Black students move through town without fear
Nickerson, who attended the all-black schools Northside Elementary and Lincoln High, recalls that she never felt threatened when walking to and from school. As she speculates on her parents' role in creating a sheltered environment for her, the interviewer changes the subject.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Stella Nickerson, January 20, 2001. Interview K-0554. 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
BG: So I can’t ask you that. Next question: what was school like? Where did you go to grade school?
SN: I went to Northside.
BG: And what are your memories of Northside?
SN: Hmm. [pause] It was a good memory. I don’t remember anything bad about Northside. We walked to school, we walked home. Big classrooms.
BG: You walked in groups, or did you walk by yourself?
SN: We had groups. Because we all lived on the same street. We were going in the same direction.
BG: It wasn’t for protection or anything--.
SN: No. I was never put in a situation where I felt threatened, that I needed to walk in a group to and from school. Even when I started at Lincoln and we walked to school, I never felt as if I needed to have a group around me so I would get to school safely. I didn’t—that wasn’t there.
BG: I don’t want to put words into your mouth. But what I’m hearing, I’m interpreting, and I’d like you to validate and tell me if my interpretation is true—it seems as though you grew up in a segregated town without fear.
SN: No, I did not have any fear. Maybe I just didn’t know what was--. And it wasn’t something that was talked about that would have caused fear. You know? My parents probably knew things that I didn’t know. But they did not talk about it to cause me to be afraid to walk up town or to walk to school, or, you know--.