Oral History

David Caldwell, Jr. - On his parents, civil rights, and law enforcement

Interviewed by Andrea Wuerth on May 22, 2017

In this interview, David Caldwell, Jr., begins by discussing past generations of Caldwells that came from Chatham County and lived first on Merritt Mill Road, then Durham, then Northside. His family moved to Rogers Road in 1963 when land became available to African-Americans. A major topic is the role that his father, one of the first black police officers and uncle, one of the key, local civil rights activists, played in his life and in the history of Chapel Hill. From them, he learned that there are different sides to every story and that it is important to consider all. He also discusses his mother’s various jobs as housekeeper and, later, as a nurse’s aid. He mentions other positions his dad held, including owning his own trash collecting business. In a few stories, he makes it clear that his parents were very hardworking and determined to overcome racism and advance. Finally, he talks about what it meant to grow up as a son of a local policeman and how he decided to join the force. He expresses his concern with law enforcement today and his doubts about his children’s and grandchildren’s futures in Chapel Hill. Success depends upon education and opportunities for seeing the world beyond the town.

David Caldwell, Jr. - On his parents, civil rights, and law enforcement


Oral history interview of Caldwell, David conducted by Wuerth, Andrea on May 22, 2017 at Rogers Road Community Center, Chapel Hill, NC. Processed by Wuerth, Andrea.

Citation: Marian Cheek Jackson Center, “David Caldwell, Jr. - On his parents, civil rights, and law enforcement,” From the Rock Wall, accessed June 16, 2024, https://fromtherockwall.org/oral-histories/david-caldwell-jr-on-his-parents-civil-rights-and-law-enforcement.

"We’re writing our own history, thank you!"

Ms. Esphur Foster

Want to add in?  Have a different view?  What do you think? Want to upload your own photos or documents?

History is not the past.  It’s the sense we make of the past now. Click below to RESPOND—and be part of making history today.