Modjeska Simkins:
Well, when it comes to black women, you know, it has always been said in the South that the only two classes of people free in the South are white men and black women. I know that you have heard that statement. And the mother instinct in them is one thing. You know, a cat or a bird or anything like that will fight for its children and the other is that ordinarily, in very few instances have Negro women been lynched. They lynched black men. And so, very often, the woman got away with the things that a man wouldn't have gotten away with saying or doing. And I think that the social structure had something to do with that in that the number of the better conditions of the white homes ... I mean better conditions financially, they had black servants that just about ran those homes, raised the children and all, you know. This is in Gone With the Wind, which I guess you've seen. Well, the fine manners as to how the girls should behave when they went somewhere and all of that, and just how they should express themselves and all, those fine niceties, were often transmitted to them by slave women, many of them were wet nursed by black women, before they had all these baby foods and things. I had a man tell me one day that one of the biggest fights he was ever in was because one day one of the boys told him that he had wet nursed at a black woman. And he said, "I loved my wet nurse like I did my mother." So, many times there was that carry over that - they maybe didn't realize. I'm talking about where they had trusted and beloved black servants, you see? Many of those people were buried in their cemeteries. There are many black servants buried right on the square, the cemetery square, with the people that they worked with for years. And sometimes these situations are far more involved than you would dream, just looking at it on the surface. But you take the case of Rosa Parks. If that had been a Negro man, they would have thrown him out on his can. Don't you know they would have? Out of that bus. And they put her in jail, but they certainly didn't abuse her. And take Hayward down there in Mississippi. If they were whipped a thousand times, I should have been in South Carolina. I've never had one weight laid on me and I've never even had someone give me any big talk and I have done enough big talking to be put in jail fifteen times myself. But I guess that sometimes they marked me up as a fool, they'd say, "Well, that woman is crazy, but ..."

- Modjeska Simkins, NAACP secretary

Interview with Modjeska Simkins by Jacqueline Hall, November 15, 1974, Interview G-0056, in the Southern Oral History Program Collection #4007, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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