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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Laura B. Waddell, August 6, 2002. Interview R-0175. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

African-American seamstress arrives in a neighborhood as whites leave

Waddell describes her move to an area that white residents were leaving. This passage seems to be a description of white flight.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Laura B. Waddell, August 6, 2002. Interview R-0175. 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

KIERAN TAYLOR:
As you moved into that building at Thirty-fifth who were the, it was mostly residential in the area or do you remember when—who were the tenants that were near there?
LAURA B. WADDELL:
Well, next door to me was a small gas station, and the gentleman that owned the gas station lived upstairs. This was a white family. Right next across where the, on Thirty-fifth and West Broad what's now open lot, used to be a row of houses. They were, I don't think there was any business on the West Broad Street side of the street, but on the Thirty-fifth Street side was where the houses were. That was all the way almost to Montgomery Street, the whole block was row houses. Across the street from the row houses on West Broad, there's a two story house there now that's still there, but all of the rest of that whole block was mostly residential.
KIERAN TAYLOR:
Now there couldn't have been too many white residents.
LAURA B. WADDELL:
There were not too many when I first got there, but there were some. But they were slowly moving out.
KIERAN TAYLOR:
They would all be on the east side of the street, right.
LAURA B. WADDELL:
Yes. Yes.
KIERAN TAYLOR:
Because that was kind of a dividing line?
LAURA B. WADDELL:
No, I wouldn't say a dividing line, but seemed like more of the blacks were moving into the west side of West Broad Street. There were more businesses on Montgomery, which was on the east side, and there were several houses, especially the houses on Thirty-sixth Street were still being occupied by whites. Like I said my next door neighbor at the shop that had the gas station, he and his wife stayed there. But they were not young people. They were as I can remember, he seemed to me to have been around about fifty years old or older, he and his wife. His business was already on the decline. So he was looking to move out as soon as he could get a sale, I think, for his business. After he left part of that business went in, there were barbershop next door and a fish market next door after the barbershop. The fish market was there first, and it didn't do well because the young man, he opened it, and he just was not a good businessman. He didn't stay there long. But then the barbershop opened. He stayed there a long time until he died. It was closed up for a while, but now it's a barbershop back again.