Lenoir Hall and Manning Hall

Ashley Davis on the reaction of white students to integration

Excerpt Description: Ashley Davis describes how white students reacted to the demonstrations of Black Power in the Foodworkers’ Strikes, explaining the ignorance of many white students in regards the University’s use of escheats to sell enslaved persons and gain Black-owned land during the antebellum period.

Interviewee Name: Ashley Davis

Interviewer: Russ Rymer

Excerpt Transcript: “We wouldn’t let the cafeteria workers be hurt. We had heard at that time too that there were certain students–I believe we had certain students with that mentality then and now, who would hurt a worker. Because I don’t think students really even attempted to understand. A lot of stuff was just plain reaction and the reaction is: “I’m not going to let you blacks come up here and take over our University. We were doing so well before you got here and we’ll do well if you leave here. So, you’re fortunate to be here, …” I think that’s the main thing, the “fortunate to be here” part. It doesn’t matter if your taxes are paying, or if the University is gets ownership of black black land through escheats or other things, it doesn’t matter. “You are lucky to be here.” And this was this attitude, I think it just prevailed on the whole campus, if not outwardly, inwardly, it prevailed.”

Organization: Black Student Movement

Excerpt Length: 0:53

Interview Date: 4/12/1974

Interview Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Campus Space: Lenoir Hall and Manning Hall

Citation: Interview with Ashley Davis by Russ Rymer, 12 April 1974, E-0062 in the Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.