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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Annie Mack Barbee, May 28, 1979. Interview H-0190. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Moving to Durham

When Barbee first moved to Durham, she remembers being impressed by the bustle, people, activities, and businesses, though she also recalls that they first lived in a rough neighborhood. Overall, life in the city was nothing like her years spent on the farm.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Annie Mack Barbee, May 28, 1979. Interview H-0190. 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

BEVERLY JONES:
How old were you when you came to Durham, can you recall. I'm quite sure you were very young.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
The first time or the last time granddaddy brought us here.
BEVERLY JONES:
The first time.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
The first time. Wasn't even in school. Yeah, wait a minute. Yes I was. I'm getting confused. Yes, we were in school, because I went to Hillside. I can see some of my teachers now. One of 'em was so mean. I went to Hillside.
BEVERLY JONES:
Well, maybe you were [END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B] [TAPE 2, SIDE A] [START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
BEVERLY JONES:
You know for the early part of your life.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Exciting.
BEVERLY JONES:
What, the buildings.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Exciting, where we lived at there was something going on all the time. People cutting up and going on. Over there on Poplar Street. I can see that now. We had some nice elderly neighbors, but it was very exciting.
BEVERLY JONES:
So what do you mean, cutting up, people fighting?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, fighting and going on. [laughter]
BEVERLY JONES:
So the farm was quite…
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Dull. Very dull. [laughter]
BEVERLY JONES:
So this was exciting.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Exciting. Being children we didn't know any better. It was very exciting to stand up and see somebody, you know, lay somebody out. Very exciting. And some neighbors, that wasn't so nice, using them kind of words, you know. They was very exciting to us. But, it didn't rub off on us.
BEVERLY JONES:
So he made sure of that.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
He made very, very sure of that. But to us it was very exciting, you know, even though …
BEVERLY JONES:
Well how was it like living in the city with people near you. Because you were on the farm and people were maybe miles apart from you.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Oh yeah.
BEVERLY JONES:
Did you get adjusted to living so close to individuals.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, yeah. Very, very much so. Because we was fortunate enough—despite the exciting people that did things they shouldn't have did, we had some nice elderly neighbors. Very friendly. Older people lived near us on the same street. They were very friendly and very nice.
BEVERLY JONES:
You were renting?
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah, we were renting. They were, all of us were renting. Those houses torn right round there on Poplar Street. That's where my mother died, the second house from the corner. And I think I carried Louise by to show it to her before they tore 'em down. And another thing, the show was right round the corner.
BEVERLY JONES:
Oh, the movie house.
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
The movie house.
BEVERLY JONES:
So everything was exciting. [laughter]
ANNIE MACK BARBEE:
Yeah. Bakery, movie house, bakery, a barber shop, and all that, right there in Hayti. If we wanted anything, we'd go around there to the bakery, get it. Wanted to go to the show, go right down to the corner. They was right round there. The hosiery mill is right over there, people passing by, going back and forth to work at the hosiery mill. So we were really right in the center. We were right there on Poplar Street. That's right in the center of uptown, almost uptown. 'Cause we wasn't very far from uptown where we were living at that time—where he first carried us when we first came to Durham.