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Oral history interview with Otis L. Hairston Jr. by Eugene Pfaff


Date: circa 1980

Interviewee: Otis L. Hairston, Jr.

Biographical abstract: Otis L. Hairston Jr. (1946- ) of Greensboro, a professional photographer, was active in civil rights demonstrations in 1963.

Interviewer: Eugene E Pfaff

Description:

In this transcript of an oral history interview conducted circa 1980 by Eugene Pfaff with Otis L. Hairston Jr., Hairston primarily discusses his involvement in civil rights demonstrations as a high school student in the spring of 1963. He describes demonstrations at the Carolina Theatre and the sit-down on the square, both of which led to mass arrests, and provides details of his subsequent incarceration at the polio hospital and processing at the coliseum. Hairston also notes the role of the police, the behavior of hecklers and demonstrators, and the influence of his father.

Subjects:

Format of original: Oral History

Collection: GreensboroVOICES Collection

Repository: The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Item#: 1.10.519

Rights: It is responsibility of the user to follow the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Materials are not to be reproduced in published works without written consent, and any use should credit Civil Rights Greensboro and the appropriate repository.



Oral history interview with Otis L. Hairston Jr. by Eugene Pfaff

Eugene Pfaff:

This is a segment of the Oral History Program of the Greensboro Public Library. I'm speaking with Mr. Otis L. Hairston Jr. who is an A&T student and [recording muffled and inaudible] demonstrations.

Otis L. Hairston Jr.:

Right.

EP:

How did you first become involved with the 1963 demonstrations Mr. Hairston?

OH:

Well, I probably would trace part of it to [my] family. My father was sort of actively involved with it, and then I had friends also at A&T that sort of got me interested and also involved. [Music in background through entire interview]

EP:

How early did you become involved in the activity? Was it prior to the spring of 1963?

OH:

No, it was during the spring that I became actively involved in it.

EP:

How were you contacted?

OH:

Well, just through friends. I had a few friends at A&T and we just sort of became involved through them, just association with them.

EP:

How old were you in the spring of 1963?

OH:

Seventeen.

EP:

So, you were a senior?

OH:

Right. I was a senior in high school.

EP:

It's my understanding that the large scale street demonstrations began on May eleventh with the picketing of McDonald's Hamburgers and then by the fifteenth it had—emphasis had shifted to the downtown. Had you heard about it in the community, through the newspaper, that kind of thing?

OH:

Well, I had been keeping up with it. Like I said, my father was sort of involved with it. Most of the meetings were held at Trinity [A.M.E. Zion Church, Greensboro] at that time, and we were—as far as being on campus too, I was over on A&T's [North Carolina A&T State University] campus quite a bit. And from the news media and also just being involved in the community I was sort of aware of what was going on.

EP:

How were the Dudley students approached to participate?

OH:

The Dudley students were not approached. I just happened to have some friends and just get involved in it. I think that I was the first high school student to, probably, be arrested.

EP:

There are several accounts in the paper where it says, along about, between the twentieth and the twenty-third—about—on the twenty-third was the first large demonstration where the newspaper says “No high school students participated.” Does that mean high school students just came to the assembly points on their own? They never came as a large group of high school students?

OH:

Right. They were, more or less, on their own. They, more or less, probably got involved the same way I did, through friends or family, just being aware of what was going on in the community.

EP:

Do you remember the first date that you marched?

OH:

I don't remember any dates. I believe, if I am not mistaken, we marched two or three times before—at least I marched two or three times before being arrested, but as far as dates, I don't remember.

EP:

Could you describe what happened when you were arrested?

OH:

I believe the first time I was arrested was at the Carolina Theatre. I was near the front of the line, and at that time there—we approached the Carolina Theatre—there were some police officers in front, and we were refused admission to the lower area. So, the ones leading the line entered the theatre, the lower level. And I believe it was Captain [William] Jackson that asked them to leave or they would be arrested for trespassing.

EP:

Were you in that group?

OH:

No, I wasn't in the initial group, I was in the second group. And the first group was arrested, and as they were arrested, then others just fell in behind them and entered the theatre, and eventually everybody was arrested.

EP:

What happened when you entered the theatre? Did you go on in to the seating area and sit down?

OH:

Oh, no, we didn't. We didn't get past the lobby. We were arrested right in the lobby.

EP:

The policemen were there.

OH:

Right.

EP:

So, what happened when you were arrested? Were you taken in police vehicles?

OH:

No, we were taken on buses to the [Greensboro] Coliseum and processed there. If I am not mistaken, the first time we were arrested we were taken to the nursing home, that's where we were held. The second time I was arrested, I believe we were placed in the city jail downtown.

EP:

Now, you say the first time you were arrested you were taken to the polio hospital. Were you among the first group of students placed in the polio hospital?

OH:

Right.

EP:

What were conditions like when you went in [to the polio hospital]?

OH:

They weren't bad. We—more or less, like, sort of like a dormitory situation. They were fairly large rooms with maybe thirty or forty students in each room with small cots.

EP:

Were they real crowded conditions?

OH:

Not extremely crowded. We—my memory is not that vivid of it, but if I'm not mistaken, not all of the students were placed there. And there were, I guess, several hundred students arrested at that time, but I don't think the conditions were really that bad.

EP:

The newspaper had several accounts of the first group of students that were taken in there [and it was said] that there weren't enough beds to sleep on, there weren't enough blankets, the water there was to drink was very brown and brackish, there were four toilets but two of them were out of order. Does this fit in, pretty much, with what you remember?

OH:

As far as the toilets and the water, I do sort of faintly remember that as not being the best of conditions, but as far as the beds and blankets, I don't think we had any problems at all with that.

EP:

What were the—[tape interruption]. What were the sleeping arrangements? Was there room for everybody to sleep or did you have to sleep in shifts?

OH:

Oh, no, there was room for everybody to sleep.

EP:

And the food, was it adequate?

OH:

Well, that would have been my only complaint. [The] main complaint is, too me, it wasn't—

EP:

What was the problem?

OH:

Well, the quality of the food was the biggest thing. I don't know where [it came from], whether it was catered or just what, but—

EP:

Just poorly cooked or imbalanced nutritionally?

OH:

Poorly cooked.

EP:

Were the meals served on time? I mean, would you say within, say, five or six hours of each other?

OH:

Oh, yes.

EP:

There weren't long delays?

OH:

No.

EP:

Was there enough food? I mean, did you get plenty of—

OH:

Oh, no.

EP:

There was very little?

OH:

Right.

EP:

Do you think this was just poor planning or deliberate policy to make you all uncomfortable?

OH:

I think it might have been a combination of both. You know, I—maybe they didn't anticipate the number of students that were arrested, so there was probably some poor planning, but then I think that there, probably, there was a little harassment involved, too.

EP:

Did—how long did you stay there?

OH:

I would say probably two or three days. I'm really not—

EP:

Were your folks aware of where you were?

OH:

Oh, yes.

EP:

Was there any attempt to bail you out, or did all of you determine to stay there without bail or being recognized?

OH:

Well, there were some that were bailed out. I think I was one, after the second or third day, but I think after two to three days everybody was released.

EP:

Were you bailed out by your parents or an organization?

OH:

By an organization, I believe. Major High was the attorney for the organization, and I don't remember—

EP:

Were you booked there at the polio hospital or someplace else?

OH:

We were booked at the coliseum, I believe, and then—

EP:

Even that first arrest?

OH:

I believe so.

EP:

There were charges that some of the people who were taken by Duke Power buses to the coliseum tore up the seats, ripped off the advertisements off the bus. Did you see any of this?

OH:

No.

EP:

What was the attitude of the people on the bus?

OH:

Well, I think that everybody realized the purpose in which they were there, but it was sort of a jovial attitude, and, you know, you were with friends, and it wasn't like you had—I guess everybody realized that it wasn't a confinement that was going to be permanent, it was just something temporary and it was, you know, for a cause and—

EP:

Were you nervous about being arrested?

OH:

Not at all.

EP:

Did any of you anticipate maybe receiving sentences of six months to a year, two years for trespassing?

OH:

No.

EP:

[Was] this only just assumed, or had you been told that this would not be the case?

OH:

I think it was just an assumption that there wouldn't be any active sentences—possibly fines, but—

EP:

What was it like out at the coliseum? Where were you processed?

OH:

In the coliseum area. We were—

EP:

In the large area where they have basketball games and such?

OH:

Right. We were in the bleachers, and I believe they had the processing area down on the floor, and we would come down to be processed, fingerprinted and—

EP:

What was the procedure of processing? I mean, [did you come] as your name was called or were you just motioned?

OH:

I think we were just motioned.

EP:

Did they not know who you were before?

OH:

Right. Well, I guess that had a lot to do with the fact that we didn't, we didn't think that there was any way that they could really prosecute us because, you know, they didn't know who we were. Anybody—I remember hearing two or three people say that they weren't even involved in the demonstrations, but they were just outside the Carolina Theatre and they were arrested. So, you know, there were quite a few spectators around.

EP:

You were going to describe to me the procedure for the processing. Could you do that now?

OH:

If I could remember correctly. We were—we sat in the bleachers and we were just called down according to where we were sitting, asked questions, and we were, I guess, searched, had to empty out pockets, then photographed, fingerprinted and, I guess, we then moved to another section of the coliseum and then were taken by bus to the polio hospital.

EP:

What kind of questions were you asked?

OH:

That I don't remember.

EP:

Did you experience any or witness any harassment, mistreatment, either physically or verbally by the police at the arrest site, on the bus or during processing?

OH:

Not at that time, not the first time we were arrested at the Carolina Theatre. We didn't have any problems.

EP:

Did you ever witness any altercations, any flare-ups of temper by the demonstrators or police or actual violence?

OH:

No, the demonstrators were really schooled in nonviolence. That was one of the main purposes of the meetings that were held at the old Trinity Church. And, you know, I remember several times when we were marching we were harassed by, and heckled—I remember a few times people were spit on, but, you know, there was never any retaliation for it. It was just ignored as though it never happened.

EP:

Were the white hecklers very close, or were they kept at some distance?

OH:

Some were close. I believe there were a few that—more or less, we, if I'm not mistaken, we always marched in the street, and they were normally on the sidewalks. But there were a few that would, that wanted to get physically involved with some of the marchers that would get a little closer.

EP:

Did you ever see any of them strike any of the marchers?

OH:

Oh yes. Like I said, I remember some being struck and also some being spit on.

EP:

Were they—would they strike the males or were females struck? Was it indiscriminate or what?

OH:

Just indiscriminate.

EP:

And they were, what, struck with their fists?

OH:

Right.

EP:

Were you aware of anyone being harmed or hurt badly by any of these encounters?

OH:

No I don't, no.

EP:

Were you afraid?

OH:

I think, probably, the first time I marched I was—there was a little fear, but after that I just felt a part of it and there was really no fear involved.

EP:

How did you view the police? Were they part of the city administration you were demonstrating against? Did you view them [as there] to protect you? How did you see their role?

[Tape and interview interrupted]

EP:

We were talking about what happened in the course of the march, and you were going to describe to me how you saw the police and the role they filled. Do you think they did a good job of protecting you?

OH:

I think so. I guess I just considered them a part of the system and that's what they were there for, just primarily for our protection.

EP:

Did you ever get into any personal discussion or altercation with any of the officers or even with any of the hecklers?

OH:

No. There was nobody in the march that would get into any type [of] discussion with the hecklers. But, normally, if there was some kind of confrontation with the police, there was a spokesman in the march that—and, normally, I think every time that I marched, Jesse Jackson led the march and he was normally the spokesman.

EP:

How many times did you march?

OH:

I would say—if I remember correctly, it was like a daily thing.

EP:

And you marched in every one of those—?

OH:

Right, yes.

EP:

So, it wasn't—

OH:

I would say [talking over each other].

EP:

Where did you say most of the meetings were held that you attended—pre-march meetings?

OH:

At Trinity.

EP:

Were these meetings always followed by a march?

OH:

Right, and sometimes the march was followed by a meeting.

EP:

What was said at these meetings?

OH:

Well, they were, sort of, just inspirational-type meetings to, I guess, keep everybody attuned to what was going on, and just to, more or less, inspire everybody as to just what the purpose was.

EP:

They, they told you what the purpose was?

OH:

Right.

EP:

Do you remember how they phrased it or the specifics?

OH:

No. It was—I think most of the meetings that I attended Jesse Jackson spoke at a majority of them, and he had the same type rhetoric that he—rhetoric now that he had then—had [the same type of rhetoric] then that he has now. So, you know, it was very easy to get the crowd really going.

EP:

Do you remember being spoke to by any other individuals? James Farmer of CORE [Congress of Racial Equality], for instance?

OH:

I believe I do remember him being here on a few occasions. Floyd McKissick [too], I believe.

EP:

Were they effective speakers?

OH:

Yes.

EP:

What sort of feelings were going on inside you when you'd hear them?

OH:

Well, it, I guess it sort of, to me, it sort of made me sort of feel proud, proud being black—you know, being able to contribute to what was trying to be done.

EP:

Did you feel you were part of some long-term campaign, or did you feel something was going to be accomplished right then and there?

OH:

I just felt, at that time, right then and there. It was—I had no idea, I guess, with me being a high school student, not really knowing really that much about what the purpose and everything was when I first got involved in it. I—excuse me one minute.

[Tape and interview interrupted]

EP:

You were describing your feelings at the time and what you were going to accomplish. What did you think you were going to accomplish?

OH:

Well, I guess I was sort of narrow in my thinking. The only accomplishment that I could see was the short-range one, as far as the integration of the theatres and the cafeterias and these things. You know, I guess I didn't see any, really, anything long-range in it, as far as what developed after the marches.

EP:

Did you talk about it with your classmates, or was this a central focus of attention at the high school?

OH:

Oh, no. I don't think students really get involved initially, as far as their thinking was involved. It was probably a week or two after the marches [when] it really started and arrests had started being made that, probably, the students saw any real purpose in it or really got involved in it.

EP:

Once they were involved, though, was this a central thing on campus? Was this all that people talked about? Was there a lot of high school student participation?

OH:

I wouldn't say that there was a lot of high school student participation. I think the community, the black community in general, was sort of responsive to it and, you know, was really behind the marches. But, I guess, a big difference in high school and the A&T students, [was] that A&T students were here on their own, whereas the high school students had a responsibility to their home and their parents, and, I guess, a lot of parents didn't want their children involved in marching and being arrested. And so, I would think that that's probably why a lot of high school students didn't get involved in the marching.

EP:

What was the attitude of your parents?

OH:

Well, my father, I would say, is an activist, and he was, you know, very much involved in it, but I think my mother was just the opposite at first. But once I was arrested, she started marching, too.

EP:

Were they concerned that you would be harmed or injured?

OH:

I don't think so. They never expressed it to me.

EP:

Did you ever discuss this among yourselves as a family at home?

OH:

Oh, yes.

EP:

What sort of things would you say?

OH:

Well, I guess we—I, more or less, talked about the experiences that I had, and I guess there was a certain outrage that they had, with my father being from Greensboro and as to just how things, you know, just how things were happening, the arrests. I guess that's what really, probably got the community behind it more than anything else. [Talking over each other]

EP:

Did your father ever discuss what was being planned in the Citizens Coordinating Committee, of which he was a member?

OH:

No, I—he never did, we never discussed that. At that time, too, we really didn't have that much time to discuss it, because when I was out of school in the evenings I was normally right over here, and the only times I really saw him was on the weekends, so—

EP:

Did you attend different meetings at different churches, or were they all at the same church?

OH:

They were all at the same church, all of them were at Trinity.

EP:

I see. Was that Trinity AME Zion?

OH:

Right.

EP:

Was that—a nickname for that "Big Zion?" Was that ever a nickname for it?

OH:

For that—?

EP:

Church.

OH:

A nickname? Was there a nickname?

EP:

The book Civilities and Civil Rights by William H. Chafe calls it, in quotation marks, “Big Zion.” Was that ever a term applied to that church?

OH:

Not to my knowledge.

EP:

Did ever—any people who were involved in the planning or the carrying out of the demonstrations ever come to your house, talk with your father?

OH:

I don't believe there were too many visits. I know there were quite a few phone calls, though, and not just from the planners, but from some of the hecklers and probably city officials and—

EP:

So, he did get some threatening phone calls?

OH:

Oh, yes.

EP:

Did you ever hear these or did he ever discuss them or anything?

OH:

He didn't really discuss them. You know, it's something that, I guess, once it was over with it was something he forgot, you know, once the conversation was over. It's nothing I don't think he really took that seriously.

EP:

You say that after the first march you lost your fear. What other feelings did you have during the march, if not fear?

OH:

[Pause] I don't know. I guess, with [pause] with me probably being one of the younger ones there, it was [pause]—it was just a matter of me maybe [pause]—probably being involved in something that I—well, let's go back a little further.

I had always gone to the Carolina Theatre and had always sat upstairs, had always gone in the side or back entrance, and, I guess, other students had been—other A&T, well, the students at A&T probably had not. Since I had grown up here and—they had probably experienced that at home—but, you know, I guess the biggest purpose in me and the feelings I had was that I felt like if—I should have the right to sit anywhere in the theatre that I wanted to. I know I, you know, always, whenever I went to the theatre, the feelings I had [were] that I couldn't understand why, you know, why I had to go upstairs and wasn't allowed to go downstairs. So, I guess that was my biggest purpose. Just like when I used to go downtown and couldn't enter the Mayfair or S&W Cafeteria. That was, I guess, the feelings I had and my big purpose, you know, in being involved in it.

EP:

You mentioned that you couldn't go to the theatres, you couldn't go to the restaurants. Were other stores open to you as a child, a young person downtown? Clothing stores, five and dime, that kind of thing?

OH:

Oh, yes.

EP:

But just when it came to food or public entertainment—?

OH:

Yes, right. Well, I guess I learned at a very early age—I guess I was a very small child, but it's something that's always stuck with me. I was probably five or six years old and my family traveled to Detroit and Niagara Falls, and, I believe, we left from this area and drove to Detroit, then to Niagara Falls, from there and [to] Canada and then back to North Carolina. But I remember leaving Niagara Falls on our way back, leaving one evening, and we expected to get accommodations on the way back, and everywhere we stopped we were turned away. So, we eventually had to pull over on the side of the road and sleep there all night. And I think that has always stuck with me, and I guess I reflected on that during these marches too. You know, we—even when we did wake up the next morning in the car, finding a place to eat breakfast was a real problem. So, those are the types [of] things, I guess, that I was reflecting on a lot when I was marching.

EP:

The newspaper indicates that, at one time when the cases were called, you were not present until a [warrant] was issued for you. Could you describe that incident? This is when they began calling your cases about May twentieth in that area, and they said that one student was not present when this case was called, so a [warrant] was issued. Do you ever remember someone coming to the door with a warrant for your arrest?

OH:

No. If I'm not mistaken, I really don't ever remember going to court. I was just under the impression that we were always represented by legal counsel, and, you know, it was always disposed of that way.

EP:

You never had to make a personal appearance?

OH:

No, I never—as far as I remember, I never made a court appearance.

EP:

What happened the second time you were arrested?

OH:

The second time I was arrested I believe we were marching at the Mayfair—is that the one that was on Market or [is that] S&W?

EP:

S&W was on Market, Mayfair was on Elm.

OH:

Right. And I believe we—when we reached the point of the S&W, we stopped, and at the S&W a few people tried to enter, which they couldn't, and there were probably some very small speeches made there, probably by Jesse Jackson or some of the other leaders of the march. And after that, I think things sort of got out of hand because we were all arrested for blocking the intersection, and everybody, I believe, sat down in the middle of the intersection between Market and Elm.

EP:

This is why I wanted to ask you about—the night, June fifth, the day after which Jesse Jackson was arrested, on Greene Street, I think, and the—are you saying this is the next night where everyone sat down in the square?

OH:

Right, yeah, yeah. I think that was the mood of the marchers because of his [Jesse Jackson's] arrest, and, you know, I guess it was just upsetting to everybody. I guess that's why it sort of sticks out in my mind, that if things were sort of under control— it wasn't like it had been in the past, and there was a, really, a "don't care" attitude about the marchers, and I—you know, I think that really could have been a big confrontation if there had been a lot of hecklers or other police around that, you know, probably had tried to put things under control.

EP:

So, you are saying there was a "don't care" attitude about violence? [Train in the background]

OH:

Right.

EP:

And whereas in the past it had always been nonviolent and carefully controlled?

OH:

Right.

EP:

Why was—you mentioned the arrest of Jesse Jackson and its effect on the people. Were there any other factors which produced this lack of control, this “I don't care” attitude? Was it less controlled, less effective leadership? Were there less instructions given or anything like that?

OH:

Oh, no. I think it was just, you know, “You have arrested our leader and,” you know, “we just want to join him” I guess. And so—

EP:

The paper describes that as a very tense time, particularly that evening.

OH:

Right.

EP:

Is that how you perceived it?

OH:

Oh, yes.

EP:

Did you think something was going to happen that night?

OH:

Yeah. I think, probably that night I—there was a little fear in me too, because I, I could just sort of sense the tone of the march. I guess I wasn't fearful of anything actually happening to me, but it was just the atmosphere and the tone of the whole situation that, you know, it just seems as though it could explode. I guess, at that age, I wasn't—I probably would have just exploded with it.

EP:

Was it planned from the beginning for people to sit down in the square?

OH:

No. [Talking over each other]

EP:

What instructions were given to you before you left on the march that night?

OH:

That I don't remember.

EP:

Do you remember the instructions you were given on any particular pre-march meeting?

OH:

Well, it was always the nonviolence and, you know, “No matter what's done to you, you don't respond to it, just don't strike back.”

EP:

But you say you yourself were never spat upon or struck?

OH:

No.

EP:

You say you marched practically nightly for three or four weeks. Did you ever get a sense that maybe it wasn't going to succeed, that this seems fruitless, that it just went on and on with very little change, or did you see progress with each passing day?

OH:

Well, I think we were encouraged enough in the meetings to see where some progress was being made and, you know, it was eventually the city and out at the focal points of our protest [where] there would be some changes made.

EP:

After the—what happened when you were arrested in the sit-down on the square? Was it pretty much like the other arrests?

OH:

No, I think that was a little different. If I am not mistaken, I was either taken in a paddy wagon or a police car; I wasn't put on a bus the second time that I was arrested. And I was taken to the courthouse to be processed as opposed to the coliseum. And, at that time, I was placed in the city jail, the old city jail, and I think because of the atmosphere there, it was a little harder to deal with than the situation at the polio hospital. You know, being behind bars, you, more or less, had the feeling of being a criminal rather than a protester.

EP:

Were you harassed in the jail, either by other prisoners or police or—?

OH:

No. We were, primarily, the only ones in the jail. There were a few others there, but the protestors were primarily the only ones there.

EP:

How long did you stay in jail that time?

OH:

Two or three days.

EP:

Were you again bailed out or just released?

OH:

I believe we were bailed out again, I believe.

EP:

Do you remember any remarks addressed to the group by the CORE leaders or your father or any of the other leaders of the demonstrations at any of the meetings? Was there anything that stands out that they said or how they behaved themselves or how they looked?

OH:

I don't know. I don't remember any particular remarks, but, to me, the type of speakers and remarks that were made were very similar to what you can see and hear now from Martin Luther King's—the messages he gave at protest marches. I—when the movie with him [came out] last year, it brought back a remembrance of the meetings that we use to have—very, very similar.

EP:

Who did you feel was in control or in charge of the demonstrations? Did you single out CORE, or was it this coalition of organizations that came to be known as the Citizens Coordinating Committee?

OH:

I would think it was, more a less, a combination of a lot of organizations. I guess Jesse Jackson stood out in my mind most because I was involved more on the campus here then, and [I] probably had more contact with he and the students than with the other leaders of the march.

EP:

What effect did his speeches have on you? Did you think he was a dynamic speaker?

OH:

Oh, yes, very much so.

EP:

Even at that young age?

OH:

Right. I felt that that's probably how he was able to get so many students involved.

EP:

After you were released after the sit-down at the square, were you involved in any other demonstrations or marches?

OH:

Yes.

[Tape interruption]

EP:

What subsequent demonstrations were you involved in?

OH:

I don't know, I guess the thing that just sticks out in my mind are just the marches. I don't know [if] they came—if any more came after that last arrest or—

EP:

The way the newspaper describes it, there was one more silent march that next afternoon, then came the big breakthrough where the permanent Human Relations Commission was founded and Jesse Jackson was released from jail, and things seemed to progress from there. There were a few small [instances of] picketing of restaurants and theatres—not theatres, but motels and hotels that fall. So, that was the end of your involvement, is that right?

OH:

Right.

EP:

Did it just kind of peter out, or was there some kind of concluding meeting where people said “Well, we have assigned a truce, we've agreed to a truce, we're going see what they're going to do,” that kind of thing?

OH:

Well, I think that there were some other meetings following that, but they probably weren't attended like the ones that were during the marches.

EP:

In other words, people just stopped coming to the rallying places, the churches or whatever?

OH:

Well, I don't think they just stopped coming, but their—especially with students—their primary—they probably had students involved mostly for the marches, so, you know, once—as far as numbers [go], as far as—when the results were obtained, then probably the students, their attendance declined some.

EP:

When was the first time you actually entered one of these desegregated places that you had been protesting against?

OH:

As soon as they were opened up.

EP:

Is that right?

OH:

Right.

EP:

You ate at the S&W and attended movies at the Carolina and the Center [Theatres]?

OH:

Right.

EP:

Did you ever go into the Mayfair?

OH:

I never did go in the Mayfair. I ate at the S&W several times and also the National Theatre, I believe it was, over on Elm Street.

EP:

In conclusion, what is your feeling about the marches, your participation in them? What do you think they accomplished, in retrospect?

OH:

Well, I think our purpose was, and our accomplishments were, probably, just as important as the original sit-ins. I think it was just another phase that we went through in trying to establish equality. As I said before, I—at that time, my thinking was probably a little narrow because of my age, and I probably didn't realize the purpose as much then as I do now as to [just what] was trying to be done.

[End of Interview]