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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 >>

Lack of job opportunities for African Americans in Stanley County, North Carolina

Cook talks about his goals as president of the Stanley County NAACP during the mid-1970s. Cook argues that the biggest problem facing African Americans in Badin, and Stanley County more generally, was the lack of job opportunities by that time. He describes how African Americans lacked visible jobs in the community and how many of them had to leave in order to find gainful employment and the chance for social mobility elsewhere.

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:
What sorts of things does the organization do now?
CLYDE COOK:
[Laughter] Well, one of the most bothersome things that we have to complain about right now is job opportunities for blacks. I hate to make that statement, but Stanly County is just about at the bottom of the list whenever it comes to job opportunities for our young black people. And for that reason, I spoke a few times in my meeting with the mayor And the country officials. . . I think about the days of Roots, Alex Haley's novel, whenever they were separating families by selling the daughters off and all, they don't sell them all off now and they don't have the whipping pole. But they had a way of separating them at the economic level. If a black child goes and gets a college education, if he wants to get a job comparable to his education, the most of them has got to leave Stanly County and go in other areas. Most of our better young material now is in the northern states, where they could get better job opportunities. And it makes it mighty difficult for me now if I'm called on to produce a qualified young black to take a better position right now; it's hard to find one, because they done drained them out. And some got discouraged, didn't want to leave home, and dropped out of college and out of school, and just taken common jobs and went to work here to start with. I don't know how long you have been in this area and how much you will visit around throughout the county, but it's not any problem for you to see the thing that I'm talking about. And the thing that's grieving me is, when you walk into banks in Stanly County you find no blacks. I think maybe the Cabarrus Bank has started by bringing on the token one or two blacks in the teller department. You go into the big chain stores that's operating in Charlotte and Greensboro, whatever city you go in, you go there and you'll find that they're well represented with both black and white, and there's a good relation. You come here to Albemarle, and you walk in those same stores and you can't find a black in there nowhere. Well, that's disturbing to me. I'm personally dissatisfied with it. And my people are dissatisfied with it. Now I have done met with the city management; I've done met with the county management in good faith, hoping to resolve, and they promised me that they would work towards improving the situation. But seemingly, they have forgotten about it. Don't nobody need to tell me, and don't nobody need to tell my people, that we can get federal assistance; we can file complaints and we can file suits against these kind of things that's going on, because they're long past due. And I'm not the person to threaten any, and I hope it's not going as a threat. But I'm certainly looking forward, before my administration comes to an end, of making some changes in Stanly County.