Genna Rae McNeil:
At what point in your life did you become sensitive to these kinds of racial distinctions, primarily the restrictions and the terrorization of this violence that was a part of being an Afro-American or a Negro or a black in the town? And then also, were you aware of color distinctions, that is, between mulattos and the darker and did this make any difference at all in terms of the Durham community?

Pauli Murray:
Let me see, let me answer these one by one. I suppose this awareness to a child of my generation grows with you just like almost a part of your body and your being. It is hard to say when you become aware because you take it in all of the time. I don't remember, for example, lynchings being prominently portrayed in the newspapers, but we would hear about them by word of mouth. You know, (whispering) "Somebody got lynched over in So-and-So County last night." I think that sometimes, they were even suppressed in the newspapers, but one was aware of it. It was something that one was aware of. Awareness of segregation, of course wherever you went in town, you saw the "White" signs, the "Colored" signs, drinking fountains, anytime that one would go down into the public center of town, one would be very, very conscious of it. Obviously, one would be conscious of separate schools and separate churches and the older people talking. It's something that you simply grow up with. It's not something that you suddenly experience. Now, there may be particular experiences.

Genna Rae McNeil:
So therefore, you had no particular experiences such as Benjamin Mays or Malcolm X, who might have had a Ku Klux Klan experience, that kind of violence perpetrated upon the family immediately or directly?

Pauli Murray:
No, only my grandmother's and my grandfather's memories, my grandmother would tell me about the Ku Klux Klan riding around her little cabin up in Chapel Hill and how sometimes she would get up at midnight and walk the twelve miles to Durham because she was afraid to stay there. This was during Reconstruction times when apparently the Ku Klux Klan was not very happy to have a person of color owning property. But for myself, not probably until I was about eight or nine did I have any experience that dramatized it for me.

Interview with Pauli Murray by Genna Rae McNeil, February 13, 1976, Interview G-0044, in the Southern Oral History Program Collection #4007, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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