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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Clyde Cook, July 10, 1977. Interview H-0003. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

African American life in "the Quarters"

Cook briefly discusses living conditions for African Americans in Badin, North Carolina, during the 1920s and 1930s. Relegated to what was commonly referred to as "the Quarters"—a name that Cook insists was not derived from memories of slavery—in West Badin, African Americans were often subject to police harassment.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Clyde Cook, July 10, 1977. Interview H-0003. 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

ROSEMARIE HESTER:
Who first started calling West Badin "The Quarters"?
CLYDE COOK:
Really, I don't know. Now maybe it's kind of reversed: it was called "The Quarters" before it was ever called West Badin, and why and how it inherited that name as "The Quarters", I really couldn't yield the correct answer, not at this time. Probably I have known, but I can't think right now.
ROSEMARIE HESTER:
Wasn't that like a throwback to slavery, just the label "The Quarters"?
CLYDE COOK:
I don't think so… I think that inherited its name along at the beginning of the building of Badin, whenever they had all blacks housed over—and they still do [laughter] —on that side of town and in that area, and they more or less called that the black quarters over there. And they had what they called shack rousters then. Instead of calling them cops, as you know of them now up and down the street, they had shack rousters that would go around, and his job was to run the laborers out and force them to go to work in the afternoon or whatever time of day. If he really didn't want to go, they'd try to force and see that he did go. And they would usually use the term that they was over in the "nigger quarters." So I don't believe there's any connection between slavery and its getting named that.