Discrimination

Program Information

Program: Witness to a Century
Segment Number: 11 (Watch entire program)
Duration: 00:03:26
Year Produced: 2008
Description:

Everyone pitched in to win the war. But for some, the fight for freedom abroad rang hollow upon their arrival home to a segregated Virginia. Black Virginians still found their opportunities to earn a living and educate their children restricted by racial discrimination.

The Roaring Twenties. Prohibition. The Great Depression. World Wars. The explosive growth of technology. Testimony from Virginia’s centenarians is used to create WCVE PBS’ one-hour documentary, “Witness to a Century.” WCVE PBS and the Virginia Historical Society have collaborated on this look back at the enormous changes that took place in Virginia in the twentieth century through the eyes of those that lived through them.

For more information visit: http://www.ideastations.org/witness/index.html

Transcript

Everyone pitched in to win the war. But for some, the fight for freedom abroad rang hollow upon their arrival home to a segregated Virginia. Black Virginians still found their opportunities to earn a living and educate their children restricted by racial discrimination.

DANDRIDGE

Yeah. First day I went to teach, I went to a place they called [a camp ranch]. And they sent me to a school made out of logs. It was a two-room school. Children from all around in the county came there. See, it was no schools anywhere else. I had the upper children and another teacher had the others. And of course we[’d] a wood stove, and we had to walk from the highway out to the school . We’d come from the woods to keep from getting muddy.

Coppage

At the beginning of the school year, they would give all the art teachers keys. the materials would come to one school. You’d go to that school and get your material. Well, they didn’t have a black in that program until I came into it, So when we had the first meeting and she’s giving out the keys, and she gets to me, [laugh] the thought comes to her, “Oh my goodness, I’ve got to give a black a key to this school.” she gave me a key that year. The next year, she said, “Miss Coppage, I tell you - whenever you want material, you just call me.” So the others had their keys, but I had to call her.

Yates

They built the new school here for the blacks. And they came to me, some of the black people, and asked me if I would get―Ford cars were scarce―if I would get a car from Ford Motor Company and sell it to them, they could raffle it off. I said, “What’d you want it for?” They said, “The white school’s got a cafeteria, and we don’t have anything in the new school we’re building.” I said, “Oh, sit still.” I went to the school board. I said, “You got a nice cafeteria in your white school, but not in the black. We can’t do that. Just give them what they’re entitled to.” Let's get ahead." The story would be, “But the blacks don’t pay much taxes.” I said, “Plenty of whites don’t pay much taxes either. You can’t use that.” I haven’t tried to discriminate because you were poor, because I was poor. I have been poor, [all the] time.