Southern racial customs affected interracial friendships
Elizabeth Siceloff tells a very illuminating story of the racial geographies established in the mid-1900s. Even though she experienced camaraderie with most blacks, Elizabeth had to be reminded to maintain her whiteness to avoid undue questioning by local whites.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Elizabeth and Courtney Siceloff, July 8, 1985. Interview F-0039. 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
Have you come across the name of Mrs. Jernigan?
She was a very lovely black woman.
Her husband was a school principal. And she was secretary of FSC.
Yes. She had a very strong connection with Shaw University. I remember
riding with her to the conference in Pleasant Hill. As I remember, I was
the only white person in this car of, I suppose there were six of us. We
were driving together from Chapel Hill to Pleasant Hill. We stopped, it
was one of the larger cities. We went to the train station so we could
go to the restroom and by this time I was so caught up in feeling part
of the group and . . . actually we spent the night
with black friends of theirs. I so identified with them that when we got
to the train station, it wasn't any particular protest or anything. I
just automatically started looking for the colored restroom. I started
heading toward them and Mrs. Jernigan, who was this very lovely black
lady from Raleigh, North Carolina, who was working as a part-time
secretary for the Fellowship, she said, "Now Mrs. Taylor, you
know we're running late and we don't have time for anybody to get
arrested or stop and get somebody out of jail." She said,
"You just turn right around and you go right in that white
restroom and I don't want you to give me any trouble." She was
a very mild and soft-spoken person and I did what I was told.