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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Annie Bell Williams Cheatham, March 21, 1995. Interview Q-0015. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

School far away and has few amenities for blacks in rural North Carolina

Cheatham talks about growing up in the '10s and '20s in rural Granville County near Oxford, North Carolina, where it was about a two mile walk to an unheated black school without water or plumbing.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Annie Bell Williams Cheatham, March 21, 1995. Interview Q-0015. 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

JAMES EDDIE McCOY:
Okay, uh, how many people that lived down in the flatwood, you had to walk out of there to blackground school?
ANNIE BELL CHEATHAM:
Yeah, sure we walked through, sure we. . .
JAMES EDDIE McCOY:
How many miles was that you think, it's almost back at the church.
ANNIE BELL CHEATHAM:
It was, it was back at the church. . .
JAMES EDDIE McCOY:
Yeah, 'cause the school wasn't far from the church.
ANNIE BELL CHEATHAM:
It sure weren't. . .
JAMES EDDIE McCOY:
So, you had to walk about three or four miles a day?
ANNIE BELL CHEATHAM:
Yeah, every bit of that, and it get so cold you 'bout freezing, but we would come through here, above where the cemetery, and we come up back of that, so we walked up that railroad, come up the railroad, and walk up that uh, and got up that, the school is back of the cemetery, and you come up this way, and you got to the school of course before you did the church. And we walk from there, we'd be crying and going on, it'd be so cold and everything, but we had to try to make it.
JAMES EDDIE McCOY:
And when you got to school, school was half cold. . .
ANNIE BELL CHEATHAM:
Yeah, we had to gather in the wood, and [unclear] ?, gather in the wood and light it and stuff, and children would be just crying, going to get the fire started.
JAMES EDDIE McCOY:
And what about, y'all didn't have no bathroom.
ANNIE BELL CHEATHAM:
No, no, you use a tub, only way to use the bathroom was a tub.
JAMES EDDIE McCOY:
And when you was in school, everybody had to go out in the woods on their own away. . .
ANNIE BELL CHEATHAM:
That's where we had to go, out in the woods.
JAMES EDDIE McCOY:
No toilet for nobody.
ANNIE BELL CHEATHAM:
No, no, no, no, you made your own toilet.
JAMES EDDIE McCOY:
Who else brought wood to the, other than y'all was cutting it, did anybody bring, did the parents bring wood to keep the school going?
ANNIE BELL CHEATHAM:
They would bring a little something sometimes, but see they on other folks farms too, you see, they couldn't just haul a little wood just anytime you know.