"My mother worked for one of the richest men in Chapel Hill, Milton Julian, he owned a clothing store. She raised all of his kids, 7 kids, and we all grew up together."
- Shirley Davis
Shirley Davis - On her family history and the Civil Rights Movement
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 childhood, education, and school integration
This interview is part of an oral history project called Southern Communities: Listening for a Change: Mighty Tigers--Oral HIstories of Chapel Hill's Lincoln High School. The interviewes were conducted from 2000-2001, by Bob Gilgor, with former teachers, staff, and students from Chapel Hill, N.C.'s Lincoln High School, the historically black secondary school that closed in 1962 when a school desegregation plan was implemented. Interviewees discuss African American life and race relations in Chapel Hill, as well as education, discipline, extracurricular activities, and high school social life before and after integration.
"We’re writing our own history, thank you!"
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