Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Arthur Little, December 14, 1979. Interview H-0132. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Community and personal impacts of the Great Depression

Little describes the impact of the Great Depression. It devastated many families in Newton, North Carolina, and Little is still uncomfortable investing in the stock market. The Depression also convinced Little not to pursue a master's degree at Columbia University, a decision he still regrets.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Arthur Little, December 14, 1979. Interview H-0132. 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:
How did it come about that you got to go off to State?
ARTHUR LITTLE:
Well, they had just raised me that way. I didn't know it would be any other way, that's all.
JACQUELYN HALL:
You always knew you were going to go to college.
ARTHUR LITTLE:
I was to have gone to Columbia University in the fall of '31 to get my master's degree in business administration, but things was so tough, and I felt like I'd been a liability long enough. And I had my credits. I remember I took a dollar bill and sent it to State College, and they sent them to Columbia University. All of our seminars and most all of our textbooks were written by professors out of Columbia University. Therefore, most all our boys went to get their master's degree in business administration, went to Columbia University. You could get it in a year at that time, but it'd take two years now. And it would have taken two years at Harvard at that time, too, and Yale. I just regret it so bad I could break down and cry that I didn't go. [Voice breaks.]
JACQUELYN HALL:
Oh, really?
ARTHUR LITTLE:
But I didn't.
JACQUELYN HALL:
That happened to a lot of people in the Depression.
ARTHUR LITTLE:
I could have went anyhow. I was still a single boy, and marriage was off a few years, but I declare, things was tough. You can't imagine how blue things was in 1931. And to this day, I don't buy no stock, because I was in school to study banking, financing, and all kinds of investments when that crash come. I just can't do it. I just can't buy stock. I can buy gold. Can't buy stocks, I just can't. So many families just wiped out. There were a lot of them here at Newton, too, just completely wiped out. They had everything they had in stock. My daddy was never a stock man. He never had any stock in anything. We had it in farm land, and, of course, farm land went down low, low, low, but it came back. But you can't come back with stocks when it's wiped out, and the company is bought and taken over by somebody else, you see. You just can't do it.