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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 >>

Segregation apparent to Bowman when he could not obtain needed library books

Bowman learned to recognize segregation when he realized he could not check out the library books he needed from the local colored library. He was also forbidden from walking to the nearby white library where the books were housed.

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:
That's interesting. So, tell me you started Stephens-Lee in the ninth grade, and you were saying that race wasn't an issue to you, but did it ever dawn on you at any particular time that you were going to a segregated school?
RICHARD BOWMAN:
Well, a time that it really dawned on me, was when I wanted to check a book out from the library-we had an assignment-and uh, we had a colored library. I went to the colored library to do my assignment and I couldn't find the books I wanted. And the lady at the library told me that she would get them from Pack Memorial Library, which was a white library-just a couple of steps away-and I made three trips up and the book still hadn't arrived and so I told her I said listen I need this for an assignment and I'll go up there and get it. And that really upset her-she really got worried I guess because she said, Oh no, no, don't do that, I'll get it, I'll get it for you". But to me, I felt that I could walk in there and demand the book. Because as I said before I didn't feel like I was any different from the rest of em. I probably would have gotten in trouble if I had gone, but uh-
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
Where was the Colored library located, then?
RICHARD BOWMAN:
On the corner of uh-right where the YMI Cultural Center is located now-in that area-at Market and Eagle.
KELLY ELAINE NAVIES:
So, in terms of access to books you started to realize that there was a difference.
RICHARD BOWMAN:
There was a difference, right. We couldn't get the books that we wanted.