Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Vennie Moore, February 24, 1999. Interview K-0439. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Fear of violence after Martin Luther King's assassination

Moore recalls integration in Davidson. She was inspired by Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks, and remembers fearing violent riots after King's assassination and her frustration that the black school in Davidson closed.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Vennie Moore, February 24, 1999. Interview K-0439. 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

BRIAN CAMPBELL:
Do you remember when they changed the school, when they closed this school up here at integration and all?
VENNIE MOORE:
Yeah, that was Stephanie's first year in school. Yes, I can remember it … I can remember it… I can remember it just as good, taking Stephanie to school. You remember I told you that Stephanie went to school the first day - she went to school over there when they integrated - and she stayed in the bathroom all day. She never, I took her to her class and everything, but after I took her to the classroom, she went in the bathroom and stayed there all day. She and Mr. Roberts laughed about it. You know Mr. Roberts? He used to be the principal over there.
BRIAN CAMPBELL:
Was it hard when … how did they decide to close this school for integration, do you remember?
VENNIE MOORE:
No, I don't remember. I know when they closed it they had to close it. They had to close it. That's when everything was integrating then. Luther Martin King was strong then and I had that book about the lady that rode the bus, you know. I had that before my house got burned down and I gave my sister one of them because I had three I had bought. But, this was all during the time when they integrated. You know, I give Luther Martin King, what is it, Martin Luther King, credit for mostly for integrating the school. Beause when you hear him say his children on his speech - on his speech, his children will be not treated like the color of their skin, they be treated like their character. That's what I like about it. It was during that time. We were scared, we were scared. We were scared it was going to be a riot, you know. We were scared for the children and scared for us. But, everything went on calm and cool.
BRIAN CAMPBELL:
Were people really excited about it or were they kind of upset that this school had to close?
VENNIE MOORE:
Well, some wanted it and some didn't. I didn't care about wanting it for the mix, but I wanted it for equal rights. I wanted my children to have equal rights. If they would give me equal rights over here, I wouldn't think about going over there. That's the way I felt about it, but everybody else don't feel about it like that.
BRIAN CAMPBELL:
So some people were pretty upset.
VENNIE MOORE:
Yeah, they were upset and pretty scared for the kids to go to school, but it was … Mr. Roberts was a great teacher. He straightened them out, both sides. This kid …They had trouble, now, but they straightened them out, the white and the black. The white had what they was taught and the black had they was taught, but they didn't get to carry it to school. So, you can't help what you was taught, but it you live long enough you learn better.