Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Elva Templeton, January 24, 1976. Interview K-0188. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Good relationships between whites and blacks in Cary

Templeton remembers good relationships between whites and "colored people" in Cary, although she does think that the whites could be quite mean. She describes the African American parts of town, recalls some African American residents, and remembers calling older African Americans "aunt" or "uncle."

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Elva Templeton, January 24, 1976. Interview K-0188. 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

ANNE KRATZER:
Can you tell us a little bit about the relationship between the Cary people and as you say, the colored people?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well, we had very good relationship with them. We had a good element of colored people. I don't think we ever had very much trouble with them, not more than we do the whites. I think whites sometimes are meaner than they are. We played with them when we were kids. We weren't allowed to sass them or be ugly to them or we got it at home.
ANNE KRATZER:
They had different schools. Can you tell about schools?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Oh yes, they had a colored school, about a two room, over on the road to the cemetery. I don't know how to tell that.
ANNE KRATZER:
I think it's off of Shirley Drive now. Somewhere between Shirley…
ELVA TEMPLETON:
It's down on some road going round here to the right of the school to Kildaire Farm Road, you turn off just below the ball field here at the elementary school used to be a road. They've closed it now. Used to be the old road and that's the way we went to the cemetery and there was a Christian church, a colored church. Then right beside it was this colored school until they built the nice school across the railroad for them.
ANNE KRATZER:
That was the black school, which is now Kingswood?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes. Kingswood, I guess. I wonder what they changed all the names for. Why didn't they let them stay like they were?
ANNE KRATZER:
Where was the white public school?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
The first state high school from 1907 is this one up here, the elementary school was the first state public high school. And they used to have a free school called, I just barely remember that. It was facing Dixon Avenue, I think. The corner of Dixon and Chatham. This school up here at the head of Academy Street was a private school until the state took it over.
ANNE KRATZER:
Now the colored people though still had their own school, their own church?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes, Ada Ruffin, I remember was one of the teachers. She was a very fine colored person. She had her mother, I recall, Aunt Millie. We called them aunts and uncles, the older people. We didn't dare call them anything else. I mean, being disrespectful or anything in their names. Ms. Ada Ruffin used to tell about the house on the corner at the Winn Dixie parking lot and it burned one night during the snow. Aunt Millie was a very very religious old lady and I'm going to tell on her. She was outdoors praying because she saw the flakes coming down between the fire and the snow and it looked like drops of blood. She thought Judgment Day had come. But they tell on her and how close she was. She was the most religious woman you ever saw in your life, good old soul. And then there was Bun Ferrell who was a very noted colored person, did, I think he was on the school board of the colored people. And then there was Nas Jones. I'm just recalling some names of some of the colored folk. There was one they called Uncle Logan and Richard Jones, there is some of the prominent colored people around.
ANNE KRATZER:
I notice that you call all lot of the men "Uncle." And then the women were "Aunt."
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Yes for the older colored folks.
ANNE KRATZER:
Where did they live? Did they live in a particular section of town?
ELVA TEMPLETON:
Well there was a little place over here on Walker Street. I don't know how to tell you to go there. You go out on this part right up there at Park and Walker. That was Frogtown. And then farther down the road on that same road street south was another settlement called Little Washington. And then the others were just scattered around. And we had a colored family who lived right back of us. Their property joined ours. Very good, her name was Martha, we called her Babe Jones. Handy Jones her father. And they were very good. Because we had a large . They never bothered anything. Momma would always give them all the fruits they wanted. They never bothered anything. Good colored folks.