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Oral history interview with Lawrence Ridgle, June 3, 1999

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Creator:Ridgle, Lawrence, 1931-
Creator:Rouverol, Alicia J., 1961-
Creator:Southern Oral History Program
Title:Oral history interview with Lawrence Ridgle, June 3, 1999
Date:1999 June 3

This is the first of two interviews with Lawrence Ridgle, who was born during the height of the Great Depression and spent his childhood on Fayetteville Street in Durham, North Carolina. Ridgle begins the interview by recalling that his neighborhood was impoverished but close-knit. Ridgle describes the various ways in which people made ends meet through innovation during the Depression and helping one another out, arguing that "getting by" constituted great success. Ridgle also asserts his admiration for the social welfare programs that Franklin Delano Roosevelt implemented during those years because they put people to work and helped to feed people. Nevertheless, Ridgle also notes that he felt deep disdain for the modern welfare system. In addition to emphasizing community togetherness, he also discusses his father's job with the American Tobacco Company, which he later elaborates upon in his second interview. Ridgle devotes the second half of the interview to what he sees as decline within the African American community, particularly as a result of urban renewal projects that began during the 1960s. Ridgle argues that these projects created a disconnect between African Americans of different social classes, and that thriving African American business in Durham had all but disappeared during the period of urban renewal. He articulates his admiration for business owners who held out as long as possible. Ridgle concludes the interview by arguing that although many people initially understood urban renewal in a positive light, it ultimately served to isolate African American neighborhoods and communities.

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 (document genres) | Text | Sound
Subjects:Ridgle, Lawrence, 1931- | African American men--North Carolina--Durham | African Americans--North Carolina--Durham--Economic conditions | African Americans--North Carolina--Durham--Social conditions | Urban renewal--North Carolina--Durham | African American neighborhoods--North Carolina--Durham | New Deal, 1933-1939--North Carolina--Durham | United States, North Carolina, Durham County, Durham, 35.9940329, -78.898619
Collection:Oral Histories of the American South: The Civil Rights Movement
Institution:Documenting the American South (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Contributors:University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Documenting the American South (Project)
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Forms part of Oral histories of the American South collection.

Persistent Link to Item:http://docsouth.unc.edu/sohp/K-0143/menu.html