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0:00 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: SM: Today is February 24, 2011. I am Sarah McNulty, oral history interviewer for the African American [Institutional Memory] Project. Today I am interviewing Mrs. Janet Harper Gordon, class of 1964, at her home in Greensboro. Thank you, Mrs. Gordon, for letting me come over today. I'd like to start by just talking about your family history, specifically maybe start from your birthday. If you would tell us your birthday and go on from there.

Segment Synopsis: Introduction of individuals and purpose of interview.

0:29 - Biographical information part 1

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Partial Transcript: JG: All right. I was born in Lenoir, North Carolina November 17, 1942. I was born in a satellite rural place called Harpertown.

SM: Can you spell that?

JG: H-A-R-P-E-R, my last name.

SM: Oh, Harpertown. Okay.

JG: Harpertown. It wouldn't be found on any map on any part of the world. But it was home. And I was born there, and grew there, and thrived there. I'm the oldest of eight children, six sisters and one brother. We constitute a family of eight. And we didn't have Head Start, or Kindergarten, or that type thing when I was a little girl. So, my dad, who had two years of education at A&T State University-. My mom only finished high school. She was the first of her family to finish high school. And he was the first of his family to finish high school, or attend college at all.

Segment Synopsis: This segment contains information on Gordon's family background, educational background, and early experiences with modern technology.

8:16 - Biographical information part 2

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Partial Transcript: SM: And you said your father was a factory worker?

JG: Yes.

SM: What did he do in the factory? Can you tell me about that?

JG: He worked at Bernhardt Furniture Factory. He mixed stains like mahogany, cherry, the different kinds of stains. They made furniture. And it was made in this little wooded area. There was another big one; Broyhill probably is the most- the one you hear more about. Broyhill was a good company, too. And my dad worked in the furniture factory. He made little things like lamps. He'd get in the basement and make little things. Then he'd work on another job. He was constantly working.

SM: And did your mother work?

JG: My mother started working when I was ten. She worked as a domestic to several families in Lenoir-but her first job was at the hospital.

Segment Synopsis: This segment contains information on Gordon's father and mother employment history with the Bernhardt Furniture Factory, Blackwelders Hospital, and working as a domestic.

12:06 - Biographical information part 3

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Partial Transcript: JM: Yeah, I'll tell you a little story about-this is my dad. And this little bitty frame that I've had, a little bitty frame. My mother looked like a white woman. Her whole family does. Most of my mother's sisters married darker men. I heard my mother's baby sister say one time-my daughter did an oral interview-my granddaughter. She was at Appalachian. She did a study on my mother. I will let you read that. Not today, because we don't have enough time. But my aunt said they married brown men, darker men, because in school they would be called little green-eyed, half whites. And that kind of made them painful. That color thing did not-while we were coming up, I didn't know that my daddy had a sister. My mother was from Wilkesboro, North Carolina, not Caldwell County where my dad was from.

Segment Synopsis: This segment contains information on Gordon family genealogy and WWII factory work in NC.

19:15 - Biographical information part 4

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Partial Transcript: SM: Oh okay, I like that. And did any of your brothers and sisters go to college?

JG: Yes.

SM: Did all of them, or some of them?

JG: Now, me, my brother, Linda, now, the middle children like Tysie had a full scholarship to North Carolina Central. Now about how we went to school in- that many children in a family, these furniture factories in Lenoir would award scholarships to people who applied, and whose children qualified. And at the time I went to Woman's College if my memory serves me right it was about $740 a year. We could borrow $500. So, that-and I worked in Blowing Rock in the summers as domestic for this lady. Was a [unclear] Mrs. Zimmerman out of Louisiana-not New Orleans, but Alexandria. And that's how we were able to get-all my siblings had opportunity-has had-they have had some college.

Segment Synopsis: This segment contains information on the Gordon children's college education and employment history.

24:43 - Academics at Woman's College

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Partial Transcript: SM: And did any of your siblings go to Woman's College or UNCG, or [were you] the only one?

JG: I was the only one.

SM: Okay. Well, before you went to college, you said your dad instilled in you education, and that it was important to go to get as much education. What were you interested in, like subject wise, what was-

JG: Medical. I was going to go into-. My daddy told me early on that I was smart enough that I could be a doctor. So you know I took all of the science that they offered at Freedman. I didn't know about how you built up on that, you know. They were very limited in what they could teach you at Freedman High School as far as science and-seems like there was one of them I hated very badly-physics, I hated.

Segment Synopsis: This segment contains information about Gordon's decision to attend Woman's College, decision of academic major, and experiences at the university at the undergraduate and graduate level.

34:08 - Family & Vietnam

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Partial Transcript: JG: My husband had passed-been killed.

SM: Oh.

JG: He was a military officer during the Vietnam era. And I found that I could use the G.I. bill. They were going to let widows of Vietnam veterans use the G.I. bill. And when I went-John died in '68, March of '68. So, I taught in Morganton for two years. Must have been-they wanted me to go back to work, because I was so depressed. My mother and my aunt wanted me to go back to work. So, I'm trying to get the chronology. Let me see. I don't have my glasses on. See what year I graduated, and I can tell you what year I started.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gordon comments on her husband's involvement with Vietnam and use of the GI Bill for graduate school.

35:05 - UNCG pre-school

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Partial Transcript: SM: Oh, '73.

JG: Okay.

SM: May '73.

JG: So, I must have started-I taught Lenoir- he died in March. I think I started teaching in August. My mother helped me with the children. And I made up my mind up I would leave there when Joanie was four. Put her in school. So, I must have started in '71-'72, grad school. And when I started school my oldest girl was in, I think, Kindergarten. And my baby was four. And I had her in a little program over on Lee Street. This nursery school, she came highly recommended by my sister. And, so, every morning when I got my book bag together and got Joan ready, it was just like she knew she might be going to be exterminated. What in the world is going on in that stupid school?

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gordon describes taking her daughter to pre-school located on UNCG's campus.

37:32 - Teaching career

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Partial Transcript: And, so, I-when I graduated in '73 I did not get a job until-I didn't get a job that year. I got a job the year Nixon left office. That was '74. I was friends with the girl whose husband was, I believe school board chairman. And we were in social gatherings. So, I told him I was having a little trouble. So, he said he would look into it, and see what was available, and let Yvonne know. And when one came up, I didn't get high school, but I went over to Lincoln Junior High. And I taught there fourteen years. And when Lincoln became a magnet school for science and technology, a component of that school was a magnet school, then they didn't need as many social studies and that type thing. So, I was transferred to Jackson [Junior High School], and my friend was transferred to Dudley [Senior High School].

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gordon describes her career as a middle and high school teacher.

41:51 - Campus experience part 1

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Partial Transcript: SM: She might be. I was actually going to ask you about-we can go back to this, speaking of your roommate, can you tell me about like your first day on campus?

JG: It was very, very new. I was excited. I was happy. My daddy and mother brought me down. My daddy bought me a chain because I had a habit of being careless with things. And we didn't have keys and that kind of things in our house in Lenoir. They had keys, we didn't. And he wanted me to keep my key on my chain. And just as a matter of fact, when they left my roommate said, "What you wearing that chain around your neck for?" I said, "I lose things quite frequently, and my dad wants me to-" and she said, "Take that off."

Segment Synopsis: This segment describes Gordon's first experience on campus and coursework.

46:15 - Campus experience part 2

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Partial Transcript: SM: When we go back to about your living situation and people treating you a certain way, did you befriend white students? I mean did they come and try to get to know you, or did it take a while to get acquainted with them?

JG: No, there was no coming to try to befriend me. I don't think any of the-I don't think-in my situation it appeared to me that the black-we were in a hall of our own. That was a degree of segregation right then and there. And we played cards, Bidwhist, and we played after supper. We would pick one of the rooms and go in and play cards. Sometimes a couple of them, we'd just study. That's how I learned how to do cards, smoke cigarettes. My roommate's mother was an employee of P. Lorillard.

Segment Synopsis: This segment includes additional information about residence hall experience and the desegregation process.

49:09 - Graduate school internship

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Partial Transcript: And, then, I started exploring the new kind of life I would be living when I came to grad school here. Brought the girls. And my mother was still in Lenoir, and it was close enough for us to go there any time we felt like it. So, I bought a station wagon just for that purpose. And in the summer of '81 or '80 I went-I received a grant to study at ODU [Old Dominion University] from Aramco, associated with the big oil. And they paid us a nice little stipend to study the Middle East. And I took the kids up to Lenoir to stay with my mother, well for most of the summer. And after about a week of that-well, by that time my oldest girl was fourteen. And I think she had a little boyfriend or something going on here.

Segment Synopsis: In this segment, Gordon describes the summer of her internship and her family.

52:09 - Campus experience part 3

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Partial Transcript: But UNCG put a slant of realism in my mind. I didn't go around thinking that I could make A's and B's in everything that I took. I mean that was unrealistic at that time. My dad in the end of my sophomore year- they still sent progress reports homes to parents. And my grades were pretty dismal. It seems like that's when I admit-my daddy didn't have any of that. I'd watch the white girls-cars would come up. Coming up about this time of day on Friday. They would be packed to go [to] various colleges, going back to hometown. Boyfriends would be driving the cars. Some of the girls had cars on campus, too. But, you know, that didn't affect my life, because no one I knew there had a car.

Segment Synopsis: This segment includes description of social life in the residence halls.

56:00 - Downtown Greensboro

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Partial Transcript: SM: So, you said for fun you guys played cards a lot. Did you ever go downtown?

JG: Downtown?

SM: Yes.

JG: Yeah, I'm sure-caught the bus downtown. Yeah.

SM: Greensboro was starting to integrate. Woolworth's had integrated. The Mayfair Cafeteria eventually integrated in '63. So, some places had begun to integrate. But, obviously, a lot of places still resisted. So, was it hard going from UNCG, which you didn't necessarily felt segregated except for living quarters, going into the Jim Crow downtown? Did you have any problems there? Or did you just stay away from places where you-

JG: I don't think that was-

SM: Because some people say, "We just stayed away from places where we couldn't eat," or "We just didn't go downtown." I didn't know if everyone avoided downtown.

JG: I don't think we went downtown.

Segment Synopsis: This segment includes comments on the desegregation process in Greensboro.

57:07 - Extracurricular activities

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Partial Transcript: JG: We had movies on campus. We didn't have televisions in our rooms, but they had televisions in the lobbies.

SM: And I know that you were involved in some extracurricular activities on campus. I actually have a copy of your senior yearbook. And it says you were in History Club?

JG: Yes.

SM: And you did something called "Commission," do you remember what that was? It said you did "Commission," and-do you remember any of those activities?

JG: I need to find my glasses.

SM: It says you were a section leader.

JG: Section leader. I probably was.

SM: Do you know what that means?

JG: Well, at the time I think we had, you know, a residence counselor and from time to time we would have meetings.

SM: Oh, what kind of-I'll wait till you come back that way we can-

Segment Synopsis: This segment describes Gordon's extracurricular activities on campus and taking summer courses at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

62:26 - Interaction with students from nearby campuses

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Partial Transcript: SM: That first dance? Where did the boys come from?

JG: I think they came from A&T. I don't know who-somebody might have invited them, or the girls who were in the city may have invited them. There was no coordinating effort to place young women at UNC-I mean at Woman's College who were of the minority race, black minority race. I mean that part of your life was up to you. And my granddaughter was telling me, she's sixteen on Tuesday, and she wants to have a cake cutting here. And she's invited about twenty-five friends. So, we were having, I took her to Red Lobster, just to sort of feel her out on things. So, she told me about a boyfriend. I mean, no, about a friend of hers who has been calling her. And she said, "Grandma, he's not my boyfriend."

Segment Synopsis: This segment contains description of Woman's College/UNCG students interacting with students from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and Bennett College.

66:24 - Experience breaking cultural barriers

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Partial Transcript: JG: There was a lot of things going on that were available. But I think we-and speaking only for myself, when I went back to graduate school I had a friend who was a white boy. But that was some years-well-

SM: About ten years later?

JG: Yes. So, you know, what I was saying was such a rare thing. But my experience was totally-I look at that experience, I think mainstream white Southerners thought that black people were innately inferior, could not learn, you know? Color had its self-other habits that would not want to be around too long, that type of thing. But I think our contribution was that we showed that we could learn, that we were teachable. We did have a brain. And that was known before I went to UNCG by people.

Segment Synopsis: This segment includes reflections on the interactions of individuals with different backgrounds at UNCG.

68:03 - College experience part 1

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Partial Transcript: SM: Well, what would you say was your favorite experience or aspect when you were in college?

JG: You know what sounds-this might sound-we would stay, there was a girl, a Creole girl, and we were study partners for-we had those take-home exams. And we would stay up all night long cramming into the wee hours of the morning for a test that was coming up. And it might have been-it wasn't a take home. We just knew what was going to be on it. That stands out to me as one of the major features. I can't really remember a speaker that came to that campus. I might have been. I remember my graduation, and I think somebody at the time, Kennedy's Administration came to speak for us. It might have been the one that died, Sargent Shriver.

Segment Synopsis: This segment contains reflections about studying for exams, the assassination of President Kennedy, student teaching at Dudley High School, favorite professors, and student life.

72:48 - Tate Street

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Partial Transcript: SM: What was Tate Street like in the 1960s? Was it still kind of the center of social-

JG: Yes. More so, I would think for the students then than today.

SM: Right. Do you remember any kind of things that were on Tate Street?

JG: Well, that little shop, The Corner. It seems like we went down there and ate something one day. It may have been a pizza parlor down there.

SM: And you said Yum-Yum was around, then.

JG: Yes.

SM: Did you ever go eat there? Was it an establishment that was integrated?

JG: I don't know if we went there and got our hotdogs and ice cream and went back. It wasn't across the street where it is now. It was more up here on the corner.

Segment Synopsis: This segment describes restaurants on Tate Street and Yum-Yum's on campus.

74:07 - Campus administration and faculty

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Partial Transcript: SM: Do you remember-so, during when you were there, typically chancellors are there for a very long time and don't switch very often. But when you were there they had three chancellors.

JG: Yes.

SM: Dr. Gordon Blackwell, Dr. W.W. Pierson, Jr., and Dr. Otis Singletary.

JG: Singletary.

SM: Do you remember anything about these people?

JG: He taught me a class.

SM: Really?

JG: I was in one of his classes, Civil War.

SM: Oh, so Singletary was a history professor?

JG: Yes.

SM: Okay. And do you remember what he was like?

JG: Nice, articulate, caring. One of my favorite people there was also Dr. Richard Bardolph. He was head of the-

SM: You said Richie or Richard?

JG: Richard.

SM: Richard Bardolph? And that was a history professor?

JG: Yes. He was chairman of the history department.

Segment Synopsis: This segment contains information about the chancellors during Gordon's time as a student at Woman's College and professors at the university.

76:55 - Transition to co-education

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Partial Transcript: SM: That's okay. So, your senior year was the last year of Woman's College?

JG: Yes.

SM: Men were admitted the next fall. So, do you remember hearing anything about it becoming a coeducational-was that a big issue on campus?

JG: Not when we were there. Heard about it more when I got out.

SM: But there wasn't any talk about, "Boys are coming next year"?

JG: No.

SM: And, so, did your diploma, though, would still say Woman's College?

JG: Yes.

SM: Because that was the last year you were there?

JG: Yes.

Segment Synopsis: This segment includes comments on the university's transition from Woman's College to UNCG.

77:25 - Civil rights protests

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Partial Transcript: SM: Okay. And, so, I mentioned earlier that there was civil rights-you said you never marched or protested or anything while you were there. You, obviously, missed February 1, 1960, because you were still in high school. But there was a big protest led by Jesse Jackson when he was president-when he was student body president at A&T your, I guess, probably your junior year. They sat down at the corner of-what did they call it? Jefferson Square, right where Lincoln Financial building is downtown. Do you remember anything about that? They were putting lots of black students in the jails. They were filling up the jails.

JG: I remember that.

SM: You remember that? Did any UNCG students participate?

JG: I think we were told-there was a mandate from the chancellor about not getting ourselves involved in anything that would land us up in jail.

Segment Synopsis: This segment comments on protests held in downtown Greensboro.

79:45 - Alumni activities and connections

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Partial Transcript: SM: Right. Have you been involved at UNCG since you graduated from undergrad or graduate school?

JG: My two grandchildren went to the day school over there and got an excellent, excellent start.

SM: In the preschool? Okay.

JG: They have a very, very good preschool. I go over to Elliott Hall when there has been a speaker here that I was interested in hearing.

SM: Now, is Elliott Hall, I didn't go to undergrad at UNCG. So, I am not as familiar. I know my buildings that I go to. Is that still around? Because I know the union now is the Elliott University Center.

JG: Well, that's it.

SM: Okay. So, was the Elliott University Center the same thing as Elliott Hall, or did the Elliott University Center replace Elliott Hall?

JG: I think it replaced it.

Segment Synopsis: This segment contains information of how Gordon remained connected to UNCG as a Woman's College alumna and information on Elliot Hall (now Elliot University Center).

81:18 - College choices

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Partial Transcript: JG: Yes. Neither one of my girls went to Woman's College. One finished at Campbell, and one finished at Appalachian State.

SM: I was going to ask. So, you were from the mountains. Was Appalachian State still a teacher's college, then?

JG: You know what? I was up there, but I had never been to Appalachian State.

SM: There was no-

JG: I sort of mapped my land out to my daddy. This is what I'm going to do. I'm going to take this test. If I don't pass it, I'm going to take that scholarship from Bennett. I don't want to go to A&T. I'm certainly not going to-even though A&T is a great school, I don't know why I was so closed-minded and so conservative. I do know my mother and daddy-when they would go to town or had something to do, we had to stay alone.

Segment Synopsis: This segment restates Gordon's decision process to attend Woman's College instead of other institutions.

82:44 - Classmates part 1

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Partial Transcript: SM: And you mentioned one classmate that you still stay in touch with.

JG: Marian.

SM: Are there others you stay in touch with still?

JG: Well, I've seen Linner. I heard from my friend David that she had-was getting high-ranked. She's still working, you know? I'm 68. She might be 69.

SM: And was Marian your roommate all four years?

JG: Linner was my roommate.

SM: Linner, was she your roommate all four years, or did you switch roommates?

JG: Switched roommates. When we left Coit Hall, Sandra was my roommate. But when we got to Ragsdale.

SM: Oh, you lived in Ragsdale too.

JG: Ragsdale.

SM: You went just from Coit to Ragsdale.

JG: Coit to Ragsdale, right. I don't think we ever moved to Mendenhall.

SM: Oh, so, you didn't live in Mendenhall, just Ragsdale? Okay.

Segment Synopsis: This segment includes Gordon's classmates and roommates at Woman's College.

86:20 - College experience part 2

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Partial Transcript: SM: Well, what would you want-obviously, this is going to go in the library, and people can eventually-we're going to, hopefully, get it online so people can access it anywhere in the world essentially. What would you want future students or scholars to know about your experience at Woman's College as one of the first wave of black students?

JG: That Woman's College offered a multitude of experiences. You could explore your life as young as you were. You could explore potentials in careers. The one thing about UNCG was that you didn't get a lot of one-on-one guidance. And I don't think they-I think that was deliberate. They wanted your choices to be, indeed, your choices. You could blossom out of eighteen-year-old, go from nineteen, twenty, and make that transition over into adulthood.

Segment Synopsis: This segment includes Gordon's statement about her overall experience as a student at Woman's College.

90:35 - Classmates part 2

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Partial Transcript: SM: Did you know the first students who-I guess they graduated when you were there, the first two black students?

JG: I knew Zelma [Amey Holmes]. Zelma was a short girl. And I knew Margaret Ann [Patterson Horton]. I think they were in the second class.

SM: Yes. I think Bettye-JoAnne Smart and Bettye Tillman were the first two.

JG: Are they still living?

SM: One of them is. One of them, actually, I don't remember if it's-I think it's [Bettye Tillman], she died shortly after graduation. She died like thirty, relatively young.

JG: What was wrong?

SM: I have not found out. No one knows so far, so.

JG: Okay.

SM: Yeah, but we're trying to get the people-you, obviously, graduated in '64. We're trying to get the first wave of people who went to UNCG first to interview, because a couple people have died that we have-we missed the opportunity.

Segment Synopsis: This segment includes additional information about individuals who were also at Woman's College during Gordon's tenure as a student.

93:17 - Interview conclusion

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Partial Transcript: SM: Well, I was going to ask you. I don't have any more questions, but is there anything else you wanted to add, or that you want to be part of the interview?

JG: No, but I've got your number if I think of anything that you need to really plug in, I'll just call you.

SM: Yes, I'll go ahead and turn-well, obviously, I'm going to Marian's house next week. If you have any other people that you know that-I don't have my list with me of people we're trying to interview. But if-

JG: Call me and tell me who they are.

SM: Do you have an e-mail address?

JG: No.

SM: No? Okay.

JG: Joan moved in July. She has a computer. I did not become computer literate. I know this is-I went to my fiftieth high school reunion.

Segment Synopsis: This segment is the end of the interview.

0:00

SM: Today is February 24, 2011. I am Sarah McNulty, oral history interviewer for 1:00the African American [Institutional Memory] Project. Today I am interviewing Mrs. Janet Harper Gordon, class of 1964, at her home in Greensboro. Thank you, Mrs. Gordon, for letting me come over today. I'd like to start by just talking about your family history, specifically maybe start from your birthday. If you would tell us your birthday and go on from there.

JG: All right. I was born in Lenoir, North Carolina November 17, 1942. I was born in a satellite rural place called Harpertown.

SM: Can you spell that?

JG: H-A-R-P-E-R, my last name.

SM: Oh, Harpertown. Okay.

JG: Harpertown. It wouldn't be found on any map on any part of the world. But it was home. And I was born there, and grew there, and thrived there. I'm the oldest of eight children, six sisters and one brother. We constitute a family of eight. And we didn't have Head Start, or Kindergarten, or that type thing when I was a little girl. So, my dad, who had two years of education at A&T State University-. My mom only finished high school. She was the first of her family to finish high school. And he was the first of his family to finish high school, or attend college at all. So, they both had high hopes for us. Pushed education 2:00to us. I think he started with me when I was about three. He left me-he was the teacher and my mother did all the work of course in the house, keeping us alive-. And he would leave A, B, Cs for me to copy, practice writing. He would-then it went from practice writing to saying them because we didn't have a lot of visuals and other stimulus to give to me when I was a little girl like they do today. But he was intent on me being smart. I was told I was so pretty and so smart. You know, my self-esteem was pretty powerful until I went to the Harpertown School. A two-room school. And there I stood out because I was very, 3:00very bright. And my father had no problems in accentuating that to the teacher and to the other teachers. I think my first-year teacher was grades one through three. And I think-I went there when I was five, because, my aunt was grade- my daddy's sister-in-law his brother's wife was from down here near Liberty, and when she visited she knew I was a smart little girl. I knew to be smart because I didn't want to hear any negatives. A negative reinforcement came as frequently as positive where my dad was concerned. They both- my early knowledge 4:00that education was the key was when I was about three or four years old, they preached that: "You've got to have a good education, and you are going to learn. You are going to make good grades, and you will have a good life." But the point I've told peace of mind here in Greensboro- you know Lenoir is at the foot of the mountains. We had no railroad, no intimate action with hardly any other culture other than what was there, the whites, the blacks, and Indians and Cherokee. So, we had no exposure to another side of the world until I was ten. And that's when dad bought us a TV. We had a TV. We were the first people in that area to get a TV. And my mother really hated the idea that he bought that 5:00TV, and all the other little neighbors- was like a movie- they wanted to come see TV. And that was [unclear]- and he was usually not there on Saturday nights when they liked to come. I went to Harpertown Elementary School for seven years. In the eighth grade I was supposed to go to the city school for black people. And it was in a little satellite called Freedman in the city limits. I mean the City of Lenoir. Okay.

SM: And what was the school? Was it called?

JG: Freedman High School.

SM: Freedman High School.

JG: Freedman High School.

6:00

SM: Okay.

JG: I don't know exactly what year this was; I was born in '42. So, must have been-I was about twelve. But in that year I-my class could not go to Freedman, because it was too full. And we would have to come next year. I mean that next year. So, what we did-what they did for us- converted a room at the church. The church- Harpertown United Methodist Church. That became a schoolroom for the eighth graders. So, my eighth grade was spent there. It was a very, very momentous year for me, because I found that there were men who taught us too. I had never seen a male teacher, other than my dad, [unclear]. Mr. Vester Corpening.

7:00

SM: Oh, my goodness. I'm going to have to ask you how to spell that.

JG: V-E-S-T-E-R C-O-R-P-E-N-I-N-G.

SM: And his first name was Vester?

JG: Vester.

SM: Okay. So, Vester, and Corpening is his last name. Okay.

JG: He was a good teacher. And he taught all the courses that we took in the eighth [grade]. And there, again, I was pegged as being one of the smarter ones in the class.

SM: Do you know how many people were in your class?

JG: In that class, I guess, it might have been about thirteen. And we had peer teaching. I mean like my aunt would say, "Jan, I want you to sit over here and teach Billy. Go over Billy's reading." Billy was slow. No problem. We did that. 8:00We elevated each other. It was nothing like- nobody felt they were any better, or any other problem that comes up with children today.

SM: And you said your father was a factory worker?

JG: Yes.

SM: What did he do in the factory? Can you tell me about that?

JG: He worked at Bernhardt Furniture Factory. He mixed stains like mahogany, cherry, the different kinds of stains. They made furniture. And it was made in this little wooded area. There was another big one; Broyhill probably is the most- the one you hear more about. Broyhill was a good company, too. And my dad worked in the furniture factory. He made little things like lamps. He'd get in the basement and make little things. Then he'd work on another job. He was 9:00constantly working.

SM: And did your mother work?

JG: My mother started working when I was ten. She worked as a domestic to several families in Lenoir-but her first job was at the hospital. I'm trying to think of the name of the hospital. She was a nurse's aide. Blackwelders Hospital, I think was the name of it.

SM: Blackwelders?

JG: Yes.

SM: B-L-A-C-K-

JG: B-L-A-C-K-W-E-L-D-E-R-S.

SM: Okay. I'm trying to get for all the proper nouns so we have the right spelling.

JG: All right. Fine.

SM: So, she was a nurse's aide, and then she was a mom, and then she was a-.

JG: Yes, and she- if anybody met my mother at that hospital and saw how 10:00conscientious she was. She was really a nice person, a friendly person, a warm person. Then they would have- want to give her some work to do. Like come on Saturdays or after-hours and clean their house sometimes on the weekend. She made lots of friends that way. And I hated for my mother to not be there when I got home. It took me to going to adulthood to realize that that was probably her therapy. Work, I mean money, but getting away from all us [unclear]. [We] were like stair steps. My brother is next to me, and he was very bright, too. But she'd tell us- like it was a dirt road by our house, if they haven't paved it yet. And sometimes we'd go near the edge, or right in the road. My mother would 11:00say "Don't go to that road. Every now and then a car comes down and you may get run over." So one day my brother said "Come on Janet, let's go". Realizing that a beating was imminent, I went home. And I tell you that to tell you that my mother when she started beating, it was nonstop to a certain extent. To the point where my dad told her not to beat us. He would do the beating; let him know what we did. Because I feel like he sensed the stress that it was putting her under. But both of them worked, worked, worked. SM: And did your mother work as a domestic worker in white houses or black houses?

JM: White houses. Hand me that picture right there on that edge.

SM: The picture?

12:00

JM: Yes.

SM: This?

JM: Yeah, I'll tell you a little story about-this is my dad. And this little bitty frame that I've had, a little bitty frame. My mother looked like a white woman. Her whole family does. Most of my mother's sisters married darker men. I heard my mother's baby sister say one time-my daughter did an oral interview-my granddaughter. She was at Appalachian. She did a study on my mother. I will let you read that. Not today, because we don't have enough time. But my aunt said they married brown men, darker men, because in school they would be called 13:00little green-eyed, half whites. And that kind of made them painful. That color thing did not-while we were coming up, I didn't know that my daddy had a sister. My mother was from Wilkesboro, North Carolina, not Caldwell County where my dad was from. And he would say growing up that he was going to marry a white woman. And he had about, I understand about nine or ten cats with him as pets all the time. So, he might have been a little eccentric. But after he married my mother I think he didn't go to college when he should, because he didn't have all that much help. His oldest brother whose aunt taught me-I mean whose wife taught me, my aunt. He, you know, he was a little indecisive about the money. He didn't take a lot of money. But the other things he needed like, you know, he didn't 14:00have a car or anything like that. It was just like unless you did have a dedicated person, usually your mom or your dad, sometimes your siblings would cooperate I understood. But back to my dad and his color thing, when he took mom to Harpertown, most of the people in Harpertown were chocolate, brown-skinned people, dark. He might have been-he was darker than me, but he wasn't this dark. So, when they saw my mother, my mother had beautiful hair, auburn-like hair, you know, on her shoulders. And they had never seen that a black man that he was just really shocked. They knew she was a black woman, but they hadn't fully understood that in the black race you have all degrees of hues. But my aunt 15:00would tell my mother, she said, "Now, you up here with us now. And you need to do something to that little stringy hair you got. You need to plait it up, or do something to it." And, so, my mother had to endure a lot of, you know, snides like that.

SM: Were both of her parents black? I mean do-where did she get her light skin from?

JG: I'll tell you. She got it from my grandpa's-I mean my grandfather's mother had a white dad.

SM: So, it goes back generations?

JG: Two generations.

SM: Two generations?

JG: Yes.

SM: Wow.

16:00

JG: And most of them married people that looked like them down in Wilkes County. Ahoskie, North Carolina had a lot of people that would be considered mixed by today's standard. Although, we were considered black, a Negro, not black. Now, during this-along this same line, when my dad was drafted into the army, I think my mother says I was little. I was like an infant, maybe not even a half a year old.

SM: This was for World War II?

JG: Yes, World War II. And, so, he went down to Charlotte to get his physical. But he didn't get accepted, because at that time he had blood pressure problem. 17:00But during that same time the furniture factories in Lenoir were advertising for women. They would hire women to work at the factories. So, my mother-I think at the time there was me, my brother, and Linda. At the time-no, maybe it was just my brother and me. Yeah, just my brother and me. And she applied and got the job. But mom said the job she got was very nice compared to some of the other [women who] lived in Harpertown. One day my aunt's husband, who worked there saw my mother, and he said, "Hey, Eunice, how you doing?" And mom said, "I'm doing 18:00okay." And she did not know that the foreman saw the interaction. He was a white man. So, after that interaction, the foreman asked my mother, "Now, are you white, or are you colored?"

SM: Because it wouldn't have been acceptable for a black man to talk to a white woman at the factory?

JG: Right. And so mama told him she was colored. So, the next day she went to work, and she was put over where the black people were in fact working, black women. And mama said the work was so hard and nasty-she decided that day. She said, "I didn't like the way the woman was taking care of Junior [Edward DeLane Harper, Jr.], my brother. No way." And I came home.

SM: Your brother's name is June?

JG: His name is Edward, Jr., Edward, Jr., and my father, Edward, Sr., Edward 19:00DeLane Harper, Sr., Edward DeLane Harper, Jr.

SM: And is it D-E-L-A-N-E?

JG: A-N-E.

SM: Oh okay, I like that. And did any of your brothers and sisters go to college?

JG: Yes.

SM: Did all of them, or some of them?

JG: Now, me, my brother, Linda, now, the middle children like Tysie had a full scholarship to North Carolina Central. Now about how we went to school in- that many children in a family, these furniture factories in Lenoir would award scholarships to people who applied, and whose children qualified. And at the time I went to Woman's College if my memory serves me right it was about $740 a year. We could borrow $500. So, that-and I worked in Blowing Rock in the summers 20:00as domestic for this lady. Was a [unclear] Mrs. Zimmerman out of Louisiana-not New Orleans, but Alexandria. And that's how we were able to get-all my siblings had opportunity-has had-they have had some college. My sister that went to Central, she liked to party, and she had to come home, sit out a semester. And when she went back she had fallen in love, and the boy that she married was up at Howard. He dropped out of school and they had this child before they married. And they dropped out of school and started working. And my sister did, too. But she got a traditionally all-white job in the business department of Broyhill, 21:00the office department. So, she was first. And my sister, Linda, got one of those jobs, also. They were good at typing and math and skills like that. I wasn't that good at typing, and I didn't have that kind of agility about my fingers. My father was rejected from active military service because his blood pressure was very, very high. And at that time they didn't have as much research on how to control it or give them advice about the things they know will help. And with all the hard work, and his flaws sometimes with his drinking, things he did, his lifestyle, always wanted to get ahead, his blood pressure never really got under control. So, he died of a massive stroke. He had a massive stroke. I got married 22:00in '64, December of '64. It must have been '65, he had a massive stroke. And mom said "you should come down to Duke with people who really know"- The stroke would show different symptoms with different people. He had that massive stroke, and got to rehabilitation. By that time I was teaching in Charlotte. He came to rehabilitation center in Charlotte. And he got some use of his body back. He was able to walk with a cane. But the very next year he died of a massive stroke. At that time I was in Texas, because I married an army officer. And I wasn't at home, but I came home.

23:00

SM: And how old was your father?

JG: Forty-six.

SM: Oh, goodness.

JG: So, he carried on the same kind of regime with the first three or four of us.

SM: And how many kids were still at home when he died? What's the age difference between you and the youngest sibling? JG: Ten years.

SM: Ten years. So-

JG: She was fourteen.

SM: Fourteen.

JG: And I wasn't home then. My brother, as a matter of fact, he was graduating from Livingston College that same year. And he said on the day-either on the day my dad died in that time frame, he had been accepted to take the test to be not an airline pilot but a comptroller. It's something about you have to have lots 24:00of math skills. He was a math major. And he didn't take the test. I said, "Why didn't you take the test?" He said, "Because mama needed my help." So, he graduated and stayed in Lenoir. He taught at Hibriten High.

SM: Hibriten?

JG: H-I-B-R-I-T-E-N.

SM: Okay.

JG: He taught as a math teacher, high school math teacher for-I want to say three or four years before he got married.

SM: And did any of your siblings go to Woman's College or UNCG, or [were you] the only one?

JG: I was the only one.

SM: Okay. Well, before you went to college, you said your dad instilled in you education, and that it was important to go to get as much education. What were you interested in, like subject wise, what was-

25:00

JG: Medical. I was going to go into-. My daddy told me early on that I was smart enough that I could be a doctor. So you know I took all of the science that they offered at Freedman. I didn't know about how you built up on that, you know. They were very limited in what they could teach you at Freedman High School as far as science and-seems like there was one of them I hated very badly-physics, I hated. And, you know, I hated it, but I got in a small setting like that, I got good grades. But I think as early as tenth grade that it was dawning upon me that as many siblings as I had- That this business where you go four years, then you go another four years, then you go to an internship. Oh no that was no gonna happen. But I decided a compromise would be medical technology, and that's what 26:00I settled upon. The reason why I chose UNCG-well, there was another girl that had left Freedman High School, not from our little satellite, but she lived in the city. Her name was Margaret Ann Patterson Horton. I admired her. And I had an inquisitive mind at that time, and I heard of A&T from my daddy. I had heard of Bennett College. I got a scholarship to Bennett College. But that never really interested me. And I told my daddy, well, I said, "I want to be a medical technician, and A&T doesn't offer a degree in that, and Bennett doesn't either, and UNCG does. So, I want to take the test to see if I can go to UNCG." So, he 27:00said, "Well, fill out for the test." I think he meant to fill it out in school. I don't know where we filled it out. But, anyway, we had to go to Asheville, North Carolina. From Lenoir to Asheville for me to take this test. I guess it was the SAT.

SM: SAT, yes.

JG: And it snowed every Wednesday in that month. It was February, I think, too. And that was one year that every Wednesday we didn't meet. We went to school Monday and Tuesday. And then we didn't go back [until Monday], because the buses didn't run. When the scores came back, my dad said, "Jan, what's the name of 28:00that school you want to go to?" I said, "Woman's College." So, he said-when I got my scores I didn't, we hadn't-I hadn't heard from UNCG or anything. I don't even know if I had-I guess I had applied. But he told me, "Well, you're going to go to that school, because some white man's daughter applied, and didn't get accepted. So, I was going to that school, you know? So, that settled that. I didn't have to negotiate with him anymore. And as I say, he pretty much figured up the money thing. And it was assumed as we graduated we would help the other one under-the one under me would be Junior, my brother. And, then, Junior would help Linda. But, see, Linda and Tysie, both of them, Linda went to A&T. Both of 29:00them had really sharp, good accounting minds. Junior was math, and I was something of an offshoot, way out. Then, when I did major in history my dad was disappointed. And I explained to him that once I got to UNCG, I think it was Mrs. Caldwell, she was not-I don't think she was a doctor. Well, she taught freshman biology. I was in her class. And for me and another black girl, my roommate as a matter of fact-she was so kind. She knew we didn't know hardly anything, nothing. Hardly had seen a microscope, you know, on a one-to-one basis. So, she drew the parts of the microscope out for us to look at it and practice, and we'd come over to the lab and you know, learn more about it. Sort 30:00of like on your own because there were no special programs for us.

SM: No preparation or anything?

JG: Not at college. Not at college like they do now. I think they give some credits to some of those kids may need extra help. I knew that I was taking biology and chemistry. I'd never seen an F in my life, never. I began to see them. We had teachers there who told it like it was. I remember Dr. Eugene Pfaff. History was like a cleansing course, to clean out the ones that need to 31:00go back home. And he said-I think we took finals in January at that time instead of before Christmas. And he said one day, "Ladies, now, we are going to have final examinations. And after we finish with our finals and get our grades, and so forth. Some of you will not be coming back. Some of you will be back at home in neighborhood schools, technical schools, community schools. Some of you didn't need to come down here anyway. Some of you will go home and get married." He would rattle off. He also let me know what macho sort of attitude. I didn't take it as being completely racist, but I know it was kind of like anti-woman. 32:00Because when I went to get my master's at UNCG, I had a paper that was due. And I lived with my sister for-I took my girls and my sister was divorced, had gotten a divorce. And we lived in her house over in Woodmere Park. I lived with her for half a-for a semester. Because that did not work out. I told her it wouldn't work out. And took my girls to the Palms [Apartments] on Lawndale Drive. And that's where I decided that I would have to make my own life centered around how I am; on schooling, needing babysitting, and that type thing. But my girls-one of my girls is sickly. My youngest daughter. And, so, you know, it was flu season, and I think I was late. I mean I couldn't get to the library. I didn't let folks sit them at night. I had to on the weekend, I'd get a sitter on 33:00Saturday or Sunday. But I took my paper in to Dr. Pfaff telling him what had happened, the reason why I was late. And he looked me straight in the eye and he said, still calling me Miss Harper, even though at that time I was Mrs. Gordon. He said, "I can sympathize with what you're going through, but it is my firm belief that a woman cannot be a good scholar and a good mother at the same time." And he gave me a C.

SM: And when did you go back to grad school?

JG: '71.

SM: '71. So, you graduated high school in '60, correct?

JG: Yes.

SM: And you graduated Woman's College in '64?

34:00

JG: Yes.

SM: And you became a teacher?

JG: Yes.

SM: And, then, when you went to graduate school, were you still teaching, or did you go full-time to school?

JG: My husband had passed-been killed.

SM: Oh.

JG: He was a military officer during the Vietnam era. And I found that I could use the G.I. bill. They were going to let widows of Vietnam veterans use the G.I. bill. And when I went-John died in '68, March of '68. So, I taught in Morganton for two years. Must have been-they wanted me to go back to work, because I was so depressed. My mother and my aunt wanted me to go back to work. So, I'm trying to get the chronology. Let me see. I don't have my glasses on. See what year I graduated, and I can tell you what year I started.

35:00

SM: Oh, '73.

JG: Okay.

SM: May '73.

JG: So, I must have started-I taught Lenoir- he died in March. I think I started teaching in August. My mother helped me with the children. And I made up my mind up I would leave there when Joanie was four. Put her in school. So, I must have started in '71-'72, grad school. And when I started school my oldest girl was in, I think, Kindergarten. And my baby was four. And I had her in a little program over on Lee Street. This nursery school, she came highly recommended by 36:00my sister. And, so, every morning when I got my book bag together and got Joan ready, it was just like she knew she might be going to be exterminated. What in the world is going on in that stupid school? And it began to worry me. And, then, one day I was walking, and I saw where they had the educational component, They had a little school up there for preschoolers and early childhood development.

SM: This is at UNCG preschool?

JG: Yes. And I just happened to randomly walk in there, and I told them I had a little four-year-old that I wanted her to come to that school if she could. So, it was a waiting list maybe for a few months. And when Joan started that school 37:00it was like day and night. Book bag and everything. She was just ready. So, at that time I knew that there were differences in what was going on in the school. I didn't investigate what was going on over there, I did not care as long as my child was where we could be happy. And, so, I-when I graduated in '73 I did not get a job until-I didn't get a job that year. I got a job the year Nixon left office. That was '74. I was friends with the girl whose husband was, I believe school board chairman. And we were in social gatherings. So, I told him I was 38:00having a little trouble. So, he said he would look into it, and see what was available, and let Yvonne know. And when one came up, I didn't get high school, but I went over to Lincoln Junior High. And I taught there fourteen years. And when Lincoln became a magnet school for science and technology, a component of that school was a magnet school, then they didn't need as many social studies and that type thing. So, I was transferred to Jackson [Junior High School], and my friend was transferred to Dudley [Senior High School]. One thing about it 39:00when I started my teaching, the way we did at UNCG. My student teaching was at Dudley. We caught a bus right there. I don't know exactly where it was, it might have been on Spring Garden. We stayed at the school for two hours a semester, and we worked on our teacher- you know coordinating with teachers. I somehow felt like I didn't have- I had the intellectual know-how of how to operate with these kids. But many of the people I had worked with when I got my regular job 40:00had been in the school all day long, and had caught on to a lot of that stuff. I really felt like a new teacher when I went to Dudley, I mean Lincoln. At that time I knew I wished I had gone into something else other than middle school teaching. But I was-the longer I stayed in it, the better I felt, you know? There were so many hats you had to cover with those middle school children. My first job was at a senior high school. So, the kids were a little more sophisticated. And in Charlotte you didn't have to do all your discipline, because everybody knew they were bad. Everybody, no matter where they came from knew that Second Ward and West Charlotte, but West Charlotte was a little bit 41:00better than Second Ward. Second Ward was hoodlumville.

SM: That's so funny.

JG: Did you get in contact with a lady named Linner Ward Griffin?

SM: I don't think so. Not yet at least. We haven't gotten to that name yet.

JG: She's supposed to be down in East Carolina, Dean of Sociology Department.

SM: What's her name?

JG: Linner Ward. She was from Charlotte. Linner Ward Griffin.

SM: Okay.

JG: She was my roommate for two years.

SM: At UNCG?

JG: Yes.

SM: And is it Linner like-

JG: L-I-N-N-E-R.

SM: Oh, okay. And she's at East Carolina?

JG: She was in Greeneville. She should be on your roster.

SM: She might be. I was actually going to ask you about-we can go back to this, speaking of your roommate, can you tell me about like your first day on campus?

42:00

JG: It was very, very new. I was excited. I was happy. My daddy and mother brought me down. My daddy bought me a chain because I had a habit of being careless with things. And we didn't have keys and that kind of things in our house in Lenoir. They had keys, we didn't. And he wanted me to keep my key on my chain. And just as a matter of fact, when they left my roommate said, "What you wearing that chain around your neck for?" I said, "I lose things quite frequently, and my dad wants me to-" and she said, "Take that off." So, I knew that it was-Coit Hall was where we lived.

SM: Coit?

JG: Yes. And it was seven black girls in my class. We had one whole section of Coit Hall. Nobody was on there but black girls. There was a girl that came from 43:00Danville who is Jewish, I think second semester. She came over there with us. So, we were highly segregated on that campus, you know, living wise. They could control that.

SM: Right.

JG: But in the classes once I got my schedule and took those pre-tests and facing the fact that this was a new day for me, a really new day. I did not find anyone amongst the girls, no one to my knowledge that appeared to be racist. I 44:00didn't find any of my teachers that took that on as a hobby to see if they could be racist, you know? Although, I may have been too naive to know what racism was all about. Because as I told you, I was well-cushioned with whom I was as a young child. And, then, in the area that I grew up in, you know, I maintained all my own scholastic, whatever I was taught, I usually could learn. If I didn't get it taught to me, I didn't know it, you know? And a lot of things in that scientific world of chemistry and biology I found-and I did like genetics when we went into that part of biology. That really-even as early as that was, I 45:00found that to be fascinating.

SM: So, you were more inclined when you first got to campus with science stuff. How did you change over to history? What changed-

JG: Because I liked history.

SM: You told me you didn't want to be a doctor, but you just took a history class, and that kind-

JG: No, history was a requirement.

SM: A requirement.

JG: Two years. We had to take it. It wasn't any-we took Western Civ the first year, and maybe we had a choice the second year. I don't know. But everybody took Western Civ that was a freshman. And I like things I never heard about, you know? It fascinated me. I didn't know about the Greeks. I didn't know about the Romans. I may have been taught that, but it wasn't-it didn't stick into me. It's great in high school, probably would have gotten a smathering. But the way it 46:00was integrated into life with me at that time, fascinated me.

SM: When we go back to about your living situation and people treating you a certain way, did you befriend white students? I mean did they come and try to get to know you, or did it take a while to get acquainted with them?

JG: No, there was no coming to try to befriend me. I don't think any of the-I don't think-in my situation it appeared to me that the black-we were in a hall of our own. That was a degree of segregation right then and there. And we played cards, Bidwhist, and we played after supper. We would pick one of the rooms and 47:00go in and play cards. Sometimes a couple of them, we'd just study. That's how I learned how to do cards, smoke cigarettes. My roommate's mother was an employee of P. Lorillard. And when I got there she had a-she pulled out like a basketful of cigarettes, Kent cigarettes. And she said, "Do you smoke?" I said, "No." She threw in a few, if you get started the cigarettes are free here, because my mother gives me them. I said, "Okay thank you." So I learned things to be- peer pressure sort of things. I think we knew the deal. The South hadn't changed that much. We were in school there. We weren't penetrating the core of the university 48:00to see what would happen. Now, in these marches, I wasn't here in February 1, 1960. I never participated in any marches per se. I think at Coit Hall we might have had a car come by there one Saturday night and shoot off a firecracker, something that resembled a little bomb. It was-and we were told not to go to certain places. They maintained a certain caution about us, we understood that. I think it was a good experience for me in that I learned to accept the reality of the situation and live with it, especially after I had become widowed so young. Then the reality of that situation was that I had two young daughters to 49:00raise. And I stayed in depression a long, long time. And, then, I started exploring the new kind of life I would be living when I came to grad school here. Brought the girls. And my mother was still in Lenoir, and it was close enough for us to go there any time we felt like it. So, I bought a station wagon just for that purpose. And in the summer of '81 or '80 I went-I received a grant to study at ODU [Old Dominion University] from Aramco, associated with the big oil. And they paid us a nice little stipend to study the Middle East. And I took 50:00the kids up to Lenoir to stay with my mother, well for most of the summer. And after about a week of that-well, by that time my oldest girl was fourteen. And I think she had a little boyfriend or something going on here. But, you know, that was beside the point. So, my mother had them canning and she knew I had a liking for Helen-who's the girl that writes those beautiful-Steiner Rice, Helen Steiner Rice, I think. Maybe just Helen Steiner. So, she brought me this nice card about 51:00me being her mother and how she just wouldn't be doing [any] sassing, and if I could just get home and come to Lenoir and pick them up and get back home. So, I called her and I said, "Oh no, I've got to finish up this stipend, and I'll be home for y'all real soon. But learn all you can learn from mama." I knew they would learn nothing, because they were rebelling. I took their bicycles in the station wagon. And Mama said they would-we still lived back in the satellite area. And mama said they would get on those bicycles and travel by themselves like they thought they knew how to get to the mall, what little mall it was! But it was quite, quite-.

SM: An adjustment?

JG: Yeah, for all of us. And because it was the first sign that there would come 52:00a time when we would have to break that-umbilical cord, you know, we would go in separate directions, they had to grow up too. But UNCG put a slant of realism in my mind. I didn't go around thinking that I could make A's and B's in everything that I took. I mean that was unrealistic at that time. My dad in the end of my sophomore year- they still sent progress reports homes to parents. And my grades were pretty dismal. It seems like that's when I admit-my daddy didn't have any of that. I'd watch the white girls-cars would come up. Coming up about this time of day on Friday. They would be packed to go [to] various colleges, going back 53:00to hometown. Boyfriends would be driving the cars. Some of the girls had cars on campus, too. But, you know, that didn't affect my life, because no one I knew there had a car. But this particular time, this girl from Charlotte had a boyfriend, and on this particular night he brought a friend over, and we were playing cards upstairs in-by that time we were Mendenhall. We moved from Coit to Mendenhall.

SM: And were you still-

JG: We were in the guest-the guest quarters.

SM: So, you were still segregated?

JG: Oh, yes, from mainstream. So, I met him. His name was John, John Gordon. And he was tall, and he was handsome. You know, and I hadn't seen too many boys 54:00since I'd been in Greensboro [walking out of voice range]. And he knew about Hickory and Lenoir, and he was from Rockingham. I said, "How do you know so many people up here, because most people don't know anything about Lenoir?" He said, "Well, my sister teaches in Lenoir," and she had gone to Winston-Salem State. And she taught at the Freedman Elementary School, and that's where that hookup was.

SM: Okay. And was he a student at the time, or was he-

JG: He was at A&T.

SM: But oh, he was originally from Charlotte?

JG: Originally from Rockingham.

SM: From Rockingham. Where did the Charlotte-you said, had a boy from Charlotte brought him?

55:00

JG: Well, I didn't mean Charlotte. A boy who dated a girl from Charlotte.

SM: Oh, okay. And, so, you moved from Coit to Mendenhall, and you didn't mainstream, you didn't put into the regular population of students there. You still remain separated. That was all four years? Things never improved and-

JG: I don't think so. I don't remember being anywhere but in that hall.

SM: Okay, did you guys at the dining halls, were you separated then? Did you-

JG: It was by choice.

SM: By choice.

JG: But usually we went with someone, you know? I went to the dining hall with another black girl. Or if I went alone, you know, I sat there at a table that I chose. I mean, you know? It wasn't-as programed nowhere else except in the living quarters.

SM: So, you said for fun you guys played cards a lot. Did you ever go downtown?

56:00

JG: Downtown?

SM: Yes.

JG: Yeah, I'm sure-caught the bus downtown. Yeah.

SM: Greensboro was starting to integrate. Woolworth's had integrated. The Mayfair Cafeteria eventually integrated in '63. So, some places had begun to integrate. But, obviously, a lot of places still resisted. So, was it hard going from UNCG, which you didn't necessarily felt segregated except for living quarters, going into the Jim Crow downtown? Did you have any problems there? Or did you just stay away from places where you-

JG: I don't think that was-

SM: Because some people say, "We just stayed away from places where we couldn't eat," or "We just didn't go downtown." I didn't know if everyone avoided downtown.

JG: I don't think we went downtown.

SM: Really?

JG: If we had gone, it would have been on the weekend.

57:00

SM: Would you ever go to the Carolina Theater to see a movie?

JG: No.

SM: No?

JG: We had movies on campus. We didn't have televisions in our rooms, but they had televisions in the lobbies.

SM: And I know that you were involved in some extracurricular activities on campus. I actually have a copy of your senior yearbook. And it says you were in History Club?

JG: Yes.

SM: And you did something called "Commission," do you remember what that was? It said you did "Commission," and-do you remember any of those activities?

JG: I need to find my glasses.

SM: It says you were a section leader.

JG: Section leader. I probably was.

SM: Do you know what that means?

JG: Well, at the time I think we had, you know, a residence counselor and from 58:00time to time we would have meetings.

SM: Oh, what kind of-I'll wait till you come back that way we can-

JG: Like if it was a problem, and we needed to tackle it. The dorm council would announce a meeting usually after hours, after the dorm was closed. And we-if we had any gripes or anything -

SM: It says, "Section leader." You did that your first year, which was kind of like a conflict resolution type of thing if there was a problem in the dorms?

JG: Right.

SM: Okay, and, then, it says you were in Elliott Hall Social Committee, your third year.

JG: That would be my junior year, right?

SM: Yes.

JG: Doesn't stand out.

SM: Okay. And, then, you were in History Club your junior and senior year.

JG: Yes.

SM: Do you remember anything with that?

59:00

JG: No.

SM: And, then, it says your senior year you were on the legislature.

JG: Legislature? It sounds like those things must belong to someone else.

SM: And, then, the fourth year you were on "Commission."

JG: That I don't know what it is. I was pretty much not active in any extracurricular activities at all. You know?

SM: Why was that?

JG: Why was that? I guess experience, the overall experience, was so new. And, then, I might not have understood quite what each of those things involved, you know? And I think mostly my main impetus was passing. Because daddy had told me 60:00I was going to Livingston [College] if things didn't shape up. And I met John my sophomore year. In my junior year it was a-okay. At the end of my junior year I went down to Chapel Hill for a summer school session, and I took-I wanted to make sure my GPA was on target for me to leave in '64. And I went down there and took a course in marriage, I believe. And took another course that was more in line with my major. I got good grades down there. By that time I had felt a certain accountability. I enjoyed that experience. It was short-lived. And my friend, Marian [Thornhill McClure], I think was down there the same time. And an attorney who is in Greensboro now is a friend of mine. He was in law school 61:00there at that time, I think.

SM: And do you have any kind of events that stand out in your mind at your time at Woman's College? Social events, or-

JG: That first gathering at Elliott Hall was a dance. It might have been a warm up. And I remember that. We might have had maybe two or three black boys there. There was not like it is today, you know? Of course, that was forty-how many years ago are we talking about, fifty?

SM: Well, it would be '61 would be fifty. So, in '64 when you graduated, I guess if you went there the first year would have been fifty-one years since you 62:00started, if you started in the fall of '60.

JG: Okay.

SM: You just hit fifty years since you started.

JG: I thought they were going to have a fifty-year reunion for our class.

SM: Maybe it will be when you graduated, from your graduation date. That will be in 2014.

JG: But-

SM: That first dance? Where did the boys come from?

JG: I think they came from A&T. I don't know who-somebody might have invited them, or the girls who were in the city may have invited them. There was no coordinating effort to place young women at UNC-I mean at Woman's College who were of the minority race, black minority race. I mean that part of your life 63:00was up to you. And my granddaughter was telling me, she's sixteen on Tuesday, and she wants to have a cake cutting here. And she's invited about twenty-five friends. So, we were having, I took her to Red Lobster, just to sort of feel her out on things. So, she told me about a boyfriend. I mean, no, about a friend of hers who has been calling her. And she said, "Grandma, he's not my boyfriend." I said, "Oh, you don't have to call him boyfriend. Friends to start out. Boyfriend later on, whatever you want to call him down the road," you know? She said, "Grandma, he's Asian." I said, "Well, it's a multicultural world. You can be Asian, or Mexican, or African, or white. You know. That's not my major impetus." And, then, I thought, my, my, you don't even have to get excited about 64:00ethnicity-about race or the ethnic thing. Not now. I mean, you know, maybe in your heart think that it's a big deal. But really it isn't.

SM: Right. So, obviously, you met John at A&T or he went to A&T.

JG: Yes.

SM: Did you mingle a lot with A&T students? I mean did you-

JG: No.

SM: You didn't have-

JG: I'm telling you, though, it's no time. We had to survive.

SM: Well, you obviously dated him.

JG: Well, he didn't have a car on campus that particular time. I think his daddy got sick, and his mama wanted him home on the weekends. So, he had the family car. But that was short-lived.

SM: So, how did you court?

JG: Well, sometimes you would be with another person [who] would bring him over, or he would maybe borrow somebody's car, you know?

65:00

SM: Because you got married right after you graduated?

JG: Yes, but he was older than me.

SM: Okay.

JG: A little bit older than me. I should have waited a few years at least. But, you know, I'm a believer in-I'm not a fatalist, but what has to be will be. And it was time for me to get married. It was. Have these two children. So, be it. Because he didn't live very long, so.

SM: Did you ever-I mean there wasn't time to go to A&T. There probably wasn't time to go to Bennett either? You didn't mix with the girls at Bennett?

JG: I think we saw them sometimes, a few of them. See, Marian and Sandra [Tatum] were from Greensboro. Diane [Oliver] and Linner from Charlotte. I don't believe 66:00with any of the programs that they had at Bennett-of course, the public service announcements about what was going on, and I don't think we had become so sophisticated as to check the newspapers. And maybe they didn't even feature that, you know?

SM: Right.

JG: There was a lot of things going on that were available. But I think we-and speaking only for myself, when I went back to graduate school I had a friend who was a white boy. But that was some years-well-

SM: About ten years later?

JG: Yes. So, you know, what I was saying was such a rare thing. But my experience was totally-I look at that experience, I think mainstream white 67:00Southerners thought that black people were innately inferior, could not learn, you know? Color had its self-other habits that would not want to be around too long, that type of thing. But I think our contribution was that we showed that we could learn, that we were teachable. We did have a brain. And that was known before I went to UNCG by people. But I think we knew that. But we had institutions that had to be cracked open. And, basically, that's what I was there doing. Little to my knowledge did I think about what I was doing, you know?

68:00

SM: Well, what would you say was your favorite experience or aspect when you were in college?

JG: You know what sounds-this might sound-we would stay, there was a girl, a Creole girl, and we were study partners for-we had those take-home exams. And we would stay up all night long cramming into the wee hours of the morning for a test that was coming up. And it might have been-it wasn't a take home. We just knew what was going to be on it. That stands out to me as one of the major features. I can't really remember a speaker that came to that campus. I might 69:00have been. I remember my graduation, and I think somebody at the time, Kennedy's Administration came to speak for us. It might have been the one that died, Sargent Shriver. It might have been.

SM: Really?

JG: Yes.

SM: That was one thing I was going to ask you about. Can you tell me about what it was like? We are trying to put you in the place of history about things that were happening in the world that were also newsworthy events. So, obviously, the assassination of John F. Kennedy was a big event, and while you were in college. Do you have any kind of like where you were moment?

JG: Yeah, I was over at Dudley. I was teaching, student teaching that November day. And it seemed like it came over the intercom that the president had been shot. And, then, it came back on that the president had died. It was in the 70:00afternoon. Oh, it really made you stop and think, "What is really going to happen here?" You know? He was a good president. And he, you know, you watch the TV. You become mesmerized by all the people, all the attention. And, you know, yourself are still just nineteen-twenty years old? And not as adapt to knowing what's going on in the world as kids are today. But I think just about-it was very, very quiet on that campus that weekend, from everybody I think. But I was on campus on Dudley. I walked to the bus stand. And I think I just began to cry, 71:00you know, that people would just get shot down like dogs, you know?

SM: And your student teaching the schools, the public schools, were still segregated?

JG: Yes.

SM: During that time. So, was Dudley or Lincoln your only option for student teaching? You were not allowed to go to any other schools?

JG: They told us where to go.

SM: Told you where to go. But they specifically picked black schools?

JG: I guess. I didn't worry about-Lois Eddinger was the head of the education department. I often thought that if she were still alive. I hadn't read about her deceasing.

SM: I don't know.

JG: I don't remember seeing Dr. [Walter] Luczynski, who taught me a history course in grad school. And I saw he was deceased. I enjoyed Robert Watson's 72:00English class. I enjoyed him. I enjoyed the beauty of that campus. I liked that campus setting quite a bit. Life still had not graduated up. It was still like Yum-Yum hotdog. No alcohol. Did try to learn how to smoke cigarettes. So, I would look like I was growing. But Sandra, my girlfriend, who made that statement to me, she stopped smoking, and she said, "And you never learned how to inhale." I said, "How did you know I didn't"-.

SM: What was Tate Street like in the 1960s? Was it still kind of the center of social-

JG: Yes. More so, I would think for the students then than today.

73:00

SM: Right. Do you remember any kind of things that were on Tate Street?

JG: Well, that little shop, The Corner. It seems like we went down there and ate something one day. It may have been a pizza parlor down there.

SM: And you said Yum-Yum was around, then.

JG: Yes.

SM: Did you ever go eat there? Was it an establishment that was integrated?

JG: I don't know if we went there and got our hotdogs and ice cream and went back. It wasn't across the street where it is now. It was more up here on the corner.

SM: They built the [Mossman] Building there. I didn't-I never knew that until I was reading a book one day about UNCG and saw that I had been there.

74:00

JG: Yes.

SM: Do you remember-so, during when you were there, typically chancellors are there for a very long time and don't switch very often. But when you were there they had three chancellors.

JG: Yes.

SM: Dr. Gordon Blackwell, Dr. W.W. Pierson, Jr., and Dr. Otis Singletary.

JG: Singletary.

SM: Do you remember anything about these people?

JG: He taught me a class.

SM: Really?

JG: I was in one of his classes, Civil War.

SM: Oh, so Singletary was a history professor?

JG: Yes.

SM: Okay. And do you remember what he was like?

JG: Nice, articulate, caring. One of my favorite people there was also Dr. Richard Bardolph. He was head of the-

SM: You said Richie or Richard?

JG: Richard.

SM: Richard Bardolph? And that was a history professor?

75:00

JG: Yes. He was chairman of the history department.

SM: Oh.

JG: And when I got that C from Dr. Pfaff, and I had been on consultation about my duration, he told me to get ready to get a job and get back to the raising of my children. I think the C evaporated.

SM: And do you remember there're a couple of other names that were kind of prominent in the '60s. The Dean of College was Mereb Mossman.

JG: Yes, I remember Dean Mossman.

SM: Did any of these people ever interact with black students, or did they have any part in personally knowing you or trying to help you get acclimated?

JG: They might have if you were a social person. You know, I did departmental things. Like how I got involved with Dr. Bardolph would be because I was a history major. And I was on his list of people to counsel.

76:00

SM: Did you ever interact with Dean of Students Katherine Taylor?

JG: No.

SM: And, then, the Alumni Secretary Barbara Parrish.

JG: That name stands out.

SM: Apparently, she was there for a very long time, thirty years or something, forty years. After you graduated, you didn't interact with her as the alumni secretary?

JG: No.

SM: No? And who would you say-would you say Dr. Bardolph was your favorite professor?

JG: Well, Dr. Bardolph was good. I liked Robert Watson in English. I liked Dr. Pfaff. I didn't care about his philosophy. I liked him. He taught me a lot. There was some man-I can't remember his name.

SM: That's okay. So, your senior year was the last year of Woman's College?

JG: Yes.

SM: Men were admitted the next fall. So, do you remember hearing anything about 77:00it becoming a coeducational-was that a big issue on campus?

JG: Not when we were there. Heard about it more when I got out.

SM: But there wasn't any talk about, "Boys are coming next year"?

JG: No.

SM: And, so, did your diploma, though, would still say Woman's College?

JG: Yes.

SM: Because that was the last year you were there?

JG: Yes.

SM: Okay. And, so, I mentioned earlier that there was civil rights-you said you never marched or protested or anything while you were there. You, obviously, missed February 1, 1960, because you were still in high school. But there was a big protest led by Jesse Jackson when he was president-when he was student body president at A&T your, I guess, probably your junior year. They sat down at the corner of-what did they call it? Jefferson Square, right where Lincoln Financial building is downtown. Do you remember anything about that? They were putting lots of black students in the jails. They were filling up the jails.

78:00

JG: I remember that.

SM: You remember that? Did any UNCG students participate?

JG: I think we were told-there was a mandate from the chancellor about not getting ourselves involved in anything that would land us up in jail. I think there might have been a-I don't think-some of those upper classmen probably did go. We-Well, I would've have been a freshman. What year did you say?

SM: '63. So, it was either fall of-I don't remember if it was fall or spring. But it was fall of your senior year, spring of your junior year.

JG: No, I didn't get involved in it.

SM: And did the campus react to civil rights issues? Did they stay kind of out of it, separate? Because I know in 1960 they had some of the girls, white girls, and black girls, participated in the Sit-in wearing their class jackets. And 79:00that was a big issue at the time as they were kind of representing UNCG.

JG: Really?

SM: Yes. So, I didn't know if-obviously, the class jackets were a big identity thing with UNCG if that was any kind of an issue later on.

JG: I think that's where the chancellor began to make some dictates. They were responsible for us. And, you know, some of these people that are passionate about the causes they believe in might just have a gun, somebody might get killed. So, I don't think they-I think they may have gotten that point over to us, you know?

SM: Right. Have you been involved at UNCG since you graduated from undergrad or graduate school?

JG: My two grandchildren went to the day school over there and got an excellent, excellent start.

80:00

SM: In the preschool? Okay.

JG: They have a very, very good preschool. I go over to Elliott Hall when there has been a speaker here that I was interested in hearing.

SM: Now, is Elliott Hall, I didn't go to undergrad at UNCG. So, I am not as familiar. I know my buildings that I go to. Is that still around? Because I know the union now is the Elliott University Center.

JG: Well, that's it.

SM: Okay. So, was the Elliott University Center the same thing as Elliott Hall, or did the Elliott University Center replace Elliott Hall?

JG: I think it replaced it.

SM: Oh, okay.

JG: It was Elliott Hall when I was there.

SM: And that's the same building right next to the library?

JG: Right.

SM: Oh, okay. So, it was a regular building, then, and now has changed into the union?

JG: Right.

SM: Was it kind of like Elliott Hall, was that kind of the union at the time where you would go and have social things and-

JG: Yes.

81:00

SM: Okay. It wasn't like a classroom building or anything?

JG: No. It had a bookstore in there. And you might could buy-

SM: Some kind of food?

JG: Yes.

SM: Study spaces probably?

JG: Yes. Neither one of my girls went to Woman's College. One finished at Campbell, and one finished at Appalachian State.

SM: I was going to ask. So, you were from the mountains. Was Appalachian State still a teacher's college, then?

JG: You know what? I was up there, but I had never been to Appalachian State.

SM: There was no-

JG: I sort of mapped my land out to my daddy. This is what I'm going to do. I'm going to take this test. If I don't pass it, I'm going to take that scholarship from Bennett. I don't want to go to A&T. I'm certainly not going to-even though A&T is a great school, I don't know why I was so closed-minded and so conservative. I do know my mother and daddy-when they would go to town or had 82:00something to do, we had to stay alone. You know, I was to be the third adult. And I didn't like to fight. And, so, I would keep notes, who needed beatings. And that sounds ugly, but that's the exact-well, they used belts and switches. This time out stuff didn't work then. And I think that might have inhibited me from looking too far out.

SM: And you mentioned one classmate that you still stay in touch with.

JG: Marian.

SM: Are there others you stay in touch with still?

JG: Well, I've seen Linner. I heard from my friend David that she had-was getting high-ranked. She's still working, you know? I'm 68. She might be 69.

83:00

SM: And was Marian your roommate all four years?

JG: Linner was my roommate.

SM: Linner, was she your roommate all four years, or did you switch roommates?

JG: Switched roommates. When we left Coit Hall, Sandra was my roommate. But when we got to Ragsdale.

SM: Oh, you lived in Ragsdale too.

JG: Ragsdale.

SM: You went just from Coit to Ragsdale.

JG: Coit to Ragsdale, right. I don't think we ever moved to Mendenhall.

SM: Oh, so, you didn't live in Mendenhall, just Ragsdale? Okay.

JG: I'm sure that's about the right chronology of it all.

SM: And those are the ones you stay in the touch with the most, though, Linner and Marian?

JG: Yeah, I've seen them. Sandra, who was my first-year roommate, and she went 84:00her second year at UNCG, but she didn't-we weren't roommates then. And she transferred up to Virginia Union, because she became a nurse. I see her quite frequently.

SM: What was her name?

JG: Sandra Tatum, T-A-T-U-M.

SM: And I know we would have a larger list of African American students, but a lot of them didn't graduate or switched schools. Were there other girls who couldn't make it, or it was too much for them socially or academically that they would leave?

JG: Yes.

SM: Was there ever a moment you wanted to leave, or was it too much for you, or did you?

JG: No, I was determined it was a challenge to me.

SM: Okay.

JG: I'll tell you a girl that I just thought about. She was never a roommate. But there is a girl that-her name is Myrna [Colley] Lee. She had a sister 85:00named-what's the sister's name? I think is deceased. But she was married to the actor [Morgan Freeman]. He recently was involved in a divorce and some guy-what's his name? Tall, dark-skinned man.

SM: I don't know. Steve Harvey?

JG: No. This man would be about seventy, in his seventies.

SM: I don't know, then.

JG: I saw him on-he's played in some movies. He played in Driving Miss Daisy.

SM: Oh, okay.

JG: You remember that movie?

SM: Yes.

JG: That might be before your time, too. I can't think of his name.

SM: That's okay.

JG: But you know, I was saying they were married. Myrna and this man [Morgan Freeman]. But they got a divorce just in the last four or five years. But she 86:00was an artist. She was nice.

SM: And she started out at UNCG, or at Woman's College?

JG: I believe she might have been a day student. She may have started somewhere else and transferred to UNCG as a day student. I'm not really certain.

SM: Well, what would you want-obviously, this is going to go in the library, and people can eventually-we're going to, hopefully, get it online so people can access it anywhere in the world essentially. What would you want future students or scholars to know about your experience at Woman's College as one of the first wave of black students?

JG: That Woman's College offered a multitude of experiences. You could explore your life as young as you were. You could explore potentials in careers. The one 87:00thing about UNCG was that you didn't get a lot of one-on-one guidance. And I don't think they-I think that was deliberate. They wanted your choices to be, indeed, your choices. You could blossom out of eighteen-year-old, go from nineteen, twenty, and make that transition over into adulthood. And I think that that school offered, during this tumultuous period in the country's history, that school offered a unique way for girls to find their way, feel useful, and not be put down, and they had some foreign students over there, too. I didn't know them too well. But they lived in that new dorm. A girl from Panama. I believe she was from Panama. We hadn't started the whole wave of immigrants in 88:001960 when I came here. Well, mostly black, white, Creoles, and American Indian. I don't think I ever met an African one way or another, you know? It was a nurturing place to be sent that you had your meals. You had medical attention if you needed it. I don't know what I would have done had I run into a real psychological problem. I don't know what facilities would have been available. Well, since I didn't have to do that, I guess I would not have known.

SM: Right.

JG: But I think that's important in today's world that students have access to whether or not they're getting depressed, feeling sad, eating too much, or just 89:00not coping in general. Because this society is so vulnerable now. But all in all, I had a good experience, a very good experience. And even though it didn't give a lot of partying, sororities, you know, some of my friends, even my youngest daughter's is Delta [Sigma Theta Sorority]. And, you know, when I think about I don't care about those kinds of things. I really don't. I mean I don't like forced meetings, forced going out asking for money, pretends to be queens, that sort of thing. No, no.

SM: Right.

JG: And you got a cute little car. What is your car?

SM: It's a Jetta.

JG: It's a Jetta. A new Jetta?

SM: No, it's an old Jetta.

90:00

JG: Is it? I like that little Jetta.

SM: But you were saying, it's a good experience, but it didn't offer-you didn't have a lot of things that people have today, sororities, and things like that.

JG: Not black people didn't have them on the campus, because and that's understandably so. Because the idea of black students going there, black girls, was very new.

SM: Did you know the first students who-I guess they graduated when you were there, the first two black students?

JG: I knew Zelma [Amey Holmes]. Zelma was a short girl. And I knew Margaret Ann [Patterson Horton]. I think they were in the second class.

SM: Yes. I think Bettye-JoAnne Smart and Bettye Tillman were the first two.

JG: Are they still living?

SM: One of them is. One of them, actually, I don't remember if it's-I think it's [Bettye Tillman], she died shortly after graduation. She died like thirty, 91:00relatively young.

JG: What was wrong?

SM: I have not found out. No one knows so far, so.

JG: Okay.

SM: Yeah, but we're trying to get the people-you, obviously, graduated in '64. We're trying to get the first wave of people who went to UNCG first to interview, because a couple people have died that we have-we missed the opportunity.

JG: Diane Oliver?

SM: We have a couple-even some that graduated late in the '60s.

JG: She graduated in '64, and she died in-when was Sharon born? '66. She died in '66. She was a talented, talented writer. She had publications in Mademoiselle, Black Voices. She had gone to Iowa to go to that famous writing school there. She went right after we graduated. I liked the array of people, you know, just 92:00being in the midst of different kinds of people gave you an upshot on the world. You know? No longer was it just a little, tiny satellite on the edge of nowhere. This was the world that we were going to live in. And there's a girl in Greensboro who is highly-I am getting senior moments. That is no joke. She is highly involved in philanthropy I would say. It seems like it was her cousin or her-one of her close relatives who was with Edward Kennedy the day they had that 93:00party, and the girl was killed at Chappaquiddick.

SM: Chappaquiddick.

JG: One of those girls had ties in Greensboro. I can't think of her name.

SM: Well, I was going to ask you. I don't have any more questions, but is there anything else you wanted to add, or that you want to be part of the interview?

JG: No, but I've got your number if I think of anything that you need to really plug in, I'll just call you.

SM: Yes, I'll go ahead and turn-well, obviously, I'm going to Marian's house next week. If you have any other people that you know that-I don't have my list with me of people we're trying to interview. But if-

JG: Call me and tell me who they are.

SM: Do you have an e-mail address?

JG: No.

SM: No? Okay.

JG: Joan moved in July. She has a computer. I did not become computer literate. I know this is-I went to my fiftieth high school reunion. I have never owned a cell phone, and I don't need one. One of my friends say, "Yes you do, just to be 94:00on the highway" and that sort of thing.

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