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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with MaVynee Betsch, November 22, 2002. Interview R-0301. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Wealth insulates child from segregation

Betsch remembers how her great-grandfather's wealth insulated her from segregation. She swam at the beach he owned, the black resort American Beach, instead of at segregated pools, and attended a private school.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with MaVynee Betsch, November 22, 2002. Interview R-0301. 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:
It seems like there was a consistency in his life, just in terms of his, I mean people don't live like that.
MA VYNNE BETSCH:
Oh God yes. Yes. Look at this man. Even then he was ahead of his time socially. Now it's politically correct for employees to own—
KIERAN TAYLOR:
Stock.
MA VYNNE BETSCH:
Stock in the company. But you know who owned the beach? The pension bureau. My great grandfather of course was wealthy. He had stock in Wall Street, he could've bought the beach by himself. He could've been the elite. No, no. It was the pension bureau that owned this. The money that the employees put in. Over there on Julius Street, [unclear] little cabins for them, free so they could, employees could come down. He never, never forgot his poor, his simple lifestyle and upbringing.
KIERAN TAYLOR:
Would you ever remember him talking explicitly about race?
MA VYNNE BETSCH:
No. No. It's so strange. I know this may sound funny, but because we were, for example we went to school in a car. You see, the wealth, money believe it or not, kept us away from a lot of things that were normally associated with that time. We didn't ride the bus that much. So we wouldn't have come into contact with that. We could go to the beach when they were fighting about the swimming pool, integrating the swimming pool. That wasn't a problem. We could come. We had our own beach, go in the water in there. It was definitely an economic thing. Definitely, we went to a private girl's school. Oh yeah, Boylan-Haven had a girl's school, a school for black girls.