Oral History

Isabel Atwater - On growing up during World War II, Black businesses, and Civil Rights

Interviewed by Hudson Vaughan and George Barrett on November 5, 2014

Ms. Atwater speaks about life growing up in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area during World War II. She shares her experiences with her husband, Roy Atwater and her education at the rural Merritt School and Orange County Training School. She was familiar with food rations throughout the time and had various occupations including the laundry business, sewing work, and cashier work. She attended church service at Mount Zion Baptist Church and also attended Civil Rights marches in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. She shares her stories of segregation and the interpersonal dynamics during Civil Rights, especially her relationships with neighbors. She speaks on the black businesses that used to be on Franklin Street that are now obsolete. She mentions the Durham Laundry the Blackwood Family; raising animals and gardens; Sutton’s Drugstore; Empowerment Inc.; community in Northside neighborhood. She concludes the interview with her thoughts on growing older.

Isabel Atwater - On growing up during World War II, Black businesses, and Civil Rights

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Oral history interview of Atwater, Isabel conducted by Vaughan, Hudson on November 5, 2014 at Home of Isabel Atwater, Chapel Hill, NC. Processed by Simpson, Caroline.

Citation: Marian Cheek Jackson Center, “Isabel Atwater - On growing up during World War II, Black businesses, and Civil Rights,” From the Rock Wall, accessed November 29, 2021, https://fromtherockwall.org/oral-histories/isabel-atwater-2.

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