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0:00 - Interview introduction

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Partial Transcript: My name is Cheryl Junk and I'm in the home of Janet Harper Gordon

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer introduces herself and the interviewee

0:12 - Introduction to Woman's College

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Partial Transcript: Please start by telling me the years you were at Woman's College

Segment Synopsis: Interviewee Gordon talks about the years that she attended Woman's College

2:33 - Getting used to Woman's College

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Partial Transcript: So I went with that program orientation very early on. And I think it was at the end

Segment Synopsis: Gordon describes her initial thoughts about the college and how she had to familiarize herself with the school and how university life worked.

4:05 - Educational pursuits beyond Woman's College

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Partial Transcript: And then what made you decide to go on for the master's, and did you do that right away

Segment Synopsis: Gordon talks about the education she received after her initial time at Woman's College and the factors that led her to pursue more education.

6:28 - Faculty that challenged and inspired

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Partial Transcript: That was the MEd [master’s of education] from UNCG

Segment Synopsis: Gordon remembers faculty that influenced her education and life while at Women's College.

11:35 - Life lessons from UNCG

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Partial Transcript: No. No. And I learned that very well during my period at UNCG.

Segment Synopsis: Gordon reflects on the lessons that UNCG taught her that she has carried with her through life.

12:59 - Exposure at UNCG

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Partial Transcript: Where were you from?

Segment Synopsis: Being from a rural small town, Gordon talks about how she was exposed to many different things at UNCG

15:37 - Keeping up with grades

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Partial Transcript: And so my grades were very poor the first semester. Very poor

Segment Synopsis: Gordon recalls how her grades were during her first semester and the consequences of dropping grades at UNCG

16:51 - Entrance exam

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Partial Transcript: I have several questions about the era at which you were at Woman's College because it was

Segment Synopsis: Gordon talks about the entrance exam that the students had to take to get into UNCG

19:49 - Segregated dorm life

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Partial Transcript: Did you—you lived in the dorm.

Segment Synopsis: Gordon talks about segregated dorm life and how she lived and interacted with the other black girls on campus

21:04 - Segregation and integration

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Partial Transcript: And we could participate in the activities, but it was more of a mental isolation

Segment Synopsis: Gordon reflects on the integration and segregation on campus. She remembers that blacks and whites were on campus together but there was little interaction between them

25:34 - Political atmosphere and issues

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Partial Transcript: Yes. Well, it sounds illegal to me, but this is a Baptist school.

Segment Synopsis: Gordon talks about Women's College during a time when there was lots of political turmoil and social events happening in America and how they were relevant to UNCG and larger Greensboro.

34:28 - Woman's College traditions

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Partial Transcript: Well, let me let us bounce back just a little bit back to campus.

Segment Synopsis: The interview shifts focus as Gordon talks about the traditions that were present on the Woman's College campus.

38:22 - Life on campus

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Partial Transcript: I think that's what I'm talking about. I believe that's what I'm talking about

Segment Synopsis: Gordon talks a bit about the rules and life on campus for students

40:41 - More traditions at Woman's College

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember your graduation, whether or not they had a Daisy Chain at it

Segment Synopsis: Gordon describes more Woman's College traditions

41:42 - On campus education

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Partial Transcript: You mentioned sports. Was there competition between women's colleges with sports teams

Segment Synopsis: Gordon talks about required classes for students

44:04 - Expectations and realities of UNCG

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Partial Transcript: Compared to what you expected when you went there, what did you find

Segment Synopsis: Gordon talks about the differences between her expectations of college and the reality of her experience

46:40 - Social life

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Partial Transcript: Did you and your friends ever get to go over to A&T for the weekends, or for dances or

Segment Synopsis: Gordon recalls her social life on campus

47:20 - Lack of interaction

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Partial Transcript: I know there were such things as campus ministers. Did the campus ministers reach out to

Segment Synopsis: Gordon remembers the lack of interaction between the black students and other people on the campus, even faculty and staff members

49:16 - Interview follow up

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Partial Transcript: Okay. All right. All right. Okay. I have three more questions.

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer asks Gordon a few follow up questions to clarify information about cigarettes and the school's emphasis on service.

51:11 - Life and career after leaving Woman's college

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Partial Transcript: Can you briefly outline some of your service work since you left

Segment Synopsis: Gordon lists her various jobs after leaving Woman's College and how some of them are connected to the school's emphasis on service.

56:08 - Family

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Partial Transcript: And my final question, and then if you have anything you want to be sure and say, please

Segment Synopsis: Gordon talks about the family she came from and how that gave her the strength to be able to be a woman who integrated Women's College and stay there.

62:43 - Small town life

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Partial Transcript: Right. And see, what I was saying about the small town and people getting together—

Segment Synopsis: Gordon talks about the life lessons she learned living in a small town and working in a small town when she was growing up.

67:37 - The standards and struggles of living as a black woman

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Partial Transcript: know, I think I told—did you see the movie Dirty Dancing?

Segment Synopsis: Gordon explains some things about her life as a black woman and the standards that she has to meet and the struggles to meet that standards

71:11 - Explanation of project

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Partial Transcript: Now you said this is going to be part of a university file

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer explains what the project is for and where it will be going

72:36 - Social life on campus

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Partial Transcript: Everything. But, two—another friend of mine that I graduated with, and I went

Segment Synopsis: Gordon describes some of the things that they used to do and places they used to go for fun

74:44 - Interview conclusion

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Partial Transcript: Well, thank you for sharing that with me today. And I appreciate this very much.

Segment Synopsis: Interviewer ends the interview


CJ: Please start by telling me the years you were at Woman's College [of the University of North Carolina], your course of study while you were there, and the reasons that you chose Woman's College.

JG: All right. I started Woman's College in the fall of 1960. I graduated in the spring of 1964, June 1964. I chose Woman's College because of several reasons. First of all, my father, who had gone to [North Carolina] A&T State University for two years, a very bright man, did not graduate. And he was familiar with Greensboro, and he wanted me to attend A&T State University. I did not have any idea that I was here in A&T State University. For what reason I did not know. However, I was interested at that time in Bennett College [Greensboro, North 1:00Carolina], and I was good in science. Good, because I went to an all-black high school from '56 to '60, and I was one of the honor students. In fact, I was an honor student, and I had done a lot of reading, and I knew science and medicine, probably, was what I should go into. And I couldn't conceive of going to school eight more years, possibly a year or two for residency, and so forth. And my dad had pushed that idea in my head all my life about being a doctor. And I was a daddy's girl, and I was going to try to live up to some of these dreams, but I knew right off the bat by the time I turned sixteen, seventeen years old that 2:00that would never do--that much school. So I thought medical technology, medical technician. That would be a compromise; I'd be in medicine, not making the big money. But at that time I didn't even know the benefits of staying in school and big salaries and that sort of thing. But at any rate, Woman's College offered a four-year degree in medical technology. You would go to Woman's College two years and then transfer down to [University of North Carolina at] Chapel Hill, if you stayed in the program.

CJ: Well, what do you know?

JG: So I went with that program orientation very early on. And I think it was at the end of my freshman, or perhaps my sophomore, year that I knew that I had no business in science at that time. I probably could go back and do it now with the maturity I have. But I didn't have the study skills. In fact, I didn't have the study skills to study anything at that time.

CJ: Big surprise?

JG: Big surprise. They didn't have tutors; you didn't have any of the things they have over at UNCG [The University of North Carolina at Greensboro] now to 3:00help minority students. We muddled and waded the water, and it was almost like a little fish--it was a little fish in a big ocean as far as study skill--the experiences that I had had prior to coming to college. I was ill prepared, but I had the one thing that I think many kids don't have today. And I had the determination, and I was going to make it. Now it was slow progress, but I succeeded. I had to change my major. Or I decided to change my major at the end of my sophomore year. And I went into education with a concentration in history.


CJ: In history?

JG: Social studies.

CJ: Social studies.

JG: Yes. I have a degree in--my first degree is social studies, I think.

CJ: So you were certified to teach social studies?

JG: Yes.

CJ: And then what made you decide to go on for the master's, and did you do that right away?

JG: No. No. I--in '64 I don't know if anyone could have convinced me that I should go and get a master's or not. In fact, I had a good friend who at that time had majored in English, and we graduated the same year. She knew initially that she was going up to [University of] Iowa [Iowa City, Iowa] to a writer's school. She was a very gifted writer from Charlotte. Her name's Diane Oliver [Class of 1964], and we were classmates the four years we were at Woman's College. And my thing--by the time I graduated--was to get married. That was my whole reason for existing. And I came across the idea of going back to school as a result of the tragic death of my husband, who had been to Vietnam [War, 1955-75 military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia between North and South Vietnam and supported by the United States and other anti-communist countries], and was making--he was an [United States] Army officer. And he was making the Army a career. And after--a few years after his death--he died in 1968. And I think I started school in 1971, the master's 5:00program. And at that time, widows of Vietnam veterans could use the GI Bill [Serviceman's Readjustment Act of 1944] to go back to school.

CJ: Oh, good.

JG: And I really--I had a lot of benefits for the children. I took the children with me. I got an apartment. At first I stayed with my sister who lived here, and that proved to be not too good. She had a little boy and I had my two girls, so I had to get an apartment. But I went to school, and I mothered the children. I parented. I got full swing of doing it all because I had been in Lenoir, North Carolina, living with my mother part time, and then I bought a house. But my mother was always there to assist me with my girls. My girls were very young. 6:00But by the time my oldest girl was five years old, I came back. Yes, she was born in '66, so she was five years old. So it was '71 when I came back to Greensboro to start my master's program. And so I went to school, and I think I got--I must have gotten the degree in '73, I think, '73 or '74. [Ed. note: She received master's degree in 1973.]

CJ: That was the MEd [master's of education] from UNCG?

JG: MEd from UNCG. Both times, Dr. Bardolph [history professor] was my advisor. Dr. Richard Bardolph, who was a very, very powerful influence on me--a very, very powerful influence.

CJ: Well, let's go back to those undergraduate years then, and let's talk about--that's a good thing to do--let's talk about influences on you at UNCG. Who do you remember most and why? You started with Dr. Bardolph. Why don't you talk about him a little bit?


JG: All right. Dr. Bardolph I met after I was assigned an advisor in the history department. He was quite an influence on me. He was a caring person. He was friendly, and he seemed to care. And he knew what he was doing. He could get things done.

CJ: I'm sorry. Was he your advisor?

JG: He was the head of the history department. Now, I'm not sure right at this time--he was my advisor when I got my master's--

CJ: Okay, Okay.

JG: --degree, but I'm not sure how they had that set up, whether or not I had an advisor in the education department. But it seems like Dr. Bardolph might have approved the scheduling from my junior year until I graduated. But he was an influence. Another man that influenced me at that time was Dr. Pfaff.

CJ: Pfaff?


JG: Eugene Pfaff.

CJ: Oh, he's the one whose name is spelled P-F-A-F-F.

JG: Right.

CJ: And pronounced "Poff."

JG: Right. "Poff." Right.

CJ: Was he in the history department too?

JG: Oh, yes. He was in the history department. In fact, he taught me freshman history. And I think I may have found--he may have tapped my interest in history because I found that I knew so little about world history, and we were taking Western Civilization. And I remember the first big test, he wrote "The Great Schism" on the board. "Discuss." And you know, my writing skills were poor, my organizational skills were poor, and I did not hit the button in identifying that question as he wanted it identified. So I think I made an F on that test. And I think I went to him for a conference during the time--during that time you would have conferences when you were failing or making a D. And I think I scheduled one with him, and I remember him saying just as clearly as if it were 9:00today--I told him that I was really trying--and he said, "Miss Harper, I realize that you may be trying, but I do not give grades for effort." And I remember him telling me--he had an influence in graduate school. It wasn't he was so--I don't know. He was just--it was his personality. He didn't pull any punches. He would smile and talk with you and so forth, but I remember also that when I was late with a paper in graduate school--it was his paper. I had him again in graduate school back in the early '70s, and he--my paper was about a day late or a couple days late. And I explained to him that one of my girls had been sick with the flu, and he also told me then that a woman--it was very difficult for a woman to be both a good scholar and a good mother. So he didn't pull any punches. He did not. But the thing was I wanted to--seemed like I wanted to prove to him. I read 10:00him, and I wanted to say, "By God, I will get a grade for effort," or, "A woman can be both a good mother and a good scholar."

CJ: So he challenged you. He kind of--

JG: Yes. He would--it kind of made me angry. It wasn't like he pacified me, and said, "Well, I won't knock off." Because he would knock off. I mean, if he said that March 27 was the deadline, March 27 was the deadline, and that was that. Today the children seem to think that they can say different little things. They do not meet deadlines. They think that the world should compensate them for their own inadequacies or their own problems, and you can't tell them, "The world does not care." I mean, we have a deadline to meet. Short of a very, very serious incident in your lives, this is it. I know in my teaching--the children 11:00will come and tell me--well, maybe they left their book on the bus, or their grandma got sick, and they had to go to the hospital, and this is the reason. And you have so many sob stories, and I get confused. There's this human touch you want to portray, but yet still the children are missing the boat. This is a world operating, and the seasons will go by whether you are ready to go or not.

CJ: Yes. Yes. The world's not going to stop for you.

JG: No. No. And I learned that very well during my period at UNCG. The world did not stop. In my biology course--I went to UNCG, as I told you, to pursue a degree in laboratory--medical technology. And I'd never used a microscope, and I remember this lady--it seems to me her name was Miss--I don't remember. I don't have the slightest idea that she's alive today because she was near retirement at that time. But she had a diagram of a microscope. She knew I was lost in that 12:00lab, and she had me to learn the parts of the microscope; she showed them to me. And they weren't tutoring then. The teachers weren't tutors. It was only nine black girls in my class. I came from a school--a high school--with fifty-two people graduating. The other two black girls--my roommate was from Greensboro, and she graduated from Dudley High School, which was ten times bigger, maybe twenty times bigger, than the school that I had come from. So she had had a lot more exposure. And two of my other friends were from Charlotte. They went to Charlotte Senior High School, which was one of the biggest schools in North Carolina at that time. So they had that up on me. Aside from being black, I was also from a real rural small town.

CJ: Where were you from?

JG: Lenoir, North Carolina.

CJ: Okay. Yes. Yes.

JG: And while that doesn't make a big, big difference today, it did then because 13:00a lot of things I was--I had not been exposed to. It wasn't that I could not learn, but I was behind. I had not been exposed to what the other girls had, so I was constantly having to read. And I wasn't quite mature enough at that time. I was still in peer pressure. I wanted to be accepted. I remember my roommate--my first roommate's mother worked at P[ierre] Lorillard [Tobacco Company, Greensboro, North Carolina], and she often had free cigarette packs, cigarettes all around. So she smoked cigarettes. I didn't. I think I may have puffed on a cigarette or two because my dad smoked. My mother never smoked. But I had never started up the habit of smoking regularly, and she did. So she told me one day, "If you ever want any cigarettes, you can just smoke some of these." I remember they were Kent cigarettes. "Because I don't have to buy them." She was kind of a snobbish type girl. And because I had my mountain accent--I'm sure my mountain ways and so forth--that stood out quite vividly at that time. Even 14:00though I had--my mother made sure I had pretty clothes and all the things I needed, and I didn't feel inadequate because I felt pretty. And I always got all kinds of warm fuzzies from my parents, and we came from a family where--I came from a large family and reinforced with a lot of love and that type thing, but I still hadn't been very much--hadn't travelled very much. So I wanted to be accepted. So they played cards. I remember my roommate and the girls from Charlotte played this game called Bedwigs, which is very, very similar to bridge, or if you play rook, you know. It's just a modified version. And--because I learned to play bridge a little bit when I was at school. When I married, I was in an officer's club and that sort of thing for that short period. So I learned when I--I always learned what you're supposed to do. [both 15:00laugh] I mean, I make an attempt to, so that I won't be--feel inadequate. So I--the first year, the first semester, I learned to smoke cigarettes. That was very important to me because so many of them were smoking. That was just the way. I think it was 1960. I was telling my oldest girl--in 1964 the first hazardous warning came out on cigarette packs--was during that period. And I was telling them, "This is the worst habit. Don't get involved in it because it will kill you, and they didn't let us know that when I was in high school," like we educate kids today. And so my grades were very poor the first semester. Very poor. And I remember one of the professors telling us that they would have spring cleaning, and that they would be sending us home.

CJ: Oh, you mean if you were failing?

JG: Yes. Spring cleaning might have come the middle of second semester, but I gradually improved. Not to the point of the dean's list or anything like that, but I held on just by the--just by a very thin thread.


CJ: Was this spring cleaning something that happened every year?

JG: Yes.

CJ: Everybody knew about it?

JG: Yes. Well, you got a little notice. Your parents--they sent warning letters to parents. I never got any kind of warning letters from my children. Now the child's eighteen years old. That's private, confidential business. It was not so private. My daddy and mother knew every move I was making.

CJ: So you found out from them--your parents?

JG: Yes. Well, I'd ask them, "Did I get a warning letter?" Or, "Did you get my warning report?" Yes. I don't think we got the letters. In fact, I'm pretty sure we didn't get them on campus. The parents got them.

CJ: I have several questions about the era at which you were at Woman's College because it was a very significant era socially, and I have two questions about 17:00the growing process toward integration of schools. And one of them has to do with an entrance exam. I interviewed someone else who I think was quite close to you in class, who mentioned having to take an entrance exam to get into UNCG, the Woman's College. Did you have to take an entrance exam?

JG: Yes.

CJ: Okay.

JG: In fact, that might have been the turning point in my going there because my daddy worked at Bernhardt Furniture Factory in Lenoir. And it was this--his daughter was graduating also. I didn't know this man. I didn't know his daughter. But his daughter--this was a white man. And his daughter didn't pass the exam, and I passed it. And I think at that time my dad said, "Well, by God, you're going." But I had to go to Asheville [North Carolina]. I don't know if this was the standard SAT [Scholastic Aptitude Test] that the children take now. In fact, I couldn't tell you what my scores were or what you had to have. I just knew after taking the exam, I got a letter from UNCG that spring saying that I 18:00had been accepted.

CJ: Do you know whether it was an exam administered only by the UNC system? Do you happen to know?

JG: I think this may have been the exam--this may have been a very infant SAT. We--I don't know that everybody--I went to Asheville on a Saturday. My dad and mom took me there. And I'm not sure that all those students that were taking that exam that day were going to UNCG. In fact, I know that there were some boys there taking that exam, so it must have been something like an SAT.

CJ: Oh, okay. More national, maybe?

JG: More national. Because--I can't figure it out right now. I never thought about it why I would have to go to Asheville if it was the SAT because the SATs today are offered just about in all the cities, aren't they? I mean, like--

CJ: I don't know. I grew up in a very big city near Chicago, and the SATs were 19:00offered at my high school, so I really don't know.

JG: Okay. Well, I took an entrance exam. I'd have to--I'd really have to call out there and get my records to see what they admitted me on, but I do know they rejected people, and they didn't just reject black people. They rejected--because I know this--because from what my dad told me. And so, yes, we had to be accepted with some promise, I suppose, and once we got to UNCG, I remember having to take some tests to see what level--like French tests.

CJ: Oh, yes. They still do that. They still do that. Yes. Placement exams.

JG: Right. Placement exams.

CJ: Did you--you lived in the dorm. Were you--there were nine of you who were black.

JG: Right.

CJ: Were you in some way segregated from the white girls?

JG: Yes.

CJ: How did that work?

JG: We had a whole wing of Coit Hall.

CJ: Of Coit Hall?

JG: Coit Hall. And there were a couple of rooms vacant. We had all the bathrooms 20:00down there. We had like--you go into the parlor and this wing, we lived on. I think there may have been a Jewish girl living by herself, and it seems to me that she might have been from Danville or Roanoke [both Virginia cities]--little city not too far from Greensboro.

CJ: Yes. Up in Virginia.

JG: Yes. It was one Jew [sic] girl down there, and at that time, I didn't know that Jews were minorities too. I just knew that she was with us. And during our sophomore year, we had suites. We were spread out over the campus, but there was always the guest quarters in each dorm. And two black girls would occupy a suite, and they'd have their own bathroom in the suite. It was very nice. I 21:00mean, it was big.

CJ: Yes. Yes.

JG: And we could participate in the activities, but it was more of a mental isolation, I think, because there weren't--were not any boys there, and every weekend most of the girls--the white girls--would go down to Chapel Hill to date or leave the campus. And many of us--well, we had a couple of girls from Greensboro who lived on campus. But it was kind of an isolationist sort of existence socially.

CJ: I'm sorry. Did it feel that way at the time?

JG: Yes. It felt that way very much at the time.

CJ: What did you talk--how did you--what did you say to each other when you talked about the kind of atmosphere on the campus at the time for you as memories? What was the atmosphere like, and how did you feel about it?


JG: We knew what we were doing. We knew that we were integrating the South. We had that--we knew what we were doing. We wondered--we talked about whether or not we had made mistakes in coming to Woman's College. We knew that there were parties going on in other parts--on all-black campuses. We knew that we would have choices for dates and that sort of thing, except the brave ones who would try to venture over and meet us. And at that time any college students didn't have cars or modes of transportation, so we missed that part of our lives. But I was telling my daughter that in the full scope of life I learned to live alone. Many times I was in the dorm on Saturday, Friday night and Saturday night alone because I don't think we had--we didn't have a television in our room at that time; we had one in the parlor. But you learn to look at a magazine, read a newspaper, and you learn to live alone. And being--I've been widowed for twenty-three years. I have not remarried. I came close one time, but that would 23:00have been a disaster, and I'm glad that it didn't work out, now that I look back at it in retrospect. But we didn't have a social life. There was no effort on the part of predominantly-white colleges to see that that part of minority students' lives, [unclear] the freedom that we might have had, was not interfered with. There was nothing specially done to cushion us to make the transition because the South fought against this anyway. I mean, this was not the South's doing.

CJ: And this was only six years after Brown vs. Board [of Education of Topeka, landmark Supreme Court decision that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional], and things weren't moving all that fast.

JG: No. No.


CJ: How did the white girls respond to you? How did they treat you?

JG: Some of the white girls were friendly. Some of the white girls were very friendly, I thought. I don't think there was any--there was not a real rebellious type attitude on the part of the girls, as I remember it.

CJ: Yeah. But they didn't reach in either.

JG: No, they didn't reach in. They didn't come like--my daughter--one of my daughters went to school in Appalachian [State University, Boone, North Carolina]. She lives in the dorms. She had--I think each year she had a white roommate, so culturally they interacted. I mean, they interacted, and when I saw this type situation, I said, "Well, my, my, my. Hasn't life changed in 25:00twenty-six years?" It's changed a lot. I see--I saw her able, if she wanted to, to date whomever she wanted to. Well, of course, there was a lot more blacks on that campus. My oldest girl went down to Campbell [University] down at Buie's Creek [North Carolina]. Now it was totally integrated down there also. But they did have some very strict rules there compared to the state-supported schools. Sharon told me, "You'd be sent home if you dated a black, or you'd be sent home if they found out you were taking birth control pills." I mean, this is--I couldn't believe the things that she told me.

CJ: Some of that sounds illegal to me.

JG: Yes. Well, it sounds illegal to me, but this is a Baptist school. And I think they do just about what they want to.


CJ: Nobody's challenged it?

JG: No. Nobody's challenged it.

CJ: You--as I've mentioned, you went to Woman's College at an incredibly important social time in history for this century, and several real important social events happened--most notably, in 1960 the Sit-ins in Greensboro [series of non-violent protests that led to the desegregation of Woolworth's Department Store lunch counters in the Southern United States] and in '63 the death [assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas] of President [John F.] Kennedy [35th President of the United States]. If you could talk a bit about your feelings and involvement in either of those events, and anything else that comes to mind that was important socially then.

JG: Okay. The Sit-ins had occurred February 1, 1960, and I came to Greensboro in--it must have been the last of August--I think schools were opening in September at that time. I'm not sure. But I missed that particular event. But there were ramifications of it. They were still boycotting and marching. I remember a couple of marches that were going on, and a few brave whites and blacks participated, but I think the chancellor--it may have been Chancellor [Otis] Singletary--advised everyone from UNCG--from Woman's College--not to get involved because they would be sending us home. [Ed. note: Gordon Williams Blackwell was chancellor during the Greensboro Sit-ins.] They would not take responsibility for us. I don't know exactly what was said. I did not personally 27:00go downtown and do any marching because I--it was very difficult to come--financially to come to school anyway, so I didn't take any chances on being expelled. And I knew--my dad told me that I was doing my job by just being on campus.

CJ: Yes, ma'am.

JG: So I did not--now, I remember one time they--we were given extra police protection, I think maybe. I remember this Saturday night, and it seems like the [Ku Klux] Klan [organization that advocates white supremacy, white nationalism, anti-immigration, sometimes through terrorism] may have driven by our door and burned some dynamite. I'm not sure, but I know there was some dynamite burned. 28:00It's not very, very clear to me what the campus security people did. We knew about it.

CJ: There were threats. It was a tense atmosphere?

JG: Yes. It was a tense atmosphere. Just at this particular time, it seems like there might have been a big march on one of the--in the city for some reason. It wasn't the boy--it wasn't the Greensboro Sit-ins, but there was an incident where something had occurred, and this must have been--it was 1960.

CJ: You were a freshman?

JG: Yes. I was a freshman, because we were in Coit Hall. I can't pinpoint that right now. It stood out that there was some dynamite burning during that year too. I remember--I think it was my freshman year. When did the Cuban Bay of Pigs [1961 unsuccessful action by United States Central Intelligence Agency-trained Cuban exiles to invade Cuba and overthrow the government of President Fidel Castro]--when did--

CJ: I believe that was 1960.

JG: Yes. I think I remember vividly one night [October 1962, Cuban Missile Crisis confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union over removal of their missiles from Cuba] all of us, white girls and black girls, behind the television in the parlor worrying about were we going to war. Sort of like the same atmosphere--well, not quite as intense as this Persian Gulf war [Operation 29:00Desert Storm-war waged by United Nations-authorized coalition force led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait]--but I think there was a lot of worry. I remember worrying about whether or not--a lot of the girls didn't want their boyfriends to go into war. "Everybody's going to war." "My God, I just got to school," and so here were having a war, but we didn't. I was doing my--in reference to the second incident you asked me about, I was doing my student teaching on that very day over at Dudley High School, which is in Greensboro also.

CJ: November 22, 1963.

JG: Right. November 22, 1963.

CJ: We will never forget it.

JG: Never forget it. I think that was the most dismal--the principal came over the intercom and said that school would be ended, I think, that day. Or he told us that President Kennedy had been shot, and he was dead. And I kept remembering feeling, "This is awful. President Kennedy has been killed." To my knowledge, 30:00that was the first person that had been killed or assassinated in my lifetime. I was only nineteen--twenty-some--twenty-one years old. And I don't know. It was almost like, well, you've read that many people said it was a member of the family that had died. I came back to the dorm as soon as I knew my parents were home from work, and I called them. And everybody sat by the television. And you didn't know what to say. You felt it. It was a certain feeling like, "Is anything going to work out?" And by that time I had met my future husband, and he was--I don't remember where he was in '63. Maybe he was in Georgia at Fort Benning [US Army base]. I don't quite remember, but I think he called me that weekend, and it was awful. It was just awful. But it seems like we regrouped because it was my senior year, and it was just awesome. President Kennedy's 31:00death was just awesome. And then--

CJ: Did it unite the blacks and whites for a time?

JG: No. I think--well, if it did, I did not--I was not aware of that. I was not that politically astute at that time to pick up on a feeling. I can't remember that. I don't know if we thought of that as a racial thing just then. I am just lunatic-type thing.

CJ: But I mean, did it break the barriers down? Was it something you could talk to white girls about and did talk about and they to you?

JG: No. No. It hadn't gotten that far. No. I had a white friend. I think she was a Creole [descendants of French and Spanish settlers in Louisiana]. She lived up near Hendersonville [North Carolina], and she was a history major also. We talked a lot, but it was not--it was not in depth about the issues of the world. 32:00I mean, we studied together, drank coffee all night, and that sort of thing, but we didn't--. In fact, I don't think I came into my own politically, even though I majored in history--I don't think I came into my own politically until the Vietnam War because that's when [President Lyndon B.] Johnson [36th president of the United States]--I had married in 1964, and the buildup--I was in Texas when young men were getting their orders this afternoon to be going in the next day or two. And I began to try to understand what in the world is going on because it happened--that escalation was quick after Kennedy died. I don't think Johnson really--I always--I will always believe that had Kennedy lived, he would have been a little more politically astute to have seen the writing on the wall even--we would have either won the war like [President George H.W.] Bush [41st 33:00president of the United States] did. We would have had--and I don't know. Johnson sort of took his profile or his notes or whatever and launched the war in his own kind of way, but it was disastrous to him and to us because we lost the war. We didn't get anything accomplished there. And my husband almost lost his mind over there, and so I think that was the most disenchantment I felt, that Vietnam era, more than anything else. But then I felt that same agonizing feeling again that I felt when Kennedy died. My husband died March 4, 1968. Martin Luther King [Jr., American clergyman, activist and African-American civil rights leader] died April 4, 1968, and I think Robert F. Kennedy [American politician, civil rights activist, brother of President John Kennedy, Unites States Attorney General who was assassinated during bid for presidency] died June 4. It was in that period. It was in that three, four, five month--.

CJ: It was very close. It was very close.

JG: And I just thought, "Lord, I just can't stay on this earth." I mean, it's 34:00too much meanness on this earth.

CJ: Everything was falling apart.

JG: It just seemed like you might look at somebody, and you might get killed. And it was a horrible--I mean, it was--

CJ: '68 was a bad year.

JG: It was a bad year for me personally, and the way I began to look at life. But these things came to pass and--

CJ: Well, let me let us bounce back just a little bit back to campus.

JG: Okay, all right.

CJ: I want to touch on some of the traditions that might have still have been around then. Woman's College was making the switch from Woman's College to a coed institution when you were there. I believe the orders were given by the state in 1963, and the first men came in 1964.

JG: Okay.

CJ: And what were some of the traditions that were still around?

JG: Okay. We had a lot of traditions then. Those were fun days to the extent of--let's see. Well, we had our blazers.

CJ: Class jackets?

JG: Class jackets and we had our skirts, and everybody had a pair of [Bass] weegun loafers. Everybody that was anybody. And what we called the little round 35:00circle pin. I believe it was a virgin pin. It's a circular pin. Everybody had one of those.

CJ: Tell me about that. What was that?

JG: It was just a little pin that you wore on your Oxford shirt. You had white Oxford shirt, and you had this little round gold pin.

CJ: Yes. I still have one.

JG: Yes. Okay.

CJ: With maybe a pearl in it.

JG: Right. Right. Did you go to UNCG?

CJ: No.

JG: Oh, okay.

CJ: Was this given out by the college, or it was just--

JG: No, no, no, no. You bought these accessories to go with it.

CJ: It was just a fashion--

JG: It was just the blazer, the jacket, that we were issued. And we paid for those, I think. I'm not sure. And in the fall we had--I think it was near Founders Day--we would have something where we'd go into Elliott Hall area, region, or somewhere outside where it was a big open space, and we'd hold hands 36:00and sing our songs, and we were patriotic. Sort of like the alma mater, I believe, but I don't know if I ever learned it. But we just had fun. It was just girls, and it was fun. That was one tradition. That particular time in the fall we had the--maybe it was the Daisy Chain. I don't know.

CJ: The Daisy Chain, I believe, was for graduation.

JG: Oh, that was for graduation. There was something like a chain. It was an installation of something. But everybody got involved, I think.

CJ: There was an organization called Golden Chain. I don't know if it's the same thing or not.

JG: Yes. Golden Chain is the honor society, isn't it?

CJ: Yes. Yes. That's what that was.

JG: Let's see.

CJ: I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I did think Daisy Chain was for graduation. Everybody I've talked to said that it was.

JG: Well, it probably was. The Daisy Chain probably was [unclear]. But it seems like there was another chain. We--okay, the Daisy Chain was for graduation. We 37:00had some sort of a bonfire, sort of rally, pep rally, but you know we didn't have any competitive sports. We had that in the fall. It was Founders Day. I do remember Founders Day.

CJ: Yeah, they used to make a much bigger deal of Founders Day than they do now.

JG: Yes. I think that was the time that we got very patriotic, and we--I participated in that, and it was fun. And let's see, what were some of the other--?

CJ: What were your class colors? Do you remember?

JG: My jacket was gray.

CJ: Oh. Did they still have class colors? Like the freshman class had two colors, the sophomore had their colors, juniors and seniors, theirs? Did they have that?

JG: I'd have to get my annual and see all of that. But we--our class jackets were gray.

CJ: Okay.

JG: And there was gray, red, blue and green. I mean, each class had their own color jackets. You knew who they were by the color of their jacket.

CJ: Did they have Rat Day?

JG: Now, how do you--tell me--refresh me with Rat Day.


CJ: Okay. Rat Day, I believe, took place in the fall, and it was for--it was sort of a like an initiation ritual for freshmen, where the upperclassmen could ask you to do whatever they wanted and you had to do it.

JG: I think that's what I'm talking about. I believe that's what I'm talking about. Yes. I think that's what I'm talking about. Now there were a few upperclassmen, black upperclassmen there, and--but they didn't take us under control like little sisters or anything like that, as I recall. I think that [they] pretty much left on our own. And I guess everybody was just trying to paddle their own canoe. It was pretty strict on us then. We had to come--we had to be in. We had quiet hours. We had to be in the dorm, I think, during the week 39:00by nine o'clock [pm], unless we had a special pass to go to the library. We had to be in. We had curfews. None of this all night staying out and not knowing where you were.

CJ: Did you sign in and out?

JG: Sign in and out. We had dorm counselors, dorm matrons, dorm mothers. We signed in, and we signed out. We were on the honor system. We were on our honor to do--and tell the truth and do the right thing, and that was pretty--. I think that everybody mostly I knew abided by that.

CJ: Took it seriously?

JG: Yes. Took it seriously. Took pride in that. Yes, because we would get take-home exams and that sort of thing over the weekend, and we were on the honor system. If they said not to use our books, we didn't.

CJ: Did you have to attend mandatory chapel services?

JG: No. No mandatory chapel service. We were in a--now, if we had--I think some 40:00of the assembly programs may have been mandatory. Or a teacher might have told you. I don't recall participating too much in the cultural aspects of the college. And I know that they were going on. But I think I might have negligently, not knowing the impact that this would have on me, the kind of growth I could get out of it. Because I go to a lot of things they have over there now, if I see it in the newspaper. And I said to myself, "This was going on when I was in school, but I can't remember a very dynamic speaker coming and my going there." So I must have not been that--I must have not known to that extent.

CJ: Do you remember your graduation, whether or not they had a Daisy Chain at it?

JG: Yes. They had a Daisy Chain at my graduation.

CJ: Was it still the sophomores doing it for the seniors?

JG: Yes. Yes.

CJ: Okay. And when you were a sophomore, did you do it for the seniors?

JG: Yes, our class did. I don't know. I don't remember me individually participating, but I know that it went on.

CJ: Did you have marshals?


JG: Yes.

CJ: Tell me about marshals. How were they chosen, and what did they do? Do you know?

JG: They were chosen on academic standards, academic achievement. They always wore white. I mean, they always were involved in the very special programs that we had.

CJ: What did they do particularly? Do you remember?

JG: Well, I remembered they ushered. They ushered, and that's all that I remember that they did.

CJ: Did they have like a sash across the chest that said "Marshal" on it?

JG: Yes. Yes. Right. They did. They did.

CJ: Did you have May Day festivals?

JG: No. No. No. I don't remember any May Day festivals.

CJ: You mentioned sports. Was there competition between women's colleges with sports teams, or what kinds of sports activities were going on?

JG: I don't recall any competitive sports. They may have had them. I just--the only PE [physical education] inkling I was involved in was mandatory PE and going over to the bowling--taking the courses, going over to the tennis courts 42:00sometimes to practice, but I don't remember any competitive sports at all.

CJ: Do you remember whether everybody had to take a certain number of--certain courses for the first couple of years, and then they could branch out into their major, or how did that work? What were you required to take?

JG: Oh, you had to take--everybody had to take World Civilization; everybody had to take English, standard English. It wasn't English Literature, I don't think--it may have been English Literature the first year.

CJ: Was it a literature course?

JG: I think so. English Literature. We had to take--I didn't take math. I didn't take math at all in school. I don't know--I took a math placement test, but I 43:00was in, as I told you, medical technology as my initial major. And I think I could take biology--I took biology and chemistry my freshman year. That was in reference for getting me ready for the program I wanted to do. I took--PE was required for everybody for two years.

CJ: Us, too. Us, too. Yes.

JG: Four semesters. And I think it's good. I think--I [unclear] I could understand it. But I think it's good. We had to take--I think we all had to take a foreign language. I took French for two years. And I think that might have been it.

CJ: And then you could do your major and--

JG: Well, at the end of your sophomore year, you still have to take required a certain body of material and take English again, more science, more--the foreign language that you started, and PE. Just the basic core courses.

CJ: Were there writing courses required?


JG: No. You'd get that in your literature. No writing.

CJ: Compared to what you expected when you went there, what did you find? Were your expectations--how did your expectations match up with your experience?

JG: I think the experience actually was higher than my expectations academically. I knew it was going to be difficult, and it was. I think I had a more idealistic approach, idealistic view, of what college would do. I thought there would be more times for socialization and meeting new people, but I think after--I found the college exciting, I found it challenging to learn new things. I began to question things that I had in my mind before, so it was a very liberating type of experience. I learned a lot. My mind was tapped, and I'm glad 45:00about that.

CJ: What about socially?

JG: No social. No social.

CJ: So how did it match up with your expectations socially?

JG: That would be the minus card of the whole experience, the social experience. As I say, I thought maybe you'd meet people. The people I met, say, in Greensboro, would have a greater social--would lead to other social experiences, but they were about as deficit as I was. I don't know if I can even--

CJ: Yes, I understand.

JG: They were as lost as I was socially. And we were at that very vulnerable period in a person's lives--a person's life. Eighteen-, nineteen-, twenty-year-old people. They are not networking or anything like that. Things 46:00just sort of happened, if you get any social life. We had one little girl in our class. We don't ever know what happened to her, but she had a way of finding a lot of boyfriends. And she would have people coming over and so forth, but she got into a lot of trouble, I think--not at school, but with her own personal life about that. But that was the kind of thing, and you come out of the era where you don't want to be too fast. Cowboys are a no-no. If one calls you, fine.

CJ: Did you and your friends ever get to go over to A&T for the weekends, or for dances or--?

JG: We went over for a couple of dances. I had a friend--we had a friend--she 47:00lives in Charlotte now, and her mother--her family was here, so we'd go over there, and she would invite us over sometimes for dinner. But the first two years we had to study. We had to study, and that was that. And, as I said, we played cards. It's funny how people adapt to the niche that they find themselves in. We have little routines that we did. We would be in girls' rooms playing cards, talking.

CJ: I know there were such things as campus ministers. Did the campus ministers reach out to you all, and did you get involved in local churches at all?

JG: No. We had--one of our classmates was pretty religious. She went to church a lot, and I had been brought up in a religious atmosphere, so I had a lot of church dresses and stuff you wore then, hats and that sort of thing. But we went to--I think it's West Market--no--College Park United Methodist [Church]. I'm a Methodist.

CJ: Right.

JG: We went there one time--people nodded their heads like they were glad to see you, and that didn't stand out too well with in line me. And the nine of 48:00us--nobody except this one roommate of ours, one classmate, seemed to go to church a lot in the city. So I went with her to church a couple times. But, no, we weren't--I didn't rely on any campus ministry. There may have been--they were there, the campus ministries. They had the Baptist group, and I'm sure they had the United Methodist group. But you really didn't know in which avenue to channel this kind of--this need, to help with this need, but at this time it's only in looking back that you realize that this was happening. I think we accepted that as the norm. You see what I'm saying?

CJ: Okay. So then it wasn't conscious. You weren't conscious of--

JG: Well, we were conscious of the fact that we didn't have dates, that white kids had more than we had. They had cars.


CJ: But you just accepted--you accepted it?

JG: I think we accepted that for the mere fact that we were in that school.

CJ: Yes. Yes. So being there was sort of a tradeoff?

JG: No. It wasn't a tradeoff. It wasn't a tradeoff at all. But we knew that that was sort of one of the repercussions of being there. No. There was no tradeoff.

CJ: Okay. All right. All right. Okay. I have three more questions. Two of them are fairly brief. I wanted to get you to confirm or deny something I had heard from another person I interviewed, and that is--do you remember whether the cigarette companies gave out free cigarettes at the dining hall or anywhere else on campus?

JG: Let me see. Possibly. I want to see if I can pinpoint. I told you my freshman roommate's mother worked at P. Lorillard.

CJ: Right. Right. Right.

JG: And cigarettes were free. There's a possibility. It seems to me that I do kind of remember the little sample packages. Salems especially. I couldn't swear 50:00by that.

CJ: That's fine. That's all right. The other two questions--one has to do with the school motto, which was "Service." How important do you think it was to the people who came to Woman's College to devote themselves to a life of service? Did people have a sense of mission when they came there? Did you? How did that work out? Was service something to which you aspired and your friends aspired?

JG: Well, that was reiterated over and over again, the concept of service. I 51:00think lots of them took that very seriously. I do. I do believe. I think it stayed in the back of my mind. I've been involved in a lot of service-oriented organizations here and--

CJ: Can you briefly outline some of your service work since you left?

JG: Okay. I worked with my church and served on several--United Methodist Women, I've served on the board, and I've served with the youth projects, the youth. And I've also worked in the city with the American Diabetic Association because I have a diabetic daughter. I worked--I was in a service social club called The Drifters. I was for several years, but I'm not at any anymore. We didn't have sororities during that period, and that sorority thing is big to women and men 52:00who come from traditionally-black schools. They have them now. But they are also are service organizations or service conscious organizations, supposedly. Let's see what else I worked with. I worked with the Cancer--the American Cancer Campaign. I've worked with the Heart Association. I've worked--and I do little things in the community. I served on the board of directors at the Woodlea Association, the townhouse group. So that's volunteer; we don't get paid for that.

CJ: And you are a teacher, of course, which is one of the basic [unclear]

JG: I am a teacher, and I go to PTA [Parent-Teacher Association] meetings, and I keep my sanity and save the taxpayers quite a bit of money or we could go crazy.

CJ: Where do you teach and what grade level do you teach?

JG: I now teach at Jackson Middle School [Greensboro, North Carolina]. I was originally certified in high school, and my first job was at West Charlotte Senior High School [Charlotte, North Carolina]. I was a history teacher, but 53:00I--well, my husband was an Army officer, so the years I taught have been--. I taught in my hometown a couple of years because I never thought I would up teaching in North Carolina as a career, since I was travelling with him. But I feel that I served. And service comes--I realize that the more we--I think it was President Kennedy. Or maybe I heard a man, Walter Johnson [African-American Greensboro attorney], speak in church one Sunday, and his theme was the more we have, the more that is given to us, the more we have to give back. And I think he looked at it from a biblical standpoint or maybe from the standpoint of the--one of the philosophers--American presidents like FDR [Franklin Delano 54:00Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States], John Kennedy, or--

CJ: The idea of responsibility. That the more privilege you have, the more you have--should give back.

JG: Right. Right.

CJ: Yes. Yes.

JG: Yes, I think that was--well, one of the concepts that was given to us at UNCG.

CJ: So you got that very strongly from campus? From role models and--

JG: Yes. Yes. Yes. A lot of women--you see a lot of women also able to get things done and feeling comfortable about themselves instead of feeling put upon. Even the women's movement--it came into being after I got out of school. So I don't think we--well, some of the girls may have been thinking along those terms then, but I think we felt pretty good about ourselves at that time. Or maybe we just didn't know any better. [both laugh] Maybe we didn't know how subjected we really were.

CJ: What do you think Woman's College did for your self-confidence as a black woman?


JG: Well, I think really wringing my mind, developing my ability to question, to research, to find out what I don't know. I think that's very important. The ability that I know who I am. I know what I can learn. I know what I'm not capable of doing, not having any disillusionments about myself and not wanting to pass blame for my dilemma on someone else. I think I've been well educated, and I feel competent with what I'm about. There's some things that I didn't get during that period, but I don't say that that's the college's fault. That probably would have happened if I had been in any school. But I think I felt like--and I felt a sense of--I felt good for having gone there and having graduated. Not that I was any better, but I did have that kind of lofty feeling for a few years, but then as I live this life and learn that you can feel ever 56:00so lofty, but it remains the same, that we're all in the same boat. And I think that we have that given to us.

CJ: And my final question, and then if you have anything you want to be sure and say, please feel free, but my final question has to do with the extraordinary strength of character that it takes to integrate a university and to be among the first to integrate a university. What influences helped you the most in being able to take on being one of the first people to integrate Woman's College? Things that happened to you in your life?

JG: That prepared me to stay there?

CJ: That prepared you to do it in the first place and to stay there in the second place.

JG: Okay. My parents, my dad, was educated-oriented. He felt like--I have six 57:00sisters and one brother, and I'm the oldest of a good number. And he knew with all these girls, with all his girls, that we would need an education. And we grew up poverty-ridden, I guess we were. We didn't know it then. We had an uncle that had a store. They didn't have any children, and he helped my daddy with his girls. And it was always understood that we were going to college. I mean, no big deal.

CJ: Okay.

JG: We were going to college now. And we didn't know how they were going to get the money, but at this time business was booming. And Lenoir was a small town, but a furniture town, so everybody had a job. It wasn't like they had white-collar jobs, but people had jobs and had the necessities for living. And my mother had a lot of friends. My mother is a very humble person, and she gets 58:00along with everybody, and she's well-liked by everybody. So she would make contacts; she would get our clothes at what we call flea markets today. But she'd have contacts with these white ladies, and we were kept clean and we were kept dressed, and we were fed. And we didn't feel like we needed any extraordinary anything. We could do it. We were not taught that--and we were told we were smart early on. My daddy taught me to read, to do my alphabets, because I didn't go to kindergarten. And he would take a sheet of paper and write my alphabet, and I would practice and show them to him when we got home. And he taught me to tell time; and he had a little ruler, and if I didn't learn 59:00quite fast enough--he thought I was playing around--he'd give me a little tap. And I wanted to please, and I remember I went to a two-room school for six years. And I remember the lady--it was all small town, rural area, and she graded me with Bs, and she gave her niece all As. And I remember my daddy, telling him at Sunday school--telling her at Sunday school, that she didn't need to give me any grades anymore, that he knew what I knew, and that she didn't have sense enough to give me the grades. It was really--she didn't hold that against me or anything. But this was only about--but I think she did fix me up on that. You know how people will do when your parents interfere too much. And my mother could see the school from about as far as this house is to there, and when she got ready for me to come home--I was the oldest then and with chores, she just called me home. And the teacher says, "She's busy." "Well, I understand. I need her home." And I go home, and it was just--I'd tell my 60:00children, my own children, the kind of life. But that's character building. It's the little things. It was not like--somebody owes me something or because I'm black I can't learn as good or give me a break. We weren't raised with that kind of mentality.

CJ: So your daddy right early on made you feel good about yourself and told you you were smart and beautiful and--oh, it was great.

JG: And we were going to college, and we could be what we wanted to be, and there was never any doubt that I was going to college. If they were living--my dad died early. He died of a stroke when--well, he was forty-six years old. I'm older than he is when he died. But he was powerfully on this education. And my sisters--my brother who's next to me is a high school teacher in Delaware. He has three daughters. My sister works over at A&T in the accounting department. 61:00She's not a CPA [certified public accountant], but she has a good job. I have a sister with a real estate company and works inside. I've got one sister who has this certain hang-up about--but she just kind of--slow thinking. And I told my mother out of eight of us and as hard as it was, and the Lord only knows if mama got good prenatal care. I said, "We must have had good, strong genetic make-up." And my mother and daddy--and even in that small area, that small city, small town--my daddy was a go-getter. He worked two jobs. My mother did all kinds of jobs. You know what I'm saying? But it was good, honest, decent work. And I can't ever get rid of being hungry, and I told my sisters, I said, "None of us were fat. We were all attractive, slim people." I was a size nine-ten all my life until I went into a depression. And my mother would tell us things; she 62:00would pick poke salad. You ever had any poke salad?

CJ: Yes. Yes.

JG: This would make us pretty, and she would have us eating all kinds of vegetables--not a lot of meat because we couldn't afford meat. And don't you know that this was really going to be good for us?

CJ: The way--yes, it's the way everybody's doing it now.

JG: Buttermilk will make us pretty. Buttermilk. Up the street was this white man that had a cow. We had fresh, sweet milk, and we'd didn't have a lot of the luxuries, a lot of the things we really--we take for granted now. But we had what it took to get us to adulthood. Now all of us have some hang-ups, but I'm not sure that every human being doesn't.

CJ: But you saw your parents working hard and sacrificing for you.

JG: Precisely.

CJ: And you saw them making their own way, in spite of big obstacles.

JG: Right.

CJ: And you just--

JG: Right. And see, what I was saying about the small town and people getting together--Daddy could go to Broyhill's [furniture manufacturer]. They had an 63:00educational fund, even though my daddy worked for Bernhardt, they didn't have the educational fund. My daddy borrowed--well, it was in my name--five hundred dollars for my schooling. And it wasn't any more than seven hundred dollars I would need to go to school that year. So you know, that meant--and I worked in Blowing Rock [North Carolina], which is a little resort area during the summer, the first two summers, and I remember in Blowing Rock for this lady--her name was Mrs. Zimmerman. And she and her husband, Al, owned a hotel. And I think it was in Alexandria, Louisiana. So my grandmother was her cook--my mother's mother. And I was her maid after--my grandmother may have worked up there one summer, and the next year they hired me because I was only about seventeen years old. So they liked me, and as her maid, I washed her hose by hand; I dusted. She didn't have any children, and my grandmother did the cooking. So I didn't have 64:00any work to do, per se, but it was a good job. And Mrs. Zimmerman liked me, and she bought me a sweater. She knew I was going to college. She bought me a sweater and a big stuffed animal that year, and I really liked that. And she paid me twenty five dollars a week, and that was really good money. She took out twenty five cents for social security or something maybe. Whatever she took it out for. But, anyway, that was really a good job, and we saved that. If I saved all my summer money, and my mother would lay away my clothes on sale. And then after the first year I told them I didn't need any clothes. That skirt and my weeguns and sweaters and that blazer, basically all I needed because we didn't wear jeans or anything brand name. That was--nothing like that. But at any rate, the next summer, my sophomore year, Mrs. Zimmerman--I was back at her house and my grandmother had quit, I think, or wasn't working for some reason. So she had another cook. So Mrs. Zimmerman always had this summer party on Sunday. It was like a big--it was like a dinner party. So I was helping the cook with the table and everything. She taught me how to set a table, how to--she knew I liked to 65:00fool with flowers. She'd teach me how to do flowers and different little etiquettes that I didn't know. And so one--this girl that I went to school with--she'd seen me, and I'd seen her--walked by the window. She waved, and I waved--

CJ: At Mrs. Zimmerman's?

JG: At Mrs. Zimmerman's.

CJ: Oh, my goodness. [laughs]

JG: And so Mrs. Zimmerman, obviously, saw me. So the girl might have said, "What are you doing up here?" I said, "I'm working." And I don't think we had a long conversation. We didn't have that much in common, but I had just seen her. I knew her name. And she knew mine. And so Mrs. Zimmerman wanted to know, after the party or maybe the next day, how I knew this girl. She didn't know what college I was at.

CJ: Oh.

JG: So she--she didn't know what college I attended, so she asked me, and I told her where I went. She didn't even--I don't know how she took that, but, at any 66:00rate, she started picking on me then. She said to me one day--she called me, and I said, "Yes?" And she called me inside, and she said, "Janet, you know Southern protocol is to say, 'Yes, ma'am.' And it's not a matter of servitude, but you just say 'yes ma'am.'" And I remember she told me I picked her stockings, and I always bit my fingernails so you know I watched that. I'd do it every--I'd start this little picking routine. So I remember going home and telling my daddy I'd have to quit her. "I'm going to quit her." And my daddy said, "You never quit a job until you get another one. You never quit a job until you get another." So I didn't quit her, but I think I got a little restless some of my junior year. And my mother had a sister in New York, and my parents kept telling me I need to get away, I need to get away, and I wanted to go away. And my mother called Aunt Ola in New York, and Aunt Ola got me a job up near West Point Lake Mahopac. And I 67:00was like doing the same thing I was doing with Mrs. Zimmerman, like the maid, taking care of two little girls. And that was interesting. It was interesting to get those experiences in, and then it kind of began to make the world broaden a little bit. I could see what I was doing for the school and finishing up a little bit. But I had a--it was a good experience. And you know, I think I told--did you see the movie Dirty Dancing?

JG: Yes.

CJ: I tried--I watched--I liked that movie, and I watched it with my daughters, and I told them that it was really--that movie signified the era when the girl--the rich man takes his family to the resort, and they are--and you know, 68:00she falls--she has this crush, this love affair with this boy that was out of her league, and then the dancing--the ballroom protocol sort of stuff has to give way to the more--

CJ: The new.

JG: The new. The new. The new day. New day, socially. Blacks were--society was changing; it may have been easier back when I was a child to live as a black person because your role was established. You see what I'm saying?

CJ: Yes.

JG: Now your role is quite not established like you--if you go too far out, then the black people think you're trying to be Miss Uppity-Ippity, that you're not quite black enough.

CJ: Okay.

JG: And then if you--and that you may want to--if you keep contact with a white 69:00friends, then folks are going to say, "Well, this is a uppertimer," or this is a creole. I mean, an oreo--white and black.

CJ: Okay. Okay.

JG: So, and--

CJ: There's pressure from both sides?

JG: Yes, there's pressure from both sides. It doesn't bother me now. I know who I am. I tell folks--don't you think--in my teaching, I try to tell the kids, "You've got to be good." I don't agree with telling black students, "You've got to do it twice as good as white folks do it." That's too much of a burden. Don't tell a child that. Do what you can do. After you've done your best--my baby girl was a diabetic, has been catered to and catered to and catered to. And I know part of it is that her older sister and me, we write papers, we do whatever. She wants the honor of being good, having all the honors that my oldest girl had in high school, super-kid learning and still doing nothing. So I 70:00said, "Joannie, you can't have it both ways. If you're too sick to write the paper, then you have to get an F." Because we're going to stop doing it. Her teacher's exam--she's got--she missed the deadline. And I told her, "You know when I was in school a century ago, I didn't let a deadline pass. I knew when I had to take the test. I knew I had to be over there at a certain time and, by golly, I took it." So with her, I'm not saying to her, "In order to get a good job, you've got to do something twice as hard as a Mexican or a Puerto Rican or a white or a black. You just have to do whatever Joannie sets for herself."

CJ: Nobody can--nobody should be told that.

JG: A lot of folks have been told that.

CJ: I know. I know. Women have been told that.

JG: Yes. You have to this twice as good as a man or something like that. I think it sets up a good profile for depression.


CJ: I think it sets up a good prescription for failure.

JG: Yes. Yes. Unhappiness.

CJ: I think you're right. Absolutely right. Well, I am about out of my questions. Is there anything you would like to be sure you say before we stop?

JG: Now you said this is going to be part of a university file?

CJ: Yes. This is a birthday present, basically, from the history department to UNCG for its Centennial. In 1992 is the centennial year, and our department, under the guidance of Dr. William Link, is compiling as many interviews as we can with alumni. And the tapes and the transcripts are going to be housed in the Special Collections Room at the Jackson Library for use by researchers.

JG: Okay. Okay.

CJ: So it's our birthday present.

JG: All right. The friend I was telling you that was--probably had the most 72:00outstanding career at UNCG--plus the people at UNCG are aware of the fact that she died. She was killed. She was in Iowa. She was a writer. She had--I think she had a publication in Mademoiselle and Black Voices [both magazines] she has a short story in. But she was only--the year Sharon was born, my oldest girl--

CJ: '66?

JG: '66 --was the year she was killed. Her name was Diane Oliver. And--

CJ: Oh, dear.

JG: Yes. She would have been a good, good person to have really put everything into perspective. Everything. But, two--another friend of mine that I graduated with, and I went to the--our twenty-fifth reunion two years--two years ago, in 1989. Yes. We were over there that Saturday, and I saw several people out of our 73:00class. It wasn't a whole, whole lot. It was a good representation, I thought. It was good to see the people there. But, yes, I enjoyed it. The campus was always so pretty. The atmosphere was so--it was so Southern. I mean, for lack of a better word--

CJ: [laughs]

JG: It was so--I'm not saying that derogatory.

CJ: I know. I know.

JG: It was--everything was so-so. Yum-Yum [hot dog and ice cream shop] was always there on the corner--now, not the Yum Yum that you're familiar with today. So we could walk to Yum Yum and just get a bunch of food for a dollar.

CJ: Down on Tate Street or Spring Garden [Street]?

JG: Spring Garden. It was on the corner of Spring Garden. Yes. The Corner was down at Tate.

CJ: The Corner Store?

JG: Yes, the Corner. And it seems like it was a little restaurant-like club there too.

CJ: Did they have the movie theater there too?

JG: Yes. The movie theater was there.

CJ: Did you go to movies?

JG: Yes. I went to movies. And it seems like we had movies over at Elliott Hall 74:00some too during that period on Saturday night.

CJ: I know what you mean about it being Southern. I've been here in the South for twenty-two years, and I do know what you mean.

JG: Okay. Yes. Well, twenty-five years ago, it was awesome, it was so Southern. It was not--it was quiet and congenial and quiet, and it smelled. During this time of year you could smell the spices. I mean, it must have been like Thomas Jefferson's [American founding father, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, third president of the United States] place smelled. It was no--now it's gotten a lot more hostile over there--not as far as fights and that sort of thing. But it's just so mixed up compared to how it was when I was there.

CJ: It's bigger. It's much more impersonal and bigger.

JG: Yes. Much more impersonal and bigger. But I enjoyed the experience there. It's part of my history, part of my life.

CJ: Well, thank you for sharing that with me today. And I appreciate this very much.

JG: Okay. Okay. You're very welcome.

[End of Interview]