Oral History

Euzelle and R.D. Smith - On changes in Northside

Interviewed by Hudson Vaughan and Santiago Beltran on February 10, 2011

The interviewees share their experiences with living in Northside, the1940s until today, and the lack of interactivity between Northside and the university. There is a lack of progress in preventing harmful change to Northside. R.D. Smith talks about his own experience on town council. They talk about Northside as a rural area without police or fire protection. R.D. Smith held an education position as the highest paid teacher in the school system; Union schools, including Orange County Training School. The interviewees bought their land from the Caldwells, a family that at one time owned much of Northside. R.D. had experience in the army for 26 months, until discharged in 1946. They speak of their dislike of recent developments in and around Northside that don’t have the same “character,” including: “cookie cutter” homes, 154, Greenbridge, and others; lack of housing for students at the university leading to expansion “up and out” in Chapel Hill, and young people leaving Northside and having to sell their houses because of a lack of jobs. They continue the interview by talking about the problem of only having the hospital or the university as places to work, the increasing number of student rentals in Northside due to proximity to campus and free buses. They hope that their children will not sell the house. The interviewees recount the black owned businesses that operated in Chapel Hill, including NC Mutual, which allowed Euzelle and R.D. to mortgage their house. They talk about witnessing the desegregation of schools in Chapel Hill while R.D. and Euzelle were still working in the school system. The Smith’s grandparents are a sphere of influence they discuss in the interview. The interview concludes with hopes for the future of Northside, including an increase in the number of available jobs. They also give advice to be self-motivated and make a difference. Euzelle talks of growing up in Newport News, Virginia and the experience of being married for over 60 years. R.D. has an interest in current events relating to black history.

Euzelle and R.D. Smith - On changes in Northside

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Oral history interview of Smith, Euzelle conducted by Vaughan, Hudson on February 10, 2011 at Home of Euzelle and R. D. Smith, Chapel Hill, NC. Processed by Bhatti, Hasan.

Citation: Marian Cheek Jackson Center, “Euzelle and R.D. Smith - On changes in Northside,” From the Rock Wall, accessed August 10, 2022, https://fromtherockwall.org/oral-histories/euzelle-and-rd-smith-3.

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