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Oral History Interview with Richard Bowman, July 8, 1998. Interview K-0513. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Richard Bowman grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, attended Tuskegee College, served in the army overseas in Germany, and lived in Los Angeles, California, for forty years before returning to Asheville. He discusses important events in his life, including his experience in segregated schools and his efforts to improve Asheville schools following his retirement. He also recalls his early stance against segregated libraries and buses in Asheville. He faced racism in the army and at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Los Angeles. Bowman explains his views on race relations in California by comparing the riots in 1965 with the riots in 1992. Bowman is glad for improvements like school integration in Asheville, but he volunteers his efforts in order to ensure that integration serves black students well.
    Excerpts
  • Bowman's parents worked service jobs to support the family
  • Catholic school provided a quality, unbiased education to black youth
  • Segregation apparent to Bowman when he could not obtain needed library books
  • Bowman attended Tuskegee College by working and receiving financial support from family
  • School integration controversies in Asheville made little practical difference to black students
  • Black students in Asheville did not display skin color or class bias
  • Bowman faced some discrimination during military service
  • Bowman and his brother defied segregation on a bus as children
  • Black colleges credited for their caring atmosphere
  • School integration process took longer than Bowman expected
  • Black high school gives former students the skills to address inequality in Asheville
  • Job counselor in Los Angeles refused to help discriminatory employers
  • 1992 riots in Los Angeles seemed more threatening than those in 1965
  • Bowman's young son absorbed other's prejudices during the 1965 riot
  • Bowman argues that integrated schools provide better preparation for careers and society
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • Subjects
  • School integration--North Carolina
  • North Carolina--Race relations
  • African Americans--North Carolina
  • African Americans--Education--North Carolina
  • Asheville (N.C.)--Social life and customs
  • Education--North Carolina--History--20th century
  • Segregation in education--North Carolina
  • Asheville (N.C.)--Race relations
  • High schools--North Carolina--Buncombe County
  • Stephens-Lee High School (Asheville, N.C.)
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.