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Oral history interview with William Fonvielle, August 2, 2002

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Creator:Fonvielle, William (William Earl), 1947-
Creator:Taylor, Kieran Walsh
Creator:Southern Oral History Program
Title:Oral history interview with William Fonvielle, August 2, 2002
Date:2002 Aug. 2

William Fonvielle describes the long legacy of his family's ownership of Savannah Pharmacy on West Broad Street in Savannah, Georgia. After his father's murder in 1955 and his grandfather's death the following year, Fonvielle's aunt assumed leadership of their business. As a child, he delivered prescriptions and learned the city's landscape. Fonvielle fondly remembers the close-knit nature of the black West Broad Street community. Blacks supported the local businesses, especially during the Jim Crow era, when most white business owners refused to serve black patrons. However, Fonvielle argues that blacks have divided themselves along class lines. Middle-class blacks moved to suburban areas and did not return to support their community. He maintains that Savannah lacks progressive and aggressive blacks willing to unify the race and protect the black community. He connects black unification with a strong black economic center, and he bemoans the decline of adequate store supplies, the growth of chain stores, and the flight of the black middle class to the suburbs, all of which, he argues, has stymied economic progress and drained West Broad Street of its economic vitality.

Title from menu page (viewed on May 7, 2008).

Interview participants: William Fonvielle, interviewee; Kieran Taylor, interviewer.

This electronic edition is part of the UNC-Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South. It is a part of the collection Oral histories of the American South.

Text encoded by Jennifer Joyner. Sound recordings digitized by Aaron Smithers.

The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the aggregation and enhancement of partner metadata.

Types:Transcripts | Sound recordings | Oral histories | Sound | Text
Subjects:Fonvielle, William (William Earl), 1947- | African American men--Georgia--Savannah | African American neighborhoods--Georgia--Savannah | African Americans--Georgia--Savannah--Economic conditions | African American business enterprises--Georgia--Savannah | African Americans--Georgia--Savannah--Social life and customs | Savannah (Ga.)--Race relations | Urban renewal--Georgia--Savannah | United States, Georgia, Chatham County, Savannah, 32.0835407, -81.0998342
Collection:Oral histories of the American South (Georgia selections)
Institution:Documenting the American South (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Contributors:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library
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Forms part of Oral histories of the American South collection.

Persistent Link to Item:http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/R-0174/menu.html