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0:00 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: SM: Today is Friday, February 4, 2011. I’m Sarah McNulty, oral history interviewer for the [African American Institutional Memory Project, which is part of The University of North Carolina] Institutional Memory Collection. Today we’re with Mrs.—

EW: Edith Wiggins.

SM: Class of 1962 at her home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. So, thank you, Mrs. Wiggins for coming today. Before we start, if I interchange WC [Woman’s College] and UNCG [The University of North Carolina at Greensboro], just excuse me, I go to UNCG now. So, it’s kind of in my daily life to say. I’m going to try to say WC since that’s what is correct, what you said. I’d like to start the interview by asking about your background, just about your family, where you were born, kind of like your life leading up to when you went to WC.

Segment Synopsis: Introduction of individuals participating in the interview, date, and reason for interview.

0:44 - Biography, education history, and decision to attend Woman's College

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Partial Transcript: EW: Okay. I was born in Greensboro, [North Carolina]. My father was a Methodist minister. So, he moved to various churches. I grew up in High Point, North Carolina. And when I finished or just a year before I finished high school he was sent to a church in Winston-Salem, [North Carolina]. So, I finished William Penn High School in High Point, but I was living in Winston-Salem. My mother took me over every day, because she was still teaching in the area. So, it was real convenient for me to finish the high school that I had attended all those years. When I was visiting my grandmother during the summer, I think, after my junior year in Greensboro I saw this newspaper article. She lived in Greensboro, and I saw this newspaper article about Woman’s College admitting its first black students, and I thought it was very interesting. So, I went back my next year, and two of my very best friends, I said, “Let’s apply and see what happens.” And did our senior year. And the three of us were admitted, Jewel Anthony and Patricia Jones. And we three were accepted. And we were in a class of five black students. The other two were Clara Withers [Berryhill] from Charlotte [North Carolina] and Lilly Wiley from—where was Lilly from? I’m not sure. She might have been from I think it was somewhere in Alamance County. But, anyway, we were in that class. And that was the third class of black students.

Segment Synopsis: This segment includes Wiggins' biographical information, primary and secondary school experience, discusses Wiggins' decision to apply and attend Woman's College, and first experiences at Woman's College.

7:44 - Interview project and Woman's College alumni

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Partial Transcript: SM: Well, it’s interesting, because you and some other people have been interviewed. But that was almost twenty years ago. The interview was in ’91, so that was twenty years ago. And, so, it is even more interesting, because you can see if memories change, or perspective changes, and it’s a shame we’re just getting to it, because we’ve already lost a few members of the classes of 1960s. We have a few people who have died.
EW: Really?
SM: Yes, a couple. Not many, but a couple.

EW: I know Bettye Tillman.

SM: Right. And she died young.

EW: Who else?

SM: We have a couple on the list. I was going to ask you at the end of the interview if you knew anybody, because we have some people we can’t find information on. How did Mrs. Tillman die?

EW: I don’t know.

Segment Synopsis: This segment includes discussion on the importance of interviewing alumni and the deaths of Wiggins' former classmates.

9:44 - Campus life at Woman's College

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Partial Transcript: SM: But, yes, anyway. And what did you major in at Woman’s College? EW: Psychology and drama. SM: Psychology and drama? EW: Yes. SM: And what was your favorite part about school in general? I know you were involved in drama productions and things like that. EW: Yes. Nothing stands out in my mind. I would say my overall feelings about going to school there was, do what I needed to do to get out. Survive and get out. SM: What did you guys do for fun? Do you remember anything? EW: We played cards. We went to church. We visited each other’s homes on weekend, and every now and then we might have a date. There were no males on campus. And there were a lot of males at [North Carolina] A&T [State College] that worked on Woman’s College campus, particularly the dining services. But I don’t remember—you know, we would talk to them. We were friendly, but every now and then there would be a date with somebody from A&T. But those were the only college men around at A&T. The social life wasn’t really a big part of my college life that I would say, the ones in my class. I think the others might have to speak for themselves.

Segment Synopsis: This segment includes a statement of Wiggins' academic major, a comment on the social life on campus, and describes the experience of life in the residence halls on campus

15:18 - Segregation and desegregation of Greensboro, North Carolina

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Partial Transcript: SM: Well, as Woman’s College was integrating, Greensboro was still segregated. So, what was it like once you left campus, going downtown, restaurants, movie theaters, what was it like in— EW: Okay. I didn’t go downtown to restaurants. I didn’t go downtown to the movies. Greensboro was my mother’s home. So, I had lots of relatives. Like I said my father’s sister was right across town at Bennett as a registrar. So, I would visit her. Still spent a lot of time at Bennett, still very much a part of the black community in Greensboro. So, Woman’s College was just where I went to school. Went home a lot on the weekends. My parents would pick me up, so.

Segment Synopsis: This segment includes the 1960 Woolworth's Sit-Ins, comments on Woman's College administration response, and the wearing of class jackets by Woman's College students at the protest.

19:21 - Extracurricular activities at Woman's College

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Partial Transcript: SM: Okay. Well, getting back to what you remember from your school years, I have a copy of your senior yearbook. And we’ve kind of gone over some of the things that you were involved with. And we just wanted to know what you could tell us about these clubs, or these activities, what you did, and what they meant, because some of these things don’t exist now. EW: [looking at a yearbook] Masqueraders was the honorary drama society, and you got tapped into it by the older members. And I guess it’s because they had a drama major from probably my sophomore year on, I had some role [in] all of the productions, theater productions—the technical. I particularly remember lighting. That was my specialty. I loved lighting, doing the lights. And one production I think they did The Crucible. I was in The Crucible. I played the part of Tituba. But that’s what that’s about. I don’t even remember this legislature. I guess I went to meetings. The Court of Social Regulations was like the judicial court. When someone would get in trouble for breaking one of the rules, they had to go to the Court of Social Regulations.

Segment Synopsis: This segment includes information about the Masqueraders honorary drama society and participation in theater on campus, the Court of Social Regulations and Honor Court, and talent shows.

24:50 - Desegregation at Woman's College and institutional comparison

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Partial Transcript: SM: Did you ever feel discriminated against at Woman’s College? EW: You mean by the way school did things? SM: Just in general? It can be specifically there were students, or the administration, or? EW: Nothing overt. When I was at Woman’s College everything else was still very segregated. So, whatever was going on at Woman’s College seemed better, even though it was not ideal, it was still better than what was going on outside of Woman’s College. So, your—my perspective would have been from that. So, I’m pretty sure if I thought a lot with a fine tooth comb and went through my experience at UNCG, Woman’s College, I could have a long list of things that were discriminatory. But it didn’t stand out, because overall I was in a setting that was trying not to be, or was not until it wasn’t overtly. At that time people brought their attitudes. And there were women from the South, and there were women from the North. But, you know, the kind of personal slights, looks, or comments, that wasn’t unique to Woman’s College. I had grown up with that all my life. So, that wasn’t—that didn’t stand out as being a unique to something bad about Carolina—UNCG—pardon me for saying Carolina, because, see, when I left UNCG I spent almost the rest of my life in Chapel Hill at Carolina.

Segment Synopsis: This segment includes comments about discrimination and desegregation at Woman's College. Segment compares Wiggins' experiences at Woman's College to the campus environment at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

30:08 - Interaction with Woman's College administration and faculty

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Partial Transcript: SM: And interestingly enough, chancellors don’t change a lot in most colleges, but during the ’60s it was kind of a turbulent era. We went through multiple chancellors for whatever reason. While you were there, there were two different chancellors. There was Dr. Gordon W. Blackwell, and Dr. Otis Singletary. Can you tell me any kind of memories about them, or their experiences, maybe how one time was different, or similar? EW: No. SM: No? So, they weren’t involved much in student life or— EW: Not in my life. Now, they may have been. I’m not going to say they were not involved in student life. They weren’t involved in my student life. SM: Right. Did you ever have any involvement—there were a couple of other administrators—dean of the college? I think her name was Mereb Mossman? The Dean of Students Katherine Taylor?

Segment Synopsis: This segment provides information on Women's College administration and faculty members.

33:35 - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Partial Transcript: SM: And I know you spoke briefly about what you did after Woman’s College, but can you tell me maybe in more depth—senior year—what you decided to do after graduation from that point on? EW: I think I had an elective in my junior year or first semester my senior year on social work. And the woman who taught it was a social worker in the community. I think they brought her in to teach that. Because a lot of what we talked about was her experience, and what she was doing, and how she did it, and the impact. And I could not wait to apply to the School of Social Work my senior year. And that’s how I ended up coming to Chapel Hill. I was accepted in the School of Social Work, because I guess for the first time I could see a kind of a career that was outside of being a teacher, or a nurse. Oh, and one of the black students who was one year ahead of me, Claudette Graves, who is dead now, lived in Greensboro. She was a social—when she graduated—must have been my senior year. Because she had graduated and was working as a probation officer in Greensboro. And I know I did kind of like a senior year project of field placement with her. And it must have been second semester after that I applied to School of Social Work.

Segment Synopsis: This segment discusses Wiggins' graduate experience at UNC-Chapel Hill in comparison to Woman's College including the size of the African American student population, desegregation of restaurants on Franklin Street, desegregation of faculty.

41:57 - Interactions with UNCG after graduation

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Partial Transcript: SM: And you mentioned earlier that you were involved with the alumni a little bit later in life. Can you tell me how you were involved with UNCG after graduation? EW: Oh, let’s see. I had that in my yearbook. I don’t know. Someone called me one day and asked me if I would run for a place on the board. I certainly didn’t volunteer on the Alumni Board. I remember seeing this ballot with my picture on it. I voted for myself and sent it back, and they called me back and said I was on the board. So, for about, I don’t know, two or three years— SM: And when was— EW: I don’t even remember the years. I can run to my— SM: That’s okay. I just need a decade.

Segment Synopsis: This segment discusses Wiggins' involvement with UNCG's alumni board, meeting former classmates, and visiting residence hall staff.

46:59 - Career

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Partial Transcript: SM: That’s funny. I know you got a master’s in social work. I didn’t ask you, what did you do after you graduated from graduate school? EW: I worked as a pediatric social worker at Memorial [Hospital]. SM: Okay. EW: And, then, when my husband went in the service we lived in the Philippines for two years. And as we came out of the service he went his way. I went mine. I came back to Chapel Hill and worked for a private social work agency for a year as I got a job on campus at the Y. There was a campus Y that—they were looking for a staff person who had some community work experience, social-work-type experience, because they had lots of students who wanted to volunteer in the community, and they needed someone to start recruiting students and coordinate their placements and finding placements for them. So, that was why I was hired at the Y. I was at the Y for many years until I became director of the Y. Then, from director of Y I went into the vice chancellor of student affairs office. The Y was part of student affairs. Then, I just went through the ranks there. When I retired I had been interim vice chancellor for student affairs for two and a half years.

Segment Synopsis: This segment provides information on Wiggins' career after graduate school.

48:45 - Evolution of campus

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Partial Transcript: SM: Okay. And kind of in closing, what do you want future students or scholars to know about your experiences, you know, one of the first—you were one of the first five group, first four classes of black students at Woman’s College, what would you want your legacy to be, or what people to know about? EW: At Woman’s College? SM: Yes, as one of the first black students, what do you want people to remember to take away from—what do you want them to know about your experience? EW: Well, that there were black students there in the ’60s. And so much of what they take for granted now, because I understand it’s a wonderful place to be in school, that it was not like that in that—well, an example, my oldest son finished UNCG with honors. And he loved it. He had very supportive faculty. He was a business major, and he’s done extremely well. But his experience and my experience was completely different. It’s just unlike it—in that all students that finish that school did not have the experience that they’re having now, that that school has some skeletons. And every now and then I remind people that love Chapel Hill, you’ve come to Chapel Hill recently? Chapel Hill is just like every other Southern town. You know, it has its name of being southern part of heaven. But it wasn’t for a group of people. It might have been for some. It might have always been the southern part of heaven for some people but not everyone. And just things have changed. It wasn’t always that way.

Segment Synopsis: This segment discusses the differences between campus life in the 1960s versus today and the interaction of students from different campuses, particularly the busing of Woman's College students to UNC-Chapel Hill.

53:45 - Campus desegregation

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Partial Transcript: SM: That’s so interesting. Well, would you have qualified your experience at Woman’s College, would you say that it was a troubled time for you besides academically having struggles because you felt ill-prepared, was it emotionally a difficult time? EW: Oh, I’m going to say, yes, it was. At the time I’m not sure I was aware of how it was impacting the rest of my life. But looking back I could see that the way my life has gone in actual, in what I’ve done and how I look at life and how I feel about things was definitely shaped. I was sixteen years old when I went there. When I finished college and it definitely—it made a difference. And I suppose I could write about it. But it’s just very complicated, and it’s very troubling sometimes.

Segment Synopsis: This segment includes Wiggins' reflection of experiencing desegregation and comparison of Woman's College to Bennett College.

63:09 - Interview Conclusion

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Partial Transcript: EW: Jewel Anthony. SM: Because we don’t have her— EW: Okay. Well, see, Jewel Anthony and Patricia Jones, they did not graduate. SM: Oh. We don’t have either of them on here. EW: They did not graduate from Woman’s College. I told you, it was very challenging academically. SM: Wow! Because we have other girls that were class of ’62. So, there were probably, would you say less than ten of you came in at the same time? EW: Only five of us. SM: Oh, five, that would make sense, because there were three, plus the two that didn’t finish. EW: Yeah, there were—who else do you have names? SM: Clara Withers. EW: She graduated. SM: Berryhill and Brenda Roberts? EW: She graduated. Now, she did not come as a freshman. SM: Okay.

Segment Synopsis: This segment includes discussion of individuals Wiggins attended Woman's College with who could be contacted for future interviews, exchanging information about the project, and next steps in the project.

0:00

SM: Today is Friday, February 4, 2011. I'm Sarah McNulty, oral history interviewer for the [African American Institutional Memory Project, which is part of The University of North Carolina] Institutional Memory Collection. Today we're with Mrs.-

EW: Edith Wiggins.

SM: Class of 1962 at her home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. So, thank you, Mrs. Wiggins for coming today. Before we start, if I interchange WC [Woman's College] and UNCG [The University of North Carolina at Greensboro], just excuse me, I go to UNCG now. So, it's kind of in my daily life to say. I'm going to try to say WC since that's what is correct, what you said. I'd like to start the interview by asking about your background, just about your family, where you were born, kind of like your life leading up to when you went to WC.

EW: Okay. I was born in Greensboro, [North Carolina]. My father was a Methodist minister. So, he moved to various churches. I grew up in High Point, North Carolina. And when I finished or just a year before I finished high school he 1:00was sent to a church in Winston-Salem, [North Carolina]. So, I finished William Penn High School in High Point, but I was living in Winston-Salem. My mother took me over every day, because she was still teaching in the area. So, it was real convenient for me to finish the high school that I had attended all those years. When I was visiting my grandmother during the summer, I think, after my junior year in Greensboro I saw this newspaper article. She lived in Greensboro, and I saw this newspaper article about Woman's College admitting its first black students, and I thought it was very interesting. So, I went back my next year, and two of my very best friends, I said, "Let's apply and see what happens." And did our senior year. And the three of us were admitted, Jewel Anthony and Patricia Jones. And we three were accepted. And we were in a class of five black 2:00students. The other two were Clara Withers [Berryhill] from Charlotte [North Carolina] and Lilly Wiley from-where was Lilly from? I'm not sure. She might have been from I think it was somewhere in Alamance County. But, anyway, we were in that class. And that was the third class of black students.

SM: And just so I have biographical info, what is your actual date of birth?

EW: March 18, 1942.

SM: Okay. And did you have any brothers or sisters?

EW: No.

SM: No? And what were your favorite subjects leading up to when you went to college? What were you interested in before you actually went to college?

EW: I don't remember if I had a favorite. You know, high school was high school. 3:00All of your classes were your classes. And if someone had asked-if you mean by that, what were my aspirations, my professional aspirations, I'd probably can say more about that than my favorite subject?

SM: What were-

EW: A teacher. My mother was a teacher, and she had always said, "Don't be a teacher." But, you know, at that time we didn't see a lot of options as young black women. You were either a nurse or a teacher. And that was it. So, I just figured I was going to be a teacher.

SM: And had both your parents gone to college? Obviously, your mother had.

EW: Yes.

SM: Where did they go to college?

EW: My mother finished Bennett [College] in Greensboro. And my father started at [North Carolina] A&T [State College] in Greensboro and finished at Clark College in Atlanta [Georgia]. Then he went on to the Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta.

SM: And did you look at any other colleges?

EW: I was accepted at Bennett, because-well, that's just where I was going. 4:00That's where I was supposed to go. It was a Methodist school. My mother went there, and I had an aunt who was a registrar there. I had already spent lots of time on that campus. So, it was just sort of given that that's where I would go. So, that's where I had applied. But, then, the three of us thought, "Let's apply to Woman's College and see what happens."

SM: And what did your parents think about that when you decided not to go to Bennett?

EW: They were accepting, because it was pretty much my decision. The important thing was go to college, and both were in Greensboro. So, I would have been the same distance from them, you know, in terms of leaving home. And they, obviously, knew more about what my college experience was going to be, but they felt that if this was something I wanted to experiment and try and see how it went, they had no objections.

SM: And did you ever visit Woman's College before you were admitted?

5:00

EW: I did. I forgot how I came to know one student who was in her freshman year, a class ahead of me, Margaret Patterson. And I made contact with her and asked if I could come and spend a weekend with her.

SM: Okay. And what was that like?

EW: Very interesting. They were-her roommate was black, Zelma Amey. And, you know, they just sort of took me around with them all weekend. And they didn't seem to be having any problems. And they were enjoying it. So, I didn't have any anxiety about the decision I made. They kept telling me, though, that the work was hard. It was very different than high school, but then I had always heard that about college in general. But it was even more so. Because the difference being prepared at a black high school to go to a white college was, it was night 6:00and day. There's no such thing as separate but equal.

SM: And would you have characterized your high school as a good high school?

EW: It was a good black high school, but I don't really think academically I was prepared.

SM: Can you tell me about your first days on campus, what that was like when you first moved in and got started?

EW: Well, it was very helpful to have the older students there. Margaret Ann and Zelma, who were sophomores; and, then, Bettye Tillman and JoAnne Smart, who were juniors when I got there. They were the first two, and we all just spent a lot of time with each other. So, it was real helpful to have them there, because they could tell us a lot of things, what was going to happen, and how to do various things. And I think a lot of the mystery and anxiety about having black 7:00students join the student body there was subsiding. Because, see, I was the third class. I was not in the first. And I remember them being fairly comfortable. You know, there were some incidents. But, you know, I got it all in perspective now. They don't really stand out as much as they used to. It's a very good thing that you all are doing this now, because we are getting older.

SM: Right.

EW: And things will start to fade. I was thinking about you coming. I was thinking, "What am I going to say? That was so long ago, almost fifty years ago."

SM: Well, it's interesting, because you and some other people have been interviewed. But that was almost twenty years ago. The interview was in '91, so that was twenty years ago. And, so, it is even more interesting, because you can see if memories change, or perspective changes, and it's a shame we're just getting to it, because we've already lost a few members of the classes of 1960s. 8:00We have a few people who have died.

EW: Really?

SM: Yes, a couple. Not many, but a couple.

EW: I know Bettye Tillman.

SM: Right. And she died young.

EW: Who else?

SM: We have a couple on the list. I was going to ask you at the end of the interview if you knew anybody, because we have some people we can't find information on. How did Mrs. Tillman die?

EW: I don't know.

SM: Because I know she died at like thirty or twenty-nine, very young.

EW: Yes.

SM: Because I read some information about her. That's a shame. But we want to get as many interviews as we can, because it is such a trailblazing story. And it really is interesting, very unique to UNCG, especially since it had so many changes.

EW: Who else has died?

SM: We have a couple of, two people who were Class of '68 and '69. So, they are a little bit older-or younger than you. But nobody-. Do you want their names?

EW: Yes.

SM: Cassandra Hodges Yongue, and Claudette Alexander Douglas. Nobody, hopefully, 9:00from your year and a little bit older or younger.

EW: Yes, a little bit older.

SM: We're trying to get people-

EW: The class ahead of me, Claudette Graves [Burroughs-White], she died.

SM: Really?

EW: Is she on your list? She was a town student.

SM: No, we do not have her. That may be why. She may have died. Did she die a while ago, or?

EW: Five, six years ago?

SM: Yes, they may not have even put her on the list, because they knew she had passed away.

EW: Claudette Graves Burroughs, I think was her name.

SM: Okay. She's not on here.

EW: You don't have Bettye Tillman's name on there?

SM: No, because we knew she died.

EW: That's probably why you don't have Claudette's name.

SM: Yes, she died this past year.

EW: Oh, Okay.

SM: But, yes, anyway. And what did you major in at Woman's College?

EW: Psychology and drama.

SM: Psychology and drama?

EW: Yes.

SM: And what was your favorite part about school in general? I know you were involved in drama productions and things like that.

EW: Yes. Nothing stands out in my mind. I would say my overall feelings about 10:00going to school there was, do what I needed to do to get out. Survive and get out.

SM: What did you guys do for fun? Do you remember anything?

EW: We played cards. We went to church. We visited each other's homes on weekend, and every now and then we might have a date. There were no males on campus. And there were a lot of males at [North Carolina] A&T [State College] that worked on Woman's College campus, particularly the dining services. But I 11:00don't remember-you know, we would talk to them. We were friendly, but every now and then there would be a date with somebody from A&T. But those were the only college men around at A&T. The social life wasn't really a big part of my college life that I would say, the ones in my class. I think the others might have to speak for themselves.

SM: What residence halls did you live in?

EW: I lived in Shaw [Residence Hall] my freshman year and Mendenhall [Residence Hall] the other three years in a staff room.

SM: Okay, what do you mean by "staff room?"

EW: Well, the end of the hall on each floor was a really large bedroom with its own bath. And my freshman year the five of us, we had a whole floor in Shaw. No other women were put on the hall with us. So, no one had to use bathrooms with us, because there were no private baths. So, we had the whole wing of the 12:00first-one side of the first floor. And, then, we were to leave the freshman dorm, we were assigned one vacant staff room. So, we were all in, you know, Mendenhall.

SM: I actually went to [the University of North] Carolina [at Chapel Hill] in undergrad.

EW: You did? Mendenhall was a three-story dorm. And on each end-so, there were six staff rooms. Well, it was Mendenhall-Ragsdale, because it was joined. It was Mendenhall that way, Ragsdale that way. So, when Mendenhall had three staff rooms, and three on Ragsdale. And we were assigned those rooms, because we had our own bath. I guess they thought we shouldn't be with white students.

SM: Right.

EW: Which we loved, by the way, having our own private baths.

SM: And did you have like a housemother, or was there someone who looked in on 13:00you guys or?

EW: No one looked in on us. I think all the dorms had a housemother.

SM: And would you say, you lived all four years in a separate staff room?

EW: Yes.

SM: Did people ever start coming around to your rooms more, or did you ever mix?

EW: Oh, we mixed. Just where we lived, where we slept. There was a lot of friendships and back and forth in our rooms. But where we slept and bathed, you know, the school kept that pretty separate.

SM: And you always had it separate all four years you were there?

EW: The four years that I was there. Now, when I was sophomore or junior, living in Mendenhall, they started that same kind of assigning black students to a floor with no white students, and there never were enough black students to fill up all that space. And I think it was the year-my sophomore year, my freshman 14:00black friend said that white students in her dorm complained, because some of them had three in a room. They had tripled some rooms. And, yet, there were like vacant, empty rooms on the first floor. And I think those students said, "Look, this does not make sense. Why are we tripled when there are empty rooms on the first floor?" And it's my understanding that the school said, "If it's okay with your parents, you can occupy those rooms." And I think after that they started to assign rooms without regard to race. They had to go through the same assignment process as everyone else. But I think there was a lottery or something you had to do to pull for rooms after your freshman year to see if you got the dorm you wanted to be in. We were spared all that.

SM: Okay. What was your experience in the dining halls?

EW: Just like everybody else.

SM: Were you allowed to eat with white students?

15:00

EW: Yes, it was-there were no-the only thing that the school did was that room assignment.

SM: Room assignment. That's interesting they made a distinction between eating, and sleeping, and bathing. It was different in their eyes.

EW: Yes.

SM: Well, as Woman's College was integrating, Greensboro was still segregated. So, what was it like once you left campus, going downtown, restaurants, movie theaters, what was it like in-

EW: Okay. I didn't go downtown to restaurants. I didn't go downtown to the movies. Greensboro was my mother's home. So, I had lots of relatives. Like I said my father's sister was right across town at Bennett as a registrar. So, I would visit her. Still spent a lot of time at Bennett, still very much a part of the black community in Greensboro. So, Woman's College was just where I went to school. Went home a lot on the weekends. My parents would pick me up, so.

16:00

SM: Well, did you ever, obviously, leading into the integration is the Woolworth's Sit-in that happened in 1960, and you were a student during that time. Did you have any involvement with that?

EW: Yes, I did go downtown a couple of times. I know I was a sophomore or a junior, because I do remember I had my class jacket. And did that a few times just because a lot of us felt that was something we should go down and join in doing.

SM: And what did your parents think about that, did they know?

EW: Yes, it didn't bother them.

SM: They weren't worried or scared?

EW: No.

SM: And how about like faculty or other students?

EW: I don't remember faculty. I do remember the chancellor called a big assembly-there was a lot of turmoil in Greensboro in general. And I think because of that some of the-and in loco parentis kind of sentiment started to 17:00emerge at the various campuses in terms of keeping their students safe. And it was known that Woman's College students were downtown participating, because we had our class jackets. And the class jackets were very distinct. I don't think any of us-well, I don't know. All I know is, you could go around Greensboro, and you could see those jackets, and you would know that person went to Woman's College. And I remember the chancellor calling an assembly to talk about it. And I don't remember a lot about it except bottom line he didn't want us to participate. But there wasn't any kind of mandate, and there wasn't any kind of law or edict I just remember that was the sense of it, but that it wasn't just that's my memory.

SM: Do you remember how you heard about that it had happened on February 1, [1960].

18:00

EW: The Sit-ins?

SM: Do you remember how it was-

EW: It was all in the papers. It was all in the papers. And I remember, a white student came by and said she was going and asked me if I wanted to go. And I think the first time I went, I went with some of my white classmates.

SM: And how did you guys get downtown? Did you walk?

EW: Or ride the bus. There was a bus, and I can't remember. We probably took the bus downtown.

SM: And we hear a lot about these class jackets. What exactly were they, or what was the significance? Every class had a different color?

EW: Every class had a different color, and it repeated. So, there were four colors that kept rotating through the classes. So, it was just so that when you saw someone walking across campus you'd know they were sophomore, junior, senior. Freshman did not get jackets. You got your jacket early in your sophomore year.

SM: And at Woolworth's were [black students] allowed to wear [class] jackets 19:00[and] white students were not, is that what I remember reading?

EW: [I don't remember that].

SM: I think meeting the chancellor-how he said white students were not allowed to wear the Woman's College apparel.

EW: I don't remember that. If you read that anywhere, then I guess that was, you know, truth.

SM: Okay. Well, getting back to what you remember from your school years, I have a copy of your senior yearbook. And we've kind of gone over some of the things that you were involved with. And we just wanted to know what you could tell us about these clubs, or these activities, what you did, and what they meant, because some of these things don't exist now.

EW: [looking at a yearbook] Masqueraders was the honorary drama society, and you got tapped into it by the older members. And I guess it's because they had a 20:00drama major from probably my sophomore year on, I had some role [in] all of the productions, theater productions-the technical. I particularly remember lighting. That was my specialty. I loved lighting, doing the lights. And one production I think they did The Crucible. I was in The Crucible. I played the part of Tituba. But that's what that's about. I don't even remember this legislature. I guess I went to meetings. The Court of Social Regulations was like the judicial court. When someone would get in trouble for breaking one of the rules, they had to go to the Court of Social Regulations.

SM: What kind of rules?

EW: Coming in late.

21:00

SM: Because you had curfews in your dorm room?

EW: Yes, the dorms were locked at a certain hour. So, you had to be in before the door was locked.

SM: How would you get in if it was locked?

EW: You had to ring the doorbell. And, then, [the resident counselor] could [let] you in. But I don't remember what-I'd have to go back and find my little manual, or whatever they were. And there was also an Honor Court. And sometimes we would meet together. If you look through that same yearbook, you'd find there was an Honor Court. And let me get it right, now. If you did something and lied about it, then it was-you committed not only a social regulation, but an honor regulation. So, they would-

SM: And honor was probably like cheating on tests, or if you got caught plagiarizing or something.

EW: Or lying or plagiarizing.

SM: And social regulation is probably more what you were doing outside the classroom.

22:00

EW: [looking at a yearbook] And, so, let's see. I have no idea what Senior Class Commission was. In the freshman and junior year talent shows, I think I must have sang a solo, because that's all I could do.

SM: [looking at a yearbook] And you are part of the junior--what's it say, junior-senior-

EW: Junior Show.

SM: Junior Show, yes. Can you tell me about what Junior Show was?

EW: No, I can't other than if I did anything-was that the plays?

SM: [showing a musical program] We've found this, and this is the program for it. And it was Westward-

EW: That what's it was Westward Ho the Women.

SM: And here's the other thing to it. We found your name under lighting.

EW: Oh, really? Okay.

SM: I laughed when I found that out.

EW: Oh, really? Westward Ho the Women. Oh, I hadn't heard that before.

23:00

SM: And you can have that copy if you'd like it.

EW: Because I have no idea what the play was. Where is lighting? Oh, lighting, yeah. Westward Ho the Women. You said I can have this?

SM: Oh, definitely.

EW: Well, thank you.

SM: So, your Junior Show was it just like a showcase, or?

EW: Yes, I think every year somebody would write some acts and as many people in that class as possible-. You know, it was like a musical play written and presented by the Class of '62. That is so interesting. Because these names-Westward Ho the Women.

SM: And did the Junior Show, was that put on for everyone so the whole school would come see it?

EW: Yes.

SM: And where would you guys have these, where would they be held?

24:00

EW: See, it doesn't say on here?

SM: My guess is Aycock Auditorium.

EW: I was going to say, I guess, because this is all familiar, but I don't remember, Okay? It's like coming back slowly. But that title, Westward Ho the Women, gosh. That's a nice memory even though it's kind of vague, all the particulars around it. Yeah.

SM: Were there any other events that stood out at your time at Woman's College like social or academic things that you can remember that were important, or you looked forward to, or didn't look forward to?

EW: No, not really.

SM: Did you ever feel discriminated against at Woman's College?

EW: You mean by the way school did things?

SM: Just in general? It can be specifically there were students, or the 25:00administration, or?

EW: Nothing overt. When I was at Woman's College everything else was still very segregated. So, whatever was going on at Woman's College seemed better, even though it was not ideal, it was still better than what was going on outside of Woman's College. So, your-my perspective would have been from that. So, I'm pretty sure if I thought a lot with a fine tooth comb and went through my experience at UNCG, Woman's College, I could have a long list of things that were discriminatory. But it didn't stand out, because overall I was in a setting 26:00that was trying not to be, or was not until it wasn't overtly. At that time people brought their attitudes. And there were women from the South, and there were women from the North. But, you know, the kind of personal slights, looks, or comments, that wasn't unique to Woman's College. I had grown up with that all my life. So, that wasn't-that didn't stand out as being a unique to something bad about Carolina-UNCG-pardon me for saying Carolina, because, see, when I left UNCG I spent almost the rest of my life in Chapel Hill at Carolina.

SM: Yes, I was going to ask you about that, because I knew that's what you did. Did your first couple of days on campus, did anybody reach out to you to help 27:00you, or to get your acclimated, I mean having never been-growing up in an academic integrated-

EW: Yes.

SM: -atmosphere? Was there any kind of, you know, orientation or help?

EW: Help? The school had orientation for all the students, which we went to. We participated in all of the regular orientation programs. And we may have even had like orientation counselors, upper classmen that had small groups of us that make sure we got to-I think they did make sure to where we were supposed to-and familiarize us with the campus on campus tours. But I would say the real nuts and bolts of how to navigate the campus came from the older black students who had survived their freshmen year and moved on to be sophomores. So, then, they could tell us all about what we needed to do as freshmen. So, two kinds of orientations.

SM: There were formal and informal?

EW: Yes.

SM: And you said earlier that you hung out with men from A&T occasionally if you 28:00had dates. You knew some of them. Did you ever mix with women at Bennett? Did you ever-

EW: Sure, sure.

SM: Would you ever be a part of their social functions, or?

EW: No. I don't remember going to-most of the things I went to at Bennett, I went with my aunt, and it would be to special programs or ceremonies, or my parents would be going. They'd pick me up.

SM: And what would you say was your favorite experience or aspect of college in general?

EW: Was being able to graduate from Woman's College, which I found very hard academically. So, that was my greatest experience there was actually making it through academically. And my husband finished at A&T. And when we go to say an A&T homecoming games and he sees people that he was in college with, or in his 29:00class, I can tell it was a whole different experience than what we were having when we were in college, and I miss that. "Oh, hey," you know, "Hi, I haven't seen you." And they start talking about, you know, what used to happen when they went to A&T, what they did. It was just a real-because there was so much more social, out-of-the-classroom contact and experiences that they have associated with their academic which we didn't. That part of our college experience was pretty much nonexistence. It was very insignificant.

SM: And, so, at this time, Carolina only admitted relatively low numbers of women. And none as freshmen unless they were in a special program or something. Did A&T admit women?

EW: It was completely co-ed.

30:00

SM: Okay. So, did you ever think about going to A&T, or was it always Bennett or Woman's College?

EW: [no oral response]

SM: And interestingly enough, chancellors don't change a lot in most colleges, but during the '60s it was kind of a turbulent era. We went through multiple chancellors for whatever reason. While you were there, there were two different chancellors. There was Dr. Gordon W. Blackwell, and Dr. Otis Singletary. Can you tell me any kind of memories about them, or their experiences, maybe how one time was different, or similar?

EW: No.

SM: No? So, they weren't involved much in student life or-

EW: Not in my life. Now, they may have been. I'm not going to say they were not involved in student life. They weren't involved in my student life.

SM: Right. Did you ever have any involvement-there were a couple of other 31:00administrators-dean of the college? I think her name was Mereb Mossman? The Dean of Students Katherine Taylor?

EW: I think once I went to talk to her, but I can't remember about what.

SM: You went to talk to Katherine Taylor?

EW: Yes.

SM: And, then, Barbara Parrish was the alumni secretary?

EW: I only knew her after I graduated. I was on the Alumni Board once.

SM: Okay. Do you remember any professors that you had? Do any stick out?

EW: I remember Warren Ashby was philosophy. And my psychology professor. Who was my professor? Was it Dr. Kendon Smith? But I did have a favorite psychology professor. The reason I can remember Warren Ashby because he was a distinguished 32:00professor there, but he was well known on this campus as a philosopher. And I remember still hearing people talking about him when I was at Carolina. And, oh, I do-I never had him. But when I was in school the English professor committed suicide, Randall Jarrell.

SM: Do you know how to spell that?

EW: R-A-N-D-A-L-L Jarrell. It was a J-A-R-R-E-L-L, something like that. He was a very famous, very unique man. As a matter of fact I've been looking through the yearbook, too, recently. And there's a picture of him in there with a beard. And I think he had emotional problems. And he was in Chapel Hill after I graduated. I think he was in Chapel Hill one summer at the hospital in psychiatry. And he intentionally jumped out in front of a moving car. I remember he died in Chapel 33:00Hill. But he was very famous, very good, very unusual man. And I remember that name. I never had him, though.

SM: Okay. And did professors have interactions with students on campus, or were they kind of just teachers? I mean were they involved in people's lives? Do you know, or your life?

EW: See, that's two different questions. I can't say what happened with other students. None were involved in my life outside of classroom.

SM: And I know you spoke briefly about what you did after Woman's College, but can you tell me maybe in more depth-senior year-what you decided to do after graduation from that point on?

EW: I think I had an elective in my junior year or first semester my senior year on social work. And the woman who taught it was a social worker in the 34:00community. I think they brought her in to teach that. Because a lot of what we talked about was her experience, and what she was doing, and how she did it, and the impact. And I could not wait to apply to the School of Social Work my senior year. And that's how I ended up coming to Chapel Hill. I was accepted in the School of Social Work, because I guess for the first time I could see a kind of a career that was outside of being a teacher, or a nurse. Oh, and one of the black students who was one year ahead of me, Claudette Graves, who is dead now, lived in Greensboro. She was a social-when she graduated-must have been my senior year. Because she had graduated and was working as a probation officer in Greensboro. And I know I did kind of like a senior year project of field 35:00placement with her. And it must have been second semester after that I applied to School of Social Work.

SM: And what would you say, it obviously changed from being an undergraduate, and being a graduate, and then you went to a school that was coeducational from a school that was all girls, what would you say the difference was in going to Chapel Hill? What was your experience like there?

EW: Well, let's see. I was a lot older. So, I guess I had matured.

SM: And did you go straight after-

EW: Yes.

SM: You didn't take any breaks or anything?

EW: No, and I lived in Kenan Dormitory. That's where graduate students lived. Graduate women lived there. It was for graduate women. But I'm not sure I lived in any others. I think it might have been the graduate women's dorm. And the 36:00School of Social Work was just right through the arboretum, across the street, and through the arboretum, and you're right at the School of Social Work. So, that was like-let's see-what was that building? Because we were in the basement of-the School of Social Work was in the basement of the old Journalism School.

SM: Oh, yes, I know what you are talking about. I had a religion class there. It's on the old quad.

EW: Yes.

SM: I know what you are talking about. I don't remember the name of the building.

EW: Because we would go around the side of the building, go down, and the School of Social Work was under there. Because it was a small school. I mean I think-I mean the School of Social Work, you had your building. Took all the classes down there, and that's where the office was. That's where we all hung out. So, that was a nice little path. And-but, then, my social life was different, because I 37:00think I was engaged to a person who was in medical school at Carolina. So, it was-I mean that took care of my social life except for coming home. I know I had my own car when I came. My dad had given me one of his old cars. And, so.

SM: Was it easier or harder like integration wise at Carolina? Was it more integrated? Was it less integrated?

EW: There were more black students.

SM: Black students.

EW: But we still knew each other. Ate together in Lenoir Hall. We just knew what time to all show up.

SM: Right. And were the Franklin Street establishments still segregated at that time?

EW: Most of them. Many of them were. It was a combination. There were some that 38:00were-that held out. Because I remember after I married, was here working, the Civil Rights Movement really hit Chapel Hill. Because it was very-just like any other Southern town. But there were some places that it didn't matter what your race. When you come in, you get served. But there were some other places that didn't want blacks to eat there, including black students. So, those places were hit hard by demonstrations. So, a lot of turmoil in Chapel Hill around desegregating the public facilities, even though the university had been desegregated. And for a long time I used to make a really big distinction between being desegregated and being integrated. So, Chapel Hill was desegregating and becoming integrated.

39:00

SM: And at Woman's College, or at UNC, did you ever have any black professors? I was thinking they integrate students, but I imagine it took longer to integrate faculty and get trained, established black professors to come to white schools because so many of them stayed at black schools that were, especially in the South, that were well known?

EW: Yeah, you know you probably need to talk to a historian that specialized in that to give you more of a sense of why that was the way it was. Because all of a sudden it got to be in vogue to have black professors. But everybody wanted the very, very best. And I always had the feeling that white schools thought 40:00black professors were not as good as white professors. But every now and then they would run across a star, stellar, you had to be a super, great black professor to be at a white school. But you could be a mediocre white professor and be at a white school. And that's the way it was early in integration. Everybody who started to accept integration, they wanted the best ones. And to me that's still a hangover of not being totally-you had to be a super black teacher to get somewhere and do something. And I think black faculty people might have experienced that early on knowing. And because I was at Carolina I could observe this. And what I-there came a time when there was just so few stars. There was this thing that you can grow your own. Instead of trying to 41:00always go somewhere, steal that person, that school's really star, we're going to hear all this competition for the stars. There started to be this realization that we can grow our own, that nobody started out being a star, even the white ones. You know, something that you develop through their research and mentoring. You know, they had that kind of support system to become stars that, then, the school started to become-started to grow their own. And I think that's why you have many, many more now. Because in the beginning it was like-I mean some of the stars, they went from school to school. Because who could outbid them, who could outbid?

SM: And you mentioned earlier that you were involved with the alumni a little 42:00bit later in life. Can you tell me how you were involved with UNCG after graduation?

EW: Oh, let's see. I had that in my yearbook. I don't know. Someone called me one day and asked me if I would run for a place on the board. I certainly didn't volunteer on the Alumni Board. I remember seeing this ballot with my picture on it. I voted for myself and sent it back, and they called me back and said I was on the board. So, for about, I don't know, two or three years-

SM: And when was-

EW: I don't even remember the years. I can run to my-

SM: That's okay. I just need a decade.

EW: It was in early-it was a long time ago, because I was looking at my picture. I had this big afro. So, it must have been in the late '60s or early '70s. It had to be. Because I had a really big afro on my picture. And I went to meetings two or three times a year. And Parrish was the-what was her name? I understand 43:00she's dead now.

SM: What was she?

EW: She was the alumni secretary.

SM: Secretary.

EW: Yes.

SM: Oh, I think it was Barbara Parrish.

EW: Barbara Parrish. She was a very fascinating woman.

SM: She was there. I was looking up her obituary. She stayed for a very long time.

EW: She's dead.

SM: She stayed for very long.

EW: And she was very enthusiastic. She loved that job. And I'm pretty sure they have some stuff over there probably in her memory, in her honor. Because she was an outstanding person.

SM: Do you stay in touch with any of your classmates from Woman's College?

EW: Let's see. My freshman and sophomore roommate was one of the ones that I 44:00finished high school with. And the other one I finished high school with. We see each other at our high school reunions. Not very much in between. Not any of my classmates. I would say the first maybe fifteen or twenty years after I finished I'd run into my classmates. Many of them were here in graduate school. And, you know, we would go out to lunch, do the-or we went back. One year a carload of us went back for our fifth year reunion. And I don't think I've been back to a reunion since then. I don't-I'm not drawn back to the reunions like my husband is drawn back to A&T, like that's hallowed ground. You know, part of him is still there, and I don't feel that. Now, I did go back to visit two of the maids that 45:00worked in Shaw.

SM: Do you remember their names?

EW: Yes, Annie Reeves.

SM: How do you spell Reeves?

EW: I think it was R-E-E-V-E-S, Reeves, or R-E-A-V-E-S, one of those. First name was Annie. And, then, on the second and third floor was Victoria Johnson. And I loved those women. They were like mothers to us. And they'd bring us cookies, and brownies, and pick us up to go to church with them on Sunday. They gave us lots of hugs. And encouraged us. And I've always wondered if the school ever knew the role that some of those black housekeepers played in helping to keep 46:00those black students there, at least in my case, in Mendenhall-I mean in Ragsdale-Shaw. That was the first dorm when I was a freshman, Shaw. They were in Shaw. And after I graduated sometimes I would be in Greensboro, and I would ride by the campus. And I'd park my car. And I'd go into Shaw and look up and down the halls. And two or three times I would find them. And they were the only ones I went back like that to see.

SM: Really? And how-you said they were motherly towards you. Were they older ladies or-

EW: Yes.

SM: They were older?

EW: Well, I was sixteen. So.

SM: You were pretty young.

EW: So, they could have been thirty, you know, and I thought they were older women.

SM: That's funny. I know you got a master's in social work. I didn't ask you, 47:00what did you do after you graduated from graduate school?

EW: I worked as a pediatric social worker at Memorial [Hospital].

SM: Okay.

EW: And, then, when my husband went in the service we lived in the Philippines for two years. And as we came out of the service he went his way. I went mine. I came back to Chapel Hill and worked for a private social work agency for a year as I got a job on campus at the Y. There was a campus Y that-they were looking for a staff person who had some community work experience, social-work-type experience, because they had lots of students who wanted to volunteer in the community, and they needed someone to start recruiting students and coordinate their placements and finding placements for them. So, that was why I was hired at the Y. I was at the Y for many years until I became director of the Y. Then, 48:00from director of Y I went into the vice chancellor of student affairs office. The Y was part of student affairs. Then, I just went through the ranks there. When I retired I had been interim vice chancellor for student affairs for two and a half years.

SM: Okay. And when did you retire?

EW: I was fifty-four. So, that was fourteen years ago.

SM: So, like '97?

EW: Probably '96.

SM: Okay. And kind of in closing, what do you want future students or scholars to know about your experiences, you know, one of the first-you were one of the first five group, first four classes of black students at Woman's College, what 49:00would you want your legacy to be, or what people to know about?

EW: At Woman's College?

SM: Yes, as one of the first black students, what do you want people to remember to take away from-what do you want them to know about your experience?

EW: Well, that there were black students there in the '60s. And so much of what they take for granted now, because I understand it's a wonderful place to be in school, that it was not like that in that-well, an example, my oldest son finished UNCG with honors. And he loved it. He had very supportive faculty. He 50:00was a business major, and he's done extremely well. But his experience and my experience was completely different. It's just unlike it-in that all students that finish that school did not have the experience that they're having now, that that school has some skeletons. And every now and then I remind people that love Chapel Hill, you've come to Chapel Hill recently? Chapel Hill is just like every other Southern town. You know, it has its name of being southern part of heaven. But it wasn't for a group of people. It might have been for some. It might have always been the southern part of heaven for some people but not everyone. And just things have changed. It wasn't always that way. One of the things-back to the social life-see, this campus was going through the same kind of change. There were black men here, a few. As a matter of fact my first 51:00husband was one of those. And sometimes when we would get together a lot of the olds-I mean really old students, those of us who are in our sixties and seventies, and we're talking about those days, and once I had one of the men to say, "Why didn't y'all ever come to Chapel Hill on the bus?" And we laughed, because in the '50s, and I guess I don't know when it started, but they were doing it when I was there-they would have three or four big Trailway buses, and they would load up the girls and bring them to Chapel Hill. Because, see, there were no women, not very many in the school year. And they would get off the bus at the Planetarium, and there would be all these men there. And they'd just sort of hook up for the day, go to the football game, and then they had to be back there at a certain time, get on the bus, come back to Greensboro. Well, we never did that, because we didn't know there were black guys down there. And we 52:00certainly weren't going to get on the bus to come down here looking for white guys to pick us up. So, we never did. It was just something that was for the white girls to do. And, then, when we got old we find out-. The black [male] students will say, "Why didn't y'all ever come? We'd be down at the Planetarium. We knew you all were there. Why didn't you ever come? And we were standing there waiting to see somebody black get off the buses, and the white guys-but they didn't know you were there. The white guys didn't know we were waiting for you all. They thought we were waiting for other white-. They'd be really upset and staring and really hostile like. Who are you waiting for? We better not see you, you know-. It would be real intense around us. But we were waiting, hoping that some of you all would come one day." Well, we never did. And I just thought that was a really funny realization to find out that they were down here waiting for us, and we were up there never coming.

SM: That's so funny. Yes, I read about there's a history of UNCG book that we 53:00have, and I was reading about how they used to take busloads of girls, and they used to crown the homecoming queen at like Consolidated University Day, and UNCG- or Woman's College had an advantage because they had the most girls. And, so, but it would be at the Carolina-State game. So, it would be Carolina-State and Woman's College, and the girls from Woman's College are just there for the ride essentially, because their schools weren't playing football. And I thought that was so interesting that they transported women for these events just to serve as dates essentially for these boys that were there.

EW: Yes.

SM: That's so interesting. Well, would you have qualified your experience at Woman's College, would you say that it was a troubled time for you besides academically having struggles because you felt ill-prepared, was it emotionally a difficult time?

54:00

EW: Oh, I'm going to say, yes, it was. At the time I'm not sure I was aware of how it was impacting the rest of my life. But looking back I could see that the way my life has gone in actual, in what I've done and how I look at life and how I feel about things was definitely shaped. I was sixteen years old when I went there. When I finished college and it definitely-it made a difference. And I suppose I could write about it. But it's just very complicated, and it's very troubling sometimes. Many of us who were in those early classes at Woman's 55:00College and in Chapel Hill, we talked about how many of us were divorced, and how we can trace some of how we've thought about life and how we related emotionally to other people. We were scarred by that experience. And we don't like to really talk about it a lot and delve into it, because that was then, and this is now. And it doesn't serve any purpose, because you're not going to go back and relive relationships and what not. But it was-it was-well, segregation 56:00took a toll on people. And, then, the whole process of becoming a desegregated and integrated society took another toll on people who actually experienced it, who did it. That took a toll. And-but, you know, that was life in this country. That was life in the South. Other people are, you know, the products of whatever their experiences were. I think those experiences of living through desegregation and integration changed me, changed who I would have been had I lived totally in black society.

SM: So, you say it was, you know, somewhat scarring, the experiences you had. But you don't have any instances of direct injustice, people being directly being mean to you, or rude to you, it was just kind of society, or?

EW: Well, the-let's see, what could I call this? What is a term for it? There is 57:00overt racism, and there is, the overt things that people used to do in terms of the physical hostilities, no. But, then, there's always the subjective, the way things are set up are racist. It's that kind of racism that you are subjected to. And, then, when you are in the process of putting yourself in a position of 58:00helping people overcome that, you have to live through some experiences with them. That's what I'm talking about.

SM: So, there were experiences that at the time didn't bother you, but now looking back it's something that sticks with you?

EW: That was affecting me, but I didn't realize it.

SM: Because you were just so-you stood the way things were?

EW: Yes.

SM: Did you go to Woman's College expecting overt racism?

EW: Yes. SM: And you prepared for the worst, or?

EW: Well, that's what I was expecting. I expecting it to be much more confrontational, there be much more ongoing hostilities and what not. As a matter of fact the first time I experienced anything that was even close to it, I was ready to go home. But "Remember, this is where you decided to go. So, you 59:00should have been expecting that. Now, you had decided before you left home that you weren't going to let that stop you." So, you know, "Just stick it out a little longer. We'll see how it goes." That was the only thing. And it wasn't from anybody inside the school. It was someone who was passing the campus and saw us on campus, you know, who did the racial slurs and made all the comments. And for a few minutes I was like physically afraid, because I was associating that with all that I was seeing on TV about desegregation. I thought, "Oh, my goodness, it's getting ready to start here." But it didn't. And-but that was the only kind of real overt. But, then, there's all the institutional racism. You know, it's just all of the attitudes that people have and automatically assuming that you were one of the housekeepers. Or even here I'm sixty-eight years old, 60:00and this-.

[Mrs. Wiggins' husband, Sheldon Wiggins, enters the room]

EW: Oh, I'll take my coffee here. Thank you. This is my husband, Sheldon. This is Sarah.

SM: Sarah.

EW: Yes.

SM: It's nice to meet you.

SW: Nice meeting you.

EW: I remember that because we have a granddaughter, Sarah.

SW: You care for coffee?

SM: Oh, no, thank you. I have water.

SW: Oh, good for you.

SM: Nice meeting you.

SW: Nice meeting you.

[Sheldon Wiggins leaves the room]

EW: Because I have from time to time, you know how people say things here to me, and I have to [say], "I live here. I work here." So, it's-it doesn't stop, but I'm glad I'm here.

SM: Because one of my questions was going to be, did you ever regret-did you 61:00ever want to go to Bennett? Did you ever think you had made the wrong decision?

EW: No.

SM: There's never a, "I should just transfer?"

EW: Oh, no, never. Never should I just transfer and go over there for a whole different set of reasons.

SM: What do you mean by that?

EW: There's a hole in it and leaks [Mrs. Wiggins is referring to the coffee cup]. Because Bennett was an all-girl Methodist school. They have a lot of rules that I was prepared to abide by, because I mean I knew them. They were left over from the time my mother was there. So, I knew what they were going to be. Whereas, Woman's College was a state school. So, they didn't have like required chapel. You didn't have to wear gloves. You didn't have to wear stockings all 62:00the time. I mean it was just all of this other stuff that was part of going to a private church girls' school, women's school, that they thought was important in how you had to dress. You couldn't wear this. All that. No, I never did. As a matter of fact, when we got to Woman's College and found out that it was different like that, it was such a relief. And we would-friends who were at Bennett, you know, they said, "You don't? You mean you can just go downtown whenever you wanted to?" And all that kind of- "You mean, you don't have to shave your legs if you don't want to?"

SM: That's so funny. And did other girls from your high school go to Bennett?

EW: Yes.

SM: And that's interesting that the girls that went to high school with you-so, there were first year you were there, class of '62, there were two other girls in your class that came in with you?

EW: Yes.

63:00

SM: And they both went to high school with you?

EW: Yes.

SM: And what were their names again?

EW: Jewel Anthony.

SM: Because we don't have her-

EW: Okay. Well, see, Jewel Anthony and Patricia Jones, they did not graduate.

SM: Oh. We don't have either of them on here.

EW: They did not graduate from Woman's College. I told you, it was very challenging academically.

SM: Wow! Because we have other girls that were class of '62. So, there were probably, would you say less than ten of you came in at the same time?

EW: Only five of us.

SM: Oh, five, that would make sense, because there were three, plus the two that didn't finish.

EW: Yeah, there were-who else do you have names?

SM: Clara Withers.

EW: She graduated.

SM: Berryhill and Brenda Roberts?

EW: She graduated. Now, she did not come as a freshman.

SM: Okay.

EW: She transferred in. She was my roommate my junior and senior year.

SM: Oh.

EW: And she came, because we were friends in Winston-Salem. And I talked her into coming. She didn't come as a freshman. She came as a junior, a sophomore-junior.

64:00

SM: Interesting. And those girls that didn't finish, or didn't graduate from Woman's College, how long did they make it? Did they make it to sophomore year or?

EW: Yeah, I think so. I think one may not have come back after freshman year. But it wasn't over academic reasons. I think she got married.

SM: Okay. Yeah, it was interesting as I was reading in the year books how many references there are to engagements and marriages and how the women-it was a very social thing for everybody to be engaged. How much that's changed now. It was so important for Woman's College girls to find husbands even though they had college educations, and they had more people like they said they couldn't get people to come to some of the talent shows, but they had like bridal fashion shows, and people would be like hanging from the rafters to see all the wedding stuff. So, it doesn't 65:00surprise me a lot of girls didn't make it. Because they wanted to get married and move on.

EW: But there were-in the yearbook there are some other black women in the year book in my class. Do you have the black women that graduated in 1962?

SM: Yes, who graduated.

EW: Now, who do you have there?

SM: Those were the only three: Brenda Roberts and Clara Withers and you are the only three from 1962.

EW: There's some others.

SM: Who graduated?

EW: Wait, maybe they graduated the next year, but their pictures are in my yearbook.

SM: Okay. We have some. I will let you look at them.

EW: Let me just see and make sure. Because they take pictures for the yearbook before graduation. Let's see. '63. Myrna, Alice, Gwen, Elizabeth, Juanita, Janet Harper. You know what happen 66:00to Karen Parker?

SM: No.

EW: They should say down here. There's a blank.

SM: That means we don't have any information.

EW: Does that mean she actually came?

SM: What do you mean?

EW: She was actually enrolled in Woman's College

SM: Yes, but we have no information about her.

EW: Would you have information if she had transferred to Carolina?

SM: I don't know.

EW: Because one of the first black women to graduate-the first black undergraduate from Carolina was Karen Parker from Winston-Salem. And she's been very active in the alumni-in the Black Alumni Association at Carolina. My hunch it's the same Karen Parker.

SM: Okay. We can look into that.

67:00

EW: Okay. There are some names that you don't have on here that I think have degrees from Carolina. And if you don't mind, I'm going to get my yearbook.

SM: Okay. And they gave degrees from UNC Woman's College?

EW: I think so. Because they're in my yearbook as seniors.

[Silence-getting yearbook]

68:00

SM: Yeah. This is Class of '62.

EW: It says she's from Greensboro.

SM: Now, she may not be on here, because she may have died. So, I don't know.

EW: It says she went to Spellman College first and second year. So, she must have come in the junior year.

SM: I think these pictures are so funny, like floating. You can't see your 69:00shoulder. Okay. That's Myrna Jeanne [Lee].

EW: Now, those I knew well. There was another girl I could just recognize. Because I was wondering. I went back to find out who else was in my class. And you see this was another thing I find really interesting that although those of us who were black with different complexions. The way they took pictures for the yearbook, we don't jump out. Oh, there's a black. There's a white student. I think they shaded us. We always felt like they, you know, did the lighting so that we didn't stand out. So, these look like all white girls. We are very-you 70:00know, blacks are very sensitive about color, complexion. And, so we kind of resented that too. Jean Favors. Okay. Now, I don't know.

SM: Unless they passed away a while ago.

EW: I can't believe they're dead, my age.

SM: It may not. I don't know. Maybe we just don't have any information about them. I mean some of these people, if they haven't received mail from UNCG or 71:00it's returned, then there's no way to track them down. So, this will help. We can enter in some names and see where they go.

EW: May I see your list again?

SM: Sure.

EW: And it stops at what year?

SM: '70, I think.

EW: Because, you see, these people I don't know.

SM: Right.

EW: This is interesting. I guess I wouldn't know anyone after '65. Gwendolyn Jones McGee, we grew up together in High Point, [North Carolina]. Elizabeth 72:00Withers Stroud is Clara Withers' sister.

SM: Okay.

EW: Her sister came the year after she did.

SM: Okay.

EW: And JoAnne Smart, we're in contact a lot. She's done a lot for the school since she's graduated. She's the oldest one of us. And she's the one I ride back and forth with when we go to meetings over here about this project.

SM: Okay. And does she live here?

EW: In Raleigh.

SM: Raleigh, Okay.

EW: And, yeah, I have Gwen McGee's. Is this her e-mail address Gwen McGee gave?

SM: That's what we have.

EW: It is.

SM: You want a piece of paper?

EW: Yes, please.

73:00

SM: And what is it?

EW: It's [information removed]. Elizabeth Stoud. Goodness. I'm going to email these people. You've been very helpful. Does that look like, no, that's an underscore. Last week-oh, what was her name from the library? She came here. I 74:00was telling her JoAnne Smart, Zelma Anne, and Margaret Ann Patterson get together every year. And, so, I know that in terms of you all's project that's the way to get Margaret Ann and Zelma, both who live out of the state at one time. You can get them hooked up by calling JoAnne. They go to the beach. They spend about three or four days at the beach. And a couple of times I've met them for lunch when they were in Raleigh on their way to the beach.

SM: Right.

EW: And, so-and the last time they were on the way to the beach they let me know 75:00too late to go with them. It was like, "We're going tomorrow. Can you go?" I'm like, "No." But I'm pretty sure they do that every spring or summer.

SM: Okay.

EW: So, that would save some travel.

SM: Right. Yes, definitely. Because we want to try to get everyone. We've got to do fundraising in order to have the ability, because that would be-there are people, I think, in thirteen states that we want to try to track down, of course, in the next year, hopefully. Luckily, a lot of them live around-there's no one really that lives by themselves in one state. There's usually at least one other person in the state that can be interviewed. But that's good to know that maybe we can catch them one time when they're close.

EW: Do you know Linda Burr in the library? Well, she knows you. She's from-in the development office.

SM: I have not yet to meet her. She hasn't been-the last time I went in for a meeting, we called her to meet, and she wasn't answering the phone, so.

EW: She was down here last week. And I told her that, too. But she said she was 76:00going to let you know that about Margaret Ann and Zelma.

SM: Okay. Well, I don't have any other questions unless there is anything else you want to add. I've enjoyed getting to hear your stories and your insights.

EW: You were saying the last interview that you saw on record for me, where was that?

SM: I had the transcript with me, but I took it out because it was too long. But I know it's archived in the library. I don't think it's available online.

EW: Okay.

SM: But if you-what we are going to do for this project is it's going to take a couple of months. We have a professional service transcribe the interviews. What we're going to do is transcribe it so you get a written transcription, and we'll also give you a CD of it. So, you can have it. And when we get that, I'll also send you a copy of your 1991 interview. I don't know if we have the audio, but we have the transcript for sure. I know that. So, I can definitely send that to 77:00you. And I can probably send that one to you before this interview will be ready. So, you'll get that first.

EW: And there isn't one for earlier than that?

SM: The one I was given was '91.

EW: '91, Okay.

SM: Do you know if you were interviewed before then?

EW: I have a vague memory of someone coming to the campus and interviewing me from UNC Greensboro. And I wanted to tell you, because I did find that one. Rob Shepard was taking a graduate course at UNCG several years ago. And there is one that he did as a class project. And I signed the papers for it to be whatever you do with them.

SM: Okay.

EW: So, that was another one.

SM: That one may not have been archived, because it was for an individual project. It would have been up to him whether he archived it or not. But I'll 78:00look and see what we have, and I'll get in touch with the library people. They'll know better what's in the collection.

EW: Okay.

SM: And I've got a pretty good list of our spelling verification. I may have to call you to verify for some people like how they would spell certain things. And I'm going to listen to it a couple of times to make sure I call all of them. But we're going to give you a copy to read and make sure we got everything right. And, then, you can check it off, and it will be archived permanently. We're hoping to eventually get them all online. So, I was going to ask you, can you give me your e-mail address. I don't think we have one for you.

EW: Yes, it's [information removed].

SM: All right. Well, I think we're done unless you have anything else you want to?

EW: No, this is it.

SM: Well, thank you so much for-

EW: Well, you're certainly welcome. My pleasure.

79:00

SM: We are-

[End of Interview]