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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with John Thomas Outlaw, June 5, 1980. Interview H-0277. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Black-owned trucking businesses are few

Outlaw does not believe that racial discrimination limited the number of black-owned trucking businesses, although there are few.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with John Thomas Outlaw, June 5, 1980. Interview H-0277. 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

ALLEN TULLOS:
One final thing has occurred, thinking back over some of the interviews that we have done with people in the textile industry. There weren't very many blacks involved in the textile industry, but the ones that were involved oftentimes did things like driving trucks; they were haulers of goods from one point to another. I was just curious about whether or not blacks then got involved in the trucking industry and if there are any significant black-owned carriers.
JOHN THOMAS OUTLAW:
There are several in this state, but I don't know why they didn't choose to get into it. Apparently it didn't cross their mind about organizing a truck line. There was a family named named Bell over at Jackson who operated a number of trucks. The father then died, and he had a sawmill and a farm and a truck line. He gave Thomas Bell the truck line, and he gave another son the farm, and the other one the other business. And Thomas did a good job. But it just was a matter of not getting into it; anybody could have gone into the business that wanted to, and I don't know why they didn't choose to do it.
ALLEN TULLOS:
There wouldn't be any among the top ten or twenty or thirty or forty carriers.
JOHN THOMAS OUTLAW:
No. They apparently just were not interested.
ALLEN TULLOS:
Would there have been any kind of effects of discrimination as there were, say, in the textile industry that kept the blacks on the outside of the mill instead of allowing them to go in?
JOHN THOMAS OUTLAW:
I don't think so. I never knew of that, because none of the truck lines do have almost all blacks. It would vary, but generally speaking the truckload flatbed carriers that haul cotton and fertilizer and tobacco, a lot of those drivers are black. And I think the reason is that most of that is a rural type of commodity, and there's just more blacks over there in the farm area, and that's the reason why they have them.