KINS:
He gave them prescription, love God with all your heart, love your neighbor as yourself. inaudible . He didn't tell them to try to get to heaven. He said He was going to his Father but He didn't tell everyone around to go up there.