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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 >>

Changes in Little Rock since the 1950s

Bates cites some of the changes she has seen in Little Rock since the 1950s.

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

But I wonder just to what extent you think things have changed in Little Rock.
DAISY BATES:
Things have changed now. You can ride downtown with my husband, and you are not disturbed by the police. We've changed the law; we have the laws on our side. And if you want to be friends with a Negro person, you can, without being afraid. Lucille was just telling me unknown they had a little group here, a black singing group, Up With the People. I think that's the name of it. So it was the high school kids that they were working with, that joined their group. And Lucille said she had them out to her house. And every time she had them out there, the police would come. So the third time, she knew the policeman. She said, "Every time I have these kids out here, every time they come out and sing unknown they're not disturbing anybody—we're not disturbing the peace—so why is it the police come by every time?" unknown See, because they were integrated and had the rigid segregation laws, unknown the police had a right to come in and arrest you and me and say we're disturbing the peace. We're co-habitating, anything, any kind of contact. unknown So they can't do this now, so there's a difference. I've known the time that a white woman and a Negro man couldn't ride in a car together.They were afraid, not of what the people would say, but what the police would do to them. So we don't have that anymore.
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
Do you have friends in the white community now . . .
DAISY BATES:
Yes.
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
. . . more than you did . . .
DAISY BATES:
I don't know. I can't say more; I don't think they were real friends in the first place. (Laughs) Those that fade away. . . . You always have, I think, some that fade away, including the black unknown community, also. But I still have friends that I talk to and respect, and they respect me. But I think what's mostly wrong with the unknown Negro community in Little Rock is that I did something that they couldn't do, and I was not a native of Little Rock, you see?
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
Mm-hm.
DAISY BATES:
And unknown this 1957 activity, and I could show them up. They thought I did something. I would have been glad to have given it to them, (laughs) for anyone to take it. But this was kind of. . . . I felt this.
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
That they felt unknown you were an outsider?
DAISY BATES:
Yeah. Outsider. Stirring up trouble, you know.