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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Walter Durham, January 19 and 26, 2001. Interview K-0540. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Sketch of youth on multigenerational black-owned farm

Durham discusses youth on family farm a few miles west of Carrboro, North Carolina, emphasizing the strong extended family network and the presence of a strong matriarchal figure in the person of his grandmother. Notably, this African-American family owned 90 acres of land, accumulated earlier by his grandfather.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Walter Durham, January 19 and 26, 2001. Interview K-0540. 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

BOB GILGOR:
Good. I appreciate you coming here and letting me interview you. The first question I want to ask is where you grew up and what it was like growing up.
WALTER DURHAM:
Well, Bob, I grew up about five miles outside of Carrboro, off of Highway 54 West.. My grandfather accumulated about ninety acres of land out there years ago. Most of the family grew up on that land. I was born , raised , and still reside there to this present day.
BOB GILGOR:
Did you do farming out there?
WALTER DURHAM:
We did a lot of farming in the early years. But right now people mostly grow small gardens or whatever, but no farming. Farming is just in the past for them now.
BOB GILGOR:
But growing up you did farming?
WALTER DURHAM:
Yes we did a lot of farming.
BOB GILGOR:
Your mother and father lived there with you, your grandparents?
WALTER DURHAM:
Pretty much. My mother, grandmother, and grandfather lived there. My father died when I was at an early age, when I was about one. So I never had the experience of knowing him.
BOB GILGOR:
What kind of woman was your mother?
WALTER DURHAM:
I guess growing up at the time when I grew up, raising eight children, I would say that she was a strong lady. Because today, with me being a father myself and having a wife, it's hard to raise two children. So with eight children, she had to have a lot of strength, a lot of inner strength that a lot of people don't know anything about because you never see it, you just experience it. That didn't sound right. You never know the feeling of them because they worked hard. They went to work everyday, and the little money they had, they made it work.