Oral History

Donny "Hollywood" Riggsbee - On growing up in Chapel Hill, segregation, and his work experiences

Interviewed by Hudson Vaughan and Alexander Stephens and Monica Palmeira on May 9, 2012

Donny ‘Hollywood’ Riggsbee, resident of Chapel Hill, gives his biography during his time in in the town. He describes his youth, growing with 10 siblings, how his mother worked in a kitchen and how the kids worked while growing up. He talks about racial experiences in the form of his employer (Big John) who segregated African-Americans and kicked many out of the store but hired Hollywood to work. Hollywood garners a relationship with the owner and ‘breaks racial barriers.’ Hollywood, as the only black worker at the restaurant, provides an entry for other African Americans to come into the store. Big John dies and his son ruins the business through drug use. Talks briefly about tin tops and the community atmosphere it created, prior names of tin tops, and a description of the houses. Hollywood talks about violence from “hoodlums” and a nearby nursing community attempting to regulate activities in area. UNC students also provided homework help in area. He concludes with his passion for taking care of kids and the compassion him and his mother showed local children if they needed help.

Donny "Hollywood" Riggsbee - On growing up in Chapel Hill, segregation, and his work experiences

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Oral history interview of Riggsbee, Donny "Hollywood" conducted by Vaughan, Hudson on May 9, 2012 at St. Joseph Conference Room, Chapel Hill, NC.

Citation: Marian Cheek Jackson Center, “Donny "Hollywood" Riggsbee - On growing up in Chapel Hill, segregation, and his work experiences,” From the Rock Wall, accessed September 20, 2021, https://fromtherockwall.org/oral-histories/donny-hollywood-riggsbee-4.

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