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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Willa V. Robinson, January 14, 2004. Interview U-0014. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Opposition to integration

Here, Robinson says that people in Maxton did not wish for integration. (It is not clear how this claim fits in with her earlier statement that no one opposed the process. Robinson may be speaking only about Native American resistance to integration in the 1970s.) Maxton residents simply did not want the government interfering in their lives.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Willa V. Robinson, January 14, 2004. Interview U-0014. 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

MM: Tell me before we have to leave this, tell me about how you and some of the other members of the black community reacted to what Indians were doing in the early ‘70s to fight integration. What do you feel like motivated that, and how did you react to it at the time? WR: Well, to me—you want me to be honest, don’t you? MM: Yeah, well sure. If you’re comfortable being honest. WR: Most of those around Maxton really they did not want the integration. They felt that what schools they had, they had done it on their own without the help of the state, and that they should not have to deal with whites or blacks. That was their thoughts, that, “they didn’t care whether we had an education or not. Up to a point we worked together and built us a school here or a school there. Now they want to take our school and put everybody in it.” They didn’t feel like it was fair. My question to them was, “Well, it can’t be integrated unless we include everybody. Why do you want to stick out there like a sore thumb? If we’re going to do it we need to all do it.” But they thought no. They didn’t think they should. MM: They didn’t think they should have to. WR: Nuh-huh. MM: Was it just racism, do you think, or was there something else behind it? WR: I wouldn’t say it was a lot of racism. I think it was, “You’re invading my territory.” Like with the college when North Carolina came in and says, “You’re going to be a part of the system so we’re going to make you North Carolina College at Pembroke,” North Carolina University at Pembroke. “They’re taking over our schools, and I don’t think it’s fair.” There was a lot of kind of feedback on that. And as I say, it wasn’t to a point of really going at each other’s throat. It was just mostly conversation. How do you feel about it? How do I feel about it. Then you tell me how you feel, and I tell you how I feel. That was it.