Oral History

Esphur and Harold Foster - On her mother, education, and impact of the Civil Rights Movement

Interviewed by Hudson Vaughan on April 1, 2010

Esphur Foster has lived on Cotton Street in Chapel Hill, North Carolina for 70 years.  In this interview, Foster discusses the powerful life of her mother, Hattie Mae Foster, as well as growing up in Chapel Hill during a pivotal time in history. She also describes much about life before, during, and after the Civil Rights movement within Chapel Hill as well. Specific topics in this interview include the following: The Fosters’ Family background; Esphur’s mother’s accomplishments as an African-American woman; attending Orange County Training School in the Northside community; memories of Lincoln High School; growing up in Chapel Hill as a African-American woman before, during, and after the Civil Rights Movement, integrating Northside community with white college students and the unrest that it caused among the long-term African-American residents; the importance of having core values in your life; the different neighborhoods merging together to form the entire Northside community for voting precincts; the changes she has witnessed over the past 70 years on Cotton Street; her decision to go back to school at age 39; integration in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City School District; the Wake County School District’s problems with having diverse schools; the importance of understanding and appreciating the history in your family; the impact that faith has on a culture; President Obama’s healthcare plan; her brother, Harold Foster leading the Civil Rights Movement in Chapel Hill; the power of music; the biggest problems that face Chapel Hill today.

Esphur and Harold Foster - On her mother, education, and impact of the Civil Rights Movement

Esphur and Harold Foster - On her mother, education, and impact of the Civil Rights Movement

Esphur and Harold Foster - On her mother, education, and impact of the Civil Rights Movement

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Oral history interview of Foster, Esphur conducted by Hudson Vaughan on April 1, 2010 at Foster's Residence on Cotton Street, Chapel Hill, NC. Processed by Coffey, David.

Citation: Marian Cheek Jackson Center, “Esphur and Harold Foster - On her mother, education, and impact of the Civil Rights Movement,” From the Rock Wall, accessed November 29, 2021, https://fromtherockwall.org/oral-histories/esphur-and-harold-foster.

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

Ms. Esphur Foster

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