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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Roy Lee and Mary Ruth Auton, February 28, 1980. Interview H-0108. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Unbothered by desegregation.

Auton remembers that school integration did not bother people in his area, just as desegregation in the military did not bother him in Korea. Desegregation was necessary in the military, he believes, because African Americans were not competent soldiers and needed white soldiers nearby to guide them.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Roy Lee and Mary Ruth Auton, February 28, 1980. Interview H-0108. 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

JACQUELYN HALL:
Were you living here when they integrated the schools and started hiring blacks in the factories around here?
ROY LEE AUTON:
Oh, yes.
JACQUELYN HALL:
What kind of effect has that had?
ROY LEE AUTON:
We've had very little trouble right here. There was a couple of fights at the school, but nothing serious.
JACQUELYN HALL:
How did people feel about integration?
ROY LEE AUTON:
It didn't seem to bother them too much. It don't bother me. During World War II we was in the white outfits, and if there was any blacks in, they was in the company of their own. And they wasn't worth a damn. A nigger's got to have a white man to drive him. They had a colored tank battalion, and they got a commitment by radio to attack. After spending probably a million dollars to train them, they got in their tanks and started out, and they done met the enemy in twenty-five minutes. And when the enemy started firing at them, every damn one of them jumped out and run off and left their tank sitting there. And after that they started putting the blacks with the whites in service. And I'd say in Korea for at least fifty …