Desegregation creates opportunities for African Americans
Thompson believes that integration was an overwhelmingly positive process. Even the inconvenience of busing had its parallel inconvenience before integration, in busing to maintain racial imbalance. Thompson notes that his son, who was the first African American member of the Robeson County bar, would never have achieved such success without integration.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Angus Boaz Thompson Sr., October 21, 2003. Interview U-0017. 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: I there anything, you’ve said so many positive things about the results of integration, and I wonder if there’s anything you would look back and say was better under segregation that it is under integration?
AT: I guess I got a little bias in me. Now, I’ve heard so many issues on what’s better, but I never agreed with nothing I’ve heard.
They tried to make an issue out of hauling children. Well, it would be better for children not to have to ride so far, but let me tell you something. When they were segregated they was riding for to keep segregated. They wouldn’t go to the black school. They had to bus them all the way to the white school. I hear about six, seven, eight miles out here from where I live, and they were busing children up to Lumberton High School right there in front of my door. So that busing issue weren’t nothing.
Talk about busing. That’s what you’ve always done, bus to keep from integrating. Now they made you bus to integrate, and you want to fight it. It’s just that true. You have to understand things like that.
Again, I just can’t think of nothing. I can’t, and I’ve heard so many things, but I don’t know one thing I’ll agree with. People right now, you can ask some blacks. They’ll give you a reason why we should still be segregated, but to me I haven’t got enough something in me to understand how in the world you say that because the good so much surpasses the bad until if there’s anything bad, the good will cover it up. It’s just been a blessing to me.
My son, do you think my son could have been public defender? Good gracious alive. He was the first black to join the Robeson County Bar.
The same lawyer I was telling you about, the school board lawyer came to me after he joined the bar here, my son, said, “Angus, we’re going to make your son chaplain of the bar.” They did. Said, “Yep, keep people quiet.” He came and said that to me. I knew when he said it, “Man, you don’t know what a fight you’ve got on your hands.” They made him chaplain, but he’s also now been president of the Robeson County Bar. All that’s due to integration. I don’t know anything that’s bad about it. This stuff would not have happened.