Oral History

Henry Atwater and Charles Weaver - On the African American freedom struggle and Civil Rights Movement in Chapel Hill

Interviewed by John Kenyon "Yonni" Chapman on April 11, 1991

"Chapel Hill and Carrboro have been fighting each other for a long time. Ever since I was born. About where the city limits are, what they do, and how they’re going to do this. That’s why you’ve got the mayor of Chapel Hill and the Mayor of Carrboro. Chapel Hill has been trying to take over Carrboro ever since Carrboro’s been there."

- Charles Weaver

Charles Weaver, born in 1925, and Henry Atwater, born in 1915, recount how being Black has impacted their life, including their experience in Chapel Hill. Weaver specifically recounts the munitions plant that was open in Carrboro during World War II. This munitions plant employed predominantly Black workers, which strained the University of North Carolina’s access to Black labor at the time. Weaver claims that this tension evolved into a greater battle for labor and business between Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Atwater describes the makeup of the Black community in Chapel Hill and his own experience growing up in a family of brick masons and farmers and his journey to playing football at 3 different colleges. Atwater further explores what medical care looked like historically for Black people in Chapel Hill. Having been drafted into the Army for World War II, Atwater shares his experience with being the in U.S. military and what reintegrating into society following his time of service.

Audio recordings of interviews conducted by Yonni Chapman with participants in the African American freedom struggle and the civil rights movement in and around Chapel Hill, N.C.

Henry Atwater and Charles Weaver - On the African American freedom struggle and Civil Rights Movement in Chapel Hill

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Oral history interview of Atwater, Henry conducted by Chapman, John Kenyon "Yonni" on April 11, 1991 at Chapel Hill, NC. Processed by Raper, Cailyn.

Citation: The Southern Historical Collection at the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library, “Henry Atwater and Charles Weaver - On the African American freedom struggle and Civil Rights Movement in Chapel Hill,” From the Rock Wall, accessed May 19, 2024, https://fromtherockwall.org/oral-histories/henry-atwater-and-charles-weaver-on-the-african-american-freedom-struggle-and-civil-rights-movement-in.

Rights: Open for research. The Southern Historical Collection (SHC) welcomes non-commercial use and access that qualifies as fair use to all unrestricted interview materials in the collection. The researcher must cite and give proper credit to the SHC. The SHC requests that the researcher informs the SHC as to how and where they are using the material.

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