Oral History: J. Murray(Interviewer), C. Simmons(Interviewee)


The interview of Carolyn Simmons is from the standpoint of a young 15 year of African American female at the height of the movement, segregated times, and viewpoints on the non violence, speeches, NAACP,and  leaders.Simmons grew up in North Carolina Simmons parents did not let any of their children participate in any acts, in fears that they would get hurt. Simmons tells how her  father was a dedicated share cropper with the locale white folk, how the people they share cropped with were not racist towards their black family, but were like a part of the family, even though Simmons knew they never split the profit 50/50. The interview  expressed the struggles of the movement, memorable events, and more.


The Simmons family were involved in share cropping. Sharecropping “Was common throughout the South well into the twentieth century, and required the work of entire families.” The economy forced blacks and whites to work together for profit by famer. The simmons family paid a landlord rent from their makings on the farm. Simmons parents were not former slaves but their parents or her grandparents were. Sharecroppers usually have a contract, but that was unclear if Simmons family was under the radar croppers, or official sharecroppers. Sharecroppers had no control over the way there plants and crops were sold, but Simmons family made a unequal but manageable profit. After the reconstruction, due to the economy black, and poor whites used sharecropping, over gang labor or slavery, and they both benefited.





J. Murray: Hi. My names Jaidah Murray I’ll be the interviewer today is Tuesday May 20, and I’m interviewing my grandmother Carolyn Simmons. The first question is what is your race/ethnicity or Nationality?

C. Simmons: African-American

J. Murray: What is your Fathers name?

C. Simmons: James Fisher Senior

J. Murray: What was his occupation?

C.Simmons: He was a sharecropper.

J. Murray: Could you explain what this consisted of doing?

C. Simmons: At the beginning of the year they planted stuff together, and once everything was ripe to be sold as far as the cotton and the ….and all that when they sold it to the other person,they would get a certain percentage, whoever they were in partners with always got half of what ever that percentage was, but i know it should have been 50/50

J. Murray: What was your mothers name?

C.Simmons: Edna earl moore

J Murray: What did she do?

C. Simmons: She was basically a housewife, and then she sort of kind was a nanny, she was a housekeeper and she babysitted

J Murray: Where were you born to clarify?

C Simmons: North Carolina

J Murray: Being born in North Carolina plus your ethnicity did this affect your comfort and treatment

C Simmons: Yes and No, because it was a lot of things they held back from us that we could have been doing like the things that are happening now, i could not do all that stuff, we was limited

J. Murray: Did you ever relocate to south carolina or anywhere deeper in the south?

C Simmons: No, i was just North Carolina born and raised

J murray: What was experiences with segregation when it was at its height?

C Simmons: Well, when I was growing up I saw it but i didn't really see it,because certain things i just didnt see, I don't know if it was because my mom and dad shield us from that part, but i do remember certain part of it , the prejudice parts. We weren't allowed to go in the restaurant straight from the door , we had to go to the kitchen side. The water fountain an stuff i really don't remember like that, but the restaurant we could not go in the front.

J Murray: What age were u at the height of the movement?

C Simmons: I think 16

J. Murray: Did you ever participate in any movement , any riot, the freedom rides, the sit ins?

C Simmons: No

J Murray: what were the majority of their races ?

C Simmons: it was not all white people, the people that my dad share cropped with acted like they were apart of our family. They did not treat us prejudice……

J Murray: what do you remember about the civil rights movement?

C Simmons: I just remember the marches and stuff the MLK did cause they always did the southern states, i remember that part but I was not apart of it, and i remember the school i went to always told us who we were.

J Murray: Was your education effected by any of this?

C Simmons: No , i wanted to get further

J Murray: did you see any equality after the movement

C Simmons:  Yes, it eased up some because its never going to totally go away, i dont think, thats my opinion, but it did ease up because they desegregate the schools, we were allowed to vote,its alot came from it

J Murray: being born at that age did your conception of a race change, were u ever biased to one race ever.

C Simmons: It did change, segregation and all that we became a little more equal to one another to make it short, that was the part that made me say i got to get out of school, because i can make a difference along the way somewhere

J Murray: Did you ever interact with the NAACP organization

C Simmons: No because the era I came from they were not out there like that, where we could get with the NAACP, we just had to have a representative, someone to represent us

J Murray: did you ever hear about Malcolm x or go to his speeches or anything?

C Simmons: i did not go to his speeches, but i heard him on the air ways, like everywhere i went mostly they were talking about Malcolm X

J Murray: So what was your whole outcome, positions, on his positions, and his thoughts, and their actions, and their non-violence, and their sit-ins and things like that

C Simmons: well i was with this non violence , i never thought he was trying to be racist or anything but it was at that time thats what it made him feel, so i love the non-violence cause that don't solve nothing. It dont solve nothing, and we all had to come together on that . And the ones that wanted to be, show that violence that anger and aggression , we just kind of overlooked them and tried to commit ourselves to the non- violence

J Murray: okay thanks i don't think i have any further questions

C Simmons: okay thank you , and thanks for choosing your memom

J Murray: lol okay you're welcome

C Simmons: alright i love you

J Murray: love you

Part 2 memom oral history