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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Richard Bowman, July 8, 1998. Interview K-0513. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Catholic school provided a quality, unbiased education to black youth

Bowman believes the education he received at a Catholic primary school was valuable and unbiased by racial prejudice. He specifically remembers learning about the Dred Scott case and learning how to save money in a bank. Because he was not conscious of racial differences at the time, he did not find it unusual to have white teachers instead of black teachers.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Richard Bowman, July 8, 1998. Interview K-0513. 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

KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
So, I'm curious at St. Anthony's were you taught anything like Black history or anything like that by the Catholic nuns?
RICHARD BOWMAN:
Yes, we were taught a little of black history. We used textbooks that we were required to use by the state, but some of the things they told us about were not in the history book and some things were in the history book, but they elaborated on it. The thing that sticks out in my mind even to this day was the discussion we had about the Supreme Court decision uh, when Chief Justice R.B. Tanney made his statement that the Negro has no right whatsoever. And that statement-
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
Dred Scott
RICHARD BOWMAN:
I mean-Dred Scott-uhhuh-Dred Scott decision-when Chief Justice R.B. made that-read the decision.
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
So, you talked about that?
RICHARD BOWMAN:
Yeah, we talked about that.
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
That's interesting. So, um, it must have been a big change to move from having all white teachers in elementary school to having black teachers at Stephens-Lee-or was it?
RICHARD BOWMAN:
It wasn't. Because I didn't think in terms of race. Even through the eighth grade I never felt it-whites were any different, any better than I was. In fact, even in my work and all after school with whites- I just never felt there was any difference.
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
So, there wasn't-First of all, it's obvious that you admired your education at St. Anthony's-so, it sounds as if they didn't treat you all any different because you were black.
RICHARD BOWMAN:
Definitely not. They taught us more than we were required to learn. In fact, I can remember my first savings account-uh, Missionary Priest had us to bring our nickels and what not to him he gave us a little pass book and he saved our money for us until we got enough to put in the bank and then he would drive us down to the bank to put it in the bank. This is something extra that we were being taught-to save.