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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Daisy Bates, October 11, 1976. Interview G-0009. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Fury at racism

Bates recalls the deep anger racism planted in her as she grew up in segregated Arkansas. (There appears to have been some technical problems with the tape at this point in the interview.)

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Daisy Bates, October 11, 1976. Interview G-0009. 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

ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
unknown The first thing I wanted to ask you was if you could just say—I don't know if you can pull it all together in your mind, but if you could just say—what were the factors unknown that prepared you to step forward in a role of leadership at the time of the Little Rock crisis? What do you think in your background prepared you to play a leadership role in that crisis?
DAISY BATES:
Well, I think I've been angry all my life about what has happened to my people. unknown [Tape repaired] [Mrs. Bates refers here to the rape and murder of her mother by a group of white men] unknown finding that out, and nobody did anything about it. I think it started back then.
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
unknown In your book you entitled that chapter "Rebirth."1 n1
DAISY BATES:
Yes.
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
And the heritage from your father was a rebirth of your attitudes, wasn't it?
DAISY BATES:
It was, because before that time I don't remember ever—after my childhood friend and I broke up—-I don't think I ever spoke to a white person. There was a white sheriff who used to come and visit my father. I liked him. unknown Well, if he'd come by unknown he'd say, "Is your Daddy here?" I'd just turn and say, "Daddy, that man is out there." I couldn't even speak to any of them, because I couldn't.
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
‘Cause you were so . . .
DAISY BATES:
I was so tight inside. There was so much hate. And I think it started then without my knowing it. It prepared me, it gave me the strength to carry this out.
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
But when your father lay dying, he encouraged you to channel all that anger into . . .
DAISY BATES:
Into something creative. I did that for some time. I think I'm still doing it now in a very small way. And I will always remember what he told me unknown But really I don't think anything prepared me more than my anger.