Oral History

Shirley Davis - On her family history and the Civil Rights Movement

Interviewed by Elizabeth McCain and Yolanda Alston on June 30, 2014

In this interview, Shirley Davis speaks about her family history. She grew up in Chapel Hill on Merritt Mill Road. Her father worked thirty years for the Sigma Chi Sorority and her mother worked for Milton Julian. Her grandmother worked at University laundry, and her grandfather worked with the Town of Chapel Hill. Her parents didn’t teach much about discrimination but told her and her brother to be polite and be respectful to elders. She recounts growing up with Jewish neighbors during times of racial discrimination. Black people were not allowed to be on Chapel Hill High School property. St. Joseph’s CME Church became the meeting space for organizing sit-ins in Chapel Hill. Community members would attend the meetings to choose which places to protest. At one store, customers would throw things and spit on them so the community would organize men to sit-in at that store. Davis ran track, played saxophone and drums as a majorette, and played basketball. She talks about being in the Hargraves pool after hours when it was too hot during the day. Her mother would take care of her child (she had her son at 18 years old) while she went to the Hargraves Center. She also speaks about the serving styles of local law enforcement.

Shirley Davis - On her family history and the Civil Rights Movement

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Oral history interview of Davis, Shirley conducted by McCain, Elizabeth on June 30, 2014 at unknown.

Citation: Marian Cheek Jackson Center, “Shirley Davis - On her family history and the Civil Rights Movement,” From the Rock Wall, accessed March 4, 2024, https://fromtherockwall.org/oral-histories/shirley-davis-2.

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